In many areas of the country, it is possible to connect to the internet via mobile phone networks. Connection speeds are unlikely to be as quick as home broadband, but can still be adequate for general browsing, email and social networking.

Mobile internet access: pros and cons

Benefits:

  • If you already have a mobile phone contract, it may already include a data allowance for getting online.
  • ‘Pay as you go’ (PAYG) mobile access can offer an option if you are not able to sign up to a longer term home broadband agreement or a mobile phone network contract.
  • You don’t need to be at home to get online – you can connect wherever there is a reasonable mobile phone signal.

Risks:

  • Overall, mobile internet access costs more than home broadband, so should be used as a limited option where there’s no other way to get online.
  • Accessing online content such as videos, sharing large files etc. can use up data allowances quickly. This may result in data credit be used up or additional costs for going over your data limit.
  • Some devices such as laptops and PCs may need to download large files to update operating systems and other software. This can use up mobile data quickly so it’s best to update computers via home or public broadband.

Connecting your devices to a mobile network

You can find more information about mobile internet access deals and tips for minimising data usage on the Money Saving Expert website.

Many smartphones include options to use a phone as a mobile ‘hotspot’ which allows other devices (such as a laptop) to connect wirelessly to the phone and use the phone’s connection to the internet. PC Adviser provides more details about how to do this for different types of phone.

You can also use your phone’s settings to warn you about data usage. The Geek Squad website provides advice about how to do this on iOS (for apple devices), Android and Windows Phone 8.

Staying safe online

It’s important that everyone knows how to protect their information when using online services, especially when surfing via your mobile device. Our staying safe online pages provide lots of key advice and alerts to help you surf, shop and save online with confidence.