Best mobile broadband deals

Compare cheap mobile broadband deals and offers from just £8 per month.

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14G Plus MiFiThree
£27.00 per month
Huawei E5783B. Great for everyday home broadband. 14-day money-back guarantee. No landline or engineer needed.
  • 4Gdownload speed
  • Unlimited Monthly usage
  • £29.00 One-off Cost
  • 1 Month Contract
  • No phone line
Get Deal
£27.00 per month
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24G Mobile Broadband 3GBVirgin Mobile
£8.00 per month
Huawei portable WiFi hub. Connect up to 16 devices at home or on the go. 6 hrs battery when in use. Up to 350 hrs on standby.
  • 4Gdownload speed
  • 3GBMonthly usage
  • Zero One-off Cost
  • 12 Month Contract
  • No phone line
Get Deal
£8.00 per month
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34G Mobile Broadband 3GBVirgin Mobile
£8.00 per month
Huawei portable WiFi hub. Connect up to 16 devices at home or on the go. 6 hrs battery when in use. Up to 350 hrs on standby.
  • 4Gdownload speed
  • 3GBMonthly usage
  • £39.99 One-off Cost
  • 1 Month Contract
  • No phone line
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£8.00 per month
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44G WiFi Mobile Broadband 4GBVodafone
£10.00 per month
Maximum download of 10Mbps. Connect up to 10 devices. 51 roam-free destinations.
  • 4Gdownload speed
  • 4GBMonthly usage
  • Zero One-off Cost
  • 24 Month Contract
  • No phone line
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£10.00 per month
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54G WiFi Mobile Broadband 4GBVodafone
£11.00 per month
Maximum download of 10Mbps. Connect up to 10 devices. 51 roam-free destinations.
  • 4Gdownload speed
  • 4GBMonthly usage
  • Zero One-off Cost
  • 12 Month Contract
  • No phone line
Get Deal
£11.00 per month
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64G HubThree
6 months half price
£11.00 £22.00 p/m after 6 mths
6 months half price
Great for everyday home broadband. Unlimited data. 14-day money-back guarantee. No landline or engineer needed.
  • 4Gdownload speed
  • Unlimited Monthly usage
  • Zero One-off Cost
  • 24 Month Contract
  • No phone line
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6 months half price
£11.00 £22.00 p/m after 6 mths
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74G Plus MiFi
Three
£11.00 £22.00 p/m after 6 mths
Huawei E5783B. Great for everyday home broadband. 14-day money-back guarantee. No landline or engineer needed.
  • 4Gdownload speed
  • Unlimited Monthly usage
  • Zero One-off Cost
  • 24 Month Contract
  • No phone line
Get Deal
£11.00 £22.00 p/m after 6 mths
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84G Hub with 4K LG TV
Three
£11.50 £23.00 p/m after 6 mths
Faster speeds for heavy streaming. Low lag for near pro gaming. 14-day money-back guarantee. No landline or engineer needed.
  • 4Gdownload speed
  • Unlimited Monthly usage
  • Zero One-off Cost
  • 24 Month Contract
  • No phone line
Get Deal
£11.50 £23.00 p/m after 6 mths
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94G Plus MiFiThree
£12.00 per month
Huawei E5783B. Great for everyday home broadband. 14-day money-back guarantee. No landline or engineer needed.
  • 4Gdownload speed
  • 10GBMonthly usage
  • Zero One-off Cost
  • 24 Month Contract
  • No phone line
Get Deal
£12.00 per month
Get Deal
104G Mobile Broadband 6GBVirgin Mobile
£12.00 per month
Huawei portable WiFi hub. Connect up to 16 devices at home or on the go. 6 hrs battery when in use. Up to 350 hrs on standby.
  • 4Gdownload speed
  • 6GBMonthly usage
  • Zero One-off Cost
  • 12 Month Contract
  • No phone line
Get Deal
£12.00 per month
Get Deal
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Broadband speeds are dependent on where you live and you may receive slower speeds than listed. Broadband is subject to availability – check with the provider. All our monthly costs are inclusive of line rental. Prices may change during this period unless otherwise stated. You should have the right to cancel without penalty if your provider increases charges during the minimum term of your contract. All prices are inclusive of VAT except business prices. Contract lengths may vary.

How to get the best mobile broadband deals

  1. Best mobile broadband deals December 2021
  2. What is mobile broadband?
  3. Do I need mobile broadband?
  4. Coverage and data speeds
  5. Which providers offer mobile broadband?
  6. Mobile broadband checklist
  7. Frequently asked questions

Mobile broadband or portable broadband fills in the gaps where regular, home broadband deals can't go. Its face has changed somewhat over the last few years, however. The rise of the smartphone means there aren't as many situations where we need access to the internet (but don't have it) as there once were.

