A 4G dongle is a fantastic way to make the most of superfast mobile internet, and you can plug it into a tablet, laptop, or other device to instantly download movies, play games, stream music, or set up an instant business connection wherever you are. Let’s take a look at the 4G dongles supplied by three 4G network providers:
Alcatel L800 from EE
The Alcatel L800 is the 4G USB dongle supplied by EE. At less than 9cm in length and 3cm in width, it is small enough to fit in your pocket, and weighs just 35g. It works on the 800, 900, 1800, and 2600 MHz 4G bands.
With EE you can choose to have the Alcatel L800 on a 24 month contract, or a 30 day contract. With the 24 month contract the dongle is free, and the data price plans are as follows:
- 1GB – £13 per month
- 3GB – £16 per month
- 5GB – £21 per month
- 8GB – £26 per month
- 20GB – £36 per month
- £50GB – £50 per month
Customers that sign up to a pay monthly contract for 5GB or more with the Alcatel USB dongle currently benefit from a free 7 inch Android tablet to use with it. Contracts with 5GB or more also benefit from EE’s double speed 4G.
The dongle is available on 30 day contracts of 3GB, 5GB, or 8GB, which cost the same per month. However you will pay a one off fee for the dongle. It is currently £19.99 which is half the usual price.
The K5008-Z from Vodafone
The K5008-Z is the 4G ready USB dongle supplied by Vodafone. It features GPRS and Mac support, and works on the 800, 1800, and 2600 MHz 4g bands.
With Vodafone you can choose to have the K5008-Z on a 12 month or a 30 day contract. There are two data price plans for a 12 month contract:
- 4GB – £15 per month (reduced from £20) and a one off payment of £29 for the dongle
- 10GB – £25.50 per month (reduced from £30) and a one off payment of £9 for the dongle
If you’d prefer a 30 day contract, the monthly data costs will be the same, but you will need to pay a one off cost of £89 for the K5008-Z dongle.
ZTE 4G Dongle from O2
The ZTE 4G dongle is supplied by O2. At just 26g it is ultra-lightweight and measures around 9cm by 3cm. It features a micro SD card slot for external memory and works on the 800, 900, 1800, and 2600 MHz 4G bands.
You can buy the dongle itself for £50, or can choose to have it preloaded with 3GB of 4G data for £28.75 before the beginning of February. You can buy a one-off top up of 5GB for £30 which will last for 90 days, or you can sign up to a monthly O2 data plan:
- 3GB – £15 per month with the ability to roll over 12GB
- 5GB – £25 per month with the ability to roll over 12GB
Which 4G dongle to choose?
While all the 4G networks supply USB dongles that can be used to provide 4G connectivity to a laptop or tablet, EE is the only network that currently provides large volumes of data. If you want to be able to stream video or use your dongle for online gaming, a high volume data contract from EE is probably the best option.
However, if you just want to use your dongle for checking e-mail, using social networks, and the occasional download, you can get great deals from O2 and Vodafone which may give you more flexibility. For example you could choose a 12 month contract from Vodafone instead of a 24 month contract, or you could opt for a one off 5GB data top up from O2 instead of paying for data monthly.