back to article Vodafone USB Modem 7.2

It's shiny, white and looks like a bar of soap. But hook it up to your computer and you can surf the internet at speeds of up to 7.2Mb/s - in theory, at least. Yes, it's Vodafone's latest wireless modem, the Mobile Broadband USB Modem 7.2. It's cutely curvaceous, rounded at the corners, while the top and bottom panels arch …


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  1. d


    One thing that Vodafone Broadband does is downsample *every* image that you receive. Every JPEG, GIF and PNG becomes blocky.

    I recently returned this item mainly due to this fact.

    They do not advertise this, I asked and there is no way to turn it off. Vodafone claim that the other mobile broadband services do the same.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "One thing that Vodafone Broadband does is downsample *every* image that you receive. Every JPEG, GIF and PNG becomes blocky. I recently returned this item mainly due to this fact."

    Yeah, they all do. To reduce the amount you actually download, and improve load times. With T-Mobile at least SHIFT+R tells it to just get it without compression.

  3. michael

    it is voda phone not the device

    that "degrades" the images they are also responcable for the content filter that blocks almost every page as unsutable till you pay the £1 from a credit card

    there are some tricks on the internet to make your jps fine again but it is anoying

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ DO NOT BUY

    If you squint the pron is still usable.

  5. Nic Gibson


    Well, that would really depend on what you bought it for. Yeah, it would suck for surfing pr0n but I find Vodafone Broadband perfectly acceptable for reading mail and sshing to remote boxes.

    Of course, I'm running osx leopard and Vodafone's config software makes a right pig's ear of that.

  6. Phil Cooke
    Paris Hilton


    you'll find every provider does this! I've been using one of these for a month now and don't have any issues with it - It's a lot better that the old PCMCIA card it replaced :)

    PH angle, it's curvy............

  7. Andy

    are you sure you got your bits and bytes right?

    so, you measured bandwidth using bits and got,

    620kb/s down, and 90kb/s up? are you sure? as thats not even a tenth of what is advertised on the box... however, if you were measuring using bytes, that would give 6megabits down and nearly 1megabit up. much more like it. can you confirm which you used?

    and yeah vodaphone used that image resampling trick since before i got one of the first 9210i nokia communicators... cheeky monkeys

  8. Scott


    Yes, they do - T-Mobile don't currently downsample PNG that I can see tho.

    Personally I don't see a huge problem with it - it only affects web pages. Saves on bandwidth.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I'm pretty sure you've only gotta press Shift+R (or similar) to return an image to original format..

  10. Richard


    Why no PAYG option for those of us who'd only use such a facility on rare occasions?

  11. Peter Best

    Image Optimization can be disabled!

    You can change the amount of compression for images from the main one of the configuration pages inside the mobile connect application. From the menu, go to Settings -> Optimization (Using version 9.1)

    No idea which muppet told you it couldn't be changed.

  12. JeffyPooh

    My Internet access (at home) is the similar EV-DO

    I was recently able to FINALLY get semi-affordable high speed Internet access at my house-in-the-forest by means of the 'mobile' EV-DO technology. I use a special 'mobile' router to make a WiFi hotspot in my house. I just works. There must be a dozen gadgets on-line now. I wrote up all the basic details on one of my blogs.


    My ISP doesn't compress images are far as I've ever noticed. All in all, the service and performance are absoluetly perfect. I actually do get a reliable ~1Mbps just as my ISP advertised. Sometimes I even get almost 2Mbps. The only negative aspect is the monthly fee which is two or three times what other (presently unavailable) options would be. Hopefully, I'll be able to switch to the cheaper WiMax someday.

    The part I find funny is that this kit could be installed in a Limo to provide passengers with a mobile WiFi hotspot.

    Another blog=

    I actually did a mobile run once to try it out. I had Internet Radio streaming to my car for a 56km jaunt. It worked fine.

    One does need to be very careful about the plan selected. Although $93 per month is a bit pricey, it is less than $85,000.

  13. Andrew Ducker

    Anyone know if Orange is going to release something similar?

    For non-business users, that is.

  14. d
    Thumb Down

    Lie by omission

    Photography was the main reason. It just really bugged me. The speed was OK.

    I did a test on an reference image I had uploaded separately and then downloaded. 192k versus 20k. It was definately worth their while compressing things. It was every image coming over HTTP (I didn't check FTP) was compressed.

    SHIFT-R did nothing. Hard refresh on the page did nothing.

    @michael; I didn't pay a quid from my CC. I phoned them and complained -- they asked for my DOB during the credit check -- plus they didn't say from the outset that it would filter. They blocked a lot of things, Flickr was one.

    The device was good -- the speed was OK. But the Vodafone service was terrible.

