back to article Three In-Car Wi-Fi

As we all get increasingly used to the benefits of broadband it gets harder than ever to tear ourselves away from our streamed music and video, online gaming, immediate e-mail access and the rest. Smartphones take us part of the way to remaining fully connected when on the move, but now Three - the company formerly known as, er …


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  1. Stephen 2
    Thumb Up

    The title is required, and must contain letters and/or piglets.

    I think the reviewer of this product has completely missed the target audience. This device is not aimed at bandwidth heavy applications like Youtube. It's for general surfing and working on the go. For which, it's perfect.

    However, anyone with a Apple laptop can simply connect their regular dongle and turn on internet sharing via wifi. Effectively providing the same thing. No doubt you can do the same thing in Windows but I bet its not 3 clicks away.

    1. Eddy Ito

      3 clicks

      I just checked, Windows is 3 clicks also. Adding encryption is a bit more just like on OS X, 10.4 anyway.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Just a regular guy

      Now that's something a regular guy with no vested interest would say. -_-

  2. Jules 1

    Unnecessary if you have a nokia smartphone

    I own a nokia E71 and get similar functionality with the Joikuspot app. It shares my 3G connection over wifi with any nearby devices. No need for a mifi or separate data plan.

    There are also similar apps for android and iphones though they require root access or jailbreaking to work.

    This might be useful to accompany a basic (non "smart") phone though.

    1. Eddy Ito

      Palm native

      It's included with the Plus models of Pre or Pixie. The Sprint models are the same hardware but the wifi is disabled as it would compete with other Sprint offerings.

    2. david bates

      Android - not any more...

      its baked into Froyo (2.2) both wireless and USB tethering.

      Not tested how it works with multiple devices connect yet though...

    3. Danny 14 Silver badge


      all windows smartphones can be set up to do this. HTC have it as an option in touchflo too. Obvioulsy you need wifi on your phone to begin with. Been doing this on my omnia for ages. Its great for the kids and their netbooks.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Froghurt-yo or whatever

      Android 2.2 has the sort of wireless hotspot functions that Joikuspot offers available out of the box, which is nice.

  3. Tim Greenwood

    Always the same problem.

    Perhaps it's just mu Yorkshire upbringing, but to me, the problem with these sort of devices is always the running cost. I don't mind paying for the device but the costs of the data always seem a bit pricey.

    Maybe it's just me.

    1. Geoff Campbell

      Data costs

      Three charge £15/month for 5GB, which seems reasonable to me.


      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: 5gb

        Seems ok to me too but I would wager though to the average person on the street the numbers would mean nothing and there will be an uncertainty as to what they are getting.

        I think a lot of the problem is no-one but an experienced person knows what they can expect to use and therefore if a wireless deal is worth going for or if its going to sting them in extra data charges.

  4. redpola

    Zoom 3G travel modem plus dongle is better option

    I have a 3 3G dongle @ £15/mth for 15GB. I bought a Zoom 3G Travel modem which works with the dongle and is battery-operated. That's my cheaper mobile solution.

  5. Nathan 13

    Wonderful idea

    Let down by the woeful coverage that Three (And all the mobile companies) have.

    Im beginning to think that mobile internet is never going to get to a satisfactory standard, where you can actually use it without pulling your hair out.

    My T-Mobile phone cant even stream a 32kb radio station without cutting out 10+ times on a 30 min walk. And as for Three I found their dongle useless, and the issues I had with their horrific customer service could fill a large book LOL

    1. Giles Jones Gold badge


      Three's coverage is better than some networks. Have a look at the tests done by the Register. 3 came out top.

      O2 were throttling bandwidth to 128k.

  6. gautam

    What use is it then?

    I mean, whats wrong with a normal/reguar dongle for £20 which presumably does the same thing? All it requires is a Laptop to connect to and as a hot spot, there are many programs available to make the laptop one!

    The only advantage apparently is it can connect upto 5 Wifi gadgets! Apart from the driver, how many passengers are gonna be hooked up at any one given point of time in a small family car?

    Reminds me of a bluetooth headset some time ago, wich displayed the telephone number that was calling you (for £80 plus for the novelty). Now who would want to be staring at a callers number when you are wearing one on your ear? Surely the number's visible on your phone anyways.

    Products a fail, unless its on a long bus journey and the National Express wishes its a customers to login for the duration of the journey!

