The software Orange provides with the dongle is called Mobile Partner, but it’s almost identical to that supplied with both T-mobile and Virgin Media’s mobile broadband services, so presumably it’s simply a rebranded version of Huawei’s own software. Either way it doesn’t’ really matter as the software does the job that it needs to. The main screen presents you with four tabs across the top for connection, statistics, text and phone book. The connection tab is used simply to connect and disconnect from the service while the statistics page offers comprehensive information about your web usage.
Current transfer speeds are shown on the right hand side as well as daily, monthly and yearly uploaded and downloaded data levels, which make it easy to track your data usage. There’s also a graph that plots the downloaded data during your current session. The text tab lets you send new text messages and sort your incoming messages into folders, while the phone book is where you store contact numbers. It’s all clear-cut stuff and very easy to use and understand.
The new dongle will set you back £29 on a £9.79 per month contract that has a 1GB download limit. Alternatively you can get it for free if you opt for the £14.68 per month pack which gives you a 3GB data allowance.
Price-wise, Orange’s mobile broadband service is on a par with most of the other mobile operators. However, Vodafone’s service has consistently outpaced the other networks, including Orange, in terms of speed in our tests and T-mobile bungs in free access to its network of Wi-Fi hotspots with its mobile broadband deals. So while this offering from Orange is decent, it’s not exactly exceptional value for money and wouldn’t necessarily be our first port of call for mobile broadband even given the sexiness of this new dongle.
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