Mobile broadband deals | price comparison

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Hardware Pay now Monthly price Contract Speed Downloads
EE Osprey 2 Mini Mobile WiFi
FREE £23/mth £28 after 24 months 24
60Mbmax speed 32GBper month
4GEE WiFi Mini 32GB Offer (Ends 31 Dec): £20 Amazon gift card and £5 off monthly price (voucher auto added at basket)
Extras: 4G data plan Pocket size Mobile Wi-Fi router, connects up to 10 devices. No data costs for EE film content. Wi-Fi access on London Underground via Virgin Media plus 100MB of free EU roaming data.
2 Huawei E5372 4G Mobile Wifi FREE £14/mth 24
40Mbmax speed 20GBper month
Mobile Wi-Fi Extras: 4G data plan Mi-Fi router, connects up to 10 Wi-Fi devices
3 iPad Mini 2 16GB £29 £27/mth 24
40Mbmax speed 16GBper month
iPad Mini 2 16GB Extras: 4G ready data plan (no extra charges for 4G once it's available in your area) 16GB iPad Mini 2 Wi-Fi + 3G available in silver or space grey. 16GB internal memory, 7.9-inch Retina Display.
4 EE Osprey Mobile WiFi FREE £60/mth 24
60Mbmax speed 50GBper month
EE 50GB 4GEE WiFi Extras: 4G data plan Mobile Wi-Fi router, connects up to 10 devices. No data costs for EE film content. Wi-Fi access on London Underground via Virgin Media plus 100MB of free EU roaming data
5 Huawei E5330 MiFi device FREE £13/mth 24
21Mbmax speed 20GBper month
3G Mobile Wi-Fi Extras: 3G data plan Mi-Fi router, connects up to five Wi-Fi devices
6 4G Home Broadband FREE £44/mth 12
60Mbmax speed 50GBper month
4G Home Broadband Extras: 4G data plan 4G router which plugs into a power socket. Ideal alternative to home broadband, connecting to EE's 4G network. No installation or line rental fee.
7 ZTE MF730M FREE £15/mth 12
21Mbmax speed 20GBper month
3G Mobile Broadband Extras: 3G data plan. DC-HSDPA dongle.
iPad Pro 9.7 inch 32GB
£24.99 £36/mth 24
0Kbmax speed 2GBper month
iPad Pro 9.7 inch 32GB Offer (Ends 31 Oct): 50% off upfront cost use code: TABLET50OFF
Extras: iPad Pro 9.7 inch 32GB Wi-Fi + 4G Available in silver, gold, rose gold or space grey with 4G data plan 32GB internal memory, 9.7-inch Retina touch screen. Access to O2 WiFi hotspots including London Underground.
9 O2 Huawei 4G Pocket Hotspot £15.99 £26/mth 12
0Kbmax speed 20GBper month
4G Pocket Hotspot 20GB Extras: 4G data plan Mi-Fi router, connects up to 10 Wi-Fi devices
iPad Mini 4 64GB
£49.99 £37.50/mth 24
60Mbmax speed 10GBper month
iPad Mini 4 64GB Offer: 3 month NOW TV Entertainment Pass
Extras: iPad Mini 4 Wi-Fi + 4G with 4G data plan available in gold, silver or space grey. 64GB internal memory, 7.9-inch Retina display. BT Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi access on London Underground via Virgin Media.
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Mobile broadband deals - buyers' guide

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What is mobile broadband?

Mobile broadband is a technology that allows you to access high-speed broadband on your laptop wherever you are. Typically, you plug a small USB stick into your laptop and, hey presto, you can access the internet on the train, in the pub, on the beach, or just at home in front of the TV.

In theory, you can use mobile broadband wherever you can get a mobile phone signal. Mobile broadband works by accessing the internet via mobile phone masts and utilising the new 3G infrastructure which allows for high-speed data transfer. This means that mobile broadband providers are companies like 3, T-Mobile, and Vodafone (as opposed to the home broadband providers you may be familiar with like BT, Virgin Media, and Tiscali).

Mobile broadband on your laptop shouldn't be confused with the ability to access the internet on your mobile phone. Using the internet on your mobile phone is normally referred to as 'mobile internet', or '3G broadband'. The jargon is all very similar, but just remember that mobile broadband involves laptops, hence the reason that so many providers offer 'free laptop' deals with mobile broadband packages.

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How do I compare mobile broadband deals?

  • The factors will be different for each person, but broadly speaking you need to think about the following before choosing a mobile broadband deal:
  • Usage. Probably the most important factor to consider is just how much you expect to use mobile broadband. If you'll be relying on it regularly then a monthly contract would probably work out cheapest and least hassle, but if it's just an occasional thing or a fall-back then a pay-as-you-go deal might be more suitable.
  • Speed. Promised mobile broadband speeds vary from 1.8Mb up to 7.2Mb, but independent tests show that about 1Mb is what you can expect, and the networks' actual speeds come out broadly similar (although obviously it depends hudely on your location). Our advice would be not to get too hung up on promised speed - it probably won't make that much difference.
  • Price. Mobile broadband deals are priced in a similar way to mobile phone deals - there's a setup fee (this is usually a charge for the hardware, i.e. the USB dongle) and a monthly contract fee. You can normally get the cheapest mobile broadband deal by entering into a longer contract (e.g. 24 months), but obviously you lose in flexibility what you gain in cost saving.
  • Dongle only, or laptop deal? Finally, you need to consider whether you just want the USB dongle or whether you want a brand new laptop thrown in. The laptop deals are typically good value and, perhaps more importantly, make getting online very quick and easy.

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Which are the main mobile broadband providers?

  • The familiar mobile phone networks make up the mobile broadband marketplace. The three providers who lead the way in terms of customer base and variety of offering are Vodafone, 3 and T-Mobile. Obviously deals and offers change frequently, but broadly speaking...
  • Vodafone prides itself on offering the fastest mobile broadband speeds (up to 7.2Mb), which compare well even against fixed-line home broadband deals. It also has special overseas travel deals available, designed for business use. On the downside, Vodafone doesn't currently offers any laptop deals or pay-as-you-go offers.
  • 3 Mobile has a serious array of deals to choose from, and tends to offer some of the cheapest deals available. A big selling point with 3 Mobile is its selection of dongle designs, from black to white to pink, with some even including memory sticks. 3 Mobile normally has laptop deals and PAYG offers.
  • T-Mobile sells its mobile broadband on two key points: there are no penalty fees for accidentally going over your usage limit, and you get unlimited use of it's WiFi network. Aside from that, it's offerings are competitive, and it usually has pay-as-you-go and laptop deals available (though these are currently out of stock).

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How do I buy mobile broadband?

When you're happy that you've found the best mobile broadband price and package for you, simply click 'choose' and you'll get taken directly through to the mobile provider's website where you should be able to sign up.

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About this comparison

PC Advisor's broadband comparison service is powered by Broadband Genie, the mobile broadband consumer advice website. Prices and package data are checked daily, but should always be verified with the provider before signing up to any package.

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