Mobile broadband lets you surf the web and view email on the move. The biggest data packages are 15GB per month, which is enough for about 20 hours of web browsing every day! It's also enough to download 5 full-length movies (something we wouldn't recommend that you try on a 3G broadband connection). Watching a YouTube video might use anything from 1MB - 100MB, so your data allowance can quickly be used up if you are into music and /or videos.
The 3G network in the UK is improving all the time, but is still patchy in places. The fastest speeds are available in HSPA-enabled networks, and these now cover something like 90% of the UK population. But note that this is not the same as saying that 90% of the geographical area of the country is covered. In rural areas far from population centres, broadband coverage is likely to be slow. We wouldn't recommend replacing your fixed broadband connection with a mobile connection unless you have access to a 4G service.
Today's best buy: Three mobile broadband from Three (£Click for pricing)
Three Mobile WiFi uses Three Broadband to create a wireless network (WLAN) so you can connect devices like laptops or mobile phones to the internet completely wirelessly and without the need for a fixed broadband connection. You can connect 5 Wi-Fi devices simultaneously with speeds of up to 21.1 Mbps.
Three offers the cheapest mobile broadband service in the UK, starting at £7.50 per month, and offering a massive 15GB for just £15.99 per month.
Vodafone is one of the more expensive of the mobile broadband networks, but it is also one of the fastest. A key advantage of the Vodafone service is the ability to roam in over 100 countries.
Everything Everywhere (EE) offers the first 4G mobile network in the UK.
O2 mobile broadband lets you connect your laptop to the internet on the move using a USB modem (called a "dongle") or via a WiFi hotspot.
Mobile broadband reviews & articles (archived)Orange Mobile Broadband review - Orange Mobile Broadband costs pretty much the same as mobile broadband from 3-Mobile, O2, T-Mobile and Vodafone, and offers connection speeds of up to 7.2 Mbps.
T-Mobile Broadband review - T-Mobile isn't the fastest of the 3G mobile broadband networks. However the basic price of £7.50 per month does include an "always browse and email" guarantee even if you exceed your data limit, and the USB modem or USB modem stick is provided free of charge on pay monthly.