"Get the information you need about internet dongles today. Read our advice and view pay monthly and pay as you go offers"
Pay as you go dongles offer the most flexible option for occasional use. You pay a small upfront fee for the internet dongle then buy top-up credits for the data you use. If you are unsure of how much mobile broadband you are going to use then opt for buying a Pay as you go dongle.
If you are likely to use the internet more often then consider going for a monthly contract - they offer better value for money. You should opt for either a 1-month rolling contract or a 12 month contract. With longer contracts you get the dongle for free.

Compare internet dongles

Pay as you go internet dongles

  o2 logo and pay as you go dongle Vodafone logo and pay as you go dongle Three logo and pay as you go dongle T-mobile logo and pay as you go dongle
Charge: £2/day + FREE Wi-fi £15 per month £Pay as you go £2 /day + FREE internet
Upfront costs: £20 £25 £39.99 (inc. 3GB) £19.99
Usage limit: 0.5 GB per day 500 MB per month 3 GB 2 GB month
Speed (up to): 3.6 Mb 3.6 Mb 3.6 Mb 3.6 Mb
Minimum contract: None None None None

Pay monthly internet dongles

  Three logo and dongle Orange logo and dongle Vodafone logo and dongle o2 logo and dongle
Monthly charge: £15 per month £15 per month £15 per month £15 per month
Upfront dongle costs: £9.99 £29 £19 30
Usage limit: 5 GB 3 GB 2 GB + FREE Wi-fi 3 GB + FREE Wi-fi
Speed (up to): 3.6 Mb 3.6 Mb 3.6 Mb 3.6 Mb
Minimum contract: 1 month 1 month 1 month 1 month

Top tips when comparing internet dongles

Pay as you go

Under a Pay as you go (PAYG) plan, you don't need to commit to a monthly charge. Buy your dongle up-front and top-up when necessary. Pay as you go plans allow you to access the internet on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.

One month contracts

If you want to make the most of your mobile broadband with no long term commitments, a one month plan is a good option. With one month contracts you buy a bundled deal of internet usage upfront with the dongle.

Longer-term contracts

If you plan on using the internet lots over a longer period of time then 12, 18 & 24 month contracts are much better value than Pay as you go deals. Longer term contracts will come with a free dongle and higher levels of inclusive usage.

Caution : usage limits

Always keep a watchful eye on where you are using your internet dongle. When you go abroad and travel internationally you will face roaming charges. If you go over your monthly data quota you could be charged penatly fees. Watch out for the small print!

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More information about Internet dongles

An internet dongle is perfect for you surfing the web or checking your email when you are out and about with your laptop computer. In particular, a pay as you go dongle will (after a small upfront fee of about £30) allow you to only top-up a dongle with prepaid credit when you plan to use it.

Getting a Free internet dongle

If you are prepared to sign a contract with a mobile phone operator (usually 12-24 months long) then they are likely to offer you a free dongle or even a free laptop. Because they know you will stick with them for a year or two the mobile operator will see the benefit of repeat custom and give away a free laptop upfront. Another benefit of going on a longer contract with a mobile provider is that they will give you more inclusive data each month than a pay as you go dongle customer - so you can surf the web for longer and cheaper than Pay as you go customers.

Pricing and tariffs

When you think of internet dongles you can be baffled by the bewildering number of prices and tariffs. The best thing to do is think of a pay as you dongle contract just like a pay as you go mobile phone - you keep the phone ready to go and occasionally top it up when your credit gets low but you wouldn't top it up with £50 with no intention of using the credit.

Internet dongle speeds

The most important thing to remember with internet dongles is that the access is via a mobile phone connection - this slows the average connection speed from home broadband speeds of up to 8mb to a mobile broadband connection speed of 1mb.

In some rare instances, an internet dongle may be faster than a BT broadband connection. This would occur in rural areas where a home is a long way from a BT exchange but a mobile phone mast is just round the corner.

What is an internet dongle?

An internet dongle is a small USB device, similar in size to a memory stick or thumb. Just like a mobile phone it contains a SIM-card and a built in aerial to connect wirelessly to a nearby mobile phone mast. The technology is pretty simple and this is why the upfront cost of buying a dongle is low at about £30.

Who are internet dongles for?

Anyone with a modern computer can use an internet dongle but they are best suited to laptop computers that are being used out-and-about. Businesses and students tend to be the largest users of dongles but you now see them cropping up all over the place, especially where people are away from the home (whether that be in the park, on the train or in an airport).

Using internet dongles abroad

You can use an internet dongle abroad and this is perfect for occasional use and for business travellers caught in airports. However, always check with your dongle provider whether they offer support for international roaming and what the extra charges would be say"if you used your dongle while at your holiday home in France." Ask the provider "what are the costs for using an international internet dongle?" or check on their website for international roaming costs.

Best internet dongle deal

Pay £20 for an o2 dongle & use mobile broadband when you need it.

You can get online from just £2 a day AND receive unlimited Wi-Fi access from over 6,100 hotspots across the UK.

You can also use the dongle as an external hard drive - the dongle can hold up to 2GB of data.

Get online from just £2 a day - O2 Pay and Go mobile broadband
  • Speeds up to 3.6 Mbp
  • Large 2GB external memory
  • Unlimited Wi-Fi access
  • 30 day happiness guarantee

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