    1. ThomH Silver badge

      iPads, PSPs, etc

      I'd imagine it's useful for all those Wifi enabled gadgets that don't have USB sockets, such as the ones in my title and several others. Specifically on iPads, it's a cheaper upgrade than actually buying the 3G model.

    2. Danny 14 Silver badge


      Some of us have kids. Kids like their gadgets when driving a few hours on holiday or stuck on the M6/42/25/<insert generic road here>.

  7. Eddy Ito
    Thumb Down

    A bit disappointed

    I was looking forward to a comparison of three different solutions not a single solution from Three. Isn't there an equivalent for the TM or something to indicate this is a trade name and not a number? Couldn't "Three" use leet and spell it Thr3 or something?

    Damn... shuffles off, head down, muttering to self, kicks pebble...

  8. Karl H

    if it worked, it would be brilliant

    I tried one of these about 3 months ago , when they were just marketted as Mifi.

    My experience is that when moving along in a train (not that dissimilar to using it in a car), when the signal dropped the device wouldn't auto reconnect.

    So trying to browse the net, from my E71 via a wifi connection to the Mifi, just proved to be too much monotonous button pushing to get the thing to reconnect. This I found to be a show stopper.

    Me, I'm now happy with exactly what "jules 1" above uses, a Nokia e71 with joikuspot. Now if joikuspot could do wpa encryption, then that would be really good. (I'm guessing they'd need a processor faster than an E71 has to do that ).

  9. Andrew Cooper

    Missing the point...

    Yes, of course you can do this with a laptop and internet connection sharing, but the point here is that this is simple, doesn't require booting up a laptop, and doesn't require *yet another* sim card and data contract.

    My particular favourite feature is that it's just straightforward, common or garden WIFI. No more installing crapware and drivers on your computer. No more reinstalling everytime you change provider or modem. Just simple turn it on, it works.

    1. Jules 1

      @andrew cooper

      The mifi may not involve booting up a laptop to get wifi sharing of a 3g connection, but it definitely does involve an extra sim card and data contract. That's the main reason the mifi is a bad deal if you own a smartphone that can itself do wifi connection sharing.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        No, it doesn't

        The mifi doesn't need any sort of contract. I have one, it costs me a tenner to put a gig of PAYG bandwidth on it (good for a month before it vanishes, GRR). I only top it up when I need the mobile data (or when the ADSL is buggered), which means that I pay nowt most months.

        Of course, I rarely make a dent in that gigabyte, so if it didn't time out, it'd be a winner for me, and a fail for three.. oh well.

  10. smeddy

    in need of a title

    Or, as others have said, I can just use my HD2 with it's free Wi-Fi Router, with my all-you-can-eat(ish) inclusive data.

    It seems like a product in need of a market - anyone techy enough to need this device could probably list two or three alternatives which a) don't need an extra device b) won't cost the earth.

    It would have been a nice idea three years ago, if anyone could have afforded £1,000 per MB.

  11. jamesrhamilton

    Not mass-market

    Not exactly a mass-market product in the way they're marketing it - most things that need to be connected to the internet already are via their data networks, although I can see why they've launched it now with the possibility of one person wanting to use their wi-fi only laptop (no dedicated data access) and someone else wanting to use their iPad (possibly wi-fi) only.


    What's the sodding point?

    Different kettle of fish if any of the car's nav or entertainment equipment talked to it, but in essence it's just extra drain on your laptop battery as plugging the 3G modem in directly draws less power.

    Mine the one with the sim card slot in the dash and full integration.

    1. Insane Reindeer
      Thumb Up

      No entirely integrated

      But almost. Just like the comment about using an E71 and Joiku spot, I use my N85 with the same software. I can share the 3G signal over Wi-Fi, stream my music to the car radio and I use Ovi maps for navigation. Simple, all from one device. The 3G signal on my chosen network is certainly much larger and much stronger here than I have witnessed in the UK and I pay for a maximum speed as opposed to a certain amount of data. To date, over eight months I have consumed 78GB of data (combined download and upload) and have even seen occupants in the car make perfectly acceptable video calls using Google's video call from GMail app. Cost? 8x14.80=€118.40.

  13. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

    Excuse me: WEP ?

    Surely WPA, in this day and age?

  14. jamsodonnell
    Thumb Up

    Happy User

    I use the Three MIFI to connect the Apple ITouch to the Internet while on the move. In the car, I can use the combination to stream Internet radio and my child can stream YouTube and download ITouch apps. While commuting, I have Internet access without lugging a laptop around.

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