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UK Mobile Broadband Coverage
All the major UK mobile broadband providers provide mobile broadband coverage checkers on their websites, which you can visit via the links below. Whilst these give you an indication of whether 4G or 3G mobile broadband might be possible in your area, they cannot tell you with 100% certainty whether mobile broadband will work well in the exact location you'll be using it, as a number of factors can affect local mobile broadband performance (see discussion below). If you can, ask around about reception in your area, and remember that you normally get a money back trial period in which you can return your dongle if it doesn't work where you are.
Mobile Broadband Coverage Checkers
The quality of mobile broadband service you can receive at a given location is dependent on a number of factors as follows:
The type of mobile signal available at your location. You'll need to be in a 4G or 3G signal area for your mobile network if you are going to have the chance of a usable mobile internet connection. If you're out of these fast mobile broadband areas, then your service will revert to GPRS and this is frustratingly slow, as the standard was developed to cope with simple data services for mobile phones rather than the data-intensive present day internet.
The network load on the mobile broadband data service at your location. Mobile broadband performance can be adversely affected if too many people are trying to use the network resources available at your location. This is why many mobile broadband services impose data limits, in an effort to keep the network available for all users. It's also why mobile broadband services can slow down at peak times during the day, when most people are trying to use the service. Even if you are in a good signal strength area (shown by your connection software's signal strength indicator or the reception bars on yourphone), mobile broadband performance can be poor if too many users are overwhelming local network resources.
The only way you can find out about network load is by asking other people using the service in your area. You can also see Our View for our general opinions on the mobile broadband networks, where you'll also find links to user reviews.
You may also like to view this mobile broadband coverage site for further discussion of the topic.
Locations of Free WiFi Hotspots
O2 WiFi Hotspots Finder - O2 mobile broadband plans give you free unlimited internet access via their 7,500 UK WiFi Hotspots.
See also our page on using UK
mobile broadband abroad.
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