We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
Wi-Fi and Networking Reviews
15,670 Reviews

O2 Mobile Broadband review

£20 per month

Manufacturer: O2

Our Rating: We rate this 3.5 out of 5 User Rating: Our users rate this 1 out of 10

As the exclusive network operator for Apple's iPhone 3G in the UK, you can expect O2 to keep increasing its 3G coverage across the UK.

O2 became a mobile broadband operator in its own right in April 2008. As the exclusive network operator for Apple's iPhone 3G in the UK, you can expect it to keep increasing 3G coverage across the UK.

As with the other models reviewed here, installation was a breeze on XP or Vista machines: place the dongle into a USB port (either directly or via the provided USB cable) and the drivers install immediately.

We found the O2 Connection Manager that installs alongside the drivers a bit intrusive. O2 says the application provides a simple way to manage all your wireless connections, including Wi-Fi and GPRS, as well as the 3G enabled by O2's modem. While this may be the case, we thought the warnings about our User Account Control (UAC) settings were a bit much - we get enough of these from Windows Vista.

The Connection Manager comes into its own when Wi-Fi hotspots are available, though. O2 provides customers with free access to around 7,500 Wi-Fi hotspots from The Cloud (subject to a fair-usage policy).

By default, the Connection Manager will inform you when a faster network is available - just click on the option to switch to the Wi-Fi network when it's offered.

This came in quite handy as we found O2's 3G network less impressive than the other services tested here. Even in built-up areas, we generally achieved speeds of around 400 kilobits per second (Kbps) - that's fine for web browsing, but lags behind the best performers when downloading larger files. As always, check O2's site to see how good coverage is near you.

Two contracts are available, each costing £20 per month. The difference is that the 18-month deal includes a free dongle, whereas one-month subscribers must pay a one-off £100 to get their hands on the device. Both come with a 3GB data limit per month, with excess data charged at 20p per MB.

Check your local coverage here: webmap.o2.co.uk.

Visit Broadband Advisor for the latest internet news, reviews, tips & tricks

See also:

Apple iPhone 3G review

Apple iPhone: the definitive UK review



iPhone 3G video

O2 Mobile Broadband Expert Verdict »

£20 per month
3GB download limit
free access to The Cloud hotspots
cost for exceeding data limit: 20p per MB
  • Overall: We give this item 7 of 10 overall

O2 enjoys solid 3G coverage, is easy to install and will set you back only £20 a month if you sign up for 18 months.

  • Three Broadband Lite review

    Three Broadband Lite

    Three is into mobile broadband in a big way, offering 18 different 18-month plans - three levels of usage and six dongles.

  • Virgin Mobile Broadband review

    Virgin Mobile Broadband

    Running on T-Mobile's network, Virgin Media Mobile Broadband provides impressive 3G speeds, and the subscription cost is in line with the best deals on the market.

  • TP-Link TL-MR3020 review

    TP-Link TL-MR3020

    The TP-Link TL-MR3020 is a portable 3G/3.75G wireless N router. And we like it: read our TP-Link TL-MR3020 review to find out why.

  • T-Mobile Web 'n Walk review

    T-Mobile Web 'n Walk

    T-Mobile's Web ‘n Walk service is a strong contender, offering top download speeds approaching those of Vodafone's service and providing consistent coverage.

  • Novatel Intelligent Mobile Hotspot MiFi 2352 review

    Novatel Intelligent Mobile Hotspot MiFi 2352

    The Novatel Intelligent Mobile Hotspot MiFi 2352 is a totally wireless 3G modem that shares its connection like a Wi-Fi router.

IDG UK Sites

Best camera phone of 2015: iPhone 6 Plus vs LG G4 vs Galaxy S6 vs One M9 vs Nexus 6

IDG UK Sites

In defence of BlackBerrys

IDG UK Sites

Why we should reserve judgement on Apple ditching Helvetica in OS X/iOS for the Apple Watch's San...

IDG UK Sites

Retina 3.3GHz iMac 27in preview: Apple cuts £400 of price of Retina iMac with new model