You might call it MiFi. You might call it a personal mobile hotspot. Or maybe you just call it plain old mobile Wi-Fi. Either way, it lets you get online wherever you are.
A MiFi device (or mobile Wi-Fi device, or - you get the picture) is a small gadget that you can slip in your bag or your pocket for broadband on the go. Switch it on, and it connects to the local mobile network, then broadcasts a Wi-Fi signal so you can hook up your laptop, smartphone, tablet, or whatever other gadget you need the internet on. Useful, right?
Have a look at our full guide for the complete lowdown on mobile Wi-Fi - or keep reading to find out how to get the best deal for you on one of these handy little gizmos.
Choosing a mobile Wi-Fi deal
Most mobile Wi-Fi devices offer the same basic thing: Wi-Fi that you can connect a few gadgets to. It’s difficult to go wrong here.
Some, however, have special features. For instance, the Huawei E5330 is wonderfully compact; and EE’s 4GEE WiFi is designed to carry fast 4G speeds. The Huawei Pocket Hotspot Plus even has a charging cable for your phone or tablet.
3G or 4G
A mobile Wi-Fi deal with 4G connectivity will give you the fastest broadband with the best connection possible, but 3G deals are cheaper and have wider coverage. Speeds can be a bit frustratingly slow on 3G, mind - especially if you want to connect multiple devices at once.
Longer term mobile broadband contracts, such as 12-month or 24-month ones, spread out the cost of your device to make it more manageable - often with nothing to pay upfront.
Buying outright and paying for your data allowance by the month, meanwhile, means you aren’t tied down to a contract and can change your allowance whenever you like. Look for one-month or 30-day contracts if that sounds more your bag.
Allowances on mobile Wi-Fi range from a steady 2GB per month up to a more heavy-duty 64GB. If you’ll only use your MiFi for occasional browsing, a lower allowance should be fine; but if you want to watch Netflix, stream a several hours of music, or work on the go, choose a bigger plan.
Or, buy a device outright on a 30-day deal, and you can change your allowance every month to suit your usage.
Networks that offer MiFi and mobile Wi-Fi
- EE - for the fastest (and widest reaching) 4G
- O2 - a nice big range of devices
- Three - the network that owns “MiFi” name
- Vodafone - including plenty of high-data 3G deals
Before you sign up to a deal, always check you can get decent enough coverage in the places where you want to use your MiFi. Read all about mobile coverage here.