Posted by & filed under IT Support, Mobile Computing.

Nowadays Mobile Broadband has come down to a price where it is potentially appealing to more than just businesses. In fact it is possible to get a dongle (the little plastic stick that plugs into the side of your computer) for as low as £10 per month. But…

Please read the small print in your contract before you sign as for the unwary there can be a big shock. In fact I just heard the horror story of someone who has only this month just had a bill for over £230!

So what happened? He was unaware of the cap or limit placed on his surfing (in fact he was totally unaware that he had exceeded anything until the bill arrived). Now most deals do include either a 1GB or 3GB cap and for most users this will be adequate for a month but if you exceed this limit there is usually no warning and it can then get VERY expensive.

At the time of writing this it appears that O2 and 3 charge the most for exceeding download limits at 19.6p per MB and 10p per MB respectively whilst Orange & Vodafone come in at a more reasonable 1.46p per MB. The exception to these rules is T-Mobile who actually provide unlimited downloads (lets hope the others follow). Saying that if you stay within the limits set then Mobile Broadband is a great way to surf the web and manage your email whilst almost anywhere in the UK (don’t even think of using it abroad with the standard packages!).

So how can you make sure that you are not the next unfortunate casualty of this opportunistic situation from the mobile operators ?

Well, one option is to use an account from T-Mobile that doesn’t operate any charges for some tariffs. Most of the other providers do provide some software with their service to allow tracking of usage. Do your homework as deals may appear to be very closely matched and it is important to take excess charges into account, as there can be huge differences between one provider and another. Information on excess charges is not always easy to find and is not obviously visible on most advertising.

So if you don’t want to be the next person featuring in the tale of horrors do your homework before running wild with your mobile broadband connection.