Nevertheless, mobile broadband is still has its place. There remain circumstances where living and working in locations where fixed-line broadband isn't an option requires something with a bit more oomph than your mobile phone can provide. Let's take a look at mobile broadband in its current form, what it is, where it's useful and whether or not you actually need it.

Best mobile broadband deals December 2021

  • Vodafone 4G WiFi Mobile Broadband 4GB
    Vodafone
    • 4G download speed
    • 4GB limit
    • No phone line
    £10 p/m
    Zero one-off cost Get Deal
  • Three 4G Plus MiFi
    Three
    • 4G download speed
    • 10GB limit
    • No phone line
    £12 p/m
    Zero one-off cost Get Deal
  • O2 4G Pocket Hotspot Mobile Broadband 15GB
    O2
    • 4G download speed
    • 15GB limit
    • No phone line
    £19.84 p/m
    Zero one-off cost Get Deal

Compare mobile broadband

What is mobile broadband?

There are a number of different devices and technologies that fall under the umbrella of 'mobile broadband'. And although they largely deliver the same thing – internet without the need for a fixed-line router – they take a number of different forms and fit a number of different situations.

  • Dongles – Usually come in the form of a USB 'stick' that looks a lot like those USB memory sticks you also barely see anymore. A dongle plugs into a single device – usually a laptop – and uses a mobile data network (like a smartphone) to provide internet access to that device only. They're hard to come by these days, but one or two providers do still offer them. They are a niche within a niche – ideal only for those who travel everywhere with their laptop, and require constant internet access
  • MiFi devices – These can also be USB devices, but will often only use USB to charge their batteries. MiFi devices are small, pocket-sized boxes that act exactly like a home broadband class="strong" router, with the obvious difference that they are battery powered and you can take them anywhere. You won't get the same sort of range on one of these that you will on a home router, but they are a good way for lots of people to access the internet if they are all sat relatively close to it
  • Data only SIMs – The most common use for these is to put one in a tablet. They're often referred to as 'tablet SIMs' in fact. They provide mobile data, but without a phone number, or call and text bundles. Quite a lot of newer laptops have a SIM slot for one of these. So, if your laptop can accept one, you could have internet access wherever you go without the need for a dongle.
  • Mobile hotspots/tethering – If you have a smartphone, chances are you can do something called 'tethering'. This is where you go into your wifi and connectivity options and switch on something called 'mobile hotspot'. When you do this your mobile will temporarily become a mobile broadband router. If you can do this reliably and it doesn't eat too much into your data allowance, there's a good argument to be made for taking this option over investing in some other, additional means of mobile connectivity
  • 3G/4G/5G home broadband – Only a couple of providers offer this, but this is essentially the same as a MiFi device, only this one plugs into the mains and is designed to act as your full-time home broadband router. As with MiFi, it won't need a fixed line, but instead uses mobile network data. The main drawback with it is you will be limited in the amount of data you can use each month, but it's a good solution for those who cannot get any workable internet
  • Public wifi – Depending on where you find yourself without internet and how much bandwidth (speed) you need to do what you need to do, free public wifi can be a good solution. And it won't cost you a bean. Well, maybe a coffee bean

Do I need mobile broadband?

Even if all you do is skim through all the different types of mobile broadband above, you'll immediately get the idea that there are going to be a number of different reasons you may need mobile broadband. All of them, we would argue however, fall into one of the following four categories.

  • You have terrible fixed line broadband – Though superfast broadband is available to something like 97% of UK households, that still leaves well over half a million homes that can't get it. Things tend to be especially bad if you're somewhere especially rural. In this situation, you may wish to consider mobile broadband as although it is comparatively expensive, it's still a lot cheaper than satellite broadband
  • You travel for work – Some jobs will see you out and about all day long, maybe up and down the country, maybe even regularly abroad. For this type of person a mobile broadband package is an insurance policy that you'll remain connected wherever you go, within range of a wifi signal or not
  • No other options – If you have no broadband connection, no mobile phone you can tether to and no other options wherever it is you intend to live or work, mobile broadband is pretty much all you have left
  • You need a temporary solution – You can get mobile broadband deals on one-month rolling contracts. It therefore can ideally suit someone who only needs remote internet access at certain times of year – or even as a one-off

Coverage and data speeds

Whichever solution you ultimately choose, you'll be drawing your data from one of only four networks. You see, although there are many, many mobile providers in the UK, there are only four physical networks: EE mobile, Vodafone mobile, Three mobile and O2 mobile. All other providers 'piggyback' on one of these four.

