Mobile Broadband Coverage - hints and tips

Hints and tips for getting the best mobile broadband experience

Here are a few pointers that, whilst not rocket science, will help you make the best decision when choosing mobile broadband, and will ensure you find the right provider for your circumstances.

  • If you are in a rural, or semi-rural area, your starting point is to look at all the coverage checkers before you get excited about a particular deal. There will be tears before bedtime if you sign up to a dongle or laptop deal, only to find your internet signal weak or non-existent.
  • As a rule, don’t use mobile broadband overseas – the charges are usually astronomical and many of the major network providers do not include international roaming in their packages.
  • Ask yourself how much you are going to use it – there is no point in paying a high monthly charge for 15GB data allowance if you are just sending the occasional email or using it very rarely. Equally, if you download movies and music and like to surf more regularly, then you need to remember that most providers have fair usage policies which may penalise you or restrict access if you exceed your monthly download allowance.
  • If you already have a dongle or mobile broadband contract and are struggling for coverage, you can try using a signal booster. These usually clip onto your laptop screen or slot into your USB port and can often be quite effective. If you want to go the whole hog, you can buy pole antennas which can be mounted outside your property to give a better signal.
  • If you need a new laptop, or don’t currently have a machine at all, choosing a contract deal which includes a laptop in your monthly payment can be a very cost effective way of getting online, (and getting a laptop!). There is usually an up-front charge (up to £49 in many cases) which you will have to pay at the outset of the contract if you want to sign up to a laptop deal, but the cost of your machine will be spread out over the contract term, much like a mobile phone contract, and you can avoid the capital outlay of buying a machine in one hit.
  • PAYG deals are a great way of getting online without much commitment. Most of the network providers offer them, and many are pre-loaded with an initial data allowance that means you can get up and running very quickly. When you need more, just get online and pay for additional data – couldn’t be much simpler.
  • Taking out a mobile broadband contract will allow you to benefit from similar perks to mobile phone users in many cases – for example Orange Wednesdays cinema ticket offers.

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