Telstra pre-paid Wi-Fi 4G modem

Pre-paid users get some Telstra 4G love at a reasonable price

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  • User Reviews (5)
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Telstra Corporation Wi-Fi 4G
  • Telstra Corporation Wi-Fi 4G
  • Telstra Corporation Wi-Fi 4G
  • Telstra Corporation Wi-Fi 4G
  • Expert Rating

    4.00 / 5
  • User Rating

    3.00 / 5 (of 5 Reviews)

Pros

  • Ease of use and setup
  • Handy LED screen
  • Fast speeds

Cons

  • 4G coverage still limited
  • Average battery life

Bottom Line

At $169, Telstra's pre-paid Wi-Fi 4G modem isn't the cheapest option on the market, but it's certainly one of the fastest. Provided you're using it in an area serviced by 4G coverage, the pre-paid Wi-Fi 4G modem is a pretty impressive device.

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Telstra has continued to add to its 4G product portfolio since the network was switched on in late 2011, but the pre-paid Wi-Fi 4G modem is the first product targeted at pre-paid users. It offers excellent speeds provided you are in a 4G coverage zone and is competitively priced.

Compact and functional

The Telstra pre-paid Wi-Fi 4G is a battery powered, portable modem manufactured by ZTE. It allows up to five Wi-Fi enabled devices to connect to it wirelessly for shared mobile Internet access, through Telstra's 4G network where available. It offers largely the same functionality as the Mobile Wi-Fi 4G modem, which was made available for post-paid customers back in March.

The Telstra pre-paid Wi-Fi 4G modem is a fairly simple device, about the size of a deck of cards in both height and width. It's constructed largely from glossy white plastic, though the front of the modem has a gloss black panel which houses the small OLED screen. A chrome strip runs around the edge of the modem in an attempt to add a touch of class, while the corners are smooth and round making the device comfortable to hold.

A large power button sits below the screen with an LED ring surrounding it that flashes blue when the device is powered on. A WPS button and two antenna sockets on the right side allow users to boost reception in flaky coverage areas if needed. The pre-paid Wi-Fi 4G charges via a micro-USB connection on the left side, next to a micro-USB card slot that's concealed by a plastic flap. If the battery is flat the pre-paid Wi-Fi 4G modem can be connected to a computer via the included USB cable and used as a wired modem.

The Telstra pre-paid Wi-Fi 4G modem is about the size of a deck of cards.

Aside from impressive 4G speeds where available, the best feature of the pre-paid Wi-Fi 4G's design is the LED screen. It displays information including signal strength, the number of devices connected, a battery level indicator, how long a connection has been active for, the network type and the default SSID network name. The screen can also display your network password so you don't have to remember it every time you want to connect a new device, though this can be hidden if you're concerned about security.

To hide the displaying of your network password and change any other settings, you'll need to access the Telstra pre-paid Wi-Fi 4G modem's Web interface. It's accessible by pointing your browser to http://telstra.wifi.4g and logging in using the default password supplied. The Web interface is both straightforward and functional. Options include editing the SSID name and password, editing the APN, changing the screen time and a host of other advanced networking and security options.

4G speeds impressive, if you can get them

The Telstra pre-paid Wi-Fi 4G Modem is marketed as a 4G device, but it uses both 3G and 4G technology. If you move out of an area with 4G coverage, the pre-paid Wi-Fi 4G falls back onto the company's regular Next G network, supporting HSPA+ dual channel speeds of 1.1 megabits per second (Mbps) - 20Mbps.

The Telstra pre-paid Wi-Fi 4G modem promises "typical" download speeds ranging from 2Mbps to 40Mbps when in a 4G coverage zone, while typical upload speeds range from 1Mbps to 10Mbps. These are best case scenarios though, and the results we achieved were far less, albeit still pretty impressive. Like all mobile broadband products, the speed of the pre-paid Wi-Fi 4G modem will depend on a number of factors including time, location, network coverage, signal strength and congestion.

Telstra's 4G coverage is currently available in all eight capital cities (5km from GPO) and their respective airports in Australia, along with over 80 regional and metropolitan centres (3km from city centre), so you obviously don't get 4G coverage everywhere. Telstra says it will continue the LTE rollout into other coverage areas "where demand requires the extra capacity", so the network will continue to expand over time.

