f you’re dumbfounded by dongles and aren’t sure of the USP of a USB modem, you’re not alone. Although mobile broadband has been the biggest story of the last 12 months, it’s still a technology that is little understood.
To clear up the confusion, Top 10 Broadband has compiled list of the ten most common mobile broadband myths. In short, it’s everything you ever wanted to know about mobile broadband, but were afraid to ask.
1) Download allowances are insufficient.
Not so. Although 1GB deals are still around and are indeed limiting for users, these are now far from the norm.
One of the bestselling deals out now is 3’s 15GB for £15 package. That’s enough for 5,000 emails, 150 hours of web surfing, ten half hour video downloads and 480 four-minute music tracks.
Furthermore, research from industry experts shows that the typical mobile broadband user gets through just 1.2Mb of their monthly download limit each month.
2) Mobile broadband is much slower than home broadband.
Top 10 Broadband’s exclusive speed test software reveals that the average connection speed for a Vodafone customer is 2.62Mb. This compares well with the current average fixed line connection speed of 3.5Mb.
Mobile broadband users can also boost their speeds at no extra cost by using a specially designed browser such as Opera Turbo.
3) Mobile broadband laptop deals are a rip-off.
While it’s true that buying a laptop and broadband separately usually works out cheaper, compared with other credit/hire purchase deals laptop offers are actually very keenly priced.
For instance, Vodafone’s current Acer Aspire 535 deal is priced at £40 per month over 24 months. However, if you deduct the £550 cost of the laptop from the total package price of £960, you’re paying just £17 per month for mobile broadband. That’s just £2 more than the average dongle-only deal and in line with the mean price of a fixed line connection.
4) Contracts are too long.
While 24 month contracts were the norm just 12 months ago, contracts as short as one-month as offered by providers like O2 are now extremely popular. Furthermore, those who despise contracts, can opt for one of the many pay as you go options offered by all the main retailers from with prices starting from £2 per day on T-Mobile.
5) Data charges are expensive.
The days of punitive charges of £45 per GB are a relic of the dim and distant past. 3’s current £15 per month deal entitles users to 15GB of usage per month – that’s just £1 per 1GB of usage.
Mobile broadband provider, T-Mobile applies no charges for excess usage on their plans. Similarly other providers have online tracking systems that can be used to keep on top of download usage and prevent excessive charges.
6) You need a dongle to get mobile broadband.
Although many people do use dongles, laptops that are pre-installed with broadband are becoming increasingly common. So much so, in fact, that Top 10 Broadband anticipates they will soon be the most common way of using mobile broadband.
Orange and Vodafone both offer laptop deals with broadband embedded. And better still, signing up means you can get your hands on a high-end Dell Inspiron Mini 9 netbook or a stylish pink Eee PC 901 laptop.
7) Usage overseas is expensive.
Horror stories of bills of thousands of pounds for overseas use were once a fixture of UK newspapers. But recently ISPs have dramatically cut charges by as much as 80 per cent.
But that’s just the start. EU legislation to promote competition comes into force on July 1st this year which will slash costs even more. The introduction of a wholesale cap will peg the maximum charge at 1Euro per Mb downloaded. This compares with the current average price of 1.68 Euro. Under the EU regulations, ISPs will also be forced to warn consumers when they are close to breaching their usage caps, making bill shocks a very slim possibility.
8) Mobile broadband is a luxury at a time of recession.
Mobile broadband is often a cheaper option than fixed line broadband. That’s because you don’t have to pay for line rental.
With line rental at £11.25 per month and extra for broadband, the cost of even the cheapest fixed line connections is around £17. Conversely, Top 10 Broadband calculates that the average price for a mobile broadband product is just £15.
9) Dongles are dull.
Certainly, the very first dongles prioritised function over form. But more recently they’ve become much more stylish and are now very much the devices du jour.
If fashion is your thing, you’re sure to like designer Henry Holland jaunty polka-dot patterned O2 dongle. And if that doesn’t float your boat, why not try Orange’s shocking pink ee160 dongle? Alternatively, 3 sells dongle skins to let you add a dash of colour to your mobile broadband experience.
Newer dongles are also much more than just means of getting online and are at the cutting edge of putting the fun into functionality. T-Mobile’s USB Stick 530 doubles as a USB storage device. And as we speak, technology firms are working on a dongle that will work as a mobile phone.
10) Mobile broadband can only be used outside the home.
75% of mobile broadband users connect to the internet at home. While away from home T-Mobile and O2 customers can avail of Wi-Fi hotspots, allowing them to take advantage of free connection without eating into your mobile broadband usage allowance.
Thanks to T-Mobile’s brilliant Share Dock device mobile broadband users can even share their connection between up to three other users in the same building. Better still, the Share Dock is easy to install and is free when you sign up for an 18-month contract.
You can also share your connection if you’re a 3 customer. All you need is to do is plug your dongle into a Huawei wireless router and you and yours can be online in no time.
Source: Top 10 Mobile