If you’re dumbfounded by dongles and aren’t sure of the advantages of a USB modem, you’re not alone. Although mobile broadband is available to 99% of the UK, it’s still a technology that is little understood.
To clear up the confusion, uSwitch has compiled list of the ten most common mobile broadband myths. In short, it’s everything you ever wanted to know about mobile broadband, but were afraid to ask.
Download allowances are insufficient
Not so. Although 1GB deals are still around and are indeed limiting for users, these are now far from the norm.
Currently there are a range of deals that offer 10GB of usage every month. That’s enough for 10,000 emails, 100 hours of web surfing, 50 half hour video downloads and 320 four-minute music tracks. Shop around and there are plenty of 15GB offers too.
Compare uSwitch's mobile broadband packages with the highest data limits.
Mobile broadband is much slower than home broadband
That used to be true but is no longer the case. uSwitch Broadband’s speed test software reveals that the current average connection speed for mobile broadband is 7Mbps, roughly the same as home broadband speeds - although there are a lot of high-speed home packages available, the most common is an 8Mbps connection.
Mobile broadband users can also boost their speeds at no extra cost by using a specially designed browser such as Opera Turbo.
Contracts are too long
While 24 month contracts used to be the norm, contracts as short as one-month are becoming increasingly common. Furthermore, those who don't like contracts can opt for one of the many pay as you go options offered by all the major vendors.
Compare uSwitch's mobile broadband packages with the shortest contract.
Data charges are expensive
The days of punitive charges per GB are a relic of the dim and distant past. You can now get up to three times the download allowance for a fraction of that outlay.
Some providers no longer charge for excess usage on their plans. Others have online tracking systems that can be used to keep on top of download usage and prevent excessive charges.
You need a dongle or MiFi to get mobile broadband
Although many people do use dongles and MiFis, laptops that are pre-installed with broadband are common too.
Laptops can also be tethered to mobile phones, meaning that the phone acts an internet gateway for the laptop.
Compare our best-selling mobile broadband with free laptop packages.
Usage overseas is expensive
Horror stories of bills of thousands of pounds for overseas use were once a fixture of UK newspapers, but ISPs have cut charges massively.
As of July 2014, UK providers can only charge up to 17p/ 20 Euro cents for every MB of data downloaded in an EU country.
Under the EU regulations, ISPs are also obliged to warn consumers when they are close to breaching their usage caps, making bill shocks a very slim possibility.
Mobile broadband is a luxury
Mobile broadband is often a cheaper option than fixed line broadband. That’s because you don’t have to pay for line rental.
With line rental at say £14 or so per month and extra for broadband, the cost of even the cheapest fixed line connections is around £17. Conversely, a one-month broadband deal can now be had for as little as £3 per month.
Compare our cheapest mobile broadband packages
Dongles are dull
The very first dongles prioritised function over form, and weren’t so much dongles as chunky pieces of plastic and metal that slotted into the side of your laptop through the PCMCIA slot.
Now that they are tiny USB devices, they can afford to be more stylish as well as more functional. Designers like Henry Holland created a range of styled dongles, and Three has even offered fashionable dongle skins.
Newer dongles are also much more than just means of getting online and are at the cutting edge of putting the fun into functionality. More and more dongles now double as USB storage devices, and technology firms are working on dongles that will replace mobile phones.
Mobile broadband can only be used outside the home
75 per cent of mobile broadband users connect to the internet at home. While away from home customers with all the major networks can now avail themselves of WiFi hotspots throughout the country, allowing them to take advantage of free connection without eating into their mobile broadband usage allowance.
You can also share your connection with other WiFi capable devices. All you need is to do is plug your dongle into a mobile wireless router, also known as a MiFi, and you and yours can be online in no time.
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