The word ‘broadband’ is used to describe the most
common way of connecting your computer to the internet, replacing the original
'dial-up' method (which was much slower). You generally pay a flat fee every
month for the service and your connection will be available 24-hours a day,
regardless of whether you’re using the phone or not.
A broadband connection will give you access to
everything you can get from the internet: as long as you have a compatible
machine (be it a PC, Apple Mac or laptop device, or maybe a games console) you
will be able to set up and access your email; surf the worldwide web; use social
networking programmers such as Face book
and auction sites like eBay; watch and listen to live television and radio, as
well as download music, pictures and video; play games; do online banking - the
list is massive!.
Mobile broadband is the technology which allows
broadband access from anywhere by simply plugging your USB modem or dongle in to
your laptop or computer. The popularity of mobile broadband has gathered pace
quite quickly, with consumers keen to enjoy the flexibility, convenience, and
mobility of this type of technology.
Mobile broadband is ideal for use amongst
business people, students, and just about anyone else that may need or wish to
access the Internet whilst they are on the go. It is also perfect for those that
want to access the Internet but don't want to go to the expense of having a
Mobile broadband uses the mobile phone network to connect you to the internet. This is made possible by a new
technology called High Speed Downlink Packet Access or HSDPA, but this is quite
a mouthful so its better known as Mobile Broadband. You will be provided with a
special USB Dongle or Stick which plugs into your computer to allow you to
connect. You don't need to use your mobile phone. You pay not for how long you
use the internet, but rather you pay for the amount of data you download. The
great advantage is that you don't need a BT phone line, and you aren't tied to
one location, wherever you go so can your mobile broadband connection!
The biggest drawback with traditional broadband is that in most cases it forces you to have
a landline from BT even if you don't require a phone line for any other use.
With more and more people nowadays either using mobile phones rather than
landlines it makes even more sense to make your broadband mobile rather than
Surprisingly it probably costs less than you think, especially when you consider
that you don't have to fork out for a telephone line as well (which is the case
with most fixed line broadband). Deals start from as little as £10 per month,
and go up to over £50 per month. There are 4 types of deal:
Pay as you go Mobile broadband - With PAYG mobile broadband it works very
much the same as with PAYG Mobile phones, you buy a dongle and then when you
want to use it you buy top ups. You can buy top ups either online or at any shop
that sells mobile phone top ups. You can buy top ups in various price ranges,
the more you spend the more usage you get. Prices for a 1Gb top start around £10
depending on your network.
Contract Mobile broadband - With Contract mobile broadband you sign up
for a fixed period of time (usually between 12 and 24 months) and you receive a
free dongle and a certain amount of data usage inclusive per month (between 1Gb
and 15Gb depending on the package). If you use more than your standard data
allowance during a month then you pay extra on top for the additional data. The
providers provide you with a secure webpage with your usage amounts so you can
keep an eye on your usage levels. Prices range from £10 per month to £40 per
month depending on the length of contract and the amount of inclusive data per
Starter Kits - Mobile
broadband starter kits are similar to PAYG deals, but they come with a certain
amount of data included and an increased time limit to use the data before it
expires. Starter kits are an excellent present to give someone who needs to get
connected but doesn't want a fixed contract. Prices start from around £69.99.
Free Laptops - Mobile
broadband with free laptops provides you with everything to get online,
including the laptop! Now it really is simple to get online. You have to take
out a mobile broadband contract (usually between 18 and 24 months in duration)
which will cost between £30 and £55 per month depending upon the specification
of the included laptop and the amount of inclusive data per month.
Availability: There is something of a postcode lottery when it
comes to broadband: BT's ADSL telephone exchanges vary in quality (it is
currently in the process of upgrading them all, but this will take years) and
your speed will be affected by the distance you live from your nearest exchange.
Cable doesn't suffer the same problem with speed, but is only available to
around half of the UK's homes.
Price: This usually consists of a one-off installation fee followed by a monthly charge.
Speed: One of the most common sales pitches for broadband is speed: generally speaking, as the
speed goes up, so does the price. Speeds of ‘up to’ 8Mb (megabits per second)
are fairly standard nowadays, while services are available that can reach 50Mb.
Download caps, extras, bundles and brands: Monthly usage caps can limit your broadband usage,
but only tend to affect heavy users who download a lot of films or other large
files. Extras can include free routers and anti-virus software, while bundles
can see you save money by ordering telephone and TV deals alongside broadband.
As with any technical service it is important to
choose the compare providers when it comes to choosing a mobile broadband
package. When choosing your mobile broadband provider there are a number of
factors to consider. You should take into account contract length, speeds,
monthly cost, connection fee (some packages have no connection fee) and download
limits. All of these can be checked in our mobile broadband comparison tables.
We compare mobile broadband packages from O2, Orange, 3, Vodafone, Virgin and
3mobile broadband offers plenty of choice when it comes to finding a
suitable broadband package and price, which makes it easier to find a deal that
suits your needs and your pocket. You can also choose from a number of modems
and dongles to suit your needs. 3 offers competitive prices on its mobile
broadband packages, so you can benefit from mobile broadband without breaking
the bank. Whilst aesthetics are clearly not a priority for mobile broadband
users, 3 has managed to incorporate some very cool, funky designs with its
dongles, which often appeal to the younger fashion conscience market.
Vodafone mobile broadband
offers some of the most competitive mobile broadband deals around for both
business and recreational users. It has also recently been confirmed as the
fastest mobile broadband provider following an independent study, with speeds of
up to 7.2Mbps. You can enjoy a choice of modem solutions, including the USB
stick, dongle, or card. Vodafone even offers a great, cool look with its USB
sticks, so you can enjoy style as well as convenience!
Orange mobile broadband offers
consumers the chance to enjoy the competitive Everywhere' mobile broadband
package, which comes with a USB key through which to connect. You can select
from a choice of contract lengths to suit your needs and your budget.
T-Mobile broadband offers
a choice of two packages with a 1.8Mbps connection, so you can choose the
package that best meets your need. Connection devices include the dongle or the
USB stick. The dongles from this provider are state of the art, so you won't
have to worry about having to replace them or upgrade them for quite some time.
O2 mobile broadband is
one of the latest providers to embrace the world of mobile broadband having
already seen how popular this broadband technology was becoming. At launch O2
mobile broadband appears to be overpriced compared to it's competitors.
Virgin mobile broadband is a relative new
player. Virgin mobile broadband has a smaller range of offers but could prove to
be good value if you have other services form Virgin such as your home broadband
Mobile broadband won't stay still over the next few years. Here are a few
technologies that are coming our way:
Mobile broadband (like most technologies) is full of terms that to the
uninitiated make no sense whatsoever. Here's a complete glossary to help you