Mobile Broadband deals for Ultra fast speed of Internet with portability

Mobile broadband used to be something of a joke, with poor coverage, drop-outs and speeds so slow that paint dried faster than a website could load! However, in less than nine years technology has moved on radically and the number of subscribers at the end of 2010 was more than 500 million worldwide.

History and Technical Stuff

Most modern mobile devices, such as laptops, netbooks and tablets, come with internet-connectivity hardware built in. For those that do not, the addition of a PC data card or USB modem (dongle) is required to enable mobile broadband use.

Mobile broadband is referred to in ‘generations’, with the first generation (1G) becoming available during the 1980s. This deployed the AMPS (Advanced Mobile Phone Service) cellular network and was only able to transfer voice in analogue. The development of 2G in the 1990s enabled the ability to send digital data, namely SMS text messages.

With the launch of 3G in 2001, the first internet access became available using the Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) protocol, which allows speeds up to 2Mbps. The enhanced version of 3G, High Speed Downlink Packet Access (HSDPA), now enables the best mobile broadband speeds of up to 14Mbps, theoretically.

Why Mobile Broadband?

Today’s mobile broadband technology and higher speeds mean that mobile devices are now capable of doing everything that a fixed device can do, even while travelling. This includes surfing, emailing, social networking, streaming TV or downloading films.

The ability to work and enjoy the benefits of internet connectivity from almost anywhere is invaluable to almost anyone, but especially so to those who travel a long distance to work or travel away from home on a frequent basis.

It is also ideal for anyone who does not want to have a landline telephone, or for students who spend term time away from home and almost invariably carry their mobile devices with them wherever they go.

Mobile Broadband Providers

There are five mobile broadband providers in the UK: 3 Mobile, Orange, Vodafone, T-Mobile/Virgin and O2.

Mobile broadband is available from all of the UK providers in a similar way to mobile phones, either on a fixed-term contract basis or Pay-as-You-Go (PAYG). Similarly, there are numerous different deals on offer which range from short-term, low-usage plans through to full packages, with some including a ‘free’ mobile device as part of the deal.

Each of the five providers has slightly different UK coverage, which ranges from 80% upwards, with the best mobile broadband provider in terms of coverage being 3 Mobile, who offer 97%. Before choosing a provider, always check to ensure that the areas where you will be requiring service are covered.

Other variable factors, which must be taken into consideration when seeking the best broadband provider for your needs, are the speed, usage allowance and length of contract. Usage allowance may be a crucial point, as some contracts offer as little as 250Mb per month, with heavy penalties for going over the limit.

Summary

Although it has already come an incredibly long way in a very short space of time, mobile broadband technology is certain to get even better with the next generation, the 4G network, which is currently under development. 4G is expected to radically improve any stability and speed issues.

Currently, the speed a provider quotes is the ‘best-case scenario’ and would only realistically be achieved in perfect conditions, 4G is set to change that and double current maximum advertised speeds.

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