We should all be grateful for this. It means we only need to think about the coverage and download/upload speeds of four networks, even though there exists a wider range of providers.

Note that in any of these measures, that does not mean landmass. There are still significant spacial gaps in mobile coverage across all network providers. Happily, these holes aren't in the same spots from one provider to the next, meaning you should check each network providers' coverage map to ensure signal reaches the spots you need it to.

EE – Claims the best 4G coverage. But there's not much in it, with all four providers claiming 99% or greater coverage by population. According to crowdsourced speed data from insight organisation Tutela, in January 2019 EE provided the fastest average data speeds of the four network providers with average 4G download speeds of around 27Mbps.

Vodafone – Claims 99% 4G coverage by population. Tutela measured its average 4G download speed as around 21Mbps.

Three – Claims 99% 4G coverage by population. Tutela measured its average 4G download speed as around 11Mbps, the slowest of the four.

O2 – 99% 4G coverage by population. Tutela measured an average 4G download speed as around 16Mbps.

Which providers offer mobile broadband?

While most networks offer SIM only or SIM plus handset deals that allow hotspot tethering, relatively few providers offer a comprehensive range of dongles, MiFi devices and 4G home broadband. Here are those providers and what each of them offers.

  • EE mobile broadband – On the EE network (of course), EE offers a wide range of devices. No stick-style laptop dongles here, but you can get a couple of different MiFi devices. EE also offers 4G home broadband with monthly data limits up to 500GB. They're not cheap, mind
  • Vodafone mobile broadband – You can get both stick-style laptop dongles and pocket-sized, self powered MiFi boxes from Vodafone. There's also Vodafone Airtel, which delivers 4G home broadband with limits up to 500GB. Again, not cheap at the high end, but lower limits are actually very reasonable
  • Three mobile broadband – Has partnered with Chinese manufacturer Huawei to offer both a MiFi device and 4G home broadband
  • O2 mobile broadband – Offers just one device – a Netgear 'Pocket Hotspot'. It's a discreet MiFi device offering with a range of different data caps
  • Virgin mobile broadband – Like O2, Virgin offers just one device with various data limits

All mobile broadband providers

What you need

So what do you actually need to do if you want mobile broadband? Here, we put in order what we believe to be the best way to approach it.

  • Will tethering do? – This is something you need to ask yourself before shelling out. If you have a smartphone, chances are you can use it as a hotspot, which may in fact do everything you need in terms of ensuring you have an internet connection wherever you go. Even if you're going to bump up against your mobile's data limit by doings so, it's still going to be cheaper to increase that limit than it will be to take out an additional, bespoke mobile broadband deal
  • Pick the right device – If you only need mobile broadband for a single laptop, either a USB laptop dongle or a data-only SIM will serve your needs. If you need broadband for multiple devices when you're out and about, a USB or battery-powered MiFi device is required
  • Choose a provider – We advise you choose a provider solely based on the coverage it provides in the places you're going to need internet access. Check each provider's coverage map to see if there is a clear choice
  • Choose a deal – Use our comparison table (above) to find a deal that suits. We don't currently list all deals or providers, but we're working on it. Hopefully there will be something there that tickles your fancy

Frequently asked questions

Can I get unlimited data?

Yes. More and more mobile broadband providers are offering unlimited data deals. Use our unlimited mobile broadband comparison to find the best deals.

What's the fastest mobile broadband I can get?

Right now, anything from EE. It is far and away the fastest provider when it comes to data speeds, offering an average download speed of 27Mbps according to independent measurements from Tutela. Vodafone is the seconds fastest, averaging 21Mbps, then O2 at 16Mbps and finally Three at 11Mbps.

Is a MiFi device better than mobile tethering?

For some applications yes, for others no. If you need internet access for a wide range of devices at the same time and with a fair amount of range, a dedicated MiFi device is going to provide a better experience. If all you need is internet access for your own laptop, however, tethering it to your mobile may well be an indistinguishable experience compared to a dedicated dongle.

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

Yes. All four network providers – EE, Three, Vodafone and O2 – offer broadband on a pay as you go (PAYG)/top-up basis.

How does mobile broadband work?

Exactly like the data on your smartphone. Connectivity is delivered wirelessly via mobile network masts. The main difference is that mobile broadband is geared towards supplying broadband to other devices beyond just your phone.

Should I get 3G or 4G?

You won't have a choice. When you get a mobile broadband device, it'll always be 4G by default. If it finds itself in a location where it cannot access 4G, but 3G is available, it will use that instead. 3G is substantially slower than 4G, but still perfectly adequate for basic online tasks.

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