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454 posts

Ultimate Geek
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Topic # 138592 9-Jan-2014 22:20 Send private message

I'm off on holiday to Golden Bay

To get Internet access I will need to use mobile data, should I buy a new handset and use as a hotspot or a dedicated mobile hotspot ?

The reason I don't want to use my 2D mobiles if I buy data on my handset and am not at the place we are staying my wife won't have access. I figure we buy a 3rd device

It would seem the most cost effective option is to buy a mobile hotspot e.g. Telecom E5520 for approx $99 as it is HSPA+ [21Mbps] to get a handset that can do HSPA+ will cost twice as much

But then I don't know whether I will get any benefit from HSPA+ in Golden Bay ! [even TCNZ state the average is 4Mbps so there maybe no advantage in having a device that can do more than 7.2Mps ?

Do the dedicated hotspots have better strength Wifi or 3G than a handset ?

Thoughts ?


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Uber Geek
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  Reply # 964184 9-Jan-2014 22:34 2 people support this post Send private message

Strength would be dependent on the coverage, I would say.

A major benefit to having a mobile wifi device is that you will get decent battery life vs using the hotspot function on a mobile.

From my experience, a mobile wifi device can last anywhere between 5-6 hours. On a mobile handset, you are likely to get a lot less.



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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 964189 9-Jan-2014 22:42 Send private message

heavenlywild: Strength would be dependent on the coverage, I would say.

A major benefit to having a mobile wifi device is that you will get decent battery life vs using the hotspot function on a mobile.

From my experience, a mobile wifi device can last anywhere between 5-6 hours. On a mobile handset, you are likely to get a lot less.


Thank you for the reply. Good point the E5220 apparently lasts 4 hours I have no idea what a handset would last in hotspot mode, that said I envision either device being connected to a usb power source at our house or in the car

I'll check the battery capacity of the E5520 compared to inexpensive handset  of similar cost

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  Reply # 964194 9-Jan-2014 22:54 Send private message

yep, totally agree with the battery life argument! That alone makes it a better option than tethering to smartphone.

The issue you will have, if not on 2degrees, is that you'll need to buy a data plan for both the mobile and the mobile hotspot.

The big plus side of using 2degrees, on a $29 plan (or higher), is that you can share the data from the phone sim to the hotspot sim. if you buy a $99 12GB pack (assuming 2d network coverage) then it can be consumed by both devices and last up to 6 months, or if you're in extended coverage then a $20 1GB data pack will last for up to 1 month.

The smaller negatives about using 2degrees would be the lack of 4G option (but 3G might be sufficient for you), and the in-zone/out-of-zone data charging.

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  Reply # 964196 9-Jan-2014 23:29 Send private message

The old Netcomm $200 portable hotspot telecom used to sell i found had a far better antenna (and therefore throughput) for low coverage areas than any other cell phone i've used. I dont think the Huawei one will be the same though.

Theres one particular hotspot model too that i think Mauricio tested which had significantly higher data speeds because of some technology - but that was a while ago.

As per above, definitely consider 2degrees Shared Data, any pay monthly plan can share data to a secondary phone number - eg you can share your data you buy to her phone or a USB Modem/portable hotspot.

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  Reply # 964197 9-Jan-2014 23:30 One person supports this post Send private message

If you're tethering to a laptop on mains power then you can do it over USB, rather than WiFi, you'll be charging the handset as you go. I've done it that way before, no cost in battery life for the phone. In other tethering scenarios of course the battery cost becomes an issue.




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  Reply # 964213 9-Jan-2014 23:44 Send private message

I'd love to know why you cant turn down the transmit power on this function. Ive seen it once on the old wifi tethering for root users app, and it only worked on certain models.
Youd think that they would allow you to set an optimal transmit power, especially when the devices are often 1m or less apart. My Nexus 5 is about as strong as a standard N300 belkin wifi router at a place i was staying. Still fast even through a wall or two.

Oh and to use 5ghz too. For some reason they all use 2.4 only.

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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 964474 10-Jan-2014 13:03 Send private message

xlinknz: I'm off on holiday to Golden Bay




I use my iPhone as a mobile hotspot in golden bay - I am usually there in November and march.  Last November I could not get much of a signal (phone or data - Vodafone) at the bottom half (the beach end) of takaka main-street (by the pub) although there are three telecom phone boxes marked for wifi just outside.  The top end of the main-street everything appeared to work just fine.

At the beach (eastern end) I got an excellent signal for both phone and data (sometimes the odd disconnect - but nothing to worry about).  

At the time I was using a 4S so 3G data, have not tried yet with using 4G on the 5s.





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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 964624 10-Jan-2014 15:10 Send private message

Thank you all for your replies 

Regs: yep, totally agree with the battery life argument! That alone makes it a better option than tethering to smartphone. 

The issue you will have, if not on 2degrees, is that you'll need to buy a data plan for both the mobile and the mobile hotspot. 

The big plus side of using 2degrees, on a $29 plan (or higher), is that you can share the data from the phone sim to the hotspot sim. if you buy a $99 12GB pack (assuming 2d network coverage) then it can be consumed by both devices and last up to 6 months, or if you're in extended coverage then a $20 1GB data pack will last for up to 1 month. 

The smaller negatives about using 2degrees would be the lack of 4G option (but 3G might be sufficient for you), and the in-zone/out-of-zone data charging.



Well what is interesting is the Telecom Huawei E5220 Hotspot @ $99 has a 1150mAh battery [approx 4 hrs] but the $99 Telecom Y300 [a rebadged Huawei Ascend Y300] handset has a 1700mAh battery [5 hrs] so I can't assume a mobile hotspot has better battery life. The only advantage of the mobile hotspot is it can do 21Mbps whereas the inexpensive handsets do 7.2Mbps

That said even TCNZ say that on HSPA+ [21Mbps] the national average speed is 4Mbps so am I really going to get more than 7.2Mbps in Takaka ?! 

We're on 2D pre paid so my understanding is shared data isn't an option. Furthermore I'm not aware of anyone having 4G in Golden Bay yet

At least with the handset I can also use as a backup phone. The handset is my current choice unless I find a reason to get the mobile hotspot



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  Reply # 964643 10-Jan-2014 15:32 Send private message

Remember the phone will be doing other functions as well so not a fair comparison using mah

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  Reply # 964645 10-Jan-2014 15:32 Send private message

Do you have a Telecom account?

If so, why not just use their public WiFi hotspots - 1GB a day? I'm sure Golden bay will have them.

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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 964650 10-Jan-2014 15:36 One person supports this post Send private message

Better still - go on holiday and leave the little toys at home





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  Reply # 964675 10-Jan-2014 15:56 Send private message

I have a mobile hotspot, Huawei from the 3 network in the UK. Huawei E585. Works fine on 2degrees and probably other providers, but you can't get text messages - annoying for top ups but just do it online. Haven't used it in a while, $50, refund if it doesn't work. PM me if interested.




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