Mobile broadband is one of the best ways of getting online when you’re on the move, allowing you do everything you would on a home connection – Mobile broadband lets you stay connected to your online world (email, web surfing, gaming, video and music streaming) when on the go ensuring you remain as up-to-date as you would on a fixed home or business connection.

A mobile broadband service lets you connect to the Internet when you are on the move. The service gives you the ability to access the internet on a laptop, tablet device or PC by connecting to a mobile phone signal.

Compare mobile broadband providers

Each mobile broadband service provider in Ireland offers a range of different mobile broadband deals. The best mobile broadband deal for you will depend on the strength of the mobile signal, coverage and the type of mobile dongles available.

Mobile broadband services are provided via the 3G or 4G mobile phone networks of

How mobile broadband works

A small piece of equipment such as a mobile broadband dongle/USB modem or Mobile WiFi is used to connect to the internet from your laptop or PC. Plug a dongle/USB modem into your computer/laptop or use a wireless Mobile WiFi (otherwise known as a hotspot) to connect directly to the 3G or 4G network. A Micro SIM is used to connect with an iPad or other tablet device.

Because mobile broadband can be used on a home PC (and not just on laptop/tablet devices), it is a popular alternative method of accessing the internet for people in Ireland. Typically with most providers, there are no connection fees associated with the installation of mobile broadband devices.

Plus, a mobile broadband connection via a dongle/USB modem stick lets you connect easily without the installation wiring needed for a fixed line and the extra costs that go with that. Your laptop/computer/tablet will automatically connect with a mobile phone signal in the exact same way that your mobile phone does.

Your payment choices with Ireland’s mobile broadband service providers range from pay-as-you-go to contracts over fixed number of months.

How to use mobile broadband

It is really easy to use mobile broadband regardless of which provider you decide to go with. When you receive your USB stick, simply plug it into any of the USB ports on your laptop or home computer. After a few seconds, the software provided by your mobile broadband supplier will self-install and will follow this up with an option to connect to the internet.

Clicking ‘connect’ will enable your connection to the internet and give you full access to email, surfing, downloading, uploading, streaming - in fact, all of the features and functionality that you can experience using a fixed landline connection.

When you are ready to finish your session of web browsing, you can disconnect as normal or simply unplug your USB stick to end the connection to the internet.

It is important to remember what data allowance your broadband package has been set at – going over your allowance can mean paying extra fees and this can prove quite costly. If you plan on using your mobile broadband regularly then you should look at a package that includes a high or even unlimited download allowance for better value for money.

Providers in Ireland now offer generous allowances in some cases up to 60GB and these contract plans are a great option if you plan on using the web a lot.

Mobile broadband coverage

Mobile broadband coverage in Ireland operates on the 3G or 4G network and each of the major suppliers use this technology to enable connections for their customers. Vodafone Ireland, O2 Ireland, Three Ireland, Meteor and eMobile provide coverage maps to help you make a decision while some even provide a sample USB modem stick to allow potential customers to check the coverage from their actual home or business location.

Similar to mobile phone coverage, mobile broadband uses a similar process in terms of using a mobile signal to establish a connection. Therefore, if you live in a location which has experienced poor mobile phone coverage on a particular network you might be best to stick to those networks which have a strong signal.

The main aspect which affects mobile broadband coverage in a particular area is the distance from the mobile phone mast – faster speeds should be available to those customers who are closer to the mast but other geographic elements (e.g. mountains!) can impact coverage in Ireland.