Thursday, 9 January 2014

Free Internet Dongle, Is It Worth It?

I do not understand why mobile operators are still pushing for the sale of internet dongles. For those who do not know, this is a gadget that is fed with a SIM card to provide internet access to laptops and other internet devices. They are usually USB connected and power fed by the laptop, or has an integrated rechargeable battery. 

Why I am saying this is because I think it is just another waste of money and a redundant machine to buy. Other than providing internet connection, the dongle doesn't have any more function. Although they might bundle you with free texts but the problem is you can not use this up without being connected to a laptop or a phone. Other makes have built in physical storage or free cloud storage, but still, you can get those offered by other products at lower prices and lower running costs.

I say lower running cost because the dongle's SIM card needs an additional top up. A redundant device, because a smart phone can be an internet access to a laptop and other devices. More and more people have the access on smartphones and even the very basic of smartphones can do the function of a dongle, and that is to become an internet access point to other devices by tethering function. It is easy to do, less configuration, no additional cost of another SIM card which means lower running cost.

A friend of mine has been "had" by her network by an "upgrade" on her mobile contract by giving her an internet USB dongle, which has a 1GB of data allowance a month for 12 months and costs an additional £10 a month. And they told her that because she' been with them for 2 years, she can have this at a 30% discount, meaning, £7 a month. To sum it up, she will be overpaying £84 on her existing tariff. 

The existing tariff is not that bad in terms of data allowance. She has 2GB data, 500minutes free calls and unlimited text. She is paying £30 for this. With the addition of the new dongle SIM, she will be paying £37 a month. The free dongle, which is worth £20 or more if bought separately without contract, doesn't justify this.  This is a losing situation for my friend.

If she could have looked around first, she can have a tariff upgrade or a new contract (remember you can always request for a PAC code with existing mobile operator so that you can transfer your old number) with all internet she needed, 500minutes free calls, unlimited text, a new top ofthe line phone and a new tablet for £32!!!! You can use the unlimited internet to power up any internet device by using your phone as a wi-fi hotspot! To sum up the actual tariff below, the S3 mini is £219, the TAB 3 is £159, unlimited data at an estimated £20+ a month when bought separately, 500 free minutes and unlimited text, is a win-win bundle!

So beware when you ask for an upgrade, do not go for a dingle or mobile wi-fi free gifts!

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