For the last couple of years, I've been enjoying the benefits of having unlimited tethering through my mobile phone; this has enabled me to have a very reliable broadband connection to the internet on my notebook, in my rented accommodations (no access to unlimited landline broadband, sadly).
Unfortunately, that's coming to an end, as Three, having halted new unlimited tethering contracts just after I signed up for my one, is now withdrawing the remainder of these contracts.
So, I've had to go looking for a high-throughput data contract. Three didn't offer anything close to what I needed, and there being no other providers offering contracts with similar services to the one I've had up until now, I've had to compromise. As a result, with both a mobile phone service contract, as well as a mobile data service contract, I'll be paying close to twice what I've been paying, for a fairly thick slice less of the data that I've been using, sadly. Never the less, I consider the new contract I just signed with EE for mobile Broadband services to be the best of a bad situation, and collected a MyFi router from Carphone Warehouse on the Purley Way in Croydon, today.
It's a Huawei e5573s-320. The benefit of this model, over others, is that you CAN plug in an external antenna, as there are jacks for this in the side of the unit - and I've got such an antenna inbound from Amazon UK, which should be here tomorrow.
Footprint-wise, it's remarkably small - length and width are slightly bigger than a credit card, although it's thicker of course: 84mm L x 58mm W x 15mm D.
Performance-wise, even indoors, in a notably difficult place to find a signal, is good - I got full strength 3G, and one bar of 4G, right on top of the printer on my desk. With the external antenna I have on the way, I should get an even better 4G signal - and the benefit is that I can stick both into my laptop bag, and get a decent chance at getting good signals wherever there's an EE service. I count that as an advantage, as for the last couple of years, I've only had access to Three services, and there are places where you cannot get a decent Three signal, where EE have good presence, and vice verse.
One nice surprise was that when I plugged it into my USB hub to charge it, it took less than an hour to top up to full charge, meaning that I could get to grips with using it in very short order. Imagine my pleasant surprise to find, that when I turned on my notebook, it connected via USB immediately to the MyFi router - as far as I can tell, that's apparently an undocumented feature, and a very nice surprise, meaning that I can switch off the WLAN WiFi service on the unit, in favour of a wired connection to it instead - there are situations where this would be a definite advantage, such as in high-density wireless environments, etc., where a stronger signal (and thus less battery time) would be needed to reliably connect with the device - having the capability to hard-connect to it is therefore a good thing.
I'll be looking to convert my existing Three contract to a rolling SIM-Only deal in the next few days, which should be somewhat cheaper than the alternative they have tried to offer me (not an all-you-can-eat plan, with a remarkably small amount of data allotment). If I can't get the plan I want, then I'll jump the Three ship, and go elsewhere. I'm very happy with the phone I have, and as it's now at end-of-contract, this opens up a fair few options for me.
More on this in due course :)