Remember the 3 mobile broadband WiFi router? Wouldn't it be nice if it didn't require a power socket?
That's what you get with the network's swanky new wireless modem for a service it is dubbing 'Mobile WiFi' or 'MiFi'. Yes, this is another term for consumers to get confused about, but it's actually really straightforward.
In short, MiFi works by using the wireless modem to harness 3's 3G signal to create your own mini WiFi hotspot. From this you can connect numerous devices so, for example, while you're reading a webpage on your laptop/netbook you can be downloading an album on your iPod touch. One data subscription, but multiple products benefiting from it.
Setup in practice should be easy with each device simply asked to input an eight digit network key just once when you connect and it also encourages a communal aspect if your friends turn up (and you don't mind them hogging all your precious bandwidth!).
"There are millions of Wi-Fi devices out there, but they can only be used in fixed locations," said 3's sales and marketing director Marc Allera. "Consumer demand for easy and affordable internet access on the go is growing fast and we're responding to that by announcing the UK's first wireless modem."
The 3 will offer the Mobile WiFi/MiFi service in time for Christmas with pricing coming closer to launch. I've registered a query with 3 regarding the battery life of the router (it's obviously dependent on the number of connected devices, data usage, etc) so hopefully we'll get some feedback on that soon.
Ultimately this is likely to be niche offering, but for those who do need it I suspect it will be a godsend…