Advert for 3 Ireland Mobile

Is this advert honest or misleading?

  • Broadband is always on, 3G isn’t
  • Cap is 1/2 a typical Broadband Cap and you are charged €50 per gigabyte over cap. No-one charges that on Broadband.
  • Speed can be as low as 50Kbps.
  • Does the fact they have the NBS contract be relevant?
  • This is Mobile Internet using their 3G Mobile Phone Licence. Phone calls have priority
  • Is 3 Ireland the leading Broadband OR mobile supplier? Do they Innovate or provide a better service?

There are other reasons the service isn’t Broadband, and can’t ever be.

The range can halve or less if 15 people are simultaneously using a mast sector.

See their NBS advert here in an earlier page.

Here you can complain online to ASAI

Page 7, Limerick Post 4th July 2009

The NBS advert was repeated page 3. (I guess it’s been in for weeks now).

3’s T&C
Anyone know link for detail on Cap and Fair Usage Policy? (Is the Cap 12G down & 3G up?)
Three claim most people only use 1.5Gbyte a month!
My family uses 18G to 24G and I have no torrrents, don’t watch Tv online and don’t download music/films

3G/HSPA is designed for occasional, on the go, portable & mobile Internet access. It’s not and will NEVER be a fixed Broadband solution. The technology (CDMA) inherently is the worst for scalling with more users, it inherently on average over the whole sector area of a cell can only manage a total average throughput of 1 to 2Mbps, even it it’s a 21Mbps mast.
With 20 simultaneous transfers it’s inherent that the performance is worse than ISDN and similar to dialup.

ADSL/Cable/Metro latency 15ms to 60ms
ISDN latency 50ms to 100ms
3G/HSPA latency 80ms to 2000ms, typically 140ms to 300ms
Satellite about 790ms

On NBS above 12Gbyte download (15G total cap = 12+3) the cost is €50 a Gigabyte.

If there are sufficient connections such that speed would be less than 50kbps, you may not connect at all. So much for “always” on. That’s possible with less than 30 users.

Because the capacity of each mast sector is so low* a few more customers in a few months time can make the connection unusable.

(*14Mbps peak is less than 2Mbps average sector throughput. Other fixed Wireless systems can have an average throughput of over 35Mbps, DSL is only limited by exchange backhaul (10Gbps is possible) and cable by number of people sharing and modem channels enabled, can be up to 500Mbps average throughput).

THERE IS NO TECHNICAL DIFFERENCE BETWEEN 3’s phone Network, the NBS and 3’s so called Broadband!


What is the difference between NBS customers and Non-NBS customers?
NBS customers are customers located in NBS coverage areas defined in the NBS contract entered into between 3 and the Department of Communication, Energy and Natural Resources (DCENR). These customers will receive broadband under the National Broadband Scheme. Non-NBS customers are in all other areas outside defined NBS coverage areas.

Plain English and looking at prices?
1) €49 modem and 12months non-NBS,
2) €49 Modem and 12 months NBS.
(links to both Three pages).
Same modem, Same prices, same traffic allowance, same contract period, same technology/network/Mobile Phone operator.

What product will be offered under the NBS?
3 will extend its network to provide mobile wireless broadband services into NBS areas. The mobile wireless broadband service (HSPA), will have a minimum download speed of 1.2mbps, a minimum upload speed of 200kpbs, a maximum contention ratio of 36:1, a latency of 120 milliseconds and a 15gigabit (12 down, 3 up) inclusive monthly download allowance limit.

In recognition of the fact that some areas will be very difficult to reach using standard infrastructure, in a limited number of cases 3 will make available a satellite product, which may cover up to 8% of the NBS areas. The satellite product will have a minimum download speed of 1mbs, a minimum upload speed of 128kbps, a maximum contention ratio of 48:1, latency of 800 milliseconds and a 11gigabit (10 down, 1 up) inclusive monthly download allowance limit.

The part in italics (by me) is impossible to implement on 3G/HSPA without refusing connections, and would mean on average only 3 user active per mast with no phone calls.

  • Their Cap is large by Mobile standards, but poor by broadband standards.
    Their excess charge is huge.
    Their Mobile Data product has historically been the poorest provisioned, with poor technical support, failure to access websites, no or intermittant SMTP (email server), poor performance (worse than good dialup for many people).
  • Overly optimistic coverage maps.
  • Misleading NBS adverts.

On a big 3 Broadband display stand that made no mention of Mobile or Phones and had NBS leaflets and the leaflet Bond-007 uploaded:

Note it suggests 99.5% coverage, which for Laptop/Netbook use is fantasy.

No Mention of Mobile except in payment terms.

IMO Scary misleading Prices

It doesn’t make clear you can ONLY have 10G in a Month. If you use that in a week, you have to wait 3 weeks to top up.

The excess charge is €490 a Gigabyte.

These prices are OK for occasional on-the-go usage of Data on a phone. The cost and Cap is not typical for Broadband. I accept that these are cheap prices for a Mobile Phone Network (maybe even below cost, except for Excess Traffic).

This is a Internet via 3G Mobile. Not Broadband.
IMO totally misleading.

The shop initially gave permission for me to photograph the large approx 1.2m x 1m “3 Broadband / NBS” stand, but refused when I said it was for an ASAI complaint. It’s a dedicated Computer Retailer Chain, not a phone shop. This is their main (only visible) “Broadband” promotion for all the computers they sell.

See also UK data (Note 3 has “better/Best” coverage, but 3 supplied the map)…ap_suppressed/…coverage_maps/