You'll need to be in a Telstra 4G coverage zone to achieve the fastest possible speeds. In the above map, 4G coverage is denoted by the dark blue colour. (Image credit: Telstra)

If you happen to be in a 4G coverage zone, you can expect impressive speeds. Using PC World's Broadband speed test, we managed to achieve a top download speed of almost 30Mbps, though speeds generally hovered between 16Mbps and 23Mbps on most occasions. Upload speeds during testing peaked at around 15.8Mbps (higher than Telstra's quoted 10Mbps). We also used the pre-paid Wi-Fi 4G modem to stream live video for almost two hours and it worked seamlessly.

Perhaps the biggest disappointment of the Telstra pre-paid Wi-Fi 4G modem is its battery life. In our tests, it lasted just over three hours before needing to be recharged. This is nearly an hour short of the four hours ZTE quotes on its specifications sheet. It's not a terrible result, but if you will be using the modem on a daily basis and aren't always near a computer or power outlet, it may be an idea to purchase an extra battery. Unlike many other devices of this kind, we found that the Telstra Pre-Paid Wi-Fi 4G doesn't get too hot with constant use. It warms up, but doesn't become hot enough to be an annoyance.

The Telstra Pre-Paid Wi-Fi 4G sells for $169 and comes with 5GB of pre-paid data to use with a 30 day expiry. A full list of Telstra's pre-paid mobile broadband plans can be found on its Web site.

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Adam

1

Brilliant speed even in 3G, the device will go into DC (dual connection) if available. In my home I consistently achieve 15Mbps download and 1.5Mps upload with DC connection. It's actually faster than my home WiMax connection. In 4G areas I've seen double these speeds. Fantastic tool.
You can also connect a dual antenna to this device for better signal strength.

Eric

2

what is the best portable antenna as I am having issues when I am in the CBD but in buildings?

r1mick

3

Can I leave this plugged into a wall powered USB charger to leave it on all the time? Or can I use something like the Netgear MBR1515?

dante

4

can you use it with the xbox 360 slim?

Raoul Machal

5

Works OK, but the battery life is indeed way under par, maybe 3 hours, no audible warning when battery goes flat, just shuts down. The previous 3G model lasted the whole day. Keep that in mind when working on an online/cloud document or downloading a larger file -- and suddenly your connection drops without any warning.

Jim

6

Can it be charged and used while plugged in to 12v dc car cig lighter to micro USB port?

Graham

7

For a few years i have been using a Brother HL-2170W Wireless printer set up as Infrastructure mode on my ADSL Wireless Modem - yes very happy . . . for so long. UNTIL now I have just purchased a Telstra Prepaid 4G - WiFi Modem and YES it works well connecting to the Internet - BUT - I now CANNOT connect my Wireless printer to the WiFi unit - I have spent several Days trying to sort this one, AND Telstra Technical Support tell me I have to contact the printer manufacturer, - There does not appear to be any info out there to show HOW you add other devices to the Telstra Prepaid 4G Modem - and Telstra site states being capable to connect up to 5 additional devices and printers - YES it stated printers specifically - so I am trying to achieve this - as I believe so many other people out there will be chewing their fingernails ttrying to sort HOW to connect their printer.

Previously when I connected to my home wireless system, the printer was visible to other computers on the network and worked well. The Telstra 4G unit operating on 3G mode is faster than my land line ADSL and I have Not yet found an area that does have 4G to try it.
Hope someone can enlighten my knowledge so I can achieve printer set up. Thanks in advance. Graham

Tim

8

This device is a modem not a router so it will not connect your printer

Boffin

9

I have a HP Photosmart B110 printer wirelessly connected. All I did was follow the printer network setup from its front panel to configure the wireless network (the SSID of the WiFi 4G device plus the security key that scrolls continuously across the display of the WifFi device). Even when the credit expired and we had no internet access the kids were still able to print the school assignments via the WiFi network. No special trick involved except maybe make sure the WiFi device is on first and give it a few moments to set up.

