Article by Alan Reed
If you are thinking about mobile broadband then ensuring that you pick a provider with mobile broadband coverage in your area should be one of the first points to consider. Whilst mobile broadband brings many benefits associated with having internet access on the move you might be disappointed if you don’t first check that you can get good coverage in your area. Broadband Expert allow you to check your mobile broadband coverage with all providers.
If you’re not convinced that you will get the coverage you need from your mobile broadband provider you may be better off with a pay as you go mobile broadband deal to test the coverage before committing to a lengthy contract which might prove useless if coverage is poor. Pay as you go mobile broadband is now available from all the main providers and is becoming increasingly popular.
Mobile broadband coverage and speed will be determined by the strength of signal you receive from your provider which in tern is determined by the distance you are form your providers nearest mast (which send out these radio signals). In urban areas, in particularly city centre, there is a much higher density of these masts meaning that you are much more likely to get good coverage compared to rural areas where coverage can be weak and even non existent meaning you might not be able to get online and even if you can speeds will be very slow. Urban areas are also more likely to get 3G or HSDPA mobile broadband coverage which offers faster speeds, where this is not available the standard GPRS mobile network is used which delivers lower speeds. Speeds can also be affected by other factors including weather conditions and the type of building you are in, in addition to the number of users on the network so you may notice that speeds change at different times.
Coverage for mobile broadband will vary by provider. Speeds will vary to and it is unlikely that you will get the maximum speed advertised by the provider, only a percentage of this speed.
3 Mobile Broadband Coverage
Three advertise 91% coverage and a maximum speed of 3.6Mbs; they claim to have the UK’s largest 3G network which they say will be even bigger and faster in 2010. 3 Share a network with T-Mobile meaning their performance is likely to be similar (other factors such as the USB broadband dongle can affect performance too).
T-Mobile Mobile Broadband Coverage
T-Mobile broadband coverage and speeds will typically be similar to those on 3′s network (as they share a network). T-Mobile advertises download speeds of up to 4.5Mbs.
O2 Mobile Broadband Coverage
O2 have coverage of around 80% and advertise speeds if up to 3.6MBs. The O2 dongle will detect which network is available select the fastest from their HSDPA (fastest), 3G and GPRS (slowest) networks.
Orange Mobile Broadband Coverage
Orange’s proposed merger with T-Mobile could result in faster coverage for both companies should they choose to share their networks which would seem to be a logical move. Orange currently advertises maximum download speeds of 3.6Mbs and claims it’s 3G network has covers more than 80% of the UK.
Vodafone Mobile Broadband Coverage
Vodafone boast the fastest maximum download speeds of up to 14.4Mbs although it is highly unlikely that you will achieve these speeds. There’s no figure available for percentage coverage of the Vodafone network but they have recently added 1500 new base stations to increase coverage.
Virgin Mobile Broadband Coverage
Virgin claims 85% UK coverage with it’s mobile broadband network with speeds of up to 3Mbs.
Broadband Expert’s mobile broadband coverage checker: http://www.broadband-expert.co.uk/mobile-broadband/mobile-broadband-coverage/
Pay as you Go Mobile Broadband deals: http://www.broadband-expert.co.uk/mobile-broadband/pay-as-you-go-mobile-broadband/
The author writes on a variety of subjects
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