What is Mobile Broadband

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So what is mobile broadband? Mobile broadband is when mobile phone network providers offer internet services via their networks. This can be received on internet-enabled mobile phones, smartphones (such as BlackBerry’s and Apples iconic iPhone) and laptops.

Laptops can receive mobile broadband using a sim card (for tracking and billing – the same as on a mobile phone) and a receiver. This can either be embedded into the laptop device – hence the term, sim-embedded – or via a USB dongle. A USB dongle is essential a mobile internet modem, similar in appearance to a USB memory stick.

Network providers, whose roots are in the mobile phone business, like to entice customers into contracts offering either USB dongles on contract or USB dongles with FREE laptops. Depending on usage, the contracts can be good value for money. But most of us have relatively easy access to either public or private wi-fi networks, numbing the need for mobile broadband.

But Pay as You Go mobile broadband can still be a great solution. You only pay for what you need and use and aside from the one-off fee to purchase the USB dongle needed to receive the connection, it is good value for money.

But what is mobile broadband on Pay as you go like?

Network providers have different options for Pay as You Go mobile broadband. Here’s a quick synopsis of what UK network providers offer:

O2 - ‘Pay and Go’ - ** Editors Choice ** You buy your allowance and time allowance when you top up.

> £2 per day/500MB

> £7.50 per week/1 GB

> £15 per 30 days/3GB

The allowance is over when the time period ends, or the data allowance runs out – which ever is first.

On O2, you also get UNLIMITED access to ‘The Cloud’ wi-fi network – a big bonus. You can use the unlimited wi-fi at one trains station, your mobile data allowance during the journey and back to wi-fi at the other end.

Vodafone - ‘Top Up and Go’ You top up your Data Allowance all at once, and it stays with you like mobile phone credit much like on your mobile phone. You buy a USB modem with 1GB data allowance included. You can then top up your data allowance by 1GB for £15 each time – enough for 650 emails and 30 hours browsing – see what you can do with 15GB!

The main advantage of Vodafone is the data not running out, and also Vodafone’s fast network – up to 7.2 Mbps – double the industry standard.

T-Mobile - ‘Mobile Broadband Daily’ Again, you buy a USB modem separately and you buy your time allowance like O2. However, the difference this time is that you get unlimited data allowance.

T-Mobile also claim to have the fastest average mobile broadband speeds in London according to PC Pro. They also offer access to their wi-fi network

Unlimited daily broadband is available at the same rates as O2 – a mere £2. You’d spend more on coffee?!

3 (Three) – ‘Pay as You Go’ Similar to Vodafone, you buy your allowance which only expires 30 days after purchase. This is available in the following increments.

> Broadband Lite: 1GB for £10

> Broadband Plus: 3GB for £15

> Broadband Max: 7GB for £20

Also with 3, you can make use of Skype and enjoy free Skype-to-Skype calls and massively discounted rates on calls to landlines and mobiles.

What is mobile broadband like in your area - Check your coverage!

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