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3G data: the choice expands

Mobile professionals now have a choice of four 3G mobile data solutions from UK network operators. Check out our reviews.
Written by Charles McLellan, Senior Editor

The UK's first 3G network was launched by 3 in March 2003, since when the company has offered handsets carrying consumer-orientated services such as video calls, location-based applications, sports highlights, games and so on. Although 3 has now signed up over a million customers in the UK, the lack of data services means that few of these are likely to be mobile professionals.

Data services are provided by Vodafone, Orange, T-Mobile and, most recently, O2. These solutions, all based on a PC Card-plus-software bundle, are in their infancy and are evolving as the competitive landscape changes. Therefore, you'll need to look carefully at factors such as 3G network speed and coverage, handover between 3G, GPRS and -- in some cases -- Wi-Fi networks, and tariff structure. The table below provides links to some of this information.

3G datacard solutions





3G data solution
O2 Data Card 3G/GPRS Orange 3G Mobile Office Card T-Mobile 3G Communication Centre Vodafone Mobile Connect 3G/GPRS datacard
3G coverage
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Key features
Protocols supported 3G, GPRS, SMS 3G, GPRS, SMS 3G, GPRS, SMS 3G, GPRS, SMS
Software O2 Connection Manager Mobile Office Card dashboard T-Mobile 3G Communication Centre Vodafone Dashboard
Wi-Fi hot-spot access yes (O2 handset account required) by end of 2004 yes yes
Mac support no no no yes
384Kbps throughput yes yes Q4 2004 yes
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ZDNet UK has now reviewed all four available 3G datacard solutions in the UK, allowing you to compare each product and decide which is best for you. Check out the links listed below for all the details.


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