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4G is starting to become a viable alternative to fixed-line broadband

18th April 2014
4G data

We tend to think of 4G as a convenient way to get high speed data on the move, but in fact it’s reaching the point where it’s become an attractive alternative to fixed-line broadband for home internet, at least for some people.

It’s easy to see why. For one thing it can be cheaper than fixed-line broadband as there’s no requirement for line rental. So for example on Three you can get a 4G dongle which costs just £35 upfront, followed by £20 per month for 24 months, during which time you get 15GB of data per month.

Compare that to BT’s basic ADSL package which costs £10 per month alongside another £16 per month for line rental- so £26 per month overall and gives you just 10GB of data.

Obviously if you want a land line anyway that’s fine, but increasingly people use their mobiles as their main phone and the need for a land line, especially when it costs £16 per month before you even start using it, is dwindling.

It’s not just the cost which can be attractive either as even the speeds of 4G can in some cases be higher than fixed-line broadband.

EE in particular excel in this area, with speeds of up to 60Mbits/sec, while for example Virgin Media’s fibre optic service starts at 50Mbits/sec and many broadband providers are significantly slower still.

Having said that it is still possible to get higher speeds on fixed-line broadband, as while Virgin Media might start at 50Mbits/sec its highest speed package is 152Mbits/sec.

There are other things that work against 4G as an alternative too. For one thing it’s still not available everywhere, though EE in particular is working hard to remedy that. Perhaps the biggest thing standing in the way for most people though is the data limits. Because when it comes to using it for home broadband you’re going to hit data limits whoever you go with and they’re usually quite small, for example Three’s 15GB given in the example above.

That might be plenty for a phone or tablet but as your main internet connection it won’t go far, particularly if it’s shared between multiple users. If the networks can get that sorted then we could be in for a 4G future, at home as well as when out.

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