3G datacards slot into laptops to provide Internet connectivity when on the move. They make good use of the current patchy 3G networks: demand is likely to be concentrated in areas that are currently covered, while GPRS is a good back-up outside these areas and the ‘bursty’ nature of their usage does not put an unsustainable load on the 3G networks. However, they are far more expensive and much slower than fixed line broadband, and they are likely to remain so for the foreseeable future, leaving their appeal as a ‘last resort’ rather than a genuine alternative.
The resulting outlook for C&W UK’s performance in the short term is uncomfortable
Longer term, the strategy looks feasible, but better implemented under private ownership
Bulldog’s strategy is unchanged and remains dubious