3G Internet in Taiwan?

If I wanted to be able to connect my laptop to the net from anywhere via 3G, what would I need and how would I subscribe, and how much would it cost?

Is this even possible? I’m sure I have this terribly inaccurate idea of what 3G is hahaha.

You’d need something like this

A USB 3G dongle.
Make sure you get one with HSDPA as otherwise it’ll be terribly slow.
You can get a dongle on its own for about NT$4,000 and then get a SIM card on its own.
It’s NT$350 or there abouts for 5 days of continuous usage.
The dongle would be free if you sign up for a contract and then you pay a monthly fee instead, I think it’s between NT$850-999 for unlimited usage.

Who would I talk to about such a deal? That’d be fantastic.

Which one, contract or pre-pay?
For a 3G dongle on contract you need to head in to one of the phone shops, but you need an ARC and you might have to pay a deposit as well and sign up for a year of course.
Taiwan Mobile, CHT, FarEast Tone and Vibo all do the 3G dongles afaik.
Looks like Vibo only charge NT$750 a month vibo.com.tw/CWS/Consumer_Net … 0f,.html but from what I understand they don’t have quite as good coverage around the island as some of the larger networks.

Thanks a lot. This gives me someplace to start.

If you upload a lot, you might want to make sure you get a dongle with HSUPA, as it improves the upload speed as long as the network supports it.
I don’t know if any of the networks in Taiwan supports it though.
There are also different HSDPA speeds (download) and the ones I know that are supported here are 3.6Mbit and 7.2Mbit but again I can’t tell you which networks support what.
I guess they’re not all too good at telling you either from what I’ve found.

Thanks, was looking for something like this.

There are some threads in the technology subforum on this matter:

[Wireless internet via the cell phone system (even on Linux)
[Thinking about getting 3G internet (edit: Vibo results in)

I have one I got from Chunghua Telecom in Banciao. Louis, manager on the 2d floor, speaks English. I was looking and he gave me one for the new contract plus I had used their service for 8 years so he said I was a VIP. Ha, what choice is there? I pay 850 per month for unlimited useage. Cheaper than ADSL and usually faster (7.2 mbps) uploads and downloads seem to be no problem. I’ve had it for several months and I find I always have connectivity anywhere anytime. I wouldn’t be without it.

The best service is from Taiwan Mobile who offer a NT$800/month unlimited plan with free USB modem if you sign for at least two years. You will also have to pay a NT$2900 deposit unless you have a Taiwanese co-signer.

Connection speed depends heavily on signal strength but in real world use it’s about 200kbit-500kbit/sec. It doesn’t matter what downlink speed your provider supports, that is roughly what you will get. We have a cell relay and external antenna in our house and I can peak up to 1200kbit/sec but most people will see around 500kbit/s or less. I don’t use it at home though because wi-fi + FTTB is much faster (by about 20 times).

Taiwan does not suport HSUPA yet. The maximum upload rate in real world use is approx 20KB/sec but uploading at full throttle will kill your download speed.

Don’t be conned by adverts - 3G is NOT a replacement for broadband unless you are a very casual internet user, in which case you would be hard pressed to justify $800/month for a service that is slower than the cheapest $200-odd fixed broadband available. The main problem with 3G is latency which means that VOIP (e.g. Skype) is almost unusable, online gaming is probably out and to the average user browsing etc. will appear sluggish. However, it’s perfectly fine for email or even streaming audio/video - once the connection is set up the latency doesn’t matter so even HD video streams okay with a strong signal.

The service is useful for me because I can take my laptop all over Taiwan without having to worry about getting connected for work. Even then I don’t use it a whole lot and for most people I think it would be $800 wasted on an expensive toy. I use it maybe once or twice a month for actual work but recently I subscribed to Sirius/XM online which coupled with the 3G sim and a Windows Mobile handset means I can listen to live satellite radio from the US in my car in Taiwan. Neat, huh?

Unless you really HAVE to be connected 24/7 you can spend the same amount of money on FTTB (fiber internet) which is impressively fast for the price.

In my experience (see the second thread I linked above), it’s not a matter of signal strength (which compared to other countries is incredible in Taipei) its a matter of bandwidth throttling on a per-connection basis. I have gotten 2.5Mbit/sec on a single 3G device when downloading from newsgroups (10 parallel connections that refresh every 500 or so kb).

I can justify the $850/month because I spend most of my time at work and need data for push email, but you are right that 3G internet is nowhere near good enough to replace adsl or fttp (as it is often marketed by telecom salespersons). The main disadvantages are 1] throttling on single connection speeds (try streaming youtube…) and 2] bad ping. Expect the air interface to add a minimum of 150-200 ms to your ping. This pretty much a showstopper for anyone who needs to do voip or play fast-reaction online games.