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Vodafone launches mobile Wi-Fi, not as good as 3 deal

After a long wait, Vodafone finally offers a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot device some will find very useful, but which doesn't beat the current deal offered by the 3 network

Vodafone has followed rival network 3 by bringing out its own branded mobile Wi-Fi hotspot on contract. It's a useful little gadget that allows you to connect up to five devices -- such as laptops or netbooks -- at once.

It doesn't require any wires, and because it's so small and portable you can set it up virtually anywhere you want.

Made by the manufacturer Huawei, it works with 3G or HSPDA with advertised speeds of up to 7Mbps, but don't be too surprised if yours doesn't reach that. Vodafone says it will last four hours with five devices connected, which is a fair while.

Useful as it sounds, this is not new technology -- we've seen it in last year's Novatel MiFi 2352, as well as 3 network's own Huawei modem.

By the look of it, Vodafone is presently only offering mobile Wi-Fi on 18-month contracts. You can buy the device for £49 and pay £15 a month for 3GB, spend £29 up front and £20 a month for 4GB, or pay £25 a month for 5GB of data and get the device for free.

Vodafone's mobile Wi-Fi Web page says there's also a 30-day plan that doesn't lock you in to a contract but, strangely, this doesn't appear to be available yet. It's possible the company are trying to tie in eager punters long-term before they go about offering this, which would be a little cheeky.

If you don't want to be tied in, you're better off going for an existing deal with 3 that allows you to buy mobile Wi-Fi on pay as you go for £50 and top up £10 per month for 1GB of usage.

3 also offers a more appealing pay-monthly deal with 5GB inclusive for £15 a month when you buy the device for £40. It's a rolling contract, so you can leave any time you want.