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PAYG Mobile Broadband: here's what you can get

There is a seemingly endless supply of broadband contracts available on the market today, but if you’ve looked over them and feel like none of them offer what you want, pay as you go (PAYG) mobile broadband could be the answer to your problems.

In this guide we talk you through PAYG mobile broadband and explain its advantages and limitations.

How it works

PAYG mobile broadband is a lot similar to a PAYG mobile phone; you simply buy a PAYG dongle and then top it up credit as and when you need it. While there aren’t as many options as with contract broadband you might be surprised at some of the options available as providers now offer a number of extras such as 4G speeds, pocket hot spots for connection more than one device as well as SIM only deals for people with tablets and hand held devices.


Flexibility: With PAYG mobile broadband you can top up your data limit whenever you need to and don’t have to worry about charges for breaching any limits or caps. Most PAYG mobile broadband providers now offer the option of top up each day.

Minimal Commitment: All you have to do is pay for the cost of the dongle and however much in top ups you need, that’s it. There are no cancellation fees or notice periods should you change your mind. The only potential issue here is that if you choose a SIM only deal the SIM could be deactivated for a period if you decide to stop using the service.

Keeps Costs Down: There is no chance of you being unexpectedly hit with a large bill as, after you’ve bought the dongle or SIM, you are in control of how much you spend on topping up.


Time limitations: Top-ups tend to be time limited so they expire in a certain amount on time – usually within 30 days or when all the data has been used up. So if you’re expecting to only use a minimal amount of data then make sure you don’t pay out too much for top ups.

Upfront Charges: With contract broadband deals hardware like a dongle is usually included in the price, but with PAYG not only will you have to pay for the dongle or SIM but also probably have to pay for a certain amount of data as well.

What to lookout for

If you’re considering a PAYG mobile broadband deal keep these factors in mind:

Price: The cost of the dongle or SIM can vary depending on the package you’re considering, and the more you pay upfront the better quality of dongle or SIM you’ll get.

Top-ups: By considering roughly how much data you’ll need to buy each month; will help you work out how much you’ll need to spend on top-ups.

Speed: Every dongle or SIM will come with a quoted operating speed and the speed you’ll actually receive will be highly dependent on factors such as the dongle or SIM you buy, the network provider you’ve chosen, network traffic and signal strength. That’s why it’s essential that before committing to any deal you check the coverage in your area.

Compare Providers

There are a lot of PAYG mobile broadband deals currently available, so the best way to separate them and see which one is right for you is to use a comparison website. They let you search through what’s available based on what you need and should help you come to a decision about which provider to go with. A good tip with comparison sites is to check more than one as they sometimes don’t always have all the offers currently available so you could be missing out.

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