Back in May, UTS unveiled it’s new “3G” Usb Modem at EFEX 2008, and it sounded very promising. It was a Usb modem that would work on the 3G/HSDPA technologies, meaning that you would get speeds up to 3.6 Mbit/s. Now, at home I have my 2 Mbit/s connection (which I’m pretty happy with) and I already started to imagine having an additional modem with even faster speeds to go along with it.
Even nicer would be that I wouldn’t be bounded by my ethernet cable, but I’d be completely mobile and online anytime and anywhere on the island. Nice indeed. The “drawback” if I may call it that, is that the speed would fluctuate because it’s a shared connection and not dedicated like your ADSL. But still, I didn’t mind that as much.
The price seemed pretty reasonable, 75 Guilders a month* (after paying an initial fee) for existing ADSL customers and after thinking of the advantages, I signed up inmediately. After about 2 weeks I was called to get the modem, and it was time to check those speeds out.
*(If you are not an ADSL csutomer, you’ll be paying Naf. 145,- a month)
The modem itself looks like a regular memory stick. It’s a model called iCon 225 that is made by a company called Option. Once you stick it in your Usb port for the first time, it automatically installs the drivers that come along with the modem.
Your computer will then restart and when you click the “Globetrotter Connect” button, you will be asked to enter a username and password, which will be saved and then you are ready to go.
– Speed. My speed varied between 800 kbp/s and 2.7 Mbit/s and averaged about 1.7 or 1.8 Mbit/s, which is pretty decent when you consider that we’re still in the 3.6 Mbit/s limit and that the upgrade has not happened yet.
– Size. Like I mentioned before, the modem is the size of a regular Usb Memory stick, meaning that transportation is a breeze. It’s not a bulky card or a big modem that you are carrying around, it’s just like a regular thumb drive that goes into your laptop’s Usb port.
* (Click image for larger view)
– Simplicity. The entire process is fairly straight forward. You just plug it into your Usb port, the drivers automatically install and after you enter your settings the first time, everything gets saved and it’s a matter of clicking one button and connecting. No other software, no cables, just plug and connect.
– 3G for your cell phone. The modem has a SIM card inside of it that you can eject. If you have a 3G enabled cell phone, like a 3G iPhone for example, you can take out the SIM Card, stick it in your phone and have a 3G connection on your cell phone. This actually does not work yet but UTS has told us that it will be working down the road which is something to look forward to.
– Fluctuating Speeds. I’m not bothered by this but some people might be. But if you accept the fact that it’s a shared connection and that your speed will vary throughout the day, you should be ok.
– Bluescreen. For some reason, the modem can’t seem to play nice with my laptop. It works fine on every other desktop or laptop I have tried, but my Acer seems to have issues with it. It has “Bluescreened” the laptop after just 30 minutes of browsing, and other times after 2 or 3 hours of browsing. Now I’m sure that the problem is my laptop because it is getting older and it wouldn’t surprise me if it could not handle the modem all that well.
All in all I’m pretty happy with the product. The price (75 a month) is very reasonable for a small Usb Modem that will have me online anywhere on the island. And with speeds going upwards to 7.2 Mbit/s, I really can’t complain (even if it will be fluctuating).
(Update I: Speeds have yet not been anything close to this yet, at least not in my area)
It’s especially handy if you’re on the road a lot and need to be online to check mail or connect to your company’s intranet and you do not want to be handcuffed by a slow Wi-Fi signal.
I would definitely recommend it if you’re in the market and in need of a simple yet fast, mobile broadband connection here on Curacao.
(Update II: For those wanting to read the MIO 3G review, please click here)
(Update III: UTS has now released a premium 4G+ service)