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MobiData Mobile Broadband review

A good-value data package for occasional travellers

Unfortunately we were misinformed by MobiData about the roaming charges involved. You are not able to take your data allowance abroad, but are rather charged 15p per minute. We have updated the review to reflect this.

MobiData is a mobile 3G data-only service that promises to cut down data charges when you travel abroad. It will provide you with a SIM attached to a one-month rolling contract, with either 1GB, 5GB or 10GB data allowances. 1GB of data will cost you £4.94 a month, 5GB £14.94 a month and 10GB £19.79 a month.

These prices are certainly reasonable, and compare well to other data contracts; for example, 1GB of mobile broadband on Three will cost you £7.50 a month, but Three is better value for 10GB, at £15. MobiData’s big selling point, though, is that when roaming in 39 other countries, including all of Western and most of Eastern Europe, as well as Australia and the US, you can use your data for just 15p per MB.

This compares well to the roaming charges from rival networks such as Three, Vodafone and O2; MobiData is around a third the price, so should help you avoid punitive data charges. You’ll still need to keep an eye on your data usage, but you won’t have to worry too much about casual browsing.

As the SIM is data-only you’d need to have a tablet with built-in 3G, such as an Asus FonePad, use a portable wireless hotspot or put the SIM in an unused smartphone and turn on connection sharing.

You should also have decent speeds. MobiData uses the Three network, and in our experience this is one of the fastest non-4G networks in the UK. We tested the MobiData SIM using in the heavily congested networks of central London, and we saw a download speed of 2.64Mbit/s. This compares well with Vodafone’s download speeds of 2.06Mbit/s. In the outer London suburbs, where the networks are less under strain, we saw 4.57Mbit/s from MobiData and 4.53Mbit/s from Vodafone. Neither of these speeds are astonishing compared to a good home broadband connection, but are certainly acceptable for browsing the web and downloading documents.

We’re still a long way from a flat rate for data when roaming, but MobiData is at least a step in the right direction. It’s a fair value data package for the UK, and is especially good value for 1GB data, and roaming charges are low. If you travel fairly frequently with a 3G tablet, it’s a good buy.

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