Friday, 22 July 2011

MiFi Changed My Life!

Huawei E585
Three MiFi Mobile Broadband Review

Did you know that half (48 per cent) of mums go online late at night to catch up on things they don’t have the time to do during the day? A third of these time starved‘Midnight Mums’ (33 per cent) get less than six hours sleep a night*. Three Mobile suggest that mums can save 135 hours a year by having access to the internet while out and about. So, does it help?
Denise Van Outen (celebrity mum of one) said,
“Becoming smartphone savvy has been a great eye opener and I’ve enjoyed making dead time, such as standing in shopping queues and waiting for friends, more productive”.
I have recently left my job to become a mumpreneur and most of my business is done working on line. I do spend a lot of time waiting for a browser that cannotdisplay the webpage. When the mobile dongle signal strength is weak I click on‘Help and Support’.
“How to improve your signal strength.
Think about the positioning of your dongle. E.g. upstairs will be better than a basement flat. Some rooms get a stronger signal than others depending on thickness of walls.”
These suggestions are only helpful if you have walls, stairs, and perhaps a house. The software creators might want to add to that,
“Your mobile signal strength is directly related to the levels of outstanding rural beauty, peace and quiet from which you are trying to reach the outside world.”

(Distance from nearest town) + (Beauty of rural scenery) + (distance from launderette) divided by (a large number) = possible mobile internet signal strength.

(See previous post: Communications Are Down)

When Three allowed me to borrow a MiFi for two weeks I was so excited that it could be the answer to all of my problems! Prices for a MiFi pay plan start at £9.91 per month.
(Three also offers all-you-can-eat data on both The One Plan and Pay As You Go packages, allowing mums to blog, social network and shop without worrying about the cost.)
Deep canal cutting
Deep Canal Cutting

The day that I received it we were moored in a deep canal cutting where the mobile phone signal is weak. If it worked there, it should work anywhere. Once the kids were in bed we quickly and easily set up the MiFi and turned on our laptops. I tried the MiFi in various locations, like hanging it near the front door inside a child’s umbrella. I started fiddling with my blog and my husband started live streaming a channel 4 TV programme on his lap top. We were impressed. Everything worked perfectly.
We moved the boat to the next village where the signal was better. I also took the laptop and MiFi away for a weekend in Exeter, and I used it during the week to work on my blog on the commuter train. My iPhone connects to the signal automatically whenever the MiFi is turned on.


Computer Says "No"

However, one day at home I could not get on line at all. I
called 3 Customer Support and quickly spoke to a lovely man who was based in a town just outside Mumbai. I am techno-phobic and had no idea what my computer error messages meant, but the technical support guy remotely connected to my computer and talked me through resetting the MiFi. It turned out that my poor lap top was very confused; trying to talk to my 3 dongle and connect to the MiFi all at the same time. He set the system so that it now looks for the MiFi first, and he kept apologising for the time it was taking him. I found the customer service to be excellent. The phone call did take 55 minutes, but I don’t think that is Three’s fault. I do find it amazing that someone on the other side of the world can be helping a techno-phobic Boat-Wife somewhere on the Grand Union Canal; pretty futuristic don’t you think? When I started living on a boat, in the year 2000 I had some kind of archaic dial-up thing that used Blue-Tooth to talk to my mobile. Things have really changed since then!
So now, I am really looking forward to saving 135 hours a year. If you divide it by seven that’s 19 working days I could spend on my new mumpreneur business: The Freelance Narrowboatwife. Or I could spend it narrowboating with my family...

To learn more about the #MumsOnThree campaign, visit the Three blog or the On theGo Facebook tab.
* Research was carried out by OnePoll in March 2011 for Three. The research was carried out amongst 3,000 mums with children under 16 years old in the UK.

I was loaned the the 3 E585 MiFiMobile Wi-Fi free of charge for two weeks so that I could review it.

This post contains an affiliate link to Become a Mumpreneur.


What would you do with 135 hours?

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