They use 3G or 4G — the same connection technology as mobile phones — and provide internet connectivity wherever there is mobile coverage. They are more commonly known as mobile broadband dongles.
Which providers offer mobile USB internet sticks?
Broadband dongles use the same 3G and 4G technology as a mobile phone, so nearly all mobile providers offer mobile broadband. The market is simply too competitive not to.
- Vodafone offers a range of mobile broadband dongles with speeds ranging from 7.2Mbps to 21Mbps and generous download allowances, depending upon the plan.
- Three's 4G dongle provides speeds of up to 42Mbps.
- EE, the UK's 4G specialists, offers speeds of up to 60Mbps.
Pros and cons of dongles:
- Mobile dongles are usually free of charge with contracts.
- USB dongles give users greater flexibility, with the option to access the internet when away from the home or office.
- Mobile dongles run on the battery of your computer and therefore don't need to be charged.
- Mobile broadband dongles can be used in both laptops and computers, making them ideal for regular use as well as in emergencies.
- 4G speeds are now almost comparable to home broadband.
- Coverage is dependent on mobile phone reception, whether connected to 3G or 4G networks.
- Data limits are small, which is OK for basic tasks, but for mobile broadband to truly threaten home connections, there is a long way to go.
- Overseas charges can be huge, even in the wake of landmark legislation from the EU.