Saturday, 29 December 2012

The Early Adopter's Fear of the Newbie

I always take my Three MiFi to the match to use in conjunction with my iPhone.  


Well when there isn't a game on, the signal for voice and data from my provider (Vodafone) is pretty reasonable at the ground, but on match-days, especially at half-time time when you want to check the half-time scores or go on Twitter to complain about the standard of refereeing, it all dries up.  

It's understandable I suppose as 17000 people in the same cell reach for their phones at the same second, but I've always had better luck with Three.

I assumed when I got this Three MiFi about eighteen months ago (it's my second, the first didn't have HSPA) that Three were investing in their network in a much more effective way than Vodafone were, because I could always get great mobile data speeds even at the busiest times on match-day afternoons.

Not any more though. I suppose the recent growth in the Three network in terms of its competitiveness has meant that in catching up with O2, Vodafone and EE it's also begun to succumb to some of their problems. Now, even with my trusty MiFi, it takes an age for Twitter to reload, or for the Sky football scores app to refresh. Luckily I can still use my Kindle app (although it might take a while for it to recall which page I'm on if I've been reading on another device). The Kindle app is also handy for those particularly dull periods of play.

So what have we learned? 

Well, in tech, early adopters get a lot of stick. Indeed, it may be they case that they are prepared to accept buggy software or basic apps just to be at the forefront of something new or different, but what they get in return is the chance to play in a fairly empty playground, with easy access to the swings and the slides, before all the other slightly slower-witted kids arrive and start hogging the best attractions.  

Our early adopters, put up with this for a while, then they start moaning about the playground, which has owners who suddenly start putting up intrusive notices and signs that weren't there before ('Keep off the Grass', 'No Ball Games', 'Sponsored Tweet', etc) and they also start moaning at the new arrivals because they're spoiling the place.

But what the early-adopters are really doing is looking for the next playground, with the faster slides, the wilder swings, the crazier roundabouts... and the smaller queues! Who can blame them?

So, what's to be done about the early adopter looking to gain access to faster mobile data than the crowd?  Where is there to go when all the networks are becoming much of a muchness?  Not sure that even 4G will solve this one.


  1. 4G will solve it for a short while, but then it will be overloaded in the same way. The only solution is the backbone to everything, which has to be fibre. Once we have that we will be sorted, but there is no chance of it because the majority will be happy on their rationed usage on cabinets which are obsolete before they are even deployed. Oh well. Oh hell.
    Poor old digitalbritain lagging behind in the copper slowlane.

    1. You're right Chris... thanks for commenting here... it does seem to be that we take a step forward only for things to grind to a relative halt again. Fibre has been around a long time too... that'll be old tech soon enough.