3G Service is a booming business these days, and why wouldn't it be? With a simple 3G broadband card plugged into the USB drive of your computer, or a smartphone, you can surf the web or send email from nearly anywhere.
A 3G broadband card allows your computer to connect to the internet via cell phone towers. That means you can sit in the park and access the world of information available on the net with no wires. Each of the wireless companies (Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, etc.) has 3G service for similar prices. So which 3G service provider should you choose?
Things You Will NeedAbout $25 to set up service and about $60 per month to pay for a data plan.
Step 1Consider the fact that most 3G internet service plans are about the same in cost. It will cost $20 to $25 to set up your broadband service and about $60 to pay for it each month. Most of the companies will give you the broadband card for free when you sign up for a 24 month contract.
Step 2You'll probably notice that broadband cards are nearly the same from company to company. The technology is basically the same and the cards are often built by the same manufacturer for each service provider. So, type of card is not a crucial factor to consider.
However, you may want to consider bells and whistles like memory and software. Some cards come with extra memory so the USB card will double as a thumb drive. Also, one nice feature to look for is a card with the software built into the card itself instead of on a separate disk. This will save you from having to install the contents of the disk on every desktop or laptop you want to use the card with.
Step 3The next step is to research the service providers in your part of the country to see which ones will work best for you. This step is the hard one because there is no answer that will suit everybody. Some providers have a better network in one part of the nation but not in other parts. Also, some companies work better overseas than others.
Step 4Look at the coverage maps for 3G service provided by the companies like AT&T and Verizon, but keep in mind that these could be a bit biased. Also, consider the difference between cellular coverage and 3G coverage. If you want to surf the internet from anywhere at high speeds, you'll need 3G coverage. Regular cellular coverage just won't cut it. It's much slower than broadband.
Step 5Don't be afraid to check with your friends and neighbors. If you live in a rural area where a lot of people rely on broadband cards, your local acquaintances will have some opinions about the issue. They can tell you which companies offer good reliable service in your area.
Step 6Also, if you have a cell phone and it works well and receives a 3G signal, then you will know that company can be depended upon. If a cell phone picks up a 3G signal, a broadband card will also. A broadband card is basically just a digital phone for your computer.
Step 7Visit a store that sells 3G service from various providers. Best Buy is the first that comes to mind. Ask the sales people which company has the best track record where you live. These people have experience with multiple internet wireless service providers, and they hear a lot of feedback from happy and disgruntle customers.
Whichever broadband service provider you choose, ask their sales person if you can try out their device and see if you get good service where you live or work. The lay of the land may make difference in the level of signal power you receive at any specific place. Most companies will let you try their service out for a few days and only pay the setup fee if it doesn't work out.
Tips & WarningsDon't pay for the aircard or broadband card itself. Most companies will give these out for free if you sign up for a broadband service plan through them.
Realize that most service plans have a cap on how much data you can upload and download each month. The standard cap is set at 5GB, and you will incur more costs if you go over that amount.
Remember, some 3G service providers are stronger in some regions and others are stronger in different regions. Certain companies have focused more on cities and others have focused on rural users. The one you pick will depend on the strength of the network where you live or travel.