Kogan's now selling USB modems

King of cheap tech gadgetry Ruslan Kogan is now selling USB modems for his Kogan Mobile service — or indeed any network (sort of), as it’s an unlocked modem. Kogan’s stuff usually sells itself on “cheap”, but I’m not totally sold on the value of this particular deal.
What could be wrong with an unlocked $29 USB modem that can (according to the marketing blurb) “Take advantage of speedy 3G networks with download speeds of up to 7.2Mbps and uploads of up to 384Kbps!”?
From a straight usability sense, there’s nothing inherently wrong there — but there’s also a few catches to this unlocked modem, some of which might not be immediately apparent. It’s obviously a play for Kogan Mobile customers who don’t want the phone part of a data service, and that’s OK. However, it’s also only an 850/2100Mhz 3G device, which means while it’s unlocked for all networks, you’re not going to get connections on any Optus network if that was what you were after — although it should be fine for Vodafone’s 850Mhz service and Telstra’s 850Mhz offerings, which is understandable given that Kogan’s “own” network is resold parts of the Telstra network. As with most mobile services, you’ll never actually see that 7.2Mbps speed in real world tests.

The other challenge here, though, is that 3G USB modems aren’t exactly cutting edge technology, and as such they’re the fodder of supermarket catalogs en masse. It’s not uncommon to see modem bundles go for a bit less than $29 with included data as well, sometimes as cheap as $10 a throw. Yes, those are network locked devices (although there can be hacks around that if you’re particularly geeky), but they’re also a factor cheaper than Kogan… which isn’t something that I end up typing a whole lot.
Source: Kogan

4 thoughts on “Kogan's now selling USB modems”

  1. I just bought a Kogan USB Modem and could not get it to connect for more than 30 seconds. I complained to Kogan and they sent me a new modem with exactly the same problems. This would normally suggest something wrong with my computer or reception however I tried the modem on the computer at my local library and got the same results. I am still waiting for Kogan to rectify the problem.

    1. I’ve just had exactly the same problem happen to me. Asked for a replacement, got one, has the exact same problem. An absolute dud.

  2. michael finnane

    Same again, second Kogan usb modem and after 30 seconds drops off the Telstra network. However they did tell me to destroy the first dud modem in an “environmentally friendly manner”

  3. Andrew from Lane Cove

    Michael Barlow was right – this product is an absolute dud.
    Bought one this week and it couldn’t maintain a connection for longer than 2 minutes.
    For those technically inclined, I’ll tell you that its the chipset in the dongle crashing. That’s why you’ll notice your operating system act as though the device was unplugged and plugged back in. While a firmware update may solve the issue (assuming there’s a software bug, e.g. memory leak that leads to the dongle crashing), the hardware may also be the culprit. i.e. Bad quality hardware unable to perform the requested software functions.
    This is my first and last Kogan branded product purchase.

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