The Ultimate Guide to Buying Mobile Broadband

February 8, 2023

Taking photos on a phone with mobile broadband

In recent years, mobile broadband has become a popular alternative solution to Wi-Fi, allowing you to take the internet with you wherever you go. But many people don’t know exactly how they can use mobile broadband, or what to look for when buying mobile broadband.

So, we’ve created the ultimate guide to buying mobile broadband, including the different types of mobile broadband, the best ways of using it and how to choose the right deal for your internet needs. 

What is mobile broadband and how does it work?

Mobile Broadband is your ultimate personal internet connection. It gets you online whether you're at home or out and about. Whilst traditional fixed-line broadband is delivered through cables, mobile broadband works quite differently.

Mobile broadband requires a SIM card to work, and like your smartphone phone, it allows you to connect to the internet through mobile data on a specific network. Mobile broadband taps into 3G, 4G or 5G data networks to create a mini broadband hotspot.  

The biggest advantage of mobile broadband is its portability. Once you have a mobile broadband device, you can take it wherever you want, as long as you have mobile signal and network coverage. It means you can always get online and stay connected, no matter what.

The number of devices you can share your internet connection with will depend on the type of mobile broadband device you choose. It is also worth noting that you can enjoy this type of connection as a pay as you go mobile broadband option as well as pay monthly.

The different types of mobile broadband 

With Three, you can get connected using one of our devices or SIM Only plans. Discover the different types of mobile broadband we offer: 

Mi-Fi device

A MiFi device, or mobile broadband hub, is a smaller-sized, wireless version of your home broadband router that you don’t need to plug in. MiFis are made for sharing across multiple users and mobile devices while you’re on the go. Our 4G Plus MiFi connects to Three’s 4G network and provides fast, stable Wi-Fi that you can share with up to 32 Wi-Fi enabled devices. It’s incredibly easy to set up, just switch your router on and you’re good to go. 

Data Only SIM cards

Data Only SIM cards work exactly like SIM cards for your mobile phone. But as the name suggests, they only have a data allowance with no calls or texts. Simply put them in the SIM card slot of certain iPads, Tablets, Laptops and mobile broadband devices, and you’ll get online as long as you have connectivity. 


Tablets combine the best features of laptops and smartphones and are designed to be used on the move. With mobile broadband, you can connect your tablet to the internet when you’re out and about. Whether you want the latest iPad or a Samsung tablet, you can get your tablet with a data SIM contract at Three. 

What can you use mobile broadband for?

There are many ways that you can use mobile broadband to help you stay connected. If you’re not sure exactly how you’d make use of it, here are some of the best ways to use mobile broadband:

  • As a temporary Wi-Fi solution. Mobile broadband is ideal if you’ve just moved home and haven’t got the internet yet, or if you’re a small business working in a temporary office, or if you’re living in short-term accommodation.
  • To stay connected when you’re out and about. The good thing about mobile broadband is that it’s more reliable than public Wi-Fi on transport and in cafes. So, whether you’re travelling for work or leisure, you can access the internet, wherever you are.  
  • To get online when travelling abroad. Mobile broadband allows you to stay connected to the ones you love, even if you’re time zones apart. With Go Roam, you can use your mobile internet hub and unlock your data allowance in 71 destinations around the world.
  • As a backup Wi-Fi option. If your home broadband connection isn’t always reliable or often fails to support the whole home, mobile broadband can provide the perfect back-up option.
  • For caravans and motorhomes. With mobile broadband, you and your family can stream your favourite shows and download games from your caravan or motorhome without a hitch.
  • To get Wi-Fi on a boat. Whether you’re planning a boating adventure or have a residential mooring in a marina, mobile broadband can help you stay connected whilst on board.
  • As a car Wi-Fi solution. Using mobile broadband to create an internet connection in your car makes journeys more efficient for the driver, provides more fun and entertainment for your passengers, and helps keep kids occupied. 
Taking photos on a phone with mobile broadband

How to choose a mobile broadband deal

When you’re choosing a mobile broadband deal, there are several things you need to consider. We’ve broken down the following questions to help make your decision easier:

Where do you want to use it?

We always recommend using our Coverage Checker to determine whether you can get adequate coverage wherever you are.  Simply enter the postcode of where you want to use your mobile broadband and find out if 3G, 4G or 5G is available for you. You can also use our Network Status checker to see if there’s any disruptions or maintenance going on.

When it comes to mobile broadband, you need a network you can rely on. Our network already covers 99% of the UK outdoor population, meaning you can get online from almost anywhere. And we’re always investing to build a better, stronger network. 

What do you want to use it for?

If you want to share your mobile broadband with multiple devices and users, then a MiFi device will be your best option to help you stay connected.

It’s also worth noting that we have Pay As You Go Data Only SIMs for those who want a pay as you go mobile broadband for occcasional use, as well as our Pay Monthly Data Only SIMs for those who want to pay monthly for more regular use.

How much data do you think you’ll use?

How much data you’ll use will depend on your internet needs and how many people and devices are going to use the mobile broadband. At Three, we offer 10GB, 40GB, and unlimited data allowances with the Huawei 4G Plus MiFi.

If you’re looking for mobile broadband that you can share with friends, family, and colleagues, an unlimited data allowance is your best call. With our truly unlimited data, you can enjoy as much data as you’ll ever need. Endlessly stream, browse, download and share in the UK, without worrying that you’re going over your allowance.

If you only do a little bit of browsing and streaming, our smaller data allowances should be more than enough. They’re ideal for those who won’t be using their mobile broadband every day or sharing it with as many devices. 

How long do you think you’ll need it?

With our pay monthly mobile broadband, you can choose how long your contract will be. We offer 1-month, 12-month, and 24-month contracts to suit you.

If you’re using mobile broadband as a temporary Wi-Fi solution, a shorter contract might suit you best. Or if you're looking to use mobile broadband as a more permanent solution, you’ll benefit from our 24-month data plans.

If you’re interested in Data SIM’s, our Pay As You Go Data Only SIMS are the perfect choice for long-term use whilst our Pay As You Go Data Only SIMS are ideal for short-term use. 

How much do you want to spend?

With our mobile broadband hub, you can choose how much you want to pay upfront and monthly. The cost will depend on your exact needs in terms of length of contract and data allowances.

All our 24-month contracts and our 12-month unlimited data plan come with no upfront cost. If you’re buying mobile broadband hub on a 1-month plan, you’ll need to pay an upfront fee.

With our best mobile broadband deal, you can get unlimited data on a 24-month plan for just £11 a month with 6 months half price and no upfront cost. You could even go for one of our pay as you go mobile internet options, then whatever you spend is entirely up to you.

If you’re ready to get connected, you can check out our mobile broadband deals online. Or if you want to learn more about MiFi devices, you can check out our recent blog post.