Free mobile broadband is to be made available to 11 rural communities from mobile network 3.
The 11 villages are set to be offered free mobile broadband dongles and free internet access from 3 Mobile broadband in an attempt to give them an internet connection that they can use. For the next 12 months the residents of the 11 remote villages will have access to free internet access courtesy of 3 mobile.
3 Mobile said that they are doing this to help fulfil the governments pledge that everyone in the UK will have access to the internet by 2012 with their “Race Online 2012″ scheme. They will also be keen to show how 3G mobile broadband is a viable and useful option for those struggling with traditional wired internet to get them selves online.
Some cynics believe that it is more to do with buttering up the government to get themselves some of the wireless spectrum.
Hugh Davies, Three’s director of corporate affairs, told the BBC:
“We hope to demonstrate that mobile needs to be a crucial part of the strategy to tackle notspots.”
Dave Dyson, Three’s Chief Executive, said:
“We’ve built the UK’s most extensive 3G network using high-frequency spectrum, if we gain access to low-frequency spectrum like 800Mhz we will be able to significantly improve both indoor and outdoor rural coverage for the UK’s smartphone and mobile broadband users.
Low-frequency spectrum on a network as big as ours is a real notspot-killer.”
The first place to benefit form the free mobile broadband is Gringley-on-the-Hill in North Nottinghamshire where a total of 30 mobile dongles and free data access cards will be offered. The remaining 10 locations are yet to be chosen.
BT are extending their mobile broadband offer for the month of August that gives customers free mobile broadband worth £180.
There are 2 different ways customers can benefit from the BT mobile broadband offer. The first is for any customer who buy a mobile broadband dongle for £129.99 during August will receive 1 GB of data transfer per month free for the length of the offer.
Alternatively those who take a BT Total broadband 18 month contract deal will receive 1GB of free mobile broadband data transfer per month for the length of the 18 month contract which is worth £180.
The BT Broadband dongle uses the 3G network and has a reported 80% coverage of the UK so should offer good coverage.
The offer has been extended to run until August 31st.
Owners of the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS handsets are able to get around the charges that O2 Mobile charge to turn their phone into a mobile broadband modem dongle.
The website benm.at has available some software that will allows access to the tethering service meaning that the iPhone can be used as a mobile broadband modem with the 3Gb data transfer limit for free.
O2 say that this is against their Terms of Service and will disconnect any user they find doing this without paying for the Bolt On.
O2 are the only provider in the UK that can sell the iPhone and charge £14.68 per month to users to be able to turn their phone into a wireless mobile broadband modem that has 3Gb data transfer per month.
Currently iPhone users who download the iPhone 3.0 update are able to get around O2 mobile broadband charges to use their Internet connection for free.