Mobile broadband or wireless broadband services are “high-speed” Internet services that use devices that connect to the communications networks that mobile phones use. I mentioned these technologies last year with a use case for a backup network connection for some scenarios. One thing is certain, the options are increasing for coverage and providers for this technology.

Generally speaking, this is going to be good for the consumer. Most notably, this can push the price down on these services. Historically, there have been two main players in this space: Verizon and Sprint. There now are more providers entering into the wireless broadband market. One entrant, Cricket, is offering a very competitive price for a mobile broadband service at $40 monthly with no contract. Comcast is also investing in the market as well.

The key to these services becoming a stronger offering is the proliferation of 3G and 4G carrier wireless communication. As with any mobile service, so many factors depend on the experience of the communication. And if any sales representative tells you, “It’s digital technology — you either have it or you don’t,” walk away quickly, as this is not the case. The performance will vary greatly by a number of factors based on local carrier service.

From a practical experience standpoint, mobile broadband has been a lifesaver. Although I primarily used it for on-call responsibilities, my experience with the Sprint service was phenomenal. The Sprint card was provided by my previous employer for on-call administrators, and it allowed me to still “live my life” with the on-call responsibility.

I am currently transitioning to another position, and I may soon purchase a service. With the purchase of these services, it is very important to closely read the terms of service. In particular, I am referring to the amount of bandwidth permitted for the accounts. The Cricket service permits up to 5 GB per month before a bandwidth cap is put into place, and the Verizon offering charges more for traffic above 5 GB monthly.

Where are you with mobile broadband? Share your comments below.