Connecting To The Internet On Your Mobile – All You Need To Know

Connecting to the internet is a necessity for most people today, since we all like to update our statuses and check our emails. And the majority of us can connect through mobile internet, so we can be online wherever we are, whenever we want. But there are a variety of ways that you can connect using you mobile, and today we’re talking about your internet phone options. So if you want to be online any time, any place, then keep reading to find out the best way for you to connect.

WiFi Connections…

By far the cheapest way to connect is by using WiFi. WiFi means that someone else has an internet connection, generally a cafe or a restaurant, and broadcasts a signal out into the air for other users to latch on to. These services are generally free if you’re a patron of the cafe or restaurant. Some urban areas even have free WiFi hot spots in certain locations. There are some WiFi hot spots that you’ll need to pay for, generally they’re protected by a password and you’ll have to pay for the password to get online. But in general, the advantage of WiFi is that it tends to be free or cheap. The disadvantage of WiFi is that you’ll need to be in range of a hot spot in order to connect. That usually means being within a few metres of wherever the signal is coming from. You won’t be able to use WiFi on the go, and you won’t pick up a signal everywhere you go.

A 3G or 4G Internet Phone…

Your other alternative is to have either a 3G or 4G internet phone. We’ll discuss the differences between 3G and 4G below, but the basic connectivity is the same. When you sign up with a mobile provider you’ll either get a contract with a data allowance, or you’ll get a pay as you go plan that will also give you data.  Your phone then hooks up to the operators 3G or 4G network, and you go online. You have to pay for this service, and data fees can get expensive, depending on what kind of service you go for. However, doing it this way does mean that you’ll have internet service anywhere that gets a cell phone signal, so you can pretty much get online anywhere that you want.

3G Internet…

The advantage of 3G internet is that it’s much cheaper than 4G. You can get a phone plan with a data allowance for around ten pounds at a basic level. The disadvantage of 3G is that it’s much slower than 4G. Maximum downloading speeds for 3G connections are just 14.4 Mbps, whilst uploading speeds are as low as 1 Mbps. And because so many people use 3G networks and the connections are crowded, very few people get anywhere close to the maximum available speed. Most people average around 3 Mbps on 3G. This kind of speed is fine for casual browsing, emailing and looking up directions, but it’s not enough for good video streaming or downloading high resolution images.

4G Internet…

4G internet on the other hand is much faster. The maximum downloading speed on a 4G connection is 300 Mbps, whilst even uploading is a speedy 75 Mbps. Again, few users get close to these speeds, this time mostly due to the fact that 4G networks are pretty scarce, but you can still be looking at speeds of about 30 Mbps, which is ten times faster than you get through 3G. 4G has several disadvantages though. The first is that it’s not available everywhere, there are plenty of locations in the UK that don’t have any access to 4G networks at all. Secondly, few mobile operators offer 4G packages. In fact, right now if you want a good 4G connection the only operator that you can go with is EE. So you’ll have to be an existing EE customer or be willing to change mobile service providers to get a 4G connection. And finally, 4G doesn’t come cheap at all. Even the lowest package with EE costs £36 per month, and that has a small 500 Mb data cap. The biggest data cap that you can get is 8 GB, there’s no possibility to get unlimited 4G data right now. If you’re thinking about connecting over 4G you’ll need to have a 4G capable phone, and you’ll need to make sure that you have access to a network in your local area.

Internet Contracts and Plans…

If you want 3G or 4G internet service you’ll have to sign up for a data plan with a mobile provider. You have two options, either sign a contract or get a pay as you go plan. Pay as you go means that you buy a SIM card from an operator and top it up with credit. You use your phone however you want, including for data, until the credit runs out, at which point you lose service until you put more credit onto your card. The advantage of using pay as you go is that you only ever pay for services that you actually use, the disadvantage is that rates are higher on pay as you go than they are on contracts. This is especially true for data charges. Whilst calling minutes and text messages have pretty standard prices with most operator’s pay as you go plans, data charges vary widely. And it’s very easy to use up a whole chunk of your credit on data alone. Your other option is to sign a contract with a mobile provider. This contract will give you a calling plan with a fixed amount of calling minutes, texts and data per month for a fixed monthly fee. You can usually save money doing this, especially if you’re a heavier user. However, you pay whether or not you use the service. Plus, unless you have unlimited data, you will pay extra if you go over the amount of monthly data that’s specified in your contract.

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