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3G Data and my Mobile Broadband Experience

Updated on September 6, 2010
I have a silver Webconnect Stick provided by T-Mobile
I have a silver Webconnect Stick provided by T-Mobile

I am currently about to finish up a free 30-day trial of mobile broadband use. I have a 3G wireless card or stick, which is UBS and provides a wireless broadband connection for a monthly fee. I didn’t know what to expect, but since I was assured I could return the stick and discontinue the service if it was not to my liking, I decided to try it since there wasn’t a lot at stake.

This technology isn’t exactly new, but when it was still new to me, I began investigating whether it was something I would enjoy using.

Bringing myself up to speed with the technology was at times confusing. I couldn't believe I could actually connect to the Internet with a USB device, so I kept looking for proof that I had the wrong understanding. When I finally put confidence in my understanding I couldn't find the device in stock. I decided I could use the time to continue to make sure I understood correctly, so when I found out the WebConnect was actually in stock, I decided the time was now, and committed to the 30-day trial period.

My Laptop Made the Decision Much Easier

I endured the loss of a key component of my laptop a couple of months back. For some unclear technologically-riddled reason, my NIC card no longer works with my laptop. (Check out the model here in case you were thinking of buying a similar model.) The laptop is also wifi capable, so while I can no longer use my DSL connection, I am still able to connect by switching to wifi.

As my knowledge of 3G data increased, I began to wonder if it could replace my DSL connection with a wireless broadband connection thus allowing me to switch my DSL connection to our other desk model computer, which has a working NIC card.

Mobile Broadband Connection

Turns out my fix remedied my online access problem. I was assured by the saleswoman that it would be a cinch to begin using my webConnect device. I have had no problems with Internet access since my device lets me know which wifi connections are sending or out the strongest signals or alternately allows me ready access to the network’s 3G broadband connection when my wifi signals are too weak.

Unlimited Access

It is vital that a 3G broadband connection has plenty of access points or hot spots. Some providers offer hot spot coverage but it turns out to be very limited coverage,  only available at popular bookstores or coffee shops. While convenient, such hot spot locations are not available when you are not at a popular location. While most airports are also wifi accessible, what happens if you are in a hotel room that doesn’t include free wifi connections in the room rate? Paying for a day of service may be inconvenient and impractical if laptop use will be frequent. In such situations mobile broadband connections may seem ideal.

Not to mention if your schedule is such that you will not know exactly how often you will be using your laptop. Obviously, for some it is better to have a ready made connection available with minimal effort required.

3G Service Plans

With the popularity of 3G even 4G networks growing. Wireless service providers are all looking to corner their share of the lucrative market. Even online giant Amazon has made it more convenient than ever to pick out a phone, a provider, and a mobile broadband connection all in one easy trip to their new 3G broadband section. Serious shoppers can compare plans, free shipping rates, where applicable, along with service contracts, to find the best deal available.

Personally I ended up sticking with my service provider. We’ve been very pleased with their loyalty programs which enabled me to get my USB WebConnect Jet Stick, completely free of charge. Since I went to a local retailer, there were no delivery fees, and the SIM card was placed in the Jet stick, while I waited.

I did have to agree to extend my contract for another 2 years in order to get the USB modem for free and I would negligent if I didn’t also mention the $40.00 monthly fee I picked out, so as to allow myself unlimited usage. (Had I not been a loyal customer, that charge would have been $50.00 per month.)

I don’t anticipate regretting my decision since I do not have a typical schedule that I stick to when writing. Depending on my energy level and health for the day, I write as I can, when I can. Since I can write even away from home, I look forward to never having to worry about getting an Internet connection . . . that is as long as my laptop keeps working.

I've thoroughly tested my 3G broadband connection in a variety of ways. I find I am always able to connect either to a wifi location or to a broadband connection when I am on the Internet. I like being able to easily attach it to my laptop and I would recommend such a device to others looking for 3G service at an affordable rate.

Some only wish to check their e-mail, so opt for the less expensive option of $9.99 a month, you get billed for running over the allowed usage and if you want to do more than a quick check of your e-mail and a quick reply, you are probably better off with the unlimited usage.


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    • Jen's Solitude profile image

      Jen's Solitude 6 years ago from Delaware

      I've yet to experience 4G. I am still satisfied with 3G but am interested as to whether the speed is more noticeable. Thanks for the comment.

    • RichPt profile image

      RichPt 6 years ago

      It will be interesting to see if connections get more reliable and faster with 4G - I'd certainly hope so and with my limited experience of 4G speeds are certainly faster but there are still relibility issues.

    • esllr profile image

      esllr 7 years ago

      You just saved me a lot of heartache, thanks for your insight! Have a Blessed Holiday!

    • Connie Smith profile image

      Connie Smith 7 years ago from Tampa Bay, Florida

      Hi Jen! I have a Verizon broadband "card," which is actually a USB stick that sounds similar to yours, thoug not a 3G phone. I have used it to access the internet in a lot of different places. You do not need a "hotspot." I have been in the mountains of Virginia and Tennessee, on the interstate in a moving vehicle, and also use it when staying at my mother's place as a primary connection. It has never, ever let me down. I also use it when our wireless Verizon DSL acts up at home and keeps losing the connection. Mine is $59.95 and there is a specific MB amount (can't remember right now...) but I have never gone over, even when using on a daily basis. However, I do not download movies, etc.

    • Jen's Solitude profile image

      Jen's Solitude 7 years ago from Delaware

      Thanks BK, it is so nice to "see" you. :-)

    • BkCreative profile image

      BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      Thanks for the review. I value your opinion so this makes a difference and will help me make a decision - and at least enter the purchasing process with some knowledge.

      Rated up!

    • Jen's Solitude profile image

      Jen's Solitude 7 years ago from Delaware

      My pleasure KT, glad it made sense to you. :)

    • KT Banks profile image

      KT Banks 7 years ago from Texas

      Great hub. I thought it might be over my head, as I'm not all that techie, but the way you explained it was great. Thanks Jen!

    • Jen's Solitude profile image

      Jen's Solitude 7 years ago from Delaware

      Thanks for the advice bill! It hadn't occurred to me about connection possibilities outside the country. I know in the US, some companies like Cricket have very limited coverage, which can be quite a surprise if you didn't know to check it out beforehand.

    • ocbill profile image

      ocbill 7 years ago from hopefully somewhere peaceful and nice

      sounds great. I have heard mixed experiences and the TV commercial to connect anywhere is way off base.

      You go out the country and your 3G download limit is really limited to basically 1 regular day of normal USA usage.

      Be sure to use a really good firewall to limit those hackers. With inevitable improvements on coverage and service, it will be a nice thing to have.

    • Jen's Solitude profile image

      Jen's Solitude 7 years ago from Delaware

      Hey Paradise! Nice pic. I hardly ever had trouble with DSL but I can see why WiFi would would be patchy. If I had to depend on just that part of the service, I wouldn't be happy (of course I don't have a router, which might make wifi's reception better.) Since I have T-mobile's 3G network, I always get a signal, at least so far, anyway.

    • Paradise7 profile image

      Paradise7 7 years ago from Upstate New York

      Very interesting, Jen, and something I now want to look into. I pay about $85.00 per month for internet and phone with cable service.

      One thing--when wifi was new, the service was often patchy or interrupted. I didn't switch then to anything wireless, because of that. I wanted a solid connection, always.

      Well, now my cable seems to experience periodic glitches where suddenly my internet connection is gone, then just as suddenly resumes. Do you have that problem with broadband?