The first thing to know is that although 3 are still advertising the Huawei D100 home routers on their website and in their stores, there haven’t been any in stock in Northern Ireland (Belfast stores and Lisburn at least) since Christmas, and the stores are holding waiting lists of keen customers.
Second thing is that the data download speeds I experienced in Lisburn with the 3 dongle (Huawei E156G) were basically dial-up speeds – you could watch the BBC News home page downloading over half a minute or so. And downloading a short audio podcast was taking twenty minutes. Nothing like the suggested coverage. Only three bars out of eight on the GUI ... and it was killing all the USB ports on the Mac Mini after twenty minutes or so use, forcing a reboot.
The third thing to know is that there’s a three day return period for 3 mobile broadband equipment. (Unlike Orange which offer a more generous 14 days.) If you’re not happy with coverage, you can return the mobile dongle to any 3 store to get a full refund, not just the one you bought it from. (Though they had to ring up to check.)
So while I know some readers of AiB that have had very positive experiences with 3’s mobile dongles, I was unable to join the club.
And one last bonus learning point. 3’s PR team don’t seem to answer their emails ... well, the ones sent by bloggers anyway! Maybe they’ll get in touch after this post?