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Standby to upgrade your Three MiFi

My Three MiFi unit is a business critical tool for me.

Routinely, WiFi hotspots are so SHIT that I simply have to rely on my MiFi unit for connectivity. Three’s data network is amongst the best in the business — and the MiFi unit is a brilliant way of unlocking that for all your connectivity needs.

I used to regularly travel up and down the M4 motorway and goodness me, the networks — Three in particular — seem to have got that motorway connected properly. I was able to stay connected at what felt like desktop data speeds for my whole journey. [I want to point out, I wasn’t driving!]

The MiFi gets me out of a heck of a lot of tight spots though. You know the scene — turn up at an office and find that their guest WiFi needs 16-layers of security confirmation. Or arrive into a pub to do some work and find that the bollocks BT Openzone wants to charge you on a pence-per-minute basis. Stupid. Scenarios like this have me reaching for the MiFi all the time. I don’t even bother taking it out my bag. I just feel for the power switch, depress it for a second and then see the WiFi connection pop-up.

So I’m a big user. Three’s current MiFi unit is the Huawei E585. Here’s a quick reminder:

MiFi 585 Huawei

It’s great. The battery feels like it lasts most of the business day. In practice after about 4-5 hours of continuous use, I need to power it up. Provided you’re in a city centre location, I generally find the throughput speeds to be comparable to a desktop broadband connection.

That was then.

Now the next generation is upon us: The E586. Let’s have a photo:

MG 0131 MiFi

Right. This one is HSPA+ which means that you’ll get up to 21.1Mbps down (“HSDPA”) and 5.76Mbps up (“HSUPA”). Amazing. Three reckons it should be about 40% faster. (80% of the operator’s network will be fully HSPA+ compliant by the end of the year.)

They’ve made a few nice improvements — apparently the dashboard has got a nice upgrade. I’m hopeful on this one. It was a little bit ‘Huwaei bog standard’ for my tastes but it certainly did the job. There’s also a smart new feature that enables users to see the WiFi username/password on-screen at the touch of a button, ‘for fast pairing with new gadgets’.

Somebody at Three has obviously given their MiFi a lot of use. One of the slight arses with the MiFi is having to open up the battery case to get the WiFi access code. Good thinking. See the picture above? See the button with the ‘key’ on it, top right on the side? I reckon that’s the one you press to get a reminder of the device password.

If you’re a big user of the internal memory card functionality (so you can access via your connected devices), that’s now upgraded to support 32GB micro SD cards.

And a final new addition? This:

MG 0163 MiFi

That there is a fancy new charging cradle. This will be highly useful if you’re a regular MiFi user as you’ll want to pop it in the charger often.

This new unit should be available in-store and online from September. There’s no word on costs yet but I’d expect it will be priced similarly (if not exactly the same) as the existing E585. So, on PAYG the E585 costs £71.99 including 3GB of data. I’d expect it to be free on a 20/month contract. I think that’s what I’ll go for when it comes out.

Anyway, stay tuned. I’ll post a note when it’s available.


  1. So Ewan, a thought I had the other day.  We all have WiFi in the home as it is a basic service.  But it tends to go down at times.  But the network from the carriers seems to be always available.

    Curious why the carriers don’t go after WiFi in the homes to out one’s Internet Service Provider?  They have these plans that limit data for $40 or $60 a month.  But if they offered a MiFi that I could use in the home and anywhere else for the same price, I would certainly dump my ISP.  

    Why do you reckon they don’t go after this market?  Can’t handle the data I reckon, but in the future they will be able to compete!

  2. You are totally right and this is something I have thought about in detail. In Ireland O2 offers home broadband and the cost is excellent but the data cap is not 15gb. I would like to see a proper unlimited deal and some real pricing and I would be happy to dump my broadband for proper good wireless coverage and access. I think the amount of data and network expansion required would cripple it but through some planned roll outs this could be a very nice service and could drop the current incumbents in broadband.

  3. I think this is one of those fundamental things. If you’re sitting in the middle of nowhere right next to a Three mast that has nobody else using it, then it would probably make sense for you to adopt it as a broadband replacement. However in most cases, especially in metropolitan areas, fixed line is going to be more effective.


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