Cheap Dongles: Buyers' guide to finding the cheapest dongle deals
Cheap dongles can keep you connected to the internet no matter where you go, as long as you are carrying a wireless broadband compatible laptop or tablet PC. Leading mobile internet providers such as 3 Mobile, Vodafone, T-Mobile, O2 and Orange all offer cheap dongle deals to get you online on the move.
The many attractive offers on cheap internet dongles in the UK make it possible for you to send emails, browse the net or share documents online without spending too much. Today, business users as well as students make use of cheap dongles extensively because of the many advantages they offer.
Best cheap dongle deals for occasional users
Cheap dongle pay as you go deals will usually be the best packages for occasional users. They will not be as cheap as a contract deal for the actual dongle, or the cheapest per GB of data, but if you’re not going to use your cheap dongle very often it should still work out cheaper in the long run.
Most of the top mobile internet providers have cheap dongles pay as you go offers at prices that can easily fit the smallest budget (see above). The cheapest dongle pay as you go may cost £10 or less from these providers – all you need to do then is top-up when you need to use some data.
If you do opt for cheap dongles pay as you go, be sure to read the small print. The data you buy may run out after a certain time limit is past (often 30 days), so only buy what you think you’ll need and try to use up as much as possible, otherwise it will simply go to waste!
If you are sure of you will regularly be using 3G broadband for at least a month then you can shop for the cheapest dongles under a rolling one month contract. These are also very affordable deals for those who already have Wi-Fi compatible laptops.
Cheapest dongle contracts for regular users
Most business users, regular mobile broadband users sign up for long term cheapest dongle deals with their chosen mobile 3G internet provider. These contracts will work out better value for money as long as you get online a lot each month throughout the length of the deal (normally between one and two years).
Your mobile wireless broadband provider may throw in free USB dongles with such deals, while there are also some great so-called’ ‘free’ laptop deals around. The laptop isn’t actually free – you just get it up front and pay for it over the length of your mobile broadband contract.
Unless the deal is a really low priced one, give some serious thought to this aspect. Many mobile Wi-Fi dealers offer discounted pricing or special gifts to make sure customers find their long term plans too attractive to pass up – make sure this ‘free’ gift is actually something you want. If not, look for more basic cheap dongle deals that offer exactly what you need.
Most importantly, compare deals offered by the various dealers and check reviews by users before you buy a cheap wireless dongle paired with a long term mobile broadband plan. Also, be sure to check coverage in your area – there’s no point in getting a cheap deal if you can’t get a signal where you need it most! Don’t worry – all the providers have coverage checkers on their websites.
Speed for cheap dongles
Many people see download speed as a very important criterion to check before signing up for even the cheapest dongle broadband deal. However, this can be a bit of a red herring when it comes to picking up the cheapest dongle deals. Download limits are far more important.
The UK’s 3G mobile broadband download speeds average out around 1-2Mb no matter which provider you choose. Some new dongles will help a little, but the cheapest dongle deals really won’t work out much slower. Until 4G mobile broadband comes along, cheap broadband dongle offers will be almost as fast as more expensive ones, if not the same.
If you need to be streaming videos, gaming or downloading large files then cheap mobile broadband dongle deals may not be the answer. A cheap dongle will give you a low download limit and expensive overage charges, so be sure to do your downloading and streaming on free Wi-Fi or at home, rather than with your cheap dongle.
Essentially, even the cheapest internet dongle from a reliable and well established provider will give you a good service as long as coverage is good in the areas of the UK you need to use it. So, whether you decide to opt for the cheapest pay as you go dongle or choose a long term contract, ensure that you do your homework and conduct a careful comparison first.