Virgin Deal Highlights Mobile 3G Issues

virginbroadbandVirgin Mobile is offering what looks like a good deal on buying a prepaid 3G broadband modem through Australia Post — but closer examination of the details reminds us why buying wireless broadband requires careful planning.

The deal (which runs until May 31) offers customers an additional 1GB of free downloads, in addition to the 300MB which is offered to all new customers. However, the fine print in this case is particularly important. All that data has to be utilised in the first 30 days after purchase.

You might think that’s a good case for setting your modem to download a bunch of torrents, but that’s also problematic: Virgin shapes peer-to-peer traffic to 32Kbps, and counts both downloads and uploads, so it’s hardly an ideal platform for that kind of activity.

Even if you think you can chew through that much data with regular downloads, you might have other issues. OzBargain (where I first encountered this deal) suggests that you might want to print out the original ad in case Virgin gets picky about honouring the extra data clause.


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