Mobile broadband is a term we've heard a lot recently, but what does it mean? Most commonly in advertisements or general conversation, its simply another term forwireless Internet access that is provided by a mobile or cellular network operator, such as AT&T, Verizon and others.
How Does Mobile Broadband Work?
Mobile broadband can be used to wirelessly connect smart phones, tablets, laptops and other mobile devices to the Internet. Typically, an individual will pay a monthly fee for this service at a rate that varies depending on the carrier, the network speeds and the amount of data transferred to and from the mobile device each month.
There are mobile communication standards developed by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) that help guide and advance mobile communication technologies. 3G (3rd Generation) and 4G (4th Generation) refer to standards for mobile communication.More information about the IEEE standards can be found here.
When reviewing mobile broadband plans, a few things to compare and consider include:
- Network type - 3G/4G
- Monthly data allowance
- Monthly cost
- Network speeds (upload and download)
- Overage fees
- Device compatibility
It is important to note that depending on the cellular carrier, coverage area and service offering, there can be significant variations in network speeds, regardless of whether the network type is 3G or 4G.
Increasing Need For Mobile Broadband
As consumers are increasingly using their mobile devices to go online, mobile broadband network speed and data allowances become more important. According to the Pew Research Centers Internet & American Life Project tracking surveys, in 2012, just over half of American cell phone holders now own a smartphone. 90 percent of these individuals say that they used their cell phones to go online.
The survey also indicated that 31 percent of cell phone Internet users go online mostly using their cell phone, rather than a computer or some other device. The increasing capabilities of mobile broadband also provide convenience for many by providing Internet access when and where consumers need it.
New Opportunities And A Variety Of Options
In addition, high-speed, affordable mobile Internet access provides a new opportunity for groups that have previously not been able to get basic Internet access, due to factors such as lower income levels or inadequate fixed-Internet service offerings.
When researching mobile broadband plans, there are several services that can provide up-to-date comparisons and user reviews. An Internet search using a term like "unbiased mobile broadband comparison" will bring up some helpful resources for comparison shopping for mobile broadband plans.