Welcome to this, a beginner’s mobile broadband guide. This broadband guide will explain the basics that you need to know in order to get connected anywhere in the world.

What is mobile broadband?

We all enjoy the ability to jump on the internet to check our emails and our favourite websites, but how about the ability to access those same sites away from home? Mobile broadband plans provide you with the ability to do anything that you would normally use your home broadband for, but on the move. You could access the internet while on a train for example, or in hotels away from home.

What do I need?

To connect with mobile broadband plans you will need either a portable USB modem, normally called a dongle, a data card or a built in device, often included with mobile smartphones and sometimes built into laptop computers. You will also need to have access to a mobile internet plan.

Why should I bother?

Mobile broadband plans will be the most useful to you if you are a person that travels a lot, or perhaps has a long journey to and from work every day. You could have access to the same internet connection on your iPhone, yes, but if you are doing business work then the ability to connect through your laptop could be priceless.

Home broadband connections often insist that you sign up to a 12, 18 or even 24 month contract. While you’ll often still sign up for a plan of a similar length when it comes to a mobile connection, at least you can take it with you wherever you go. This could be very useful if you’re a student or if you move around a lot.

Will I need a new computer?

If your laptop computer, or PC, has a USB port then chances are it is compatible with mobile broadband plans. Any dongle or other device to connect to the internet will come with detailed instructions as to how to get going. You won’t have a problem with any recent computer, though you should always check to see if your device is compatible with your particular operating system, particularly if you own a Mac or run the Linux operating system.

Can I take it overseas?

It really depends on the contract that you have signed up to. If you aren’t sure, simply give your provider a phone call and they’ll be happy to instruct you as to your connection’s use abroad. You should note that using mobile broadband plans abroad can be very expensive, although prices have dropped recently.

Is there a downside?

Don’t expect to receive the same connection speeds on your mobile connection in comparison to your home DSL line. At present it’s common to receive speeds of somewhere in the region of 1 – 2Mb, and usually with strict download limits in place. There will also be times where you find that the coverage of your mobile internet is low to nonexistent because this is still a relatively new technology.


Hopefully you will have found this beginner’s mobile broadband guide helpful. There are a lot of factors to consider when taking out a new contract for your internet on the go. Now that you have an awareness of what mobile broadband is and how to use it though, you will be well on your way to making an informed decision.