3 prepares to launch Wi-Fi femtocell

Never afraid to pursue the unusual, 3UK will launch its mobile Wi-Fi device next week, that it claims will make mobile Internet surfing affordable. The device, labelled MiFi, replicates some of the features of a femtocell by enabling Wi-Fi devices, such as laptops, to connect to 3G networks without the need of a dongle.

The pocket-sized MiFi device, which firstly requires a 3UK SIM card to connect to the 3G network, emits a Wi-Fi signal and can connect a handful of Wi-Fi devices to the cellular backhaul network. Unlike dongles, no software is required for Wi-Fi devices to make the connection to the 3G network

The company claims the pricing of the MiFi device and data tariff has been positioned to attract users wanting to create their own Wi-Fi hotspot to enable a variety of Wi-Fi devices to be connected. The first plan is the 'Broadband 5Gb 1 month', a one month contract which includes 5Gb of data at a cost of £15 a month, while the wireless modem will cost an additional £69.99.

For those willing to pay an upfront charge of £99.99, then the 'Ready to Go' kit includes the MiFi wireless modem and 3Gb worth of data that can be used over a three month period. Once this data has been used up, the modem can still be used on a Pay As You Go basis.

Marc Allera, sales & marketing director at 3UK, said that the MiFi concept was the future of Internet access on the move. "We're bringing it to customers at price points that make it accessible and affordable."

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