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Last Updated: Monday, 6 December, 2004, 11:39 GMT
Would you buy a 3G phone?
Woman using mobile phone
Which? has advised mobile phone users not to buy one of the new third generation (3G) handsets which can be used for video calls.

The consumer group says the UK network coverage for 3G is too limited to justify the cost of the phones. It recommends owners to stick to existing handsets until 3G coverage improves, especially outside big cities.

3G operator Hutchison said it covered 80% of the UK population. It has accused Which? of a "lack of understanding".

What do you think of the 3G phones? Do they offer they offer good value for money? Are you planning to buy one for Christmas? If you have a 3G phone please email us a video clip telling us your view.


This debate has now been closed. The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we received:

It was like going back 10 years to when mobiles where the size of a brick
Adrian Mugridge, Chester, UK
I looked at a 3G phone a while ago but I was not strong enough to pick the handset up! It was like going back 10 years to when mobiles where the size of a brick - so no thanks, I'll stick with my nice little phone that lets me carry out the one function I want from a phone and that's talking to people.
Adrian Mugridge, Chester, UK

Yes, I will buy 3G, but not yet. I'll wait a few months for those who like to be on the very edge of technology to discover all the problems. Then another couple of months for the operators to make it work properly. I reckon by about September next year 3G will be worth trying.
Tom, UK

I see no point in 3G because the extra features are too expensive. When it becomes the norm and being able to browse the full internet for free, at no extra cost, fully standard, becomes the norm, I may be tempted. Right now it's just for the curious.
Mike, UK

Why are they only telling us this now? I bought a 3G phone 10 months ago and it worked ok in London, but when I moved to Leeds 4 months ago I couldn't get a signal. As a result I've cancelled the contract and had to get another handset with a more reliable company.
Chris Bridges, Leeds

Unfortunately, 3G network coverage is very poor. I truly regret signing up. Although I live in Manchester's city centre, sometimes I don't have network coverage for up to 12 hours, which is extremely annoying and embarrassing.
Abdullah Al-Ghazal, Manchester, England

Phone companies should cover all the country with 2G before spending billions on new technology!
Patrick Ritchie, Newtown Hamilton

I recently moved house and can no longer get any reception on my 2G phone, I think phone companies should cover all the country with 2G before spending billions on new technology!
Patrick Ritchie, Newtown Hamilton

I've got a tiny 2G phone, and can't see myself forking out a ton of cash to switch to a house brick, that rarely works.
Andrew Laws, Sweden

I want a phone to talk to folks. I don't want a phone to be a portable television studio and a mini HiFi system.
Dougie Lawson, Basingstoke, UK

I saw a 3G offer for only 29.99 pay as you go. I was shocked to see the bargain. However I found out that I had to pay 15 a month in order for it to be connected, if I didn't, it would stop working. That's 180 per year. It's appalling!
Akeel, South West

I have just switched back to a 2G telephone after an unhappy experience 3G. Having loads of bundled minutes is one thing but if the telephone network refuses to let you use them because of technical problems, then there is no point. Which? are totally correct.
Roger D, Derby

All these phones are never used for their full capability. They tend to fashion statements, rather like cars. Having figured out that we managed to get by for 2 million years without them, I still don't have a 1st Generation Mobile let alone a 3rd.
Tony, Welling Kent

Why would anyone buy anything as soon as it hits the streets?
Rob, Scotland, UK

Why would anyone buy anything as soon as it hits the streets? Wait a couple of years, it'll be half the price and all the bugs will have been ironed out. Anyone who goes out and buys something strait away is just plain gullible.
Rob, Scotland, UK

I got a 3G phone last year and the coverage was abysmal, I was told that I had "perfect coverage" in my area but I kept losing calls. It got so bad I had to get a second contract with a 2g phone provider.
Mark Scott, Melksham, Wiltshire

There may be a limited network now but that will change soon enough. It is a good product. Everything has to start somewhere and if consumers do not embrace the technology, it will not have a chance to succeed.
Michael, UK

I believe 3G may never work properly due to so many people opposing the installation of extra masts
Jon, UK
I have a 3G phone but I don't think 3G technology is quite ready yet. The manufacturers and networks are still trying to figure out the problems. The handset often locks on to 2G for very long periods for no reason.

I believe 3G may never work properly due to so many people opposing the installation of extra masts, yet these are the same people who go out and buy expensive phones to show off with.
Jon, UK

I have had a 3G mobile for about 6 months. I was lured in by an offer of 500 minutes per month for 25. Unfortunately I struggle to use my 500 minutes as half the time I cannot get a decent reception. Customer service also leaves a lot to be desired. I am currently counting down the months until I can revert to a decent phone on a network with good coverage.
Phil S, UK

I have a 3G phone, live on top of a hill in London SW19 and can't get any reception to make calls, let alone get a video.
James R, Wimbledon, UK

The only reason for getting a 3G phone would be for video calling and we've all seen how bad the quality of that is. Maybe in a few years time it will be worth it, but definitely not at the moment.
Andrew, Cape Town, South Africa

