Mobile Broadband Guide

Mobile broadband describes various different types of wireless high speed Internet (or broadband) access and comes in different forms including 3G, 4G, LTE and WiMAX. Most current mobile broadband providers use the 3G network although some providers in several countries including the US are now advertising 4G mobile broadband plans. Mobile broadband is typically offered by the cellular or mobile networks and is a fast growing area for these companies.

Mobile broadband was initially provided to consumers via a PC card, but is now provided by a mobile broadband device, sometimes called a ‘dongle’, which plugs in to the USB port of your laptop or desktop.

Is mobile broadband the right option for me?

If you need wireless Internet access, mobile broadband is one possible method of getting online. It won’t be the best option for everyone and there are other options to consider.

The big advantage of mobile broadband is that you can get online with your laptop anywhere with suitable mobile coverage. This access does come at a price with most access working on either a prepaid basis or a contract which can run up to 24 months. For those who only need access free Wi-Fi occasionally, where it is available, may be a better option.

If you are considering replacing your home broadband (high speed Internet) connection with mobile broadband, it’s worth noting that speeds are typically much slower than fixed broadband connections and data allowances are typically lower with higher costs for exceeding the allowance. This makes mobile broadband less suitable for activities that require high speeds or download lots of data such as downloading or watching movies online. The arrival of 4G mobile broadband should help solve speed issues experienced with 3G, though availability is limited at present.

What about using mobile broadband abroad?

If you use your mobile broadband connection abroad you will be using international roaming in the same manner you would with a mobile phone. This means that you will be connected to a local mobile network and you should be able to use your connection in most countries. The downside is that data charges for using mobile broadband abroad are usually very high.

If you intend to use your connection regularly, it is worth considering buying a cheap prepaid mobile broadband device in the country you are visiting or making use of free Wi-Fi if it is available. If you have a pay as you go (prepaid) mobile broadband device these usually have international roaming disabled so won’t work when abroad.

Rate this article: