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4G Broadband: Get Online Without The Landline

4G isn't just for mobiles. 4G broadband is powered by a didicated network that gives you fast network without the need for any wires.

High speed mobile internet access was made possible for the first time following the introduction of 3G mobile broadband. But as handheld devices evolved so did the demand for better connection speeds, the result was 4G broadband and in this guide we explain the what it can offer, how to check if you can receive it and advice on saving on the latest 4G offers.

What is 4G Broadband

Launched in 2012 4G is the next generation of mobile broadband, taking over from 3G. In some case 4G is capable of delivering mobile broadband speeds similar to the download speeds you can get at home from a broadband line connection.

How can you use 4G as home broadband?

There are three ways to do this:

> With a router from a wireless broadband provider, such as Relish.

> With a mobile broadband hotspot device, such as a dongle that you plug into your computer's USB port.

> By tethering from your smartphone. If you've got a relatively up-to-date phone with a 4G mobile plan, you can likely tether from it. This turns your phone into a wifi hotspot.

Speed

4G allows voice data, mobile internet and multimedia content to be accessed anytime, anywhere – depending on coverage – at faster speeds than ever before. Some mobile operators can offer speeds of up to 100MB. Although this will be the maximum possible speed, and the speed you get will depend on a variety of factors, from coverage in your area, to the time of day you go online, to the weather. Make sure you find out from a provider the speed you are likely to receive before you sign up.

Providers

EE (the merging of Orange and T-Mobile networks) were the first to launch a 4G service in 2012, almost a year before anyone else. However their rivals are now catching up and the likes of Three, O2, Virgin, Vodafone and even BT are now offering an array of 4G packages to choose from.

The prices of these plans depend on a number of factors such as, contract length, the amount you pay each month, data allowance and download speeds. Using a comparison website and comparing deals like for like will allow you to see who is offering the deal you want at the best price. You can also see if the package you want comes with any extras or a free gift to really sweeten the deal.

Coverage

As EE were the first to offer a 4G service it may not surprise you to find out they have the most areas covered. Other networks are again having to play catch-up and coverage outside of city centres is patchy at best. To combat this problem, 4G devices will automatically switch back to 3G and even 2G services when they can’t connect to 4G, although expect performance to slow.

All the major networks offering 4G will have a coverage tracker on their website; this allows you to type in your postcode and see whether your area is covered.

Bundles

If you’re planning to buy a tablet or laptop and want to take out a mobile broadband contract between 18 and 24 months, you can sign up for both at once and pay less upfront because the price of the hardware will have been subsidised. In some cases you might not have to pay anything upfront. Bundle contracts typically range from £30-£50 per month depending on which make and model of laptop or tablet you choose and the amount of data you require.

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