So, Orange has turned an “avoid at all costs” product into a first rate mobile data solution, but how much is it going to cost you? Surprisingly, it’s not going to cost you any more than the original – taking a medium usage tariff, you’re going to be paying £150 for the card and then £23.50 a month for up to 65MB of data, with additional data costing £1 per megabyte. Although that’s not bad value, the Vodafone Mobile Connect card is priced identically, except you get 75MB of data each month instead of 65MB. Of course you’re not getting integrated WiFi with the Vodafone card, but you have to weigh up how important that is to you – if you already have 802.11g integrated into your notebook then you don’t really need this feature.
Ultimately, splitting hairs over an extra 10MB a month and integrated WiFi doesn’t seem important to me. What is important is that the pricing of 3G data cards hasn’t dropped since I reviewed the first one a year ago! I would have hoped that at least the initial hardware cost might have dropped by now, after all that’s what happens with mobile phones. That said, you either need a 3G data card or you don’t. For me it’s an invaluable tool that really helps me do my job. If you’re in a similar position to me, the initial and rolling costs will be money well spent.
The original Mobile Office Card was a disappointment in more ways than I can list, but Orange has atoned for its earlier sins by producing the new version. This latest 3G data card is a pleasure to use, and if Orange would just pull their finger out and match Vodafone’s tariffs it would be the solution of choice. As it stands, Orange has a product that performs equally as well as Vodafone’s, and if you only have 802.11b in your notebook you’ll even get a WiFi performance boost.