Testing the Orange network and dongle didn't get off to a great start because the connection software refused to launch. A quick visit to the Orange website got me an updates connection manager, but that solution presupposes you have internet access by another means. Mobile Broadband Comparison Orange's mobile broadband …
I borrowed the 'Three' dongle mentioned in the article from a train journey from Glasgow to Leeds.
Coverage was apalling, the one benefit you will get from the other networks is a 2G GPRS signal where a 3G one is not available.
Three used to offer 2G GPRS if 3G was unavailable, but this is no longer in place, so if there's no 3G signal, you've got no connection. I would say that in for the total ~4 hour journey I was connected for about 15 minutes in total. I took a different route on the way back, and still had no real joy,
If you're in business, and travel about, and require a dongle, I'd avoid the three one. I'd rather have a 'normal' network with some connectivity, even if it is just 2.5G GPRS than relying on finding a 3G connection all the time through three.
Just connect your blackberry (or other mobile) as a modem. Unlimited data, good coverage and reasonable speeds. No paying through the nose for ridiculously poor data plans, no fuss.
"a mismatch between real-world and predicted HSDPA coverage."
As in Orange claim coverage at my home but when a 3G indicator appears it's merely an invitation to spend 3p to be told I can't connect. They're just slowly squeezing me dry.
Squeezing dry? Orange? Oh, well suit yourselves.