    It's a big lie by omission from the providers.

  15. bob

    Very nifty device

    I was using it Austria in Soll connected at 7.2 Mbs and was getting about 3.5Mbs. I have 8Meg Max at home and I only get 2.5Mbs to me this device is brilliant. Ofcourse connectivity in all other countrys is much better because the UK is the worst for just about everything. However one day we will get there.

    The device plugged in pretened to be a CD drive, auto ran a driver install then rebooted the USB port and was detected as the 3G / HSDPA card that it is.

  16. Andrew Woodvine

    Image compression

    Vodafone use compression technology from Bytemobile, along with every other UK network operator.

    I can understand the need for this in pre-UMTS days, as the image compression will have enhanced the user experience when download speeds were slower. With 3G though the image compression has the opposite effect - I just find it annoying.

    If you're using a Mac then you can download a utility called ByteMe Optimizer from and this suppresses the optimisation.

  17. Pete Silver badge

    speed is "up to ...", maybe cost should be "up to", too

    Mobile internet devices are infamous for quoting ludicrously unreachable theoretical maximum speeds with real-life values of maybe 1/10th the headline figure.

    It would be nice if we could hold back on the line rental and just pay on a pro-rata basis

  18. Chad H.

    @ do not buy

    The big pink fuzzy T offer a piece of software to kill that feature. Alternatively, when you see a blurred picture, hold shift, and press f5.

  19. Mage Silver badge

    It's about more users, not more speed

    When sectors get busy with more modems sold expect no difference in speed from the 1.8Mbps

    1.8 = 12 users max a sector

    3.6 = 24 users a sector

    7.2 = 48 users max a sector.

    It's mobile Internet, not Broaband and typical speeds will be 100k to 300k if the sevice is popular.

    How many hrs a month would you get even at 1Mbps on the Cap? Not many, proving what I say.

  20. David Farinic

    regarding my HSDPA speed experience

    >"HSDPA is a 'bursty' technology, delivering high peak speeds rather than sustained high download rates, as our numbers show."

    I dont agree .. i used vodafone malta liberty platinum and when i plug my HTC TyTNII mobile to my vista machine without any installation iam on internet and i get CONSTANT speed of 109KBytes/sec=872Kb/sec for example when downloading quite often secondlife installer (34MB file)

    PPL you dont need faster download connection anymore your ISP needs faster connection to rest of internet . However you might need faster upload speeds so

    For example when HSDPU was implemented in ORANGE slovakia next hop packet delay dropped to 60-80ms from 150ms ! apart of improving upload speed to more balanced speed with download rates.

    Regarding vodafone... i would really like register to find out who is standing behind vodafone decision to recompress JPG images for their wireless customers... as somebody mention above users has to pres shift +R to get original quality picture

    or install some proprietary software from vodavone to correct it... they do it everywhere UK MALTA Australia. Sometimes i can not read text in JPG pictures due to this which has its consequencies in authentication websites using CAPTCHA... and so on

  21. David Farinic

    Counting of bandwidth usage

    Dont really trust what you see/count on your PC regarding Bytes transfered/received. I heard that while moving between different BTS, amout of data counted might doubled in your provider's counter.

    Also watch out for cross border BTS where you might pick up another country BTS and your data will be counted as roaming data .. ouch expensive ... those are real life experiences.

    VODAFONE image optimization alters content of images because in transparent proxy cache saves altered/recompressed image.

    User, in order to get original image, requires to bypass cache mode which migth mean more traffic at which contradict purpuse of web caching elements between originating web server and client.

  22. Nick Miles

    Other Areas

    If I had to make a guess at the next area to be included it would be Newport Pagnell Services. That always used to be the busiest cell in the country for 3G usage.

  23. Stuza

    Whats the big deal?

    Most of us have had HSDPA mobiles for months and months, whats the big deal?

    I've even streamed the cricket from the Beeb and played Eve-Online on the Met line on my laptop using my TyTN and now Tosh G9 (both T-Mobile).

  24. rooleg
    Thumb Up

    @Image compression

    I've recently purchased the 3 payg e220 and I'm happy to say that there is no image compression whatsoever or for that matter any restrictions on what sites you visit. Also at £15 for 3G/month it's an absolute steal and it's bloody fast.

  25. Anonymous Coward

    Also not 100% happy with this...

    ... have to agree with comments about Vodafone not mentioning the really heavy image compression. I also find this is quite slow at web surfing as there is a delay with each page starting to load. However, I live in the middle of nowhere near Ipswich (Suffolk) just on the edge of their coverage and it connects at 7.2Mbps though service frequently wobbles between 3G+ and 3G. YouTube videos for example, more often than not stream OK, and larger files download fairly quickly when they get going. For example, I can now use Windows Update, previously on dial-up I could not. This is a good upgrade from dial-up if like me you cannot get landline broadband due to distance from exchange. On my system (XP) the software loaded by the modem is really resource hogging, making the PC unstable, I have to manually kill a number of processes started by this to rectify it.

