When 3G data cards first came along it felt like all our prays had been answered. We had near broadband speed mobile internet access and we had it anywhere. In reality there was a stark difference, early adopters paid through the nose for miniscule download caps, finding a 3G signal was tricky to attain outside built up metropolitan areas and even inside them large numbers of users brought the data speeds to a standstill.
Since those dark days, however, there has been great improvement with coverage expanding rapidly and prices stepping away from insane. Things are about to get a lot better too as networks prep their next gen HSDPA services and begin an all out price war.
T-Mobile will be one the first out of the gate and, like Vodafone, it is equipping all new and contract renewing customers with HSDPA enabled data cards now. Unlikely most other networks, it has also rolled out price plans for the imminent 1.8Mbps service and mighty competitive they are too.
‘Web n’ walk professional’ is for laptop owners using the HSDPA card and it offers flat rate monthly access for an incredible £17.00 per month plus VAT. Putting this in context, my father had one of the very first 3G data cards on the market back in September 2004 and his first contract was a shocking £35 for 75MB of monthly data. Furthermore, all data cards will include 12 month unlimited access to T-Mobile’s 1,000 UK wireless hotspots.
Respectful, but not intimidated by this package is the company’s second offering. This is for the mobile smartphone user and is suitable for all web n’ walk devices, such as the Nokia N70, SDAII, BlackBerry 8700, MDA Compact II, Vario and Pro (out of the current line up). Simply add web n’ walk professional to any voice price plan and get unlimited mobile Internet access for just £8.50 per month plus VAT. Left hook, right hook.
As for HSDPA itself, T-Mobile Data Marketing Manager Rob Langton told me the service will be going live this summer. I couldn’t tie him down to a specific month, but summer is a pretty short time in England and even shorter in Ireland, Scotland and Wales so we suspect it won’t be long. Rob has promised to update us – on fear of death – as soon as he gets an exact date and we’ll be putting one of the company’s HSDPA data cards through its paces shortly after.
And by through its paces we mean spending a few days wandering around Soho coffee houses. It’s a dirty job, but someone’s gotta do it.