Mobile broadband is now offered by all of the major mobile phone networks in the UK, and indeed all across the world.
The huge advantage mobile broadband has over standard broadband is that it is entirely mobile, so can be used across the country, and for a higher cost all around the world.
Rather than using a traditional phone line, mobile broadband works by using mobile phone networks, and usually comes in the form of a USB dongle which is inserted into the side of your laptop or computer.
Someone who travels often, or doesn’t have a landline installed in their home will gain a lot of benefit from taking out mobile broadband, as it will keep them connected on the move.
The biggest disadvantage of mobile broadband is the speed of connection, especially in areas that still only have a GPRS network. Whilst modern phone masts can emit a 3G signal, which allows users to connect at speeds of up to 7.2mbps, older GRPS networks in rural areas only give a speed comparable with that of a dial-up connection, which can be a big problem in the modern world of websites that have lots of data and pictures on each page.
Mobile broadband can be purchased on a Pay-as-you-go or contract basis, and the dongles are relatively cheap. A Pay-as-you-go dongle shouldn’t set you back more than £50, and the subsequent data packages can be bought in different sizes usually ranging from 1GB to 10GB depending in the provider. Be aware that these usually run out 30 days from when you begin to use them, regardless of whether you use all the data included in the package.
Contract dongles are usually free and start at just £5 a month on a rolling 30-day contract, although this will only give you 1GB of data.
Mobile broadband is designed only for surfing the web and not for downloading huge video files, with users who exceed their allowance often left with huge bills from their network provider. Most providers provide a data tracking device in the software included with the dongle, so make sure you monitor your usage if you don’t want a big bill.
These dongles can also be used abroad, but often at an extremely high cost. It is often cheaper to use internet cafes or buy a local Pay-as-you-go dongle abroad instead.