Like many people, we had a phone line at home but no phone attached to it. The copper pair was just for internet but we still had to pay line rental on it. However, we’ve now switched to mobile 4G LTE internet at home and it’s far better. We get faster speeds, save money and it’s more flexible (there’s no contract and it’s intrinsically portable).
Previously, with our VDSL FTTC connection we were limited to 36 Mbps down and 8.5 Mbps up.
On our 4G connection we not only get a faster download but also a much faster upload. This is really useful when you are sharing large video files you’ve recorded.
The latency is higher but I don’t play any ping sensitive games these days and you don’t notice this in normal use.
Cap and Cost
Traditionally, the problem with mobile connections has been the measly data allowance. However, there are now plans available that are truly unlimited (without even throttling beyond a certain threshold).
You might think this would cost you more than a fixed line but surprisingly it actually costs less. Our previous provider was charging £20 a month until our 12 month contract expired, when they then jacked it up to £36 a month!
SMARTY currently have an offer of 25% off their unlimited plan for life (you need to order your SIM before 22nd Oct and activate before 31st Oct). This makes it only £18.75 a month, plus if you use this referral link then you can get your first month free to try it out and test the signal where you are.
You pay by the month and can cancel any time (or downgrade to the mini plan at £5/mn for 500MB). They’re pretty helpful with keeping your number but with the new ‘text to switch’ regulations you don’t even need to worry about the difficult players (looking at you Virgin). Easier than switching a landline, which usually involves a call to the
cancellation retention department.
Using mobile broadband has another advantage, which is that it’s much easier to change providers. It’s just a SIM swap away. This is so much easier than a landline, where you may have significant downtime if you switch.
Internet is an essential utility these days, so it’s great to finally have a similar uninterrupted experience as when switching energy supplier. For example, if you switch to Octopus Energy to get 100% renewable electricity, obviously you don’t get your power disconnected at all! If you do switch then you can get £50 off with this referral link here.
If you want a truly seamless experience, faster speeds and more resilience then you can always bond multiple 4G connections together. Preferably from different physical networks in case one forgets to renew their certificates!
For your 4G router you can just use an old phone as a portable hotspot but more advanced options are available with additional features (external aerials, ethernet jacks, dual SIM slots etc.). However, using a phone does allow for some interesting options. Also, as it’s battery powered it should still work in an electrical outage.
You can position your mobile WiFi hotspot in the best location for coverage of your whole house. A phone line rarely terminates at the best place, leaving the far side of the property with patchy signal.
The most annoying thing about having to switch landline provider every year for the best deal is the amount of electrical waste produced. Each provider ships you a branded router that does exactly the same job as the previous one but with different credentials. Why can’t these be more like modern USB chargers that mostly interoperate?