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About mobile broadband
Since late 2007, mobile broadband has become a popular and easy way to get online.
Mobile broadband is Internet access provided by mobile network operators over their 3G mobile network. All the main providers, 3, T-Mobile, Vodafone, O2 and Orange offer a mobile broadband service.
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Mobile broadband works by plugging in a small device known as a USB Modem Stick (or Dongle) into a laptop or PC, after which you can be online within a few minutes. Unless you’re a very heavy broadband user, mobile broadband offers a real alternative to fixed-line broadband, with download speeds comparable to many home broadband packages.
Mobile broadband speeds are currently anything up to around 5.5Mbps. These speeds will improve over time as mobile providers upgrade their infrastructure and newer technology comes along.
Mobile broadband currently costs from £10 per month, on a fixed contract period. For example, 3 offer a mobile broadband service with 1 Gigabyte (GB) of usage for £10 per month on an 18 month contract. This is enough for light usage including regular surfing, email and the occasional bit of movie or music downloading.
For most regular users, a package costing from £15 per month should provide a decent usage allowance. Commonly, usage allowances range from 3GB up to around 15GB. The USB Modem Dongle also tends to be offered for free on most monthly contracts.
There are also pay as you go and no-contract options. With this you normally pay up-front for the cost of the USB Modem Stick / Dongle, which normally costs around £50. This is ideal for infrequent Internet users.
Providers are also currently offering all-inclusive mobile broadband and laptop bundles. This basically means you get a laptop included with your broadband service, and pay a slightly higher monthly subscription. These cost from £25 to £40 per month.
One of the great advantages of mobile broadband is that you can use it wherever you have a mobile signal (3G based), meaning you can take it with you on the move. Installation is very quick when you plug-in the modem. Reports and reviews suggest that the installation process is quick whichever mobile network you choose.
Mobile broadband has something to offer all kinds of users. Home users, mobile workers and students are among those enjoying its benefits. Its ease of use, availability and competitive pricing make it a great way to get wireless broadband.
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