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HSPA+ 20Mbps MiFi hotspot dongle coming to Three

Three has a new, faster Mi-Fi dongle -- the Huawei E586, which offers 21.1Mbps download speeds thanks to HSPA+ technology.

Three is looking to burnish its reputation as the most data-friendly network -- its new MiFi mobile dongle, the Huawei E586, is the first mobile Wi-Fi device in the UK to feature HSPA+ tech, the company boasts.

The dongle turns data from Three's network into a Wi-Fi hotspot you can use with a laptop, smart phone or anything that uses a Wi-Fi connection. Playing portable games consoles like the Nintendo 3DS out and about could be another use. The only small downside -- the '+' part doesn't work just yet.

HSPA+ (evolved high-speed packet access) is the next step in speedy mobile Internet, and when Three gets around to updating its 3G network to this standard, it says the E586 will give you download speeds of up to 21.1Mbps, and upload speeds of up to 5.76Mbps.

Three -- the most complained-about network in the country -- has said it plans to have 80 per cent of its network upgraded to HSPA+ by the end of the year, with the rest to follow. We'd like to see network operators pull their fingers out, because the US and other countries are already enjoying speedy 4G mobile connections.

On the front of the E586 there's a display panel that can tell you how much data you've used, the speed of your current connection and how long you've been browsing, and a charging cradle is available too. Three estimates you'll get 4 hours of battery life, and you'll be able to buy yourself one of these gadgets online or in shops from September.

If you don't fancy carrying something extra around, Android smart phones already let you convert your 3G signal into delicious Wi-Fi data. But it won't be as fast as this dongle, Three's claims are backed up in practice.

Meanwhile Huawei, the Chinese company that's building the MiFi for Three, intends to start building mobiles under its own banner, starting with an Android phone called the Blaze.

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