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by Mark Bonnett

O2 were the last network to get into the world of mobile broadband. Maybe they didn't quite realise how important it would be? Either way, their offering hasn't been greeted with open arms, but with hoots of derision. Read on to find out why!

Mobile broadband - background info

What O2 seemed to have not picked up that quickly, is how important mobile broadband is, and will continue to be in future. But first, an explanation may be in order. What is mobile broadband, after all? Well, to put it simply, mobile broadband is broadband internet access while you're mobile, while you're out and about, and not tied to a desk. And no, that DOESN'T mean it uses WiFi. Far from it... and in fact, there's a very real possibility that mobile broadband will replace WiFi altogether!

The reason it's taking off in such a big way is two-fold. Well, actually, on reflection, it's three-fold. Oh ok, go on, then, four-fold. First, it really is MOBILE broadband, as you can take it anywhere with you, and use wherever mobiles phones get a signal. Second, it's fast, hitting speeds of up to 7.2Mbps, depending on network and coverage, making it faster than the average home broadband connection. Third, it's very, very, very easy to set up, since the installation, in all cases, involves nothing more complicated than pushing a USB plug in, and clicking 'yes'. Finally, it's great value for money, with the cheapest tariffs coming in at around the £10-15.

O2 Mobile Broadband - why it can't handle the competition

And now, we come to O2's mobile broadband offering. Sure, it's not bad in terms of speed, despite O2 having earlier limited customers' 3G and HSDPA speeds on their mobile phones to a fraction of the speed they should be. But there are two big problems with the offering, which mean that it won't be a big hit with the public.

First up is the simple fact that... well, if you want O2 mobile broadband, you'll only be able to get it if you already have an O2 mobile phone! Which limits their potential customers, and, to me, doesn't make a great deals of sense, if they want to push mobile broadband to a wider market. The other crucial flaw, though, is the price, coming in at a minimum of £20 per month, more than any other network. Which is a shame, but I guess it goes to show... O2 may be good at mobile phones, but they seem to be absolute drawers at mobile broadband.

About the Author

Expert on mobile phones and mobile broadband, having worked in the industry for over 7 years.

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