Belle 2

10

Does anyone know if this works with Windows RT on Microsoft Surface

S

11

Have been using this for just over a month now. First 3 weeks it was fantastic. No dramas, super fast etc. I live in an area that gets full service, (5 bars). Now all of a sudden it has slowed right down. Doesn't matter what time of day I use it either. I've got plenty of data left. It also changes from 3g to DC all the time, very randomly. I've reset it a numerous times, turned on/off etc, everything. I don't want to share it with any other devices. Can anyone give me advice on what it might be up to? Thanks

nat

12

does this device have a sim card? and if so, when travelling overseas can i insert local sim?

Keryn

13

I would also like to know if I have one unlocked can I use it in both Indonesia and New Zealand using local sim cards.

Anh D

14

When it goes into DC, it makes it much slower. 😞
How do I turn DC off? Please help!'

erica

15

why did it use 4 GB in two days AND use the allowance from my phone as well?

TELSTRA = SHIT

16

IF YOU LIVE IN THE SUTHERLAND SHIRE AREA DOSENT GET ANY GOOD 4G COVERAGE WASTE OF MY MONEY AND TELSTRA LIKE TO STILL SAY THAT I HAVE FULL 4G COVERAGE AND WHEN I JUMP ONLINE AND CHECK I GET SHIT

Jennifer

17

In Oct 2012 I purchased pre-paid Telstra WI-FI4G and have had nothing but trouble. Had 'IT' people here for days, was re- calorbrated by the store I purchased from, and now have spent over 1/2 to 3/4 hour on the phone to Telstra, with no results. Says it is connected but cannot go on net unless the connection cord is in the tower, now I have to go back to pluging into the modem from phone socket. Waste of money. I am in an area for wirless connection.
VERY DISAPPOINTED WITH THE PRODUCT

Leah Ward

18

Can You use this device with an ipad 2 ?

Dev

19

OK for first couplr of weeks. Now alternates between 3G and DC even in CBD and download speed is horrendously slow, to the point where a lot of pages just won't load. Should have stayed with pre-paid 3G wifi.

LYNN

20

I have samsung galaxy phone with telstra will WI FI OVERIDE telstra for data

Andrewr

21

@LYNN yes if your galaxy has a wifi connection it will use that (override -> yes).
If you turn off wifi or go out of range or disconnect then the galaxy will revert to Telstra data network.

Linda

22

Yes I am using it on the I pad 2 now.

Karen E

23

I have the same issues as comment 17 above - it says it is connected but I cannot use the internet on any device. They all work on their own SIM cards but will not connect using the Telstra device. I have tried this in several locations in NSW and it has NEVER worked. Off to Telstra shop with all the devices to see if they can make it work.

Don

24

Im on the edge of the Great Sandy Desert, Eighty Mile Beach, a cattle station. This device is fantastic. I drop in a "magic sock" and hang outside and it works great. I never thought that in the middle of bumf*** nowhere in the North Kimberley, that I wouldn't be able to get Internet and Telstra proved me right with this product.

Peter

25

What is a magic sock and why do you need to put it inside a sock? ....

Also, has anyone used the recommended external aerial accessory to improve the devices reception - if so can you please comment as to whether you felt it was worthwhile buying the external aerial

Thank you

Tim

26

I would like to know when using the modem, how far does its range extend for connected devices. E.g. If using it in the home can I be out the back or front yard and still be connected?

Leslie

27

I just want to know if this is unlocked? And since i do travel a lot. So i was thinking if i am able to use it at other countries?

Paul

28

Speed is excellent but As Erica has stated above. I have had the unit for 4 days and already used the 5Gb and that came with the unit. It has been recharged with 3GB and now tells me I have gone through $45 of $50 in less than 12hrs. What the heck is going on

Philip Long

29

I have Telstra Elite MF60 (bought 15/12/12 from Telstra website), together with $180 prepaid plan.
I have iPad, macbook Pro & WinXP laptop.
All went well for first month or so.
Then, internet access became very intermittent - device shows signal fine (3-4 bars), 3 devices connected. In discussion with Telstra, found out about Restart (hold down Power & WPS buttons), and access to some settings via 192.168.0.1
I had also setup a spreadsheet to keep track of usage (you have to register for this, provides access to usage by $ & MB and can download a csv), added a column to spreadsheet to calculate charging rate (cents per MB). This was tracking along nicely at 1.46-1.47 (the calculated rate is 1.5), when it suddenly changed to 25 cents/MB. This uses up your $ at an astounding rate (the $ appears to be used to determine how much is used, not the MB).
In order to attempt to debug the internet access problem, I also bought a $29 dongle, which will accept the $180 prepaid SIM. Had trouble getting this going (turned out that all references to any other dongles must be removed first). In discussion with Telstra, asked them to fix up these charging errors, which they did by resetting my start date of the $180 prepaid back to $180 (& date to 9/2/13), plus gave me a free 1g to use over 15 days.