I'm a technology and mobile freak, which means I should like 3G
Antti Vilpponen, Lappeenranta, Finland
I'm a technology and mobile freak, which means I should like 3G. However I don't see any reasons for buying a 3G phone yet in Finland, because there are no services available to the user that would make it distinctively better than the current 2G. The data transfer is faster, which I like a lot but the current prices make it more of a luxury than a usable innovation.
Antti Vilpponen, Lappeenranta, Finland

I use a 3G card in my laptop, it gives broadband speed on the move. People should remember 3G isn't just about video handsets, it's got many applications for wireless data transfer.
Mark Gillard, Market Harborough, UK

It's still the early days of 3G, but I'm already having a great time with my 3G phone. I get the Premiership goals straight after the games, have sent video clips to my friends, downloaded full music tracks to listen to, and even have made a few video calls!
Mark Darby, Reading, UK

I work for one of the phone operators and whilst I agree with some of the comments on here we need to remember when the mobile phone was initially introduced. It was a "phase that would never take off". Look at it now, even children as young as 10 have a mobile phone. I think 3G will be the same, people will have their doubts at first which is understandable, but given time, it will prove popular. Technology is evolving everyday; this is just another step in communications.
Lee, Bristol

I am now finding that I can get a 3G signal nearly everywhere
Anthony Catlow, Worcester
I have had a 3G phone for just over a year and the service it supplies is great. I can send text/multimedia messages and send/receive emails, get the latest news and weather, download music videos and all when I am on the move.

When I first got the phone I did have some reception problems but with any thing if you give it time it will improve, I am now finding that I can get a 3G signal nearly everywhere, if I can't get a 3G signal the phone switches over to 2G for voice calls.
Anthony Catlow, Worcester

The cutting edge of technology? Like the Betamax! People will by them this month, pay a fortune for the privileged, and sooner or later there is something far better on offer. I can't get a 3G service in my area, even if I did, I am sure I could wait until I got home to watch a goal being scored!
Ryan, Wales

3G like most new technologies is going through a phase where the technology is maturing. I have a 3G handset and at times the reception has let me down but I also have a 2.5G phone as a back up. The network will obviously continue to improve all the time. Overall I would say I am happy with my 3G experience.
Simon, London

I wouldn't buy one. I can't justify using it. I have a cheap pay as you go for emergencies, and that is all I need. I suppose it's ok for those who need the latest gadgets, who are true consumers, but I don't see the point.
Jennifer Hynes, Plymouth, UK

I have had a 3G phone for over a year now and can honestly say that it is value for money
Jez, Bristol, UK
I have had a 3G phone for over a year now and can honestly say that it is value for money, even if it just used like a traditional 2G phone.
Jez, Bristol, UK

The problem I have with videocalls is that you need to hold a phone against your ear to use it - unless somebody wants a video of what's inside my ear, I see no use for it!
Geoffrey Roberts, Colchester, UK

My current phone is the first one I bought and is 5 years old. I only use it for calls and occasionally send/receive text messages. I don't see the need for anything more.
Zeeshan, Manchester, UK

I've already purchased a 3G phone and I'm pleased with it. So far, I haven't experienced any problems with coverage.
Michael Pala, UK

This is the cutting edge of technology and it is bound to have a slightly shaky start
Rob Shorrock, UK
This is the cutting edge of technology and it is bound to have a slightly shaky start. I have had a mobile which has been able to do the stuff that 3G is aiming to do for the last 6 months.
Rob Shorrock, UK

I've got a normal mobile and live in the middle of Kent. To get any reception I have to stand on a large mound of earth I have constructed at the end of the garden, my neighbours sometime borrow my mound when the land line phones are down. As to 3G, I expect I would need a bigger mound.
Simon Mallett, Maidstone, UK

I have bought a 3G handset and I'm quite happy with it. I've got no other mate to call on it, but it makes phone calls all the same. That's not to say it's not worth it, all new technology takes time to role out, there is no such thing as a big bang.
David Boyce, Dewsbury

I do not own a mobile phone, nor will I ever. 3G is just a way to get more money from gullible consumers.
Barry N, West Sussex

Why should I want to buy a 3G phone at all? My current phone makes/takes calls, and allows me to send texts. Why should I need anything else?
Andy, Leeds, UK

A lot of my friends have 3G phones, the majority of them have had nothing but problems with them
Gary H, UK
A lot of my friends have 3G phones, the majority of them have had nothing but problems with them, both the phones being faulty, and poor network coverage. I'm sticking with my 2G for the next few years until all the problems are sorted out.
Gary H, UK

Definitely not. Out here in the sticks I can't get terrestrial, Freeview, digital radio, Channel 5, broadband or even a decent signal on my old fashioned mobile so until coverage is improved a 3G phone would simply be an expensive ornament.
Trevor, Cambs, UK

I really don't know where anyone ever got the idea that it would be even remotely useful to anyone to have an internet capability from a teeny tiny screen that you can hardly see. My standard phone can't keep up a normal verbal exchange without cutting out, so how much more frustrating if you were trying to do something more visual.
Paul, UK

I brought a 3G phone 6 months ago. I have not used it in 2 months as the promised 2G cover in bad areas was that bad and the service was appalling. I have moved back to a 2G service at my cost.
Richard, Solihull




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