Is mobile broadband right for you?

Mobile broadband is very handy for people who enjoy surfing the internet on the go. By simply plugging in a dongle to one of your laptop’s USB ports, you can be up and running in minutes.

Given the growing number of free Wi-Fi hotspots available in cafes, libraries and hotels, do you really need mobile broadband?

First of all, let’s look at some of the many benefits of mobile broadband. One major advantage is that you do not have to rely on Wi-Fi reception: As long as you are in an area with mobile phone signals – which is most of the UK – you can get online.

It’s also very useful when you are moving house – how many times have you heard friends complain about waiting for the internet to be connected at their new home? Because it’s completely wireless, your dongle will keep you going through your upheaval.

This set-up is handy, too, for students or those renting accommodation, as they don’t need to have a landline installed as with regular broadband. In fact, even homeowners may be interested in the prospect of not having to pay for a telephone line or cable connection if they’re only using it for the internet.

Another benefit of mobile broadband is that you can choose from pay-as-you-go and contracts, just like your mobile phone. Pay-as-you-go is particularly suitable for cost-conscious and light web users, while there are some good contract deals available – some providers even offer a free laptop so you have somewhere to plug your dongle!

However, there is a downside, albeit a small one. Most mobile broadband providers have fair usage policies and impose penalties for exceeding contracted download limits. Streaming videos and music uses a lot of data, so remember to keep track.

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