Battle of the USB modems

Last updated 08:36 02/10/2008
T-LICIOUS: Telecom's T-Stick USB mobile broadband modem is as fast as Vodafone's rival device, and also more reliable.

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Telecom and Vodafone are going head-to-head with tiny USB sticks that give fast and reliable mobile internet connections.

Telecom T-Stick

Shorter than a credit card, Telecom's latest mobile broadband device is definitely super-compact, but it still delivers a speedy and reliable service.

It's also "plug and play" for both PCs and Macs. I plugged the T-Stick in to my USB port, hit one button and it was set-up. It was harder to get out of the box than set up the connection.

In terms of speed, Telecom says the super-stick delivers average download of 800kbps and 300kbps upload, and based on my experience that sounds about right. A lot of the time my T-Stick was as fast as, if not faster than, my home TelstraClear broadband connection.

From $149 on a 24-month plan, rates for plans vary with data caps.

Vodafone Mobile Connect USB Stick

The Vodafone USB stick installation was simple - plug in and wait... and wait, and wait, for about eight minutes.

The connection was actually listed as "poor" at least 50 per cent of the time, although the actual speed wasn't too bad, comparable to my TelstraClear broadband and Telecom's T-stick, or about 800kbps for downloads.

Where Vodafone's device did suffer was reliability. The device dropped its internet connection six times in the week I used it, and coverage in my area is usually great for Vodafone. Telecom's T-stick was better in this regard.

The icon for the modem is also bright red and sticks out on the toolbar at the bottom of the screen so I often mistook it for a new notification from Facebook.

From $199 on a 24-month plan, rates for plans vary with data caps.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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