It has been reported in the Times that mobile phone operators are so desperate not to be left behind in supplying the latest gadget called the ‘dongle’, the tiny USB device that provides mobile access to the internet, that all the major mobile phone networks are now all rushing to offer their customers the opportunity to purchase dongles. It was mobile phone provider 3 that was quick off the mark to supply the dongle to the waiting laptop world 18 months ago and since that time the other major players have joined 3 such as T-Mobile, O2, Orange and Vodaphone have now also introduced this handy little gadget.
The benefits of the dongle to the end user are twofold as not only does it offer access to the internet wherever there is mobile phone coverage but it is also cost wise a flexible and convenient method of purchasing broadband internet access. Most of the suppliers of both Pay as You Go mobile broadband and Monthly contract dongles offer speeds of around 3.6Mb , however Vodaphone are currently advertising dongles on contract with speeds up to 7.2Mb, obviously this comes at a price and also accessing the internet will be down to coverage.
The Times also reports that dongles are a serious threat to landline companies that offer broadband contracts such as BT. It is reported that analysts believe that sales as well as connection speeds will increase significantly and as such telephone operators will want to make sure that they are still in the race, with the probability of mergers between significant names likely. Cost of the average dongle has fallen by as much as 50% in the past year making them a lot more accessible to the general public, and mobile phone provider 3 have quoted sales of one million of dongles to date.