Probably the most important characteristic of broadband is the network coverage you’ll receive in your particular neighbourhood. It’s important to ensure that you get enough on an operator that can furnish you with at least 3G and in the future 4G connectivity where you need to be surfing and interneting most.
It’s no good having edge connectivity when you want to download a file or stream some football. There are a number of steps you can take to ensure that you get the right operator with the best coverage for you.
Broadband Coverage from Mobile Operators
The level of coverage and internet speed that you’ll receive will be dependent on three main factors. These are the place you’re browsing, the network you are with, whether you’re on 3G or 4G connectivity.
Dongle deals used to make a big thing out of 3G connectivity. It was the third generation of internet connectivity and provided a top level mobile broadband solution at the time. With 4G, dongle deals can offer 10x the internet speed of 3G. If you’re in an area that has 4G connectivity, then you’ll most likely receive really really good internet speed.
Chances are that even if you are in the best area for 4G, you won’t get the kind of speeds that are advertised, for example up that 14.4MBps because obstacles and interference get in the way in the form of buildings, trees, and natural land formations. In order to assess which broadband is gonna offer you the best coverage, it’s important to postcode check online.
It is possible to get money back
When you sign up for a broadband provider, it’s normally possible to get your money back if you find you get particularly poor coverage where you need the best. This kind of guarantee normally runs between two weeks and a month. Despite this, it’s crucial that you do find out what level of connectivity you gonna get where you want to use your broadband.
Broadband providers offer heat maps showing where you can get 2G, 3G, and 4G connectivity. It’s not an exact science and you won’t be able to pinpoint exactly but you’ll get a good idea of the connectivity available in your area.
Maximizing Connection at Home
Dongle deals can provide some really fast broadband these days as we’ve seen. Getting the most out broadband will mean finding what places work best around your home. If you’re browsing in your bedroom you may not get the same signal as at the front of your house in the living room. The nearer you are to the window, the more likely you are to get a decent connectivity. And upstairs, rather than down, is normally better too. As well as this, it’s possible to purchase external aerials that improve the connectivity that you receive.
Deals from Different Mobile Broadband Providers
Now let’s have a look at some different mobile broadband providers and find out more about them.
EE used to be known as ‘Everything Everywhere’. It’s the provider for both T-mobile and Orange since their merger. It was the first company to offer 4G connectivity even before the 4G spectrum auction. It covers 98% of the country although its 4G connectivity currently stands at around 50% of the UK. This will be expanded significantly over the coming months.
Three covers around 97% of the UK with 3G connectivity. In the 4G spectrum Ofcom auction, they were very successful and will be having 4G integrated into their networks from the coming months.
If you can’t get 3G in your area, it’s likely you won’t get 4G in the future so make sure you do a postcode check.
Orange has well over 15 million customers and has masts all round Britain. The merger of Orange and T-mobile has made Everything Everywhere the largest mobile phone operator in the land.
T-Mobile is now part of Everything Everywhere forming part of the biggest operator in the land along with Orange. The merger has dramatically increased the strength of both Orange and T-Mobile.
Vodafone is well known for offering fast and reliable internet broadband services. Again, Vodafone did well out of the 4G auction and have announced plans to start rolling out 4G from May of this year.
Many of the UK emergency services use Vodafone due to its reliability. Fire crews, police, and ambulance services all depend on Vodafone networks.
O2 has been a heavy investor in the mobile broadband network. they spent hundreds of millions of Pounds in the 4G spectrum auction and looks set to provide a superb service around Britain. They are sponsors of the English rugby team, and are a high profile company much like their counterparts.
Getting the Best Dongle Deals
Dongle deals are available from all of the different retailers. If you go for a pay-as-you-go, then you’re likely to have to pay for your dongle upfront. This could be £50 with Vodafone up to £150 with Three.
If you go for a monthly contract, your dongle be likely be free and you’ll get data allowances that range between around 3GB and 15GB per month. You’ll pay less for your data on contract than on pay-as-you-go, but you’ll be tied in for 12, 18, or 24 months. You may also be able to get a free laptop if you go for a contract.
The middle ground between the two types above is the one-month contract. For this you purchase a month’s allowance and therefore are limited to that over the month. You can add-on during that month, but you’re only tied in for this single 30-day period.
There are deals available all the time from the different operators and with 4G rolling out, it’s a good time to be looking out for a dongle deal that will meet your needs. Whether it’s for home broadband or as a supplement when you’re out and about, there really are some terrific services now and it’s getting better and better.
It’s well worth trying out a sim card in your home if you’re looking to use your mobile broadband in the home. You can buy most operatorsim cards for a pound or even less. Top-up and just try out the coverage. This will give you a measure of satisfaction as to the level of service you’ll receive when you go for a contract.
Phil Turner considered several dongle deals he found on uSwitch, the online price comparison website. He liked the freedom the dongle offered and it saved him money each month.
Photo Credit: Hassan Al-Algami