What is mobile broadband?

Mobile broadband is internet access that is provided to customers through a mobile phone signal - either via mobile dongles, a 4G router, or 4G SIMs.

Who offers mobile broadband in Ireland?

As the technology used to provide mobile broadband is the same as the one that lets you use your mobile phone, many mobile networks offer it.

What is 4G mobile broadband?

4G mobile broadband is mobile broadband that is powered by 4G signals, either through a:

  • mobile dongle
  • 4G router
  • 4G SIM card.

What are the advantages/disadvantages of mobile broadband?

The main advantage is that is that it offers a good solution if you need internet access on the move.

However, speeds and data allowances will generally be considerably lower with mobile plans, compared to fixed broadband.

Always check the data allowance if you opt for a mobile broadband plan, as it may be quite low, and you’ll usually be charged for going above the limit.

What are mobile broadband speeds like?

The speed you get with mobile broadband depends on your provider and the strength of your signal.

It runs on the same kind of connection as your mobile phone, so if coverage is poor in your location, you’ll find it hard to get decent speeds with mobile broadband from the same provider.

Can I get mobile broadband in my area?

One of the advantages of mobile broadband is that you don’t need a fixed line to avail of it, so you can get it anywhere.

However, the quality of your signal will vary depending on your provider and where you are using the mobile broadband.

What is the future of mobile broadband?

At the moment, most mobile broadband providers have moved from offering 3G to 4G mobile broadband, which is great as it means faster speeds and better performance.

When 5G is rolled out in Ireland in the future, this will only improve things further.

Alternatives to mobile broadband

If you have a busy household, with many broadband users and devices connected to the internet, mobile broadband might not work for you. If that’s the case, you could consider:

  • Fibre broadband: if it’s available where you live) - this will generally give you the best speeds and performance.
  • ADSL broadband: which comes into your home through a phone line.
  • Satellite broadband: which is set up in a household through the installation of a satellite dish.

Compare broadband deals

How can I get mobile broadband?

In order to get mobile broadband, you’ll need to have a device that can connect to the internet - be it a laptop or tablet - and then opt for either a WiFi dongle, mobile dongle or mobile broadband SIM card.

Once that’s sorted, you should compare mobile broadband deals to make sure you’re getting the best one for your needs. Think about:

  • Price: including any introductory discount and the follow-on costs.
  • Speeds: for example whether you want a 3G or 4G connection - 4G is usually faster.
  • The network: you want to go with - consider the performance of mobile networks where you live and where you’ll be using the internet.
  • Data limits: particularly if you like to stream music or video via the internet, as these use up a lot of data.

Signing up is straightforward - simply fill in an application form, and your new provider will be in touch.

If you already have broadband, make sure you contact your current provider and give them the relevant notice to cancel your account.