Vodafone is one the UK's four physical network providers, the others being EE, O2 and Three. It's available pretty much everywhere and like those other providers, it offers a wide range of ways to get online via its network. It's available pretty much everywhere, though you will need to check whether specific types of mobile broadband are available from Vodafone where you live.
Vodafone offers a full range of mobile broadband solutions, including dongles and MiFi devices (portable hotspots), a 4G/5G home router called the GigaCube, designed to replace your home broadband connection, and of course data-only tablet/laptop SIMs and regular mobile SIMs. Let's take a look at the details.
Mobile broadband comes in a variety of shapes and sizes, and doesn't always necessarily mean broadband you can take anywhere with you. Rather, it's broadband that's delivered over a mobile network, and includes mobile hotspots, most commonly referred to as MiFi devices, which indeed you can take anywhere with you, as well as home broadband routers that connect to a mobile network, which generally speaking you can't.
Even then the definitions get rather blurry. Competitor network EE, for example, offers a home broadband router that connects to its mobile network that you can also pick up and take out with you and use as a mobile hotspot. Vodafone also allows mobile tethering, meaning you can use mobile broadband via your phone or data-only tablet SIM. It's a wide range of stuff, so let's take a closer look.
All things being equal, we all benefit from having some form of mobile broadband device, and indeed almost all of do in the form of our mobile phones. But as data limits on mobile SIMs head increasingly towards offering just one option (unlimited), the number of locations where we have ready access is also on the rise. That means we're getting access to more data, but needing it less and less.
Situations, then, where you need something more than wifi, and more than your mobile phone are actually pretty few and far between. Here are some of those situations so you can see whether you fit into one of these categories.
There are actually only four mobile network providers in the UK. These are sometimes referred to as 'MVNOs' and include Vodafone, O2, EE and Three. They own their own network infrastructure, meaning that, perhaps rather wastefully, there are four networks each overlapping and covering the entire country.
Other providers – of which there are many – are sometimes referred to as MVNOs, or mobile virtual network operators. They supply their mobile deals by leasing space on one of the four networks mentioned in the paragraph above. This is sometimes called 'piggybacking'.
When it comes to data speeds, there is quite a bit of variety across the four UK networks. In Opensignal’s recent speed study, conducted in 2021, Vodafone came in second fastest for 4G speeds, averaging 21Mbps. EE took the top spot with 39Mbps, Three was in third place with 19.3Mbps and O2 came in last with 17.3Mbps.
For 5G, Vodafone came last with an average download speed of 103.1Mbps. EE was fastest with 140Mbps, and O2 came in second place at 128.9Mbps. Three was the third fastest5G network at the time of the study with a speed of 115.9Mbps.
Vodafone's mobile broadband offering includes single-device USB dongles, personal hotspot MiFi devices, 4G and 5G home broadband via its GigaCube router, and of course data-only SIMs and regular mobile SIMs which can also be used for tethering.
So long as you're somewhere you can get a workable 4G (or better) signal from Vodafone, you have a range of options for receiving Vodafone mobile broadband. Visit Vodafone's mobile broadband page for more information on the types available and which will most likely suit your needs.
Yes. All four of the UK's mobile network providers now offer at least one unlimited data mobile broadband package, and they are getting cheaper and more ubiquitous all the time.
In Opensignal’s 2021 study, Vodafone came in with the second-fastest average 4G download speeds, at 21Mbps. EE is currently the fastest, with an average 4G download speed of 39Mbps.
Vodafone came in slowest of the four network providers for 5G in the 2021 Opensignal speed study, with an average 5G download speed of 103.1Mbps. The fastest was EE with an average 5G download speed of 140Mbps.