3G dongle family grows – Vodafone announces USB stick 3G modem
Since my recent post on USB dongles vs Coffee shop WIFi Will the 3G mobile broadband “dongle” kill the WiFi hotspot market?, I received a number of follow up posts following the post being published on Carnival of the Mobilists.
Dean Bubley of Disruptive Analysis had a similar theme to his post on Joining the 3G dongle generation – what a bargain which followed his earlier post Carnival of the Mobilists, Dongles and 3G and Differential pricing for handset and laptop data – and a solution?
Carlo Longino of MobHappy commented in his post Rise of the 3G dongle that the dongle market looks set to grow this year, as European operators begin offering them at some pretty great prices…
These were all in response to my post about the dongles taking over and killing the WiFi hotspot market. As I mentioned, I had already started to see dongles at use in coffee shops that also had public (paid) WiFi which made me think that the dongle pricing and usability for even casual users would overtake WiFi usage. What I did not mention in the article was that the dongle still looks slightly unsightly, as it looks like another mouse, tethered closely to the laptop’s USB port – and you also need space on those tiny coffee shop tables for your late, laptop AND dongle.
While all of this was happening, Vodafone UK released its USB stick (shown on the left) which has a really small form factor – the same as a USB memory stick which is much more compact than the “pebble” 3G dongles mentioned in the previous posts. Perhaps this form factor will mean that the coffee shop table top real estate is not compromised, and simply slipping the USB stick out of your laptop bag and into the USB port of the laptop should be pretty simple.
Vodafone are also offering 3 months free for people connecting on a 24 month contract – so they are serious about converting WiFi users to dongle/stick users.
I’ll be watching my local Starbucks closely for an increase in USB data sticks from now on.