Our Guide To Pay As You Go (PAYG) Broadband

For those that are looking for mobile broadband that doesn't tie them into a long contract then pay as you go broadband provides a welcome solution. With broadband deals increasingly moving over to 24 months, PAYG broadband has, and continues to become ever more popular. In this guide we talk you through how PAYG broadband works and what you can do to find the best deal.

How does PAYG broadband work?

Once you’ve chosen your deal and purchased your dongle (which looks like a USB stick and slots into your laptop's USB port) you are provided with the internet for a set number of days. The length of time will depend on how much credit you've "topped up" with (you top up with a plastic card in the same way that you would a PAYG mobile phone). Notably there are some providers that charge by Gigabyte of data, rather than a set time. This may work better for you if you use only a very small amount of data. There are only a small number of payg broadband providers and currently they are - EE, O2, Three and Vodafone.

Factors to bear in mind when looking for the best PAYG broadband deal

Data limits
Whilst the majority of providers sell credit for a set number of days you need to bear in mind that these are subject to what's known as fair usage policies. This means that whilst you are given a number of days in which to use the internet (which can be anything from one month), you shouldn't abuse the fact that they've provided no set data allowance. The idea of "abuse" will vary from provider to provider, and if they deem you've used the internet and downloaded too much in any given month they'll stop your dongle from being able to download anything further. In this instance you'll still have internet access for browsing, but won't be able to undertake tasks such as watching videos).
Check out how much credit your dongle comes with initially
Every provider offers something different in terms of initial data; some come with 3 months access, whilst other state a set amount of data. Check with the packaging to find out what the dongle is offering.
Using price comparison websites
Price comparison websites are great not only for set contract broadband, but also for PAYG deals. Here you will find every provider summarised in terms of what they offer, allowing you to compare deals side by side.
Ensuring you use the data you’ve paid for
If you opt for a set amount of data per month then you should try and ensure you use your allowance every month, using anything less will mean that you are paying for data that you aren’t actually using. If this is frequently the case then you may wish to consider a smaller package.


Mobile brodaband comes in 3 forms:
- Data only sim card - you can put this sim card in your tablet, phone, laptop, dongle and browse the internet straight away.
- Dongle - this looks like a flas usb stick and is plugged in straight in your laptop into the USB port.
- Mobile Wi-Fi hotspot - a portable gadget which you can turn on and get wi-fi from it whenever and wherever you like.