Mobile Broadband Buying Guide

Check your e-mail, Facebook, bank account and much more -- all while on the go.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need mobile broadband?

Though mobile broadband offers similar speeds to existing fixed-line broadband services, it is a usually complementary service, not of a proper alternative. If you just need Internet around home, it is worthwhile researching other broadband services like ADSL2+, cable or fixed wireless broadband, which offer better cheaper plans, more reliable service and larger download quotas. Mobile broadband is best suited to users who need Internet access while away from the office or home, whether on their mobile phone, smartphone, netbook or laptop.

Can I use the SIM card from my mobile phone?

If your mobile phone's SIM card is enabled for data, it is possible to use it in a mobile broadband modem — provided the modem is compatible with the same telco. However, this can become a fiddly process if you require Internet access regularly; it is better to simply have two SIM cards tied to the same account.

How fast is mobile broadband?

Mobile broadband services come in a variety of speeds depending on the carrier, service and device you are using. Most 3G/HSPA services offer speeds of between 3.6Mbps and 7.2Mbps, though 14.4Mbps, 21Mbps and 42Mbps services are available from Telstra's Next G network.

To put it in perspective, fixed wireless broadband caps out at 1Mbps, WiMAX services offer 12Mbps, while the best ADSL2+ broadband services deliver 24Mbps. The planned National Broadband Network will provide speeds of up to 100Mbps through a fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) connection.

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James Hutchinson

PC World

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