Hello 3G, bye bye hotspots . Hello again 3G bye bye WiMax. Hello …

Still trying out 3G broadband and while the speeds could be better I am hugely impressed with the service. I’ve been traveling up and down from Cork to Dublin via train and while coverage is patchy in a good few rural locations along the train journey, they’re almost the same for the ordinary GSM service. When 3G service drops, you are switched over to a GPRS service. When I got up to Dublin speeds got better again than in Cork. During the day last Friday I tried to log on to a wireless hotspot in Jury’s only to be asked to pay a fortune for 24 hours access to the net. In the Teacher’s Club their wifi was broken so once again the 3G service was used. In count centres without broadband(which was almost every one), people used 3G to keep in contact.

On Saturday, sitting on the boardwalk on the smelly Liffey, I was surfing the net at very nice speeds. My only worry being the smackheads eyeing my laptop. Whip out the laptop, connect to the network and that’s it. No worries about finding a network, looking up a FON map in advance, worrying about honeypot networks or anything like this. And now all this for just €19.99 a month.

Today I’m going to Dublin airport to catch a flight to Copenhagen. eircom have the monopoly for WiFi in Dublin airport but I don’t need to care as I have 3g. I’m wondering how FON can compete with this, I’m wondering how hotspots can compete with this? If o2, 3, Vodafone et all enable cheap roaming around Europe then I can’t see any reason to ever have to think about hotspots again, especially at such a cheap price. What was WiMax again?

Actually, I can see 3g being useful for hotspots and that’s being used as the provider of the broadband that the WiFi access point needs. Bye bye DSL install.

17 Responses to “Hello 3G, bye bye hotspots . Hello again 3G bye bye WiMax. Hello …”

  1. Justin Mason says:

    it really does turn hotspot pricing into a joke, doesn’t it! About time, too.

  2. Cian says:

    I used the O2 service for the site over the past two months. While 3G service seems immense, the O2 crew give you the option of a E40 per month 2GB package or a pay as you go option.

    The contract is for 12 months but if i switch to the PAYG tariff i can pay nothing over the month if i dont use the card (since there are no monthly fees). The 40 might be steep for 2GB but it is bloody handy considering the lack of monthly charges.

    Service was constant, speeds were very fast from what i could see, including those black spots in North Tipp on the train! Both serivices miles ahead of an over priced inflexible vodafone service imo.

  3. Niall says:

    Sounds good,

    Do you reckon it could be a real alternative to Clearwire?

    If so I presuming the only disadvantage is no multiple users as is the current set up in our rented house.

  4. Evert says:

    “I can see 3g being useful for hotspots and that’s being used as the provider of the broadband that the WiFi access point needs.”
    Expect this to become available soon…


  5. Robin says:

    Ummm not sure on this question. But how many users 3G users does it take on a single 3G access point to bring it to its knees?

  6. Glad you’re having a better experience with 3 than I had with Vodafone. Well, admittedly I was very pleased with Vodafone’s 3G datacard for 6 months until they had a problem with the 3G mast in Rathkeale and simply refused to give me an ETA on a fix. 4 months later with only (slower than dial-up) GPRS I finally threw in the towel and canceled my two Vodafone accounts.

  7. You’re lucky that 3 have a network in Denmark, because you can only do data roaming on their ‘home’ networks, found that out whilst in Spain last week 🙁

  8. Danny says:

    Are there any providers who offer no cap or a cap that is fair?

  9. The only reason this works is because 3g, particularly Three, is utterly underloaded. Load it up and the whole thing will just die. In particular, if there are people using the basestation from the edge of the cell, it will reduce the performance for all the punters on the cell.

  10. Antoin, that’s what I was getting at above.

  11. As per above you are using a relatively free network and bugger all investment is being made by Voda due to their declining revenues.

    Also the EU has not capped data roaming so you can expect to be screwed on this for the next few years, particularly as they have to make up for lost roaming call revenue.

    However do enjoy while you still can!

  12. Danny says:

    Is the 3 3g card pc express 3/4 or a regular pc card? I need a pc express 3/4 card , can I get the 3 contract and get my own card? Do I still have to pay for their card I won’t be using?

  13. Evert says:


    While what you say is true it applies to any wireless service (GPRS, 3G, WiFi, Wimax etc.) as well as wired services. Overload any network and it will die, period.

    One difference that wireless service encounter and that not applies to wired services is the fact that subscribers farther away require more power or more conservative channel coding which in turn decreases the overall bandwidth available in the cell. Therefore it is correct to say that far away users reduce the bandwidth available for other users in the cell. With HSDPA however, the effect might be weaker as here it’s up to the scheduler in the cell to decide that slow users do not eat up too much bandwidth.

    But, and that’s the big but, networks are designed to take far away users into account, so you kind of live with the phenomenon. So the more load gets on the network the more cell sites are of course required or each cell site needs to be equipped with better antennas, more sectors or a second transmitter per sector. But an increase in users will also result in an increase in revenue and will quite likely lead to the operators expanding their network.

    I find it also typical that now that there is an service that could fill some of the gao left by the low DSL penetration that the first reaction seems to find fault with it….


  14. squid says:

    On the subject of count centres with WiFi, I have to say the one at the Limerick Racecourse was pretty stady, if too slow to upload videos, perfectly acceptable for posting blog entries though. and it was open access too which was handy.

  15. Jim says:

    It will be interesting indeed to see what happens to public WiFi & Wimax. For the most part 3G is the answer to mobile broadband, what will happen to “portable” products like Clearwire & Irish Broadband’s RipWave? Consigned to the bin I suspect. Wimax hasn’t really lived up to the marketing, it’s good tech for FWA but too little and too late for broadband access in general I think.

  16. […] 3G’s Gift To Humankind says technology journalisat Karlin Lillington, today. Blogger and writer Damien Mulleywrote (back in May) that the end was nigh for overpriced wifi (and more!) We’re talking about broadband Internet access over 3G networks (with a fallback to GPRS out of coverage). With a cute little box you can add to your desktop or laptop or whatever (i.e. it’s not necessairly via a phone). […]

  17. Tim says:

    3G is a beauty but for sending email – too often I have to revert to GPRS via phone