Unlimited mobile broadband – Dongles and Mobile WiFi

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Unlimited mobile broadband is one of many new options for more connectivity and in most cases, for many UK customers, is a viable alternative to conventional broadband. Offered by a number of major providers that normally specialise in mobile phone coverage, mobile broadband benefits from access to 3G, 4G and 5G mobile networks. Normally a device that can be taken anywhere, mobile broadband is also ideal in our new era of working from home, a coffee shop, the office or all 3 at different times.
Last update: April 2022

You also don’t need a landline to use the service. You can take your internet with you wherever you go, so you’re never without a connection and can stream, chat and use apps. As always, the options can be a little complicated but understanding the different offerings will help you to make the choice as to whether unlimited mobile broadband is the best way forward.

Can I get unlimited mobile data Wifi?

First, let’s check what kind of prices and offers exist for unlimited mobile broadband. In the case of most providers, you will be sold a device you can keep – unlike some conventional broadband packages. Next, there will be a commitment period, or there are a limited number of no contract offerings, though these are almost always more expensive.

If you are confident that you will not exceed a certain amount of data each month, it is worth a look at the cheaper plans that do not have unlimited broadband, but a set amount of data each month. If you are shopping for an alternative to conventional broadband however, unlimited mobile broadband is really the only way forward here.

EE unlimited mobile broadband

EE has never fully embraced this area of the market, but in recent years they have increased their offering and have a limited range of reasonably fast, reasonably priced contracts. To get something genuinely fast with EE, it is going to work out as quite an expensive tariff and not one that is any cheaper than the equivalent conventional broadband package.

While prices are always subject to change, at the time of writing, these are some examples of EE’s best offers for price and speed.

ee logo Data Monthly Cost Upfront Cost Plan Term
5G Unlimited £55 £100 18 months
4G 40GB £22 £40 1 months
4G 10GB £15 £0 24 months

Vodafone mobile broadband

Vodafone has gone from having little to offer in this area to being one of the most innovative providers, with a number of choices. They are also offering fast speeds at good prices that will work out cheaper than many conventional broadband packages.

Many of their products come 5G ready, even on lower end deals. At the time of writing, these are some examples of Vodafone’s offering.

Vodafone Logo Data Monthly Cost Upfront Cost Plan Term
Both Unlimited £26 £0 24 months
Both Unlimited £32 £35 1 months
Both 30GB £35 £0 24 months

Three mobile broadband

Three have been in this side of the market for some time, but still only have a very limited offering for unlimited mobile broadband. At the time of writing, they have one plan available with unlimited mobile data:

  • on 4G
  • for £22 with the first 6 months at half price
  • no upfront cost

O2 mobile broadband

O2 does not currently have any Unlimited Mobile Broadband plans but at the time of writing, they do offer 150GB on 5G for £25.95 with no upfront cost.

Virgin Mobile broadband

At the time of checking their offers, Virgin Media did not offer any unlimited plans. Their best overall would be 15GB for £20 per month with an upfront cost of £39.99.

How to compare mobile broadband plans?

Comparing between mobile broadband plans can be difficult. Most providers are normally in the same price region and the commitment lengths are similar. Quality is a good place to start, especially if you are going to be using it in place of conventional broadband. Comparison of price between products of similar quality, i.e two 5G plans is then the best way. It is also a bonus, if there is little or no upfront cost.

Paying over the odds for mobile broadband is basically not worth doing. If the price rises too far, then it will get difficult to justify not opting for a good conventional broadband package instead.

Compare if it is 4G or 5G and then weigh up the prices for monthly and upfront costs. The commitment length is also worth considering, to avoid a scenario where you incur exit fees for leaving early.

Should I get 3G, 4G or 5G mobile broadband?

At this stage, 3G is only worth getting if you are in an area where you have no alternative. The arrival of 5G means faster speeds, but also higher prices. 4G remains the sweet spot in most cases because the prices have come down off the back of 5G’s arrival but it is still a fast connection.

5G is only necessary if you need the increased download and upload speeds or you have found a great price. Otherwise, 5G is a luxury but not a necessity.

To dongle or not to dongle?

That is the question. Dongles have been around for a while and remain a solid choice for the on-the-go commuter or professional who needs to use their laptop at short notice often. In general though, dongles have limited appeal beyond that.

There are some unlimited data dongles that exist which would be more useful than most but again, this only works with your laptop. So if you are going to be on the move, working in different locations and generally in need of the internet at short notice, dongles are great. Besides that, they are not a good alternative for a household.

Why choose a mobile broadband deal?

In many ways, mobile broadband is a great alternative to conventional home broadband. For those who rent, are students or aren’t worried about getting a good Broadband, TV and phone bundle, this is probably the fastest and cheapest option.

A good price should not really exceed £50 for 5G per month and £40 for 4G, though the best deals are normally less than either of these amounts. The advantage of speed, simplicity in setting up and running and the ever improving speeds thanks to 5G technology makes Unlimited Mobile Broadband attractive.

phone 5g

If you have terrible fixed line broadband

Then unlimited mobile broadband might be the way to go. The connection runs on a mobile network for 4G or 5G so will potentially be much stronger than the fixed line. If you have good mobile phone signal, then you can be assured of similar performance from your Mifi.

Some providers will also do a signal checker in your area on their website, so you can make sure that there will be an improvement with a Mifi, as opposed to your fixed line.

If you travel a lot

Then it’s worth looking at a dongle, if you are on the move with a laptop and need connection quickly. If you are still looking for something to have in the house for when you return then a mifi on a shorter contract or even a 30 day rolling one might be the best option, instead of going all in on fixed line broadband you won’t really need.

As a temporary measure

Unlimited mobile broadband works well as a temporary measure, especially if you opt for a 30 day rolling plan. In general, this is maybe the best way to start off if you’ve just moved to a property and are unsure about fixed line options.

It could be the case that you start off with a Mifi and find it works well enough to continue with for a longer term. Just make sure if you are only looking at the short term that you go for the 30 day commitment periods offered by most providers.

How does mobile broadband work?

Mobile broadband is quite simple, running from a small device sent out by your provider. In most cases you will plug the device into the wall and the startup is quite simple to follow. Often the “mifi” will look similar to a router but smaller and with fewer wires.

There is then a decent range for connecting, that will normally be sufficient for a small house or a flat. Once plugged in, set up and connected to your devices, you are up and running.

Is a MiFi better for accessing the Internet?

Most of the time, the answer to this question will be yes. Mobile tethering, even if unlimited, normally has a fair use policy which means you can’t go past a certain point, though that is normally still quite a high amount of data.

If you are without wifi for one month and you have a high data allowance on your phone it will be fine, but if you are looking at your internet options for a longer term, then tethering makes a lot less sense. For the same amount of data you will probably pay more on a mobile phone plan, though exceptions to the rule exist.

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Is there such a thing as pay as you go mobile unlimited broadband?

It does exist, however these days, it’s getting harder to find. Most providers offer a 4G pay as you go option, but these are often out of stock and only offered at certain times. Pay as you go for mobile broadband has its drawbacks in any case, especially when the alternative of a good pay monthly unlimited plan exists.

Can I get unlimited mobile broadband?

Yes, and these days most providers are keen to make it as easy as possible to sign up. On each provider’s website, you will find the options to sign up and select the best deal for you. Or you can get more comparison from us at Broadband Plans by speaking to our team.

Is a MiFi device better than mobile tethering?

Most of the time, the answer to this question will be yes. Mobile tethering, even if unlimited, normally has a fair use policy which means you can’t go past a certain point, though that is normally still quite a high amount of data.

Updated on 9 May, 2022

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