Despite the ubiquity of Wi-Fi hotspots, mobile broadband has grown in popularity fuelled by the rise of remote working and commuting.
Tablets, 2-in-1 laptops or even connected portable gaming consoles have made a dedicated mobile broadband subscription a must have for a lot of families and businesses.
Free Wi-Fi hotspots may be present almost everywhere where there is heavy footfall but the quality of service combined with security concerns make them a less attractive for some users.
On this page, you'll find links to the best mobile broadband deals currently available in the UK; the market is currently very competitive with some surprising names popping up. For the sake of clarity, we will be including tethering as an option.
Tethering allows you to use your smartphone as a wireless Wi-Fi hotspot; you could even be looking at having an old or cheap smartphone as a hotspot or even use a dual-SIM smartphone like the OnePlus 3. Note that prices usually increase every year in line with the RPI (Retail Price Index).
The best mobile broadband deals of the month
These are the deals we recommend most highly. We try to pick out a deal for everyone, whether you're after the cheapest possible option or the best balance between allowance and cost over one month and 12/24-months deals.
For light users and European travellers
Three | 12GB | No contract | £27.99
We would recommend going the PAYG route if you're a light user for three reasons.
Firstly, it gives you the flexibility to use more or less data each month. Secondly, you are not tied into any contracts and thirdly, PAYG beats any entry-level broadband-only SIM offers.
We recommend the Three 3G/4G PAYG Trio Data SIM preloaded with 12GB of data and in theory, can even be used abroad as part of the popular Feel At Home scheme.
It allows you to get online abroad at no extra cost in 42 destinations worldwide with new countries being added regularly. Check the terms and conditions with Three as these change frequently.
It is also cheaper to buy it from Mymemory than purchasing it straight from Three.
For medium users
Three | 20GB per month | 12-month contract | £20 per month
Planning to use up to 20GB of data a month? Then pay monthly is your better option; otherwise, stick to the 12GB offer above.
This deal means you get 20GB for the price of 10GB per month and is the ideal data tariff. Remember it's a 12 month deal. You can get the SIM delivered within three working days.
Three also offer this deal as a monthly rolling contract, but the price does increase to £23 a month.
For heavy users
Vodafone | 30GB per month | 12-month contract | £25 per month
If you need even more than 20GB of data a month, then Vodafone offers 30GB of data allowance every month for only £25, that's only £1.20 per GB.
All Vodafone 4G Data SIMs come with Vodafone Global Roaming, giving you the freedom to use your UK data in 110 destinations worldwide.
For an extra £5 a day, you can use your UK data allowance in our 60 Roam-further destinations – and you’ll be charged only on the days you use your device.
Vodafone also offers contracts with up to 50GB of data each month for seriously heavy users. There are also options for monthly rolling contracts, which give you a bit more flexibility without tying you in for 12 months.
For international travellers
If you often travel internationally and want to freely use the internet without having to think of costs, then it is hard, if not impossible, to beat Knowroaming's offering.
It is offering a global SIM card for as little as $9.99 (about £8) with an unlimited data package costing only $7.99 (about £6.50) per day in more than 90 countries. We tried it during a recent trip to Japan and it worked flawlessly.
The SIM comes with a free US and UK number with the option to purchase additional foreign numbers. There's an app to track your real-time usage and as a bonus, you get to use WhatsApp for free worldwide (that includes calls, photo and video messaging).
Now that's a deal we can't say no to.