Most industry analysts agree that by the end of 2014 more people will access the internet via mobile devices than ever before in the history of the internet i.e. through devices such as smartphones and tablets, than they will via desktop PCs and laptops. Whereas mobile devices are being designed and built for just this very purpose, users may often find they are being held back by having inadequate internet availability from their mobile broadband supplier.
You would have thought that after some 20 years of widespread mobile phone use that cellular network coverage was available everywhere in the world. Surprisingly, however, this is not the case. Many providers have not even provided full national coverage for their customers, let alone put in place important network upgrades to allow for internet data. Let’s not even get started how long it will take the next generation of 4g coverage to become ‘nationally available’ when its predecessor is still unable to touch all the corners of even the United Kingdom.
Checking that your network service provider gives nationwide coverage – or at least covers the areas you are most likely to go – is essential before you enter into a contract with them. You should be able to find details like this on their website. If you look at the Mobi-data coverage page, for example, you will see that they assure all existing and future customers about their ‘worldwide coverage options’. The Mobi guys in my opinion are doing it right – they’re making a unique selling point for their business out of how good their coverage options are on the international roaming scene (however you’ll note that even these guys who are specialising in data only sim cards still only guarantee a 97% UK coverage rate – it will only be an issue in the very remotest parts of Britiain but it’s still something to be aware of before making a commitment). If a website doesn’t give details of areas covered then it could be they are trying to cover up the fact that they haven’t upgraded and expanded their network sufficiently to cope with users accessing the web remotely from increasingly remote locations via their hand-held devices. Look for providers who are showing off their expansive coverage!
Another factor you should consider when selecting a service provider for your mobile data is, of course, the cost. Some companies lure people in with what seems like cheap deals at first, but often bury an increase in the small print. Usually, companies try to apply an automatic increase after six months, so it is best to find someone who gives transparent and clear costing up front for the duration of your deal. If someone is trying to tie you in to a two year deal with cheaper upfront costs, chances are that there are hidden costs that will add up to a lot over the 24 month period.
If you have a smartphone, you really need to make sure that you have the best, most efficient internet connection available to get the maximum benefit from it. Some networks assume that consumers won’t mind not being able to take advantage of all the features that their device or handset offers and so cut their own costs by not upgrading their networks to handle 3G data nationwide. These are the networks you need to avoid, as they clearly don’t understand your reason for purchasing a smartphone.