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.

Mobile broadband providers 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 network carriers offer mobile broadband.

What is 4G mobile broadband?

4G mobile broadband is mobile broadband that is powered by 4G signals - either through a mobile dongle, a 4G router or a 4G SIM card.

What are the advantages/disadvantages of mobile broadband?

The main advantage of mobile broadband is that it’s great for anyone who needs access to the internet on the move. However it’s worth noting that speeds and data allowances will generally be considerably lower with mobile plans, when compared to fixed broadband.

This means that you’ll need to keep an eye on data allowances if you opt for a mobile broadband plan, as these can be quite low, and you will usually be charged for going above the limit.

What are mobile broadband speeds like?

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

It’s worth remembering that mobile broadband runs on the same kind of connection as your mobile phone, so if coverage is poor in your location, you are going to 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 really get it anywhere. However, remember that 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. And there’s already talk of 5g technology being on the way to Ireland in the coming years, which should 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.
  • The more widely-available 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.