I have to say, Vodafone UK is seriously, seriously disappointing when it comes to mobile broadband. I’ve been sitting enjoying both my unlocked Novatel Wireless MiFi unit for quite some time, but I’m hugely frustrated for the rest of the Vodafone marketplace not able to easily enjoy the benefits of MiFi.
Pop over to challenger network, 3, and for years you’ve been able to pick up a MiFi unit that shares your broadband connection with up to five of your connected devices. They’ve just released their all new 2nd-generation unit and, as with the first generation, I’ve no doubt they’re flying off the shelves, especially at their keen price of £49/each PAYG (plus a tenner for 1GB data).
What, then, does Vodafone UK offer it’s millions of customers?
A plastic dongle for their laptop.
All I can assume is that the financial bods have done their numbers and decided that their UK customer base isn’t quite ready for MiFi.
It’s not as if the UK is some mobile backwater.
Oh look, what’s this I found on Vodafone Spain’s website…
Yeah, they offer MiFi. They don’t force their customers to use stupid broadband sticks that ONLY work with laptops. How 1995 is that viewpoint?
It gets worse if you compare directly.
This is Vodafone Spain’s Mobile Broadband page. LOOK at the products they’re offering… Broadband sticks, yes, but they’ve got stick-plus-base station, the E960 router, another different stick … and the “Pocket WiFI”:
Aaaand what do we get offered in the UK? Let’s look at the same page on Vodafone UK:
Yes. Dongles. Just USB dongles.
Move along. Nothing to see here.
Spain isn’t the exception. Vodafone Germany also has a bucketload of possible products to choose from:
Oh look… the trusty old MiFi unit. Again.
How ridiculous is it that Vodafone UK doesn’t actually stock MiFi? Oh they’ll give you a MicroSIM for your iPad and they’ll be delighted to sell you a netbook-and-a-sodding-USB-dongle… (or a Netbook with integrated SIM). But MiFi?
No. Not today please. Why not?