Handset Clinic:- micro SIM; tethering or MiFi the answer
A British reader, Jon P, has written into GoMo News asking for help with a specific connectivity problem. He has purchased a Lenovo Yoga 10 tablet (model 60047) from John Lewis with micro SIM card slot. His wife is having to spenf three weeks in a Basingstoke [UK] hospital. She wants to be able to video call with her family (via Skype) as well as using the BBC’s iPlayer for tv catch-up and downloading books. The hospital definitely doesn’t offer access to Wi-fi. What can he do?
GoMo News replies: – the first thing to establish is what mobile networks have good reception inside the hospital.
The onbvious solution is to try to locate the pub [public house] in which the doctors and nurses drink and ask them which network they recommend.
The problem is that while some hospital beds are next to windows and have good reception, if the room is actually buried deep inside the building there could be no reception whatsoever.
If Jon’s wife is actually going to be in a high dependency ward (intensive care) she won’t be allowed to use the tablet anyway.
Both Vodafone and O2 work offer networks which work better indoors than EE or Three (3UK) so he might want to consider either of them.
Also, don’t forget that MVNOs like Tesco work over the likes of O2.
The first option is trying to put a micro SIM inside the tablet itself. Instructions are here.
If you really can’t get a data-only SIM card in micro form, then you can always cut it down. Most High Street phone repairers offer such a service.
Has he not considered tethering? Jon could up the data allocation on his own handset and simply ‘tether’ the tablet to his smartphone. The Latest Android, WP8, BlackBerry & iPhones all support tethering.
3UK (Three) offer a range of portable Wi-fi hotspot devices (branded MiFi) which work over its network.
GoMo News, of course, thoroughly recommends the Goodspeed portable Wi-fi hotspot which will automatically search for the best network to connect over.
As far as tariffs go, GoMo News doesn’t make any recommendations. We suggest that Jon P goes to uSwitch.com which does.
However, we’d like to point out that 3UK carries the most data trafiic of any UK MNO or MVNO. It also as highly competitive data tariffs.
So start with 3K and then compare its offering to Vodafone, O2 and Tesco.
Incidentally, 3G networks these days (particularly 3UK’s) are almost as fast as 4G.
So a Wi-fi hotpot device or smartphone connected to 3UK is going to be almost as fast as 4G over an EE tethered smartphone, for example.
The Yoga 10 doesn’t support 4G/LTE, so the micro SIM will have to be 3G/WCDMA.
As we’ve published recently, EE has rolled out its 4G in over 100 cities. Basingstoke is one of them, so your friend could be in luck.
Tethering a 4G smartphone to the tablet, thus, should provide the highest data throughput speed. It just depends if the hospital is located in close proximity to EE’s 4G masts!