UK Mobile Broadband Price Comparison (July 2008)

12 July 2008

Almost 5 months ago I have compared prices of UK mobile broadband offers, making an easy prediction that the competition will be tightening and prices falling. This week, I have updated our price comparison, and the results are predictable: prices are going down and the number of providers is going up.

Two new providers have entered the market, Orange and o2. Weirdly, o2 only lets its existing mobile or home broadband customers to buy mobile broadband and, even though I did include o2 in the table below, this limitation pretty much rules o2 out of competition with other networks.

UK Mobile Broadband Offers Comparison Table (Contract)
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Dizzying array of options in the table may look confusing, but at the end it all comes down to just a handful of realistic options, after we tidy it up a bit.

To avoid being stuck with a service that in a year will be slow and expensive, I suggest to stay away from long-term contracts. 5 pounds off the monthly bill are not worth the lengthy commitment.

Speed that networks claim they are able to provide is not necessarily what you will get at the end. It depends greatly on the location. Vodafone‘s claim to have 7.2 download speed is simply misleading, as this is only possible in select central London locations.

The offers can be divided into two groups: the ones for occasional users with modest download limits (enough for email, browsing, chats, maybe a little bit of online radio and mp3 downloads), and more capable ones with download limits that will not stress you out if you decide to watch BBC iPlayer on Brighton beach.

For occasional users, there are two clear leaders: 3(Three) 12 months 3gb and Vodafone 12 months 3gb. Orange trails behind with similar offer but an 18-months contract, and at the end is T-mobile with luducrous idea of banning Skype and other VoIP  applications on cheaper packages.

For agressive consumers, two good options are T-Mobile 12 months 10gb for £35, and 3(Three) 18 months 15gb for 30gb. I would probably go for latter one, 15gb is a lot, enough in my case to replace home broadband altogether.

UK Mobile Broadband Offers Comparison Table (Pay As You Go)
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In the battle for the best mobile broadband Pay As You Go deal, 3(Three) came first again. Vodafone may seem like the decent option for some, but there is a 30 day cancellation notice, and that is just too much hassle. 3(Three) is without doubt the smartest choice, with easy option of £10 top-up for each Gb used.



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