I'm still in process of proving that the wifi side of the Elite is the problem, I have friends who also have one & no problems. I've also found that it's all fine as long as only the iPad is turned on.

Re the usage problem, I've read elsewhere that people have had their GB used up in days - strongly suggest to all that you check the charging rate as I have.

Nettie

30

I purchased a 3G model and it lasted 4 months before it broke and I couldn't charge the battery. I returned to my local telstra shop and asked them to fix or replace it and they said that I had damaged it by pushing the charger in too far ( if that's possible ). I purchased a second device and 4 months later the same thin happened so I returned both of them to the telstra shop and was told the same thing. I researched this unit and found other people had the same problem so how can I be sure that it won't happen with this model because I'm sure the not very helpful telstra staff will deny that it is a fault with the device and I'm sick of giving telstra money for nothing

lilly doic

31

i also had same problem like paul 40 $ in 3 days gone what is going on i don,t download much at all

Michael

32

@Lilly Doic It's because Telstra charges you for time connected to their network, not data usage even though data is what you purchase.

Don't let them tell you any different!

I apparently use an average of 10+gb a week and I don't DL much or stream a lot of content. Took me 100's of dollars and numerous calls to Telstra to realise that you must disconnect your laptop or whatever from the network and then turn off the wifi device everytime you walk away from your computer.

I even had a Telstra CS rep admit as much to me on the phone one day. Every time my service was cut a couple of days after purchasing yet another 6gb of data and I called to complain they just gave me 5gb for free to stop me asking how I could possibly have used it all so fast.

Typing this now on my phone as I've just been cut off again after being given another free 10gb last week because I forgot to turn off the wifi device off for a few days.

I give up, looking at alternate options with a different isp as Telstra has dropped the ball majorly on this for me.

Peter

33

Re: the problem Paul and lilly doic had:

Are you sure you did not let other people surf for free on you download allowance (which can happen if you neglected to password-protect the WiFi hotspot that the modem creates)?

Bern

34

The indicator on the front is flashing red...what does this mean?

Kahuna

35

Having just used my initial free 5GB, I unlocked the MF91 modem today. For those not wanting to unlock yourself, Telstra will unlock with a fee if still in the first 6 months of service. We will use it in Japan, UK & Europe.

Steven vassiadis

36

Hi there.My name is Steve and i have a telstra 4g pre-paid modem, I'm still learning about computers e.t.c.I cant seem to find my password settings to my internet.If anyone can drop a few clues,will be grateful. thanks. :-)

Mark

37

Hi Steve. The SSID and Password come with the device on a Telstra card in the box (size of a credit card). It's also displayed on the screen of the device (assuming you have the device being reviewed here). Also, depends what version of Windows you're running (or Apple Mac?). I run Windows 7 and also an Android phone through the device and both work well. You need to go to "Network and Sharing Center" and click "Connect to a network" to select your device (which is identified by the SSID). To get to "Network and Sharing Centre" click on the Windows Start button on the bottom left of your screen and type in the word "Network" in the "Search programs and files" prompt.; select "Network and Sharing Center" from the list displayed. Good luck!

MarkosisTheory

38

Hi having a problem with my prepaid telstra 4g wifi. First off it set up a network bridge which was causing an ip clash after hrs of trouble shooting with a friend got it to work by disabling network bridge but now it only has limited access !

Please any one know how to fix this issue ?

Vic

39

Can this device be unlocked. Also does the aerial adapter make a difference and what is the best werial. They come with twin sockets. Why??
If any one can advise it would be much appreciated
Vic

Ben Hawke

40

I had a lot of trouble trying to connect it to my playstation for online gaming and I managed to get it online for a few hours after I'd been on the phone to Sony/Telstra for hours and eventually got it working then I turned it off and watched tv and when I went and tired it back on it wouldn't work again and I can't remember what I did to make it work...
Bucket of puss if you ask me!!

