Is Mobile Broadband Reliable?

By Emma Lewis, bOnline

Mobile broadband across the country is generally reliable, but there are a lot of factors that can determine its quality. And of course, as with most things in life there are advantages and disadvantages too. Here are some key points to consider when it comes to mobile broadband for businesses and personal use alike.


Mobile Broadband Coverage


The UK has pretty extensive mobile broadband coverage, with 4G widely available and 5G being rapidly rolled out in many urban and suburban areas. You can usually find detailed coverage maps on some of the major providers’ websites, including Vodafone, Three, O2, and EE. These maps will give you a better idea of signal strength in specific locations so you can make a more informed decision.




With mobile broadband, you should find that 4G speeds are good enough for things like streaming, browsing and general work. However, 5G speeds are significantly faster, making it ideal for high-bandwidth activities like HD video streaming, video calling and gaming. Bear in mind though that your speed can vary depending on how congested the network is and how far you are from a cell tower for instance.




Urban areas tend to have better infrastructure and more consistent service due to more robust infrastructure. In rural areas coverage can be patchier or even non-existent, which if you’re running a business is a huge factor to consider.

Additionally, signal strength can be weaker indoors, particularly in buildings made with a lot of metal or certain other construction materials, or that have very thick walls.


Network Congestion


As mentioned, network congestion can significantly impact your mobile broadband experience by slowing down internet speeds, increasing the changes of lag and buffering, and generally interrupting connectivity.

When there are a lot of users accessing the network at the same time, for example during crowded events or peak times, the network’s capacity to handle data traffic becomes strained. This is likely to bring about slower upload and download speeds, dropped calls, buffering during streaming and delays in loading apps or web pages. The overall quality of service is diminished, which is really frustrating for anyone who is trying to work especially.

Does Weather Affect Mobile Broadband Coverage?


Weather can also make a difference to your mobile broadband connection in a few ways. Rain, fog and snow can cause signal attenuation, which reduces the strength of the signal as it travels from the mobile mast to your device.

Thunderstorms and heavy precipitation can interfere with the radio waves used for data transmission, leading to slower speeds and potential disconnections. Extreme temperatures, both hot and cold, can also affect the performance of cellular equipment, sometimes causing outages or reduced service quality. Furthermore, high winds can damage mobile masts or slightly knock them out of alignment, further reducing the network’s performance.


Mobile Broadband Providers and Plans


The provider and plan that you choose can also impact how reliable your mobile broadband is. Some providers offer unlimited data plans and prioritise network traffic differently, which can affect performance during periods of high usage.


The Devices You Have Connected


Devices connected to a mobile broadband network can drastically impact its performance too. Each device takes up a certain amount of bandwidth, so the more devices you have connected the more bandwidth is being taken up.

This can often lead to slower speeds and higher latency. In addition to this, different types of devices and what you’re using them for – for example, online gaming, streaming video or downloading large files can place different demands on the network.

High-demand activities on several different devices at once can bring about congestion, reducing overall network efficiency. The takeaway message here is that it’s worth investing as much bandwidth as possible, and making sure your devices are up-to-date with the latest technology to help optimise mobile broadband performance.


Finding The Right Mobile Broadband For Your Small Business


If you need broadband on the go, maybe due to remote working or moving business premises, you need to find the right mobile broadband.

A good place to start is by assessing your specific needs, including areas of coverage, the number of devices you’ll be connecting and how much data usage you’re likely to need. Once you’ve done that, take time to compare the different providers, paying close attention to network speed, reliability and signal strength locally.

Additionally, look for plans that offer flexible data options within your budget, and be sure to know about any setup fees and potential overage charges.

Finally, once you have a clear idea in mind of the provider you’d like to go with, look on review sites like Trustpilot and Google Reviews to see what other customers say. At the end of the day, the last thing you need is to be stuck with any kind of business internet that doesn’t quite work for you. No two businesses are the same so it’s well worth doing your research before risking any costly mistakes.