  26. JeffyPooh
    Thumb Up loaded by the modem...

    For my EV-DO-enabled house in the Canadian forest, the mobile Internet gadget is plugged into the mobile WiFi router. That means that everything WiFi-enabled in the house just simply works and special software is not required. It's as simple being just a wide-open WiFi hotspot that could fit under your hat. I do happen to have the special software installed on both the laptop and desktop, but it remains dormant, unused and apparently harmless. Details on my blogs as linked above.

    The point of this post is to point out how NICE the appropriate mobile WiFi router can be (provided it's available for your particular USB Internet mobile modem gadget thingy). We sometimes have three or four things on the Internet at once (laptop, desktop, PSP, Wii, etc.).

  27. Jim

    Image compression is a good thing

    I like the image compression. I use the previous generation Voda dongle as my primary internet connection (I don't have a landline). I use the internet pretty heavily, and have never gone over my 3GB/month quota.

    If voda didn't compress the images for me, I'd have to spend another £10/month to connect to a proxy that would do that for me (OnSpeed or similar).

    And, as has been repeated ad nauseum above, if you don't like it you can turn it off (or use a different proxy).

  28. David Woods


    Tried one of these for gaming while away from home.

    The ping ran at 500-1000ms. Unplayable.

  29. A J Stiles

    Linux support?

    Blah blah windows XP blah blah Mac blah blah blah.

    As a penguin-shagger, I just want to know if there are Open Source drivers (i.e., not binary blobs that work only with an obsolete version of Red Hat on a 32-bit processor) for this thing? Does it emulate something sensible, like a USB to ethernet converter?

  30. michael

    image compresion

    "You can change the amount of compression for images from the main one of the configuration pages inside the mobile connect application. From the menu, go to Settings -> Optimization (Using version 9.1)"

    using vodaphone mobile connect lite v2.2.2.1 there is no optimization option under settings and sme sites do not re load hi quality images probley due to the desine of the site

  31. Mr Pedantic

    No Mention Of Fair usage?

    I wonder, at 7.2Mbps, how quickly one could use up one's paltry 1GB monthly fair usage download limit?

  32. michael

    @fair use

    my contract has a 3gb limite and I have not yet used it up in a mounth or resonable iplayer watching but even if you think you might be getting close there is a nice little monitor on the app to tell you when you are etting close to the limite

  33. Chris
    Thumb Down

    60-100kbytes per second

    At £25 a month you get 3gb max download (it says unlimited then links to the 'fair usage policy').

    But worse off I get no more than 150k a second downloads, in North West London. Most times it's around 60k.

    Not sure how the testers got to 600kbytes a second, but I would love to know.

    As people have mentioned: £1 to remove the content blocking otherwise sites like, imageshack are unobtainable. All images compressed to an inch of their life by default too.

    There is a bandwidth monitor however and the device is well thought out, if soiled by Vodafone's grubby money grabbing hands. But that's the case with all UK ISPs is it not.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    it is a ****Mobile**** device

    I have a voda usb datamodem (not a flashy 7.2 one), which works perfectly well for me in my house with reasonable speeds or when i am out and about and want to surf the net. Not quite as fast as a fixed adsl or cable connection, but when you think its a ****MOBILE**** device, and it has to get its signal through the air, then its pretty damn good. Havn't used big-t's device or 3's, but signal coverage from them where i live is slightly lacking, so unless it improves i wont be bothering, but I am sure they are equally as easy to use. No problems with image compression either, but im not picky about that. The package was sold to me as Mobile Broadband, and Voda advertise the 3Gb service as Mobile Broadband, and not as unlimited - for the new dongle thing. Had my content control lifted as well, and where you can get it lifted free in a voda store with relevant proofs of age, i got mine done by business customer services, and yes they did charge a quid to do it (something about age verification), but they also creditted £2.50 to my voda account (a nice profit of 150% to boot, but apparently you only get the credit once). Mobile Broadband is perfectly adequate for me, and if the voda coverage in my area is sufficiently good whenn i come to upgrade, may look at getting a 7.2 one myself.

  35. Matt Williams
    Thumb Down

    Image compression

    I don't understand why they make it so hard to find out that they compress images.

    I'm not going to go through the pain of installing a Vodafone device again, repeating my previous experience when I found that all of our carefully crafted websites were made to look like rubbish, unless they are honest about whether the compression system exists and can be switched off.

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