Gordon

41

Anyone know where I can buy an ariel on the net?
Cheers
Gordon

Lonc

42

I've been thinking about buying this "Telstra pre-paid Wi-Fi 4G modem" to use with my Ipad2, but I still have $265 worth of prepaid data credit, which will expire in 5 months, on my Telstra prepaid 3G SIM card. Should I pay $180 data recharge for another 12 months to get $265 worth of prepaid data credit rolled over, or let it expire and upgrade to Wi-Fi 4G modem?

DonnaS

43

Works well, however, I just tried to recharge - unsuccessfully. Telstra John told me because I haven't recharged in the last 6 months, I have to go to a Telstra shop to buy a new sim card! Grrr!

Ngaio

44

Recharging how do you do it for the 4G Modem. I have paid for some recharge but have no idea what I'm supposed to do. The Telstra phone number for trouble shooting well you may as well shoot yourself as wait for them to answer... I need the s/n to the sim card of my 4G device but was under the impression that the SSID # and the Security key # would be sufficient, apparently I am wrong, can someone help??

Mark

45

Very incomplete and novice review .. sounds like you work at Telstra

You forgot to mention how much of a rip of telsra is with there data prices , need to be a rather rich person to take advantage of the 4G speed.
Recharging is also a hassle when you have no credit . there is a telstra site you can get onto with no credit however Telstra do no ever mention this any where and the idiots at the shops have no idea.
You also forgot to mention that you can not use SMS from a 4G device . it does not support it.

This is the most useless piece of telstra crap I have ever used. you should have made a mention of that as well

Ziege Mitfahrer

46

You get what you pay for.
On a travelling holiday of Vic and SA, I took great delight in smashing my cheap Vodaphone unit with the largest rock I could find.
I found this Telstra unit suited my needs, but being old and dumb, I needed a store willing to get it going for me. How rude of me to want a working product when I walk out the door. WAKE UP, TELSTRA.
After visiting 5 stores, I found a shop in Mildura who had it up and going within 20 minutes.
Paired with two iPhones, an iPad, a laptop and a satnav, it worked perfectly.
4G, 3G and drop-outs occurred where you would expect and reception inside a moving car was usually acceptable.

Ree

47

hi ive had my 4g wifi usb for 2months now and last week it was working and now it doesnt even light up at all when plugged into either my laptop or the adapter it came with can someone tell me what is wrong with it ive tried to reset it and also have taken the sim out and tried again to use it but still nothing its like it died should i take it back to get sent off to be fixed??

Dianne

48

Hi I have this one how do I find how much usage is left Thanks Di

Gordon Williams

49

Phillip Long Tue 12/02/2013 - 09:56 posted that the rate per MB suddenly went to 25c. This happened to me as well this week and I consumed $100 in 2 days before I realised it wasn't me. I was told by Telstra support that my bill was correct. It appears they also charge for connection time! Basically they expect you to turn off your USB broadband modem every night. If they detect a prolonged continuous connection to the service - say a long weekend - then they up the rate to 25 cents / MB! I did not get any refund because I was billed for connection time as well as the 400MB of data used during the period.

So my advice to people using Telstra USB 4G broadband modems is to turn them off regularly to avoid these ridiculous charges. Because their account usage website can take days to update, you get hit before you can figure out what happened and they seem to do it to your next recharge which at that cost/MB disappears in just a few hours!

Is this written in the fine print somewhere?

Ryan

50

I had the same problem as Gordon, Philip, Erica and co. Telstra management is telling the customer service reps to tell customers to switch off as if some ghost is actively browsing the web during sleeping hours. People beware of this scam I am no conspiracy theorest but I would say its economic opportunism as Telstra knows Windows 7 automatically searches for and installs ridiculously incremental software updates. Beware peeps turn off your device at night, and disable your windows automatic installer (and don't install update KB2821895 ). Phillip how did you register for the .csv "tracker" ??

