Pay as you go broadband offers mobile broadband services on a prepaid basis. A subscriber might pay for a single day of use, for a week, or for a month of online access. This service provides temporary connectivity to people who do not require or desire a contract for ongoing high-speed Internet access. It can also be used as an adjunct to a contractual service, used only when standard service or wireless hotspots are unavailable.
Prepaid broadband offers instant access to the Internet from almost anywhere using cellular towers. It’s more expensive than many broadband plans, but highly convenient. With pay as you go, you can get high-speed Internet access in the back of a taxi, on a train, in a park, or anywhere that has cellular service.
To access pay as you go broadband, a user must first purchase a proprietary Universal Serial Bus (USB) dongle or PC card that handles the connection protocols between your computer and the mobile broadband provider. Some laptops come with an integrated mobile broadband card, intended for a specific cellular provider. If you choose a different provider, you’ll require a dongle or card branded for that service. Once the device is popped into the port or slot, just enter your credentials and advance payment for the desired block of time. Typically, the smallest block allowable is 24 hours, with prices varying by service provider and location.
Bandwidth limits on purchased time blocks commonly apply, so familiarize yourself with the agreement. A limit caps the amount of data that can be downloaded without incurring extra charges over the prepaid period. If you goes over the limit, each megabyte will cost, similar to going over allotted minutes on a cell phone plan. This prevents people who might otherwise engage in excessive downloading from collectively clogging the cellular network, slowing it down. In most cases, the allotted limit is more than generous.
Many cellular companies offer pay as you go services. In many cases, you need not have a cellular contract with a specific company to be eligible. Speeds vary widely according to the provider, network traffic, quality of the connection and location of the user at any given time, but should be commiserate with other low-to-mid level broadband plans. Before deciding on a mobile provider, be sure to check coverage maps and roaming capability. Roaming allows the service provider to use towers owned by competing cellular providers, widening the coverage area. If roaming is available, check for roaming charges.
Pay as you go broadband will allow you to secure online access in emergencies or when other forms of connectivity are unavailable. It’s also a great option for traveling nationally and abroad. In addition to your laptop, some services accommodate Internet-capable devices such as personal digital assistants (PDAs) and cellular phones. Comparisons and reviews of services are available on websites dedicated to the mobile broadband industry.