Mobile broadband deals | price comparison
Compare the best mobile internet offers below
|Hardware||Pay now||Monthly price||Contract||Speed||Downloads|
|1||£59.99||FREE||NO CONTRACT||7.2Mbmax speed||PAYG|
|Value MiFi PAYG + 3GB data||Extras: New pocket-sized value Mi-Fi router, connects up to five Wi-Fi devices. 3GB data included (valid up to 3 months).|
|2||£89.99||FREE||NO CONTRACT||7.2Mbmax speed||PAYG|
|Standard PAYG + 12GB data||Extras: PAYG with 12GB data included (valid up to 12 months). HSPA+ dongle.|
|3||£2.50||FREE||NO CONTRACT||7.2Mbmax speed||PAYG|
|Samba mobile broadband SIM||Extras: Earn free data by watching ads. Cash top-ups also available; top-ups expire within 30 days.|
|4||£39.99||FREE||NO CONTRACT||7.2Mbmax speed||3GBper month|
|Standard PAYG + 3GB data||Extras: PAYG with 3GB data included (valid up to 3 months). HSPA+ dongle.|
||£29.99||FREE||NO CONTRACT||4.5Mbmax speed||PAYG(fair use policy)|
|Pay up front - 90 days' data included||Extras: 90 days' usage included; then pay per day.|
|6||£29.99||FREE||NO CONTRACT||7.2Mbmax speed||1GBper month|
|Standard PAYG + 1GB data||Extras: PAYG with 1GB data included (valid up to 1 month). HSPA+ dongle.|
|7||£22.50||FREE||NO CONTRACT||7.2Mbmax speed||PAYG|
|Samba mobile broadband dongle + SIM||Extras: Earn free data by watching ads. Cash top-ups also available; top-ups expire within 30 days.|
|8||£33.33 + VAT||FREE||NO CONTRACT||4.5Mbmax speed||PAYG(fair use policy)|
|Business Pay up front - 90 days' data||Extras: 90 days' usage included; then pay per day.|
|9||£14.99||FREE||NO CONTRACT||4.5Mbmax speed||PAYG(fair use policy)|
|Pay per day||Extras: Choice of black or pink dongle.|
|10||£70.49||FREE||NO CONTRACT||21Mbmax speed||PAYG|
|Mobile broadband SIM PAYG + 12GB data||Extras: Mobile broadband SIM. PAYG with 12GB data included (valid up to 12 months).|
Mobile broadband deals - buyers' guide
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.