|O2 Network||O2 PAYG mobile broadband 1GB. £10 USB modem (half the usual price). Flexible contract with no ties.|
Up to 3.6MB
(+ dongle cost £35.73)
|3 Network||3 mobile broadband with 5GB per month. £4.99 upfront for USB dongle. One month easy flexible contract with no ties.|
Up to 3.6MB
From £15.99/ month
|Vodafone Network||Vodafone PAYG mobile broadband 3GB. USB Modem £25 one off fee. |
Up to 3.6MB
|T-Mobile Network||2GB T-Mobile PAYG Mobile Broadband. Initial cost of £19.99 for USB modem. Limited time offer: 30 days FREE unlimited browsing, when bought with a £10 top up!|
Up to 3.6MB
|Orange Network||2GB Orange PAYG mobile broadband. Free next day delivery. One month contract with no ties. |
Up to 7.2MB
How does PAYG mobile broadband work?
Nothing could be easier than subscribing to a PAYG mobile broadband plan. Simply purchase the data allowance that you need from any of the major 3G networks. Each block of data allowance will usually last for a month and will expire either at the end of the month or when the entire bandwidth allowance has been used up. When this happens, simply top up again and continue using the internet. Another common form of PAYG mobile internet access is price per day, this will usually be a few pounds and come with a limited amount of data allowance, this is a great way for a person who rarely needs mobile internet to get themselves hooked up to a 3G network when they do.
How much does PAYG mobile broadband cost?
The bad news here is that all of the main mobile broadband networks do charge more for PAYG access. The reasons for this are purely financial; subscription users are committing themselves to a long term contract. This empowers the service provider to use the estimated funds received from subscribers to leverage economic power in many ways. PAYG have no such contract and are free to stop using the service at any time, the price of PAYG mobile internet reflects this. Typically, a mid level PAYG plan will be around 30% more expensive than a similar monthly contract plan. At the moment the best value PAYG 3G plans start from around £15 per month or per 3 GB download.
Are there any hidden costs with PAYG mobile broadband?
For most PAYG plans there is a single hidden cost. Monthly plans will almost always supply the equipment required to connect a laptop or PC to the 3G network as a sign up gift. This is not so with PAYG product offerings. The PAYG user is expected to purchase their own USB dongle to connect to the 3G network. Dongles vary in price, and can usually be purchased alongside the PAYG mobile internet package.
Does PAYG mobile broadband offer the same level of service?
Yes, PAYG broadband users share the same network as monthly subscribers; no preference is given to either customer type. You receive exactly the same service. You have access to the same coverage area as normal monthly subscription customers.
What happens if I use more than my data allowance?
One of the major advantages of taking up a PAYG mobile internet package is the fact you cannot physically run over your data allowance as you can on a monthly subscription. Due to the fact that the 3G provider has no way of billing you for extra usage they will simply cut your connection. This is a great way to make sure you do not incur extra service charges.
What happens if my time runs out or my data allowance is used at an awkward time?
If you find yourself suddenly disconnected from the 3G network due to the fact that your PAYG subscription has reached its limit inn either time or data transfer, then simply top up using a credit card and continue as normal.
What type of internet users should consider PAYG over monthly subscription mobile broadband?
If you are an infrequent user of mobile broadband, or prefer to ensure that you cannot incur additional service charges then PAYG mobile broadband may be for you. Additionally, people with a bad credit history who are unable to procure a mobile phone contract will also find it difficult to take out a monthly mobile internet subscription. PAYG mobile broadband is the only option for those people who cannot pass the credit check in this situation.
Can I switch to a monthly subscription mobile internet package?
Yes, simply wait for your current PAYG mobile internet package to expire and then take up a monthly mobile internet subscription. It should be noted that this may be more expensive in the long run, as you will have already purchased a USB dongle to connect your PC or laptop to the 3G network, this means the free sign up gift associated with a monthly plan is going to be worthless.
Can I switch 3G networks if I find that the service in my area is not working well?
Yes, this is one of the real benefits of subscribing to a PAYG mobile internet plan. You are free to switch 3G networks at any time, simply take up a new plan with a difference mobile internet provider. This can be a good way of discovering which 3G network works best in your local area, try them all out with a short term PAYG subscription first, before deciding on which one is best to use as for a monthly subscription package.
We can clearly see that although PAYG mobile internet is slight more expensive than an equivalent monthly subscription plan; it does allow the mobile internet user much more freedom. 3G technology is still fairly new and most telecoms providers are still perfecting their networks.
Taking a PAYG subscription in the short term, until one or more 3G networks prove to be the best in your area, is the best way to prevent yourself from being tied in to a long term monthly contract with the wrong provider. PAYG is a safe, secure and robust way of gaining a mobile internet connection with the freedom to change your plan and provider as you choose.