Tom

51

Bought 2 Wi-Fi 4G Advanced from Telstra on 18 Jan with 4 GB plans and they immediately cut off my USB modem 3 GB plan which was due to end on 24 Jan. Only had access to shaped internet until 24 Jan but fortunately still had ADSL1 where my normal usage was 6GB/month but once 11 GB in a month.
In 1st three days one 4G Advanced used 7.04GB (6.6 GB upload) and I turned it off. Turned it on again about a week later and it used over 4 GB in a day. Turned it off.
The second device used 3.9 on first day and I turned it off never to be turned on again.
After 7 calls to and from Telstra who were always 'escalating' to another 'level' but having 3 agree that 6.6GB upload was impossible they agreed to cancel the 7.04 GB but maintained that I had used the balance. Even giving them records of my daily usage on ADSL showing less than 6GB/month, they continued to argue that I had used the data. I told them to sue me as I intended to smash the devices with a hammer and deliver them to the local Telstra shop, they agreed to cancel all charges and pick up the modems.
Talking to Telstra staff is like communicating with speech trained parrots who can only repeat what they have been taught which doesn't include using their brains - assuming they have brains.

Tom

52

Should add two points; My partner and I each have a mobile phone. She has a tablet and I have three laptops. Six devices! Telstra focus was on the possible usage from 6 devices and doesn't realise that I only have one head and two arms and therefore don't use all devices at the same time. I also have a life to lead other than being on the internet. I don't watch films or videos or download music. My partner does not browse and uses the tablet for downloading and reading one book at a time.The final point which Telstra avoids is that with the Telstra devices turned off and only the ADSL working and with 6 devices in the house, we only used 2.2 GB for the month of February. Don't let Telstra convince you it is your problem. It is Telstra's technical problem or planned rip off.

Max

53

Hi Does anyone know if you can use the 4G prepaid wireless modem on a laptop, without wireless capability, by plugging it directly to the computer with the USB cable. Some people say yes and some say no, but has anyone used it successfully plugged in. (windows xp)
All help greatly appreciated

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Robert

5.0

1

Pros
Speed, ease of connection
Cons
Nothing
• • •

I bought one after ADSL landline was being "fixed" by Telstra. Worked brilliantly. Speed was better than fixed landline and had no problems over two weeks of daily use in and using in Newcastle. None of the problems raised here were experienced. I use now as our away from home holiday connection. Good unit from my experience.

Mark

5.0

2

Pros
Speed, easy to use, connected within 3-4 hours
Cons
Telstra told me it would be connected within 30 mins, more like 3-4 hours
• • •

When I rang Telstra tech support after having first bought the device they told me it could be up to 24 houras to connect. That siad, I was up within 4 hours. Got the device home and it is blisteringly fast. I have excellent 4G coverage. The device is very easy to set up and use. Switch on, log in and you're off. I have my phone and laptop connected up at home. Still to try my printer.
Internal range within my apartment is also excellent. Good device so far! :-)

Steve Wang

0.0

3

Pros
No redeeming features
Cons
Takes ages to connect, 4G never available, 3G mode far worse than pervious Telstra Elite model
• • •

This device is a huge con.
I work in Sydney city fringe and no 4G. So forget the boasted speeds - unless you are in some tiny little spot that I've yet to discover, its pointless. Worse, it has serious connection issues, perhaps trying to connect to 4G and then deciding on 3G? I really don't know. I had a lot of issues trying to get it to work and still nothing. It continues to try to connect. It shows strong signal strength but does not connect. I went to check to make sure it was activated properly and that there was credit against it. To do this online, you need to register an account. Following the instructions from the Broadband Mobile Wifi section leads to a registration page where you enter your mobile number. When you enter the mobile service number, it trys to send you an SMS authentication!!! for the love of God, its a wifi device. You know that because I went in through your wi-fi pages. You CANNOT send an SMS to a Wi-fi device. I rang Telstra Help. After getting through patiently past one level who knew nothing, the next person was helpful: "Yes that does not work. You have to enter your "account number" when it asks for a mobile number." What is this number? A number that you have to ring up Telstra to find out. So... After finally registering for an account, using the account to look up the data usage I find that in fact it is registered, there is enough credit... and... it still just does not want to work... constantly cylcing mindlessless between the display of "Telstra" and "...connecting" as if to reinforce that its Telstra who is the constant source of your pain.

On the other hand my Vodafone pocketwifi device (for all their other bad press) works a treat. Data usage readout and time connected are very useful bits of information that are displayed on the device itself, so you can see how much you are using in real time.

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