Mobile Broadband Roundup - the Hows, Whys, and Wows

by : Matt Sharp

Mobile broadband is having a huge impact in 2008, easily as big as when mobile phones really became commonplace. But why is it so important, why is it changing te world, and why should you get it? Read on to find out!
What is the matri... erm, what is mobile broadband?
Mobile broadband is one of those things that, when you first encounter it, your reaction is, 'Ohhhhh, it's really that simple?' Well, mine was, anyway, because mobile broadband is, quite simply, broadband while you're mobile. Or, to put it another way, it's broadband internet access while you're no the move, wherever and whenever you are. Without wires, without hassle, it's you getting online at super-fast speeds, wherever you should find yourself.
What you're getting, then, with mobile broadband is something that combines the speed and versatility of fixed line broadband access, with the portability of mobile phones. In terms of speed, you really will get broadband speeds, as HSDPA, the system mobile broadband's based on, runs (currently) at up to 7.2Mbps (and in future, should go as fast as 14.4Mbps). Which, when you think about it, is really rather fast. Considering that the average home broadband connection comes it at just under 3Mbps, 7.2Mbps is really quite amazingly fast.
Mobile broadband - The simple solution
You can get mobile broadband packages from most of the major networks, but you'll find that they all have something in common: they're all frighteningly easy to set up! With any of the range of USB Modems available, you'll find that all you have to do is plug the modem into a USB port on your laptop (or even your home PC) and it will self-install everything from off of the modem itself. You, when setting up mobile broadband, will have to do nothing more taxing than clicking 'Yes'!
So, who can you get mobile broadband from? Well, you have a choice of the big networks, just as you do with mobile phones. You've got the option of Vodafone, with their speeds up to 7.2Mbps. You've got Orange with their funky, sexy ICON modem (and soon, the all-in-one HTC Shift device). Then there's T-Mobile with their great packages. Or maybe you'd prefer Three, who offer the cheapest package of the lot? In fact, the only people who aren't doing mobile broadband deals (unless you're already on their network, which is a stupid rule) are O2. Still, their loss, eh!