Is mobile broadband a viable alternative to landline

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3G Mobile broadband has come a long way in a short space of time. From an industry which started out with countless reliability issues and connection problems users can now get an uninterrupted connection in over 90% of the UK. So the time has come when we can finally ask: ‘Is mobile broadband a viable alternative to the traditional landline based ADSL broadband connection?’ The short answer is ‘it depends…’, but we have put together a short list of advantages and disadvantages to help you decide if it could work for you:


  1. You can access the internet when out and about
    With a landline based option, your surfing stops when you go out your front door whereas with mobile broadband you can continue to access the internet from anywhere. Say for example you are a student – you (theoretically) spend most of your day out at university and then you head home at the weekend to get your mum to do the washing. With a landline based connection you would only be able to access the internet Monday to Thursday evening – so you are paying for a service which you can only use a fraction of the time. With a mobile broadband solution however, you can be checking your mail during a seminar at uni, or updating your Facebook while your mum is doing your laundry at the weekend. Now doesn’t that sound like a better idea!
  2. You can take it with you when you move home
    With a fixed line broadband connection, moving home can be a nightmare with cancellation and transfer costs incurred which is the last thing you want in an already stressful period. Moving home with mobile internet on the other hand is not an issue. If you are on a pre-pay billed contract you will need to ask your provider to update their records but you will not experience any downtime or transfer fees. This can be particularly useful for people who rent property on a short term basis.
  3. No need to pay for landline connection
    3G mobile broadband is an attractive option for those who do not want to go to the trouble and expense of having a landline installed and paying a monthly telephone line rental. This is an expense which is now unnecessary thanks to the development of mobile broadband. With the widespread use of mobile phones for voice calls, the need for a landline is reduced even further.
  4. You won’t need to deal with BT
    If you have had to deal with them, you will know what we are talking about!
  5. Faster than dial-up – if that is your alternative
    For users who have been putting off the move up to broadband and have continued to rely on dial-up internet access, a mobile broadband connection could offer a massive improvement in internet access speed.
  6. More accessible than wi-fi access
    To access the internet through a wifi connection, there needs tobe a local network available and you will usually need to get a login username and password to gain access. If you only want to log on to check your email or look up an address, this can sometimes prove to be more hassle than it is worth. With a 3G mobile broadband connection however, once you are up and running, it is very quick and easy to get online wherever you are.


  1. Patchy network coverage
    Although mobile broadband provider websites have maps showing coverage of over 90% of the country, in reality the network coverage can be quite disappointing. Some areas might look ok on a map, but if it is in a hollow you may have difficulty getting a connection – and the advertised ‘maximum download speed’ of 7.2MB/s can often prove impossible to achieve.
  2. Download limits – not suitable for heavy users
    The cost of transferring data across 3G network is much higher than through a traditional ADSL connection. As a result, mobile broadband packages usually come with a download limit – usually ranging from 1-5gb. Whilst this amount of bandwidth will be fine for your standard web browsing and emailing, it could present problems for applications such as downloading movies or online gaming.
  3. Slower than regular ADSL or cable broadband
    Whilst mobile broadband is great for checking your email or surfing the web, connections are generally much slower and much less consistent when compared to regular ADSL or cable broadband. This means that a mobile broadband can be unreliable for applications that need a constant high-speed connection such as online video conferencing or online gaming.
  4. Yet another contract (typically 18 months)
    As with most broadband packages, ‘standard’ Mobile Internet packages are tied in with a contract typically of 18 months - and many people are loathe to sign up to yet another monthly bill with a long contract. There are special deals such as 1 month contracts offered by some companies such as o2 and also there are pay-as-you-go options on various providers meaning there will always be a package to suit every requirement.
  5. Expensive roaming charges
    Expensive roaming charges can prove to be a major problem in two distinct cases:
    • Users who take use their mobile broadband whilst overseas do not always realize just how much they are downloading and they are then hit with a very nasty bill when they get home. If you are just logging on to do a quick email check then you should be OK. But leaving the your laptop connected to the internet whilst overseas can be a recipe for disaster - windows will happily download that service pack 3 and your antivirus program will continue to check for updates to its virus definition files – oblivious to the harm these actions could be making to your pocket!
    • The other situation when roaming charges can cause a problem is for users who live near the border with the Republic of Ireland. If you live near the border and your modem is set to automatically connect to the strongest signal, you could find that it will roam onto an Irish network – resulting in the same roaming charges as if you were sitting in the middle of Paris or Rome!

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What is Mobile Broadband?

Mobile Broadband gives you internet access, without wires, over the air. You do not need a telephone line, or to be in a Wi-Fi area to get mobile broadband - using only a USB Modem with your Laptop or PC you can have access to fast broadband.