Mobile broadband myths debunked

We help you clear up any confusion when it comes to mobile broadband in Ireland by exposing mobile broadband myths

Mobile broadband technology is already confusing too many people, and this is not helped by the array of confusing terminology, such as dongles and USBs. Mobile broadband is a technology that remains bewildering to many users, even though it is accessible to the majority of people. To help explain both the terminology and basic technical knowhow, here are the top ten myths commonly heard about mobile broadband.

Mobile broadband is slower

Home broadband was once much faster than mobile broadband, but this is no longer true. Mobile broadband currently has an average connection speed of 7.2MB, this is almost the same as a standard home broadband connection, which is generally 8MB. Mobile broadband speed can be increased free of charge, up to 21MB, by the use of a specifically designed browser, an example of which is Opera Turbo. This compresses web pages, reducing their size, before sending them to the user, thus speeding up what would have been a slow connection by up to five times.

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Small download allowances

There are a great many broadband packages around that offer as much as 15 gigabytes of monthly usage. If you’re not sure how much that is, then 10 gigabytes is equivalent to 10,000 emails, over 300 four-minute music downloads, up to 100 hours of internet surfing, and 50 30-minute video downloads. There are a few broadband packages with much lower limits which would restrict users, but if that’s all thats needed, they are ideal and cheaper. It is simple to compare which broadband package is best value for money by comparing packages on

A dongle is essential

You can now buy laptops that have broadband pre-installed. You can also tether laptops to mobiles which means that the mobile phone provides an internet gateway for the laptop to connect to the internet. Dongles and MiFis are still used quite widely but are now not always necessary.

Dongles are out of fashion

The original design of a dongle was not a very pleasing one, made of plastic and metal, they would fit into the side of a laptop via a PCMCIA slot. More recent versions are both functional and stylish as they are very small USB devices, some providers offer a fashionable dongle skin which can even be personalised. The latest dongle has the added functionality of being able to provide USB storage, and further developments are ongoing.

Long contracts

There are now a variety of contracts available, from 24 months, which used to be the norm, down to a single month. If you don’t wish to be tied to a contract there are many pay-as-you-go options. All the major mobile broadband providers offer a variety of options, mainly driven by the fact that the current market is very competitive.

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Mobile broadband is expensive

Broadband only plans can cost up to €360 per year, with some packages subject to a once off set-up cost. Compare that to a mobile broadband package, which has no set-up fees. Some packages are as little as €120 per year, making mobile broadband considerably cheaper than a fixed line deal.

It can only be used at home

Whilst the majority of mobile broadband customers use the internet at home, WiFi hotspots are available nationwide, which allows users to connect free of charge whilst out of their homes and on the move. This doesn’t impinge on mobile broadband contract usage, keeping their allowance intact. To get online by sharing a connection with any other WiFi enabled device, users simply need to plug a dongle into a MiFi, also called a mobile wireless router, and access is shared.

Costly data charges

Data charges have reduced significantly over recent years, the amount customers can download has trebled and costs have reduced. Some of the largest broadband package suppliers provide online systems for tracking usage, and then notify customers if they are close to reaching their agreed limits, thus preventing punitive charges for exceeding their contracted allowances.

Using mobile broadband abroad is expensive

In the past there has been a great deal of publicity concerning users running up huge bills, when using broadband while abroad on holiday. Limits have now been placed on the amount providers can charge per megabyte of downloaded data. EU regulations stipulate that ISPs must warn customers of an impending breach of any agreed allowance limit.

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