Home broadband at decent speeds isn't available to everyone just yet. There is an alternative by utelising existing 4G (and in some cases 5G) mobile networks. This article explores the options available to you.
If you live in a rural or isolated area with no access to a hardwired connection or a have a consistently slow connection, then 4G broadband could be the perfect solution for you.
There are actually only 4 network providers in the UK - O2, Three, Vodafone and EE. All the other network providers piggyback off of these networks - See "Piggybacking" to find out which networks piggyback off of which providers. All of these network providers are able to provide 4G data bundles which you as a home owner can access in order to access broadband through 4G rather than the traditional phone line or fibre network.
The first thing to establish is if a 4G signal is available in or around your home. Not only does it need to be available, but the signal needs to be relatively strong. See "Understanding Signal Strength" Remember to try all the network providers - it may be that your current provider doesn't provide the strongest signal.
As with all things coffee related, there’s a huge range of machines available on the market. Bean to cup coffee machines can be a considerable investment, so you want to get it right. When choosing one, you need to consider a few things:
While all bean to cup machines make espresso, as we’ve already mentioned, that’s all some can do. Some machines can make a range of coffee types but are designed with a particular type in mind. Some machines come with manual milk frothers, while others are integrated and automated to produce the perfect latte or cappuccino every time.
While you can get a basic bean to cup machine for less than £100, the reality is that you should expect to pay around £200 for a decent entry-level machine. Price is often an important factor when buying a machine, but it’s not worth scrimping if it’ll cost you more in the long run. With so many different moving parts in a bean to cup coffee machine, checking reviews on durability is essential. You might find a machine that makes the coffee you want at a lower price, but if it only lasts a couple of years, it’ll prove a false economy. Spending an additional £50 could get you a machine that lasts a decade instead. On the flip side, it’s easy to get carried away and spend more than you wanted on a shiny new machine with more buttons than a NASA space shuttle. Be realistic about whether the extra features are really going to improve your coffee experience.
So what is piggybacking?
There are 4 network providers in the UK - Vodafone, Three, EE and O2. All the other networks piggyback - i.e. buy data from - one of these 4 networks. They can also be refered to as mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs). Below is a breakdown of who piggybacks off which network.
These providers piggyback the Vodafone network
|Lebara Mobile||Lebara Mobile is great for offering plans that let you make international calls to select countries at no extra cost.|
|Talk Mobile||Talkmobile is a simple, straight forward network, which keeps it's plans as affordable as possible.|
|Voxi||Voxi is great for social networking - you can use Snapchat, Instagram, WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook Messenger without it coming out of your data allowance.|
These providers piggyback the Three network
|Smarty||SMARTY is run by Three directly and only offers SIM Only deals.|
|iD Mobile||iD Mobile is run by Dixons Carphone that uses Three's network. Unused data can be rolled over from one month to the next. It also has a plan with unlimited data.|
|FreedomPop||FreedomPop also has a range of optional extras like data rollover, tethering and visual voicemail. These all cost extra, but can be added to any plan, so you can tailor your plan more than most networks allow.|
|Ctrl Mobile||Offers just four SIM Only plans, and no handsets or Pay As You Go. Data limits are fairly low but so are prices, and its SIM Only plans only last 30 days.|
These providers piggyback the EE network
|BT Mobile||Very high 4G speeds – up to 60Mbps.|
|plusnet||Tethering is allowed but data limits are low and more premium extras like VoLTE and Wi-Fi Calling aren’t offered.|
|Asda Mobile||Offers both SIM Only and Pay As You Go, but no Pay Monthly plans and its data limits top out at a fairly low 15GB. Tethering is supported but Wi-Fi Calling and VoLTE aren’t.|
|Virgin Mobile||Offers data rollover and also lets you use WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and Twitter without it coming out of your data allowance, and offers Wi-Fi Calling.|
These providers piggyback the O2 network
|Giffgaff||Offers plans with unlimited data. Prices are also competitively low and all of its SIM-only plans are just 30 days long.|
|Sky Mobile||Offers data rollover. It lets you roll over any unused data to the next month and you can save it for up to three years, so you won’t have to pay for data that you’re not using. And if you’re never likely to use the data then you can cash it in for a range of rewards which change monthly.|
|Tesco Mobile||Offers 5G and has fairly high data limits and a range of Pay As You Go options, including both bundles and the option to triple your credit when topping up by £10, £15 or £20. Tesco Mobile also offers SIM Only and lets you tether.|
|Lycamobile||Offers plans with unlimited data, though while there are limits to the amount you can use at full speed on one of its plans, it also has an unrestricted option|
Bean to cup coffee machines are the ideal solution if you want a truly fresh coffee experience. The most expensive of the coffee making options, if coffee is your thing, then investing in one could be the best decision you make for a long time!
What is broadband?
- It is internet