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How Many Gigabytes Is A Piece Of String?

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Right, this is partly for the geeks and partly for the broadland locals.

I am dragging myself into the 21st century at last. but I need some local and some techy type information.

I'm going to set up an account for a mifi thingy (can't remember what they're called, might just be a "MIFI Modem") but I also need to know which phone company offers the best coverage on the broads. Needless to say, coverage near the Pleasure boat Inn at Hickling being particularly important. At the moment it looks like I'm going with "3".

The other thing I'm going to need to know is, how many gigabytes per month will I be likely to use. I don't play on-line games or download films. Nor will I be streaming any videos or live broadcasting, so my on-line usage will be as follows.   Frequent and long periods on this forum, reading e-mail, perhaps sending the occasional photo (lets say max 2 per day average). We shall say that my longest stay on the boat will be 3 weeks in any month with 1 to 2 being more likely. The Gb options I've com across thus far are 2 5 10 or 20 per month with nothing rolling over to the next month.

My other question is, What happens if I exceed my monthly allowance? 

As ever your assistance in this matter is appreciated.

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Hi, fellow idiot,

That MIFI thingy is locked to 3, if it's the one you got from me. So if you change networks you'll need to get it unlocked somehow. If the usage is as you describe, I'd think 2gig would suffice, 5gig to be absolutely sure. I went for a smartphone in the end, and a 123 sim from "3". 1p per megabit data on that, and it just rolls on without a cutoff. £20 lasts me pretty much the whole summer! You can tether your laptop to a smartphone (acts like a wifi hotspot) if necessary.

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Hi Ray, My situation just got complicated today. The laptop I was trying to use with it (your MiFi) belongs to a friend of mine. His old lappy died and someone gave him a spare one they had. Sadly this spare one has no USB ports so we took the sim from his dongle ("3") and put it in the wifi box you gave me. (after I finally managed to get the lid off and read the password).

Meanwhile, I have a laptop that will only work if plugged into the mains. so no good on the boat, however, we've agreed that when I go to the boat, I'll lend him my laptop and take his. It seems to me only fair that when using his laptop, I use my own sim. When I set up that contract, I'll receive another MiFi unit. If "3" is good, I shall se if I can set up a sim only contract and use the Mifi you gave me, He (my friend) can put his sim back in his dongle and use one of the USB ports on my laptop. Neither of us really wishes to buy a new laptop, (tight fisted toe-rags that we are) especially as we have all we need (subject to my getting a sim). So there you have it.

Your Mifi and his laptop are running well together, so he has the MiFi for now...... Simples!!!.

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A quick check at the pleasure boat inn the main networks list 3G mobile data coverage as:

EE - Great outdoors and indoors

3 - Good outdoors and indoors

Vodafone - Good outdoors and indoors

It therefore kind of depends where else you are likely to want mobile data. I know 3 has been mentioned by Robin as being good coverage on his video's, I'm on Vodafone and haven't really noticed a loss of signal very often (although I'm always helming whilst underway). I'm sure a more techy person will help more soon.

In terms of amount of data, with what you listed you can discount 20 and 10 gb unless the deal makes it worthwhile over less data. For web browsing and the odd extra you will not get near these amounts.

I'm sure someone else will help you better than I soon, but if not I'll have a more indepth look for you tomorrow if it helps.

Sent from the Norfolk Broads Network mobile app

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Careful, I nearly understood all that! The clearest bit was "(tight fisted toe-rags that we are)", but I already knew that. Glad you're getting somewhere with it all. I'm sure it'll be clear as mud eventually.

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I walked into Tesco and said
"Give me a phone that I can answer emails and look at the NBN forum while I am in Norfolk, and can take 4k videos of my travels!"
"Here you go young feller me lad, its a Tesco EE contract phone, just give us some money and it's yours!" said Tesco
So I coughed up some money and got a Sony phone that has signal all over Norfolk. Simples!

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my daughter once (for a short time) worked at BT, we are on an unlimited package so cannot check our usage (it just says you are unlimited, so we are not bothering to tell you.)

as part of her training they each had to look up their household internet usage. our house won the prize, the trainers had never seen anyone with the usage we showed - considering at the time we were 3 adults, and streaming music video tv etc and downloading movies, but our usage was 2 Tb per month, there were 9 or 10 devices (desktops, laptops, sky box, phones, tablets, x box etc) all connected at once.

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As a matter of interest, if you have BT broadband at home, you can set it up so you can receive other BT hotspots whilst out and about. At The Pleasure boat we often got a good signal, but normally we get onto the pub wifi.

Will they let you tag onto that... You may not need any other account, if you only want access there,  then if you also want free phone calls, then skype everyone.

If this is possible, then I recon a forum member could be tempted to assist for free beer for the evening lol...

This is only one option, but if you want full access to the internet and mobile phone network all over the broads, then forget that, you need to compromise. 

You can get free internet at most pub chains, and fast food outlets, after the first registration, say in McDonalds,  then it automatically links at any uk McDonalds.

Same for most pubs. Some of our hospitals in Staffordshire have free internet too.

Hope It helps. 

