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back to article O2 joins pocket hotspot party

O2 launched the Pay & Go Pocket Hotspot today, a portable Wi-Fi hub for those on the move. The O2 Pocket Hotspot boasts 3G HSPA connectivity - 21.6Mb/s download, 5.76Mb/s upload - and supports up to five devices simultaneously. Pay & Go Pocket Hotspot While the firm turns up rather late to the shindig - Three and Vodafone …

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I am guessing that it will work with a giffgaff sim, so could work out quite cheap

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Ogi

May I ask what the point of these things are?

As I have never seen a need for them. My phone can do the same as this thing, without limits on hosts (and it has other features). Most people have an Android phone (which can work as a hotspot with the right free app). I presume the iphone guys have a similar feature.

If you want to use them as a broadband replacement, it seems both slower and more expensive per GB.

If you want to use them on the move with your laptop/etc, then why not use your phone? You already have one, chances are that if it is a smartphone it will support hotspots. Why carry an extra item about? Along with the additional contract.

Not putting down those that do use these, I just am trying to figure out what benefit it has over the above. I must be missing something...

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Silver badge

Re: May I ask what the point of these things are?

If it was SIM unlocked it might be useful abroad, if you bought a local PAYG data SIM but wanted to keep your UK SIM in your phone for people to phone you on, using your existing UK number. Then your phone can use data cheaply still. I have an unlocked spare Android handset for this purpose.

But I agree, apart from that there aren't so many compelling use-cases.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: May I ask what the point of these things are?

Well, I bought an unlocked MiFi earlier in the year for a trip a abroad. I have a smartphone, but that had my UK SIM in it, so roaming data would have been expensive. I believe I also need to pay an additional fee to use my phone as a hotspot (not sure about this, never needed to).

With my MiFi, I could arrive in a foreign country and buy a PaYG/PrePay data SIM on a local network. I then had an internet connection I could connect my phone/tablet/kindle etc to. without losing my own phone number by putting a local SIM in my phone (and having to unlock it).

It's also a useful way to avoid going over the data allowance on my phone - if I'm off out somewhere, I can take the MiFi with a PaYG SIM in it, and know I'm not risking going over my phone allowance - when the MiFi runs out, it'll stop working until I buy credit.

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Re: May I ask what the point of these things are?

The main advantage of these is to replace a landline ADSL system - over here in Finland they are very popular, as most people don't have landlines for ADSL anyway.

As to why have a unit like this instead of your mobile, well, if I was to use my phone for this, then as soon as I went off to the shops, my wife and kids would probably get upset as the internet would stop until I get back :-)

Also, not sure how many wi-fi clients a phone will support in hotspot mode, but my ZTE MF80 unit allows 10 clients to link up, easily covering the things in our household (4 x phones, 2 x laptops, Android tablet and Wii console), plus spare slots for guests.

Additionally the networks here support 4G, so video streaming and the like is easy too - I actually stream UK TV onto my Xoom tablet, linked over HDMI to my TV.

FYI - The unit looks like a re-badged ZTE one.

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Boffin

Re: May I ask what the point of these things are?

Using your phone for this canes the battery - I'd rather cane the battery of the apparently superfluous device...

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Re: May I ask what the point of these things are?

Well, in my case I am a PAYG pikey, running up a bill of less than £2/month. It's true, I have no friends.

On the other hand, I have a contract mobile broadband SIM from Three, paying £8/month for 5Gb and a Mifi that I use for my laptop, my daughter's iPod (when she doesn't mind being seen out with me), my tablet and even my phone.

Like someone else said, if the battery on the device dies, you've still got the phone to use.

Also, got to remember that most phone contracts charge a lot more for "tethered" data.

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Speed

Shame it only supports 21MB/s given that O2 have supposedly been rolling out 42MB/s DC-HSPA+ in various cities.

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Joke

Re: Speed

With a 2Mb back-haul.

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Or you could just go to the market and spend roughly the same amount on a ZTE MF60, which is what that is. Other mobile routers are available.

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