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The Verdict

The clear winner is 3. Not only did it average pretty decent download speeds across all three test sites, but the dongle fired up without any glitches or hiccups. Is short, it just worked. It gets the Reg Hardware Editor's Choice award.

Second place on the podium goes to Orange which also came in with some solid numbers but was let down by a Windows connection manager that just would not lie down when it wasn't needed and that wouldn't load up from the dongle to start with. It also failed to connect via HSDPA in an area where it should have.

Orange's 'unlimited' Panther tariff is an attractive deal if you plan on using your dongle as your primary broadband connection.

Vodafone get the bronze medal. Its dongle was physically the best in the group and download speeds where reliable and quite speedy if not as fleet as those of 3 or Orange. Upload speeds, however, where the best of the group by some margin.

Both Orange and Vodafone get Recommended awards.

If I had handed over my own cash to 3, Orange or Vodafone, I would have been happy with what I got for my hard earned.

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