For a business of any size, having an internet connection is essential from the word go. However, due to the onerous installation processes involved in providing internet, it can take a significant amount of time to get online.
Compared to a fixed line connection, however, cellular connectivity is far more widely available and it can provide the connectivity needed to power a business, if only as a stop gap solution.
It might also be the most suitable solution for a company that moves regularly around different premises and lacks a fixed abode.
CBR rounds up some 4G dongles and wi-fi hubs to get you online via a mobile connection as quickly as possible and wherever you are.
1. Vodafone R216 Mobile Wi-fi
Vodafone offers a range of 4G-based internet plans in addition to its business broadband offerings.
The customer simply has to buy the Vodafone R216 Mobile Wi-fi product, plug in a SIM, and they have an instant wi-fi hub.
Vodafone offers 1 GB, 3GB, 6GB, 10GB and 20GB plans, but considering the data needs of a modern business, IT managers will probably want some of the higher allowances on Vodafone’s roster.
The 10GB plan, available in a 12 month contract, costs £16.67 per month excluding VAT, with no upfront costs.
If this is not enough, there is a 20GB per month product, which will set your business back £16.67 per month but also requires a £40.83 upfront cost. The other big advantage of this plan is that it is available in agreements of 30 days.
Vodafone allows the customer to control plans and payment through the My Vodafone app, which will be useful to the increasing number of small businesses which do most of their work on mobile devices.
2. EE Osprey
The UK’s largest mobile operator offers two Osprey devices both providing 15GB of data. The Osprey 2 and the Osprey 2 mini both cost £18.33 per month on two year plans with no upfront cost.
If you want more flexibility in the contract, you can opt for a £16.67 per month contract with an upfront cost of £49.99, which lasts only 30 days.
There is also a £25 per month plan for 25GB, with a £49.99 per month plan with a minimum of 30 days.
The Osprey 2 can support up to 10 internet devices at once and can also charge devices. EE notes on its website that the device has a 60 hour standby battery life and 20 hours on talk time.
EE also provides a Car WiFi product with the same specifications for customers that want to have a truly mobile office.
3. Huawei 4G Pocket Hotspot Plus
Sold through the O2 website and available as an upgrade to existing O2 customers, this LTE portable wi-fi hotspot can connect up to 10 devices.
O2 offers the hotspot both as a pay as you go or contract product. Pay As You Go customers will be hit by a hefty upfront cost, of £80 for 5GB preloaded and £130 for 12GB preloaded.
The pre-paid monthly allowances span from 500MB to 10GB. All cost £19.99 upfront and last for 24 months. The 500MB package costs £8 per month, although it might be a tall order to stick to it.
2GB will cost £14 a month, while the 10GB package will cost £18 per month.
O2 also offers a Huawei dongle for £30 per month upfront on a Pay & Go plan. This has no upfront cost, with 500MB, 2GB and 10GB monthly plans costing £6, £12 and £16 respectively.
4. ZTE MF730M
Three differs from the other providers in lacking a strong presence in the business market. It does sell ZTE dongles with pre-paid monthly allowances. These plug into a USB port to power one device, so they could be a good match for a single mobile employee.
There are two contracts that last for 2 years. For £8 per month on a 2-year contract, the customer will get 2GB of data. There is also a £10 per month plan with a £19 upfront cost.
If you are unable to commit to a longer contract and are not sure how long you will need the service for, then there is a £10 per month service with only a 1 month commitment, again with a £19 per month upfront cost.