Huawei -Most expensive of the lot -A lot of information not available yet. -Cat6 LTE is extremely cool and very high speed. However this feature is not going to be used by everyone and there is USB LTE modem support for users who want this. -USB 3.0 is great. However only One port could be quite limiting. I imagine a hub would be supported, but otherwise users would have to choose between a Printer or single hard disk etc, and most people dont know about hubs. The speed however would be useful to those with Wireless AC and Gigabit networks. -Filesystem support lacks Linux and Mac Filesystems -Lacking mounting holes - I do not wall mount mine however i know several offices and users that do.
Sagemcom -Has the drawcard of lower price, but that seems to be about it. -Less RAM than the Technicolor but this may not be that important. My tomato router has 128mb of ram but uses less than 20mb of this, even with a DLNA, Print and File server running off it. Depends on implementation however. -Only USB2.0 as well as windows only filesystem support. As another user mentioned, and i've mentioned in previous threads, USB2.0 might not be a major problem if the throughput is close to 30MB/s (240Mbps). N300 operates at ~18MB/s(~150Mbps) max real world throughput. Wireless AC operates at ~500 to 700Mbps (~60-90MB/s), so only there and gigabit will you notice the bottleneck, and only with multiple devices using it, and file copying. It could easily sustain a HD movie stream, or more than one simultaneously.
Technicolor -Nice balance of price. -Lots of RAM, though as above my comments on RAM apply. -Extremely fast Wireless AC - nothing else in the market can actually utilize this speed right now. We'll probably only see 867Mbps 2x2 and 1300Mbps 3x3 configurations for some time to come. But great to see they are pushing the boundaries. Realistically though we won't actually see a huge leap in throughput, if 2x2 > 3x3 Wireless AC is anything to go by. -Wider range of filesystem support, good for linux and mac users.
Overall Concensus: The Huawei is a nice device, but the LTE isn't that important realistically, and as mentioned can be added by USB modem. It's also more expensive which may be a barrier to uptake. USB3 however is it's biggest drawcard. More information is required regarding its specs. The Sagemcom doesn't have any major advantages aside from price, and it's not very much less than the technicolor. Wouldn't suggest unless Telecom wants to push this out to as many people as they possibly can (ie price being very high priority). The Technicolor has some advantages in specs, and telecom partners with Technicolor for their other devices.
My vote at this stage goes for the technicolor, conditional on the USB2 interface having greater than 20MB/s real world throughput, and the firmware being better than what i have used on older Technicolor Thomson devices (NB: haven't tried the latest gen). While the Huawei's specification has not been finalized, its still a very close second, and would be my top vote if it could get below $300.
Out of interest, is there anything in particular telecom wants from us in terms of response on these three modem candidates, before testing units are sent out? Are these testing units that were ordered for telecoms use only, who then pick the prototype for geekzone users to trial, or will testers be sent one (or more) of these three units to provide feedback on as part of the selection process? Lastly, the obligatory ETA question, when is a decision expected to be made on which device is chosen? (this may already be answered by the answer to my second question)