As broadband technology has advanced, so has the variety of uses for it. People now stream films, audio, make phone calls and game online. As a result the data allowance limits that were once fine for most of us is no longer enough. ISP’s already offer fixed-line deals with high monthly download limits or unlimited broadband, in order to cater for the heavier internet user. However, what if you wanted the same service on the move?
Is unlimited mobile broadband available?
At this moment in time, unlimited mobile broadband is a rarity on the UK market. Few 3G providers offer this service due to the cost of data transfers over 3G networks. These are higher than those for home broadband technology. Additionally, the reluctance of providers to offer unlimited mobile access is also due to fears of networks becoming overloaded if large numbers of people had unlimited downloads.
Therefore the highest monthly download limit you’ll find currently from a mobile provider is 15Gb (Three). This deal is the closest you’ll get to unlimited mobile broadband on a 3G network. Most providers will only have maximum downloads of 1 – 5Gb. One should also be aware that if you exceed those limits, you will be charged for doing so, which can become very expensive!
4G and the future
Despite there being currently little in the way of unlimited mobile broadband packages, this may change in the near future. 4G was launched last year, offering a significant step forward in the development of mobile broadband.
4G’s download speeds are comparable with fixed-line home broadband and are five times faster than 3G. A whole music album will take around 20 minutes to download on a 3G phone. Whereas the same album will only take 3 minutes to download on a 4G enabled laptop, phone or tablet. EE say that the average download speeds are between 8 and 10Mbps with a top-speed upwards of 40Mbps. Upload speed are also fast, typically 5-6Mbps and a maximum of up to 15Mbps.
Although there are currently no unlimited mobile broadband packages available from EE, other mobile broadband providers are gearing up to launch their own 4G products soon. As 4G services diversify and prices comes down, we could see an unlimited package become available.