I am on the boat on the Thames at the moment, can't get a free wifi link, so My ipad is tethered to my mobile phone network, using data at a fair rate, but within my monthly limit. I made my phone into a hot spot... A couple of key presses, and the odd password... linked. 

So lots of options. I NEED my internet these days. Keeps my mind off things. lol




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It's a bit "two strings to my bow" at the moment. Hickling for example is useless for O2, but I learn its good for "3". I suspect there are places where the opposite is true. I like this versatility and would be reluctant to lose it.

The battery on my phone lasts over a week on the boat, Smart phones seem to have rather less battery life. Sods law dictates that the smart phone would either be on my boat on charge or in my pocked dead as a door nail while I'm in the pub. Another factor that makes me want to keep my phone and not go "smart".

The laptop in question (my friends) is less of a laptop, more a tablet with a keyboard. It takes up next to no space. (I think it's a "levono" or something) my old lappy is bulky in comparison, not ideal on a boat.

Whilst the chopping and changing  sounds awkward, it makes sense for the few occasions per year when it would happen. I'm just not really able to justify getting my own one for those few occasions. (though I can see myself doing so eventually)

This is one of those subjects where I'm ending up asking more questions the more I find out.

If I get a 2Gb contract, how can I tell how quickly I'm using it up?


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Hi MM, if you are on 3 you can go to my3 and click data allowance. It will tell you how much data you have left and when it expires.

the dongle will get an email when your dat is low.

we never get to the expiry date so just top up when needed. We use payg.


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Finger trouble
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I've always used Three (since 2011) on the Broads. In this time I have had 4'MiFi' units.

Recently I upgraded to the Three 4G unit (Huawei E5573bs-322)  and with it the speeds went through the roof. For example in Stalham at Richardson's I was able on 26th March to have download speed of 40.84Mbps and an Upload of 32.93Mbps with a ping time of 48ms.

The issue however is that on Pay as you Go you tend to spend quite a bit - £15.00 for 3GB of data that expires in 30 days regardless of if you have used it all up or not.

What does 3GB of data get to? Well it is hard to say, sure you can try and define this with a number of average web page impressions or emails  but everyone really is different.  Now, for my experience 3GB does not last very long at all - maybe 2-3 days but one has to bear in mind my iPhone is connected to it so all the Apps it uses, emails, iMessages and WhatsApp messages are taking data, then the big hog is Spotify streaming music and dare you use it to stream video from Netflix etc and you will be forever topping up.

But - there is hope people - Oh the Gods at Three have released to us mortals the very product I had been praying for - a HomeFi.



This is an all in one Router just like what you use at home, but it allows you to use a whopping 40GB a month for £24.00.

What I would love to know is if one can skip using the HomeFi device, but use the SIM with the 40GB a month allowance, and plop into a better more feature rich 4G home Router.  I will be looking into this myself.

So there you go, just my personal opinion and experiences but for me it would be Three, and on Pay as you Go be frugal with what you use so far as data goes and you won't go wrong.



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I believe it was for a mobile phone, cant say as i paid it much attention, nor when they phoned me as an existing sky customer and offered it to me - they didnt seem to understand when I said I was on a pay as you go package, that I paid £10 a month, from which £6 a month blackberry services were taken, and I was still building credit every month, which was when they told me about the rolling data, I just told them it could roll however long they liked but would still not get used, on my blackberry I get 500mb data and 300 texts, of that I use maybe 5 texts a month and maybe a couple of mb data a year.

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2 hours ago, brundallNavy said:

Sky is only good outdoors in Hickling so expect it to be average 

The sky was rubbish in my house...it rains on the carpets, snows on top of the fridge and when the sun comes out it bleaches the carpet. To get the best out of the sky, it's always better to use it outside ...:default_drinks:

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I bought the Huawei E5577C Ultra-Fast 4G widget for our recent holiday and stuck a 3 sim card in and it served us excellently for the week. Even streamed the oipening episode of "Game Of Thrones" for us via the laptop. I don't think we had any issues with getting a signal anywhere.

One of my better purchases!

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Generally, when it comes to cost and data allowance, the networks are far more happy to give lots of data on phones and far less on MiFi/Dongles because if too many people began to use their phone network as their main source of Internet provision, the networks would not be able to cope.

Just imagine if just half of a town gave up their Broadband provided by their phone line and switched to using the mobile phone networks..

So John, how much does it actually cost?

Well once you have your Three MiFi and presuming you've gone down the Pay as you Go route you will get some included data (along with a reduced priced unit).  Once the data is used up and you need to top it up here is what you can get:

  Allowance. Price.
  1GB £10
  3GB £15
  7GB £25
  500MB £2.99

What I tend to do is go for the £15.00 top up for 3GB and when this runs out just top up an extra 500Mb for £2.99 -but - be aware the 500Mb only lasts 24hrs before it expires, so even if you think that might be the cheapest option as you do not plan to use much data 24hrs after you've topped up it will have gone anyway.

1GB+ data allowances expire after 30 days.

Funds added to your 'Account' never expire and can be used at any time to be converted into data allowance e.g you might want to add £50.00 to your account, then log into My Three and convert £15.00 of that into 3GB of data.


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