Buyers' guide: mobile broadband no contract
Mobile broadband no contract internet access has been around since the days when you could dial-up using a traditional phone line and get yourself online; today no contract mobile broadband is still a possibility. Back then it was a penny or so a minute, and it was fine for sending a quick email or swiftly searching out something on the web. Now though we all want to be online for longer periods of time and also need the flexibility of modern-day mobile broadband services.
Signing up for no contract mobile broadband can be a great way of giving yourself the flexibility and freedom afforded by having online access while you’re on the move. But it also means that you don’t need to lock yourself into a lengthy and legally binding deal, often for quite some considerable period of time. Mobile broadband no contract deals are now fairly plentiful and they offer many of the same advantages of regular contract packages. You'll normally find them being referred to as 'prepay', 'pay as you go', or abbreviated to 'payg'.
Mobile broadband no contract options
No contract wireless broadband is just that; it allows you to pick a package from one of the deals listed in our comparison table above, and then use the services of the provider (Vodafone, T-Mobile, Orange, 3 Mobile, O2) you go with on a rolling basis. While many of the deals will state that you’re on a short flexible contract, this is still a much more adaptable arrangement than if you've signed up for a longer fixed period, such as 12, 18 or 24 months, which is more commonly found in the standard contract deals.
Some of us are understandably a little nervous about signing up for lengthy fixed-term contract deals, and even people well used to having mobile phone packages can often feel a little bit intimidated by the thought of signing up for another set period of time when it comes to mobile broadband. You may have had a bad experience while locked into a contract too, or perhaps you want a quick trial of mobile broadband. Any of these scenarios can make the appeal of no contract 3G broadband seem like a really good proposition.
No contract internet, really?
If you're interested in having mobile internet no contract required then you'll first need to do your homework, and our comparison table above will point you in the right direction if the ideal wireless broadband supply.
For starters, you'll want to go through the usual 3G internet comparison methods using the tabs along the top, where it’s possible to weigh up the main features of any of the deals that you’re interested in. So lookout for the pay now price, the monthly price and download allowances.
More importantly, spend time analyzing the contract section of the comparison tables, because although some of the advertising will make much of the no contract internet side of things, there will still be rules, regulations and small print that all need to be examined to ensure that the best deal will be right for your mobile broadband needs. Theoretically, deals that offer a legitimate no contract mobile internet deal should allow you to pay just a connection fee and then be allowed to cancel with a very short notice period. You can also read current 3G mobile broadband customers reviews' and compare thier mobile internet experiences. This cal all help you choose the most appropriate 3G internet deal.
What tends to happen with most no contract deals is that you'll probably have to pay the activation or connection fee, no matter how much you plan on using the no contract internet service that you plump for.
So, even though you're going to be feeling happy about signing up for a month-by-month contract you should still check the terms and conditions of the deal. After all, many of us move around a lot more than we used too, so while mobile wireless broadband can be really useful in that it takes your online access with you wherever you go.
What tends to happen is you pay up-front for a certain amount of either data or time (if its an amount of data, it will often have to be sued within 30 days). This will tend to be small payments, but you still don't want to waste money if your need for no contract wireless broadband comes to an end, or if you end up in an area with little or no mobile broadband coverage.
Who offers mobile broadband with no contract?
All the mobile broadband networks offer no contract 3G broadband and these are often rolling one-month pay-as-you-go deals that avoid the need for signing up to long contracts. The benefits of getting mobile broadband this way can turn out to be quite cost effective too, because you'll hopefully be paying less than if you were stuck in a deal that meant you'd have to pay for line rental on a traditional broadband setup.
The added bonus is that you also get the freedom to take your internet access with you wherever you go. And although this might seem like a great idea, no contract wireless mobile broadband needs to be used with care because there can often be download allowances that, should they be exceeded, could make your online activity turn into an expensive pastime. So be sure to read up on the data allowances and what the penalties are if you go over these.
At the end of the day, you're getting a service from the mobile provider who would normally be making more from you if you were signed up for a contract deal. So while no contract mobile broadband can be a good thing, as can no contract dongle deals, they can have downsides. These usually revolve around lower monthly data allowances and higher subsequent charges if you end up going over the levels outlined in the providers terms and conditions.
No contract mobile broadband in practice
Once you've decided on the no contract internet package that you're interested in, you'll find that getting setup takes no time at all. All you need to do is click 'Go' on our comparison table to be taken to the official provider's own website, and away you go. Lookout for any no contract dongle deals, which could mean that you'll have instant access to plug-and-play internet, because these devices simply slot into an available USB port on your laptop or PC and get you laptop internet instantly.
There are always interesting deals on offer in our comparison charts, but one of the most exciting recent innovations has been the advent of the MiFi router. This is available through the no contract dongle channels and works in a similar fashion to a traditional dongle. The difference with this little plastic gadget is that it subsequently allows you to connect several other devices to your mobile broadband supply at the same time.
There aren’t that many of these around at the moment, but it's an intriguing development in the world of mobile broadband. Of course, if you start sharing your no contract mobile internet dongle with family and friends you'll start to eat your way through any data allowance that you have, so watch that you don’t get caught out by that. Nevertheless, this is a handy addition to the no contract mobile broadband catalogue that could prove immensely useful to families with multiple laptops.
No contract alternatives
You'll see that some of the deals on show in our comparison tables will describe the no contract 3G broadband dongle as high-performance and while some of these devices will deliver the goods well enough, don’t forget that any kind of mobile broadband is susceptible to performance issues. Coverage, or lack of it, the amount of network traffic and numerous other factors can sometimes conspire against you to deliver internet access that is far from fast.
If you're planning on going for a internet dongle with no contract package you should also check whether or not it's compatible with any of the computers or laptops you’re using. Some dongles will only work easily with Windows-based machines, although increasingly there are models that are compatible with other operating systems such as Apple and Linux.
Similarly, you'll need to check whether or not you can use the mobile internet no contract option if you go abroad. This is possible in some cases, but beware of hidden costs and allowances because mobile providers will hit you with hefty charges if you decide to start surfing the web or catching up with emails while you sun yourself on the other side of the world. However, you can always tap into Wi-Fi if it's available instead.