Comparing mobile broadband providers
With so much choice when it comes to mobile broadband, how do you know what deal and network is right for you? Here are the most important things to consider when choosing a mobile broadband provider…
Mobile broadband performance is highly dependant on a strong signal so this is absolutely crucial.
While the networks will boast of their prowess in the coverage department, it’s best to check this for yourself. Every network has a coverage check tool which can display signal strength in a particular location, so use these to gauge whether the provider is going to be able to deliver a strong enough signal in the areas you’re going to be using the service. Click the logos below to access each provider’s coverage checker:
And of course you can also gauge signal strength by looking at the performance on a smartphone or other device. Going with the network you already use for a phone service is a safe bet!
Mobile broadband speed is a tricky one to judge. The providers quote very optimistic “up to” speeds that most of us will never see, so you’ll want to look at independent real-world testing for a more realistic picture. One of the best sources is Ofcom’s annual smartphone cities report, which tests 4G and 3G performance in several cities across the UK.
However, this may not actually be all that important. Unless you have a specific reason to need the very best performance at any time, all the providers will be able to deliver acceptable mobile internet speeds, especially on 4G where the connections can comfortably match or exceed many home broadband connections.
Existing customer bonuses
Many mobile networks also offer home broadband and other services, and it’s common for existing customers to get additional benefits if they choose a mobile deal from the same company. If this is likely to be a useful feature or add up to a significant saving it should factor heavily into your decision.
In an effort to stand out in a highly competitive market, mobile networks offer free extras to tempt potential subscribers. This can include features such as free international roaming, free data for specific services, data allowances that rollover to the next month and discounts on goods and services.
How much these affect your choice is for you to decide - they could be simply nice to have, or become an essential feature that puts one network above all others.