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What are the best mobile broadband deals in February 2018?

Monday, February 5th 2018 by Emma Woollacott

Free wi-fi hotspots are all very well, but sometimes they really can't cut it. Speeds can be slow, the signal can drop, and sometimes you just can't face another latte.

With mobile broadband, you can use your phone's 3G or 4G service to get online, anywhere that you can get a signal, and importantly, be confident that the service is secure and that your data stays private.

There are three ways to get your own broadband while out and about. If you've already got a tablet or smartphone, you can buy a data SIM that just slots into the device. For a laptop, you can get a USB dongle - it'll be a bit cheaper - that will let you pop in a SIM to access the internet on your laptop wherever you are.

Your third option – and by far the most comprehensive – is to get a mobile hotspot that will allow you to connect several devices at the same time via 4G.

So where are the best deals?

EE's cheapest deals are for the 4GEE WiFi Mini, which can connect up to ten devices. Small enough to fit in a pocket, it has about six hours' battery life, with 50 hours standby. EE's lowest tariff costs just £12 a month for 2GB of data, with an upfront cost of £19.99 – that's on a two-year contract. A single month will cost you £13, plus £39.99 up-front. Go for the 15GB package, and it's £23 a month with no upfront cost for the two-year deal, or £24 plus £39.99 upfront for just one month.

Vodafone's most basic package is cheaper (just) at £12 a month for 2GB with a £20 upfront cost. The 15GB bundle is also a good deal, at £20 a month and nothing upfront. Really data-hungry users can go for a 50GB package for £30 a month – again with nothing to pay up front. All Vodafone data bundles use the R218 4G Mobile Wi-Fi, which allows up to five devices to connect.

Over at O2, there are plenty of two-year plans for the Huawei 4G Pocket Hotspot 2017, including a 2GB deal for £11 a month, with no upfront cost. Meanwhile, 15GB costs £20 a month and it's £30 a month for 40GB. All data bundles come with free airtime for the first three months - though you'll have to hurry, as the deals end on the 7th of this month.

Virgin's IMO Go allows ten devices to be connected and has a six-hour battery life. A 12-month package with 2GB data comes very cheap at just £8 a month plus a £39.99 upfront charge. Up the data allowance to 10GB though, and you'll be paying £20 a month with a £39.99 charge up front.

Meanwhile, Three's 4G mobile wi-fi comes courtesy of the Huawei E5573bs-322, which connects up to ten devices. A 2GB package costs just £9 a month on a two-year plan, with no upfront cost. 15GB ups the price to £18, or you can get 40GB for £23.

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