Mobile broadband is the marketing term for wireless Internet access through a portable modem, mobile phone, USB wireless modem, tablet or other mobile devices. The first wireless Internet access became available in 1991 as part of the second generation (2G) of mobile phone technology. Higher speeds became available in 2001 and 2006 as part of the third (3G) and fourth (4G) generations. In 2011, 90% of the world's population lived in areas with 2G coverage, while 45% lived in areas with 2G and 3G coverage. Mobile broadband uses the spectrum of 225 MHz to 3700 MHz.
Mobile broadband is the marketing term for wireless Internet access delivered through mobile phone towers to computers, mobile phones (called "cell phones" in North America and South Africa), and other digital devices usingportable modems. Although broadband has a technical meaning, wireless-carrier marketing uses the phrase "mobile broadband" as a synonym for mobile Internet access. Some mobile services allow more than one device to be connected to the Internet using a single cellular connection using a process calledtethering.
The bit rates available with Mobile broadband devices support voice and video as well as other data access. Devices that provide mobile broadband to mobile computers include:
- PC cards, also known as PC data cards, and Express cards
- USB and mobile broadband modems, also known as connect cards
- portable devices with built-in support for mobile broadband, such as laptop computers, netbook computers,smartphones, iPads, PDAs, and other mobile Internet devices.
Internet access subscriptions are usually sold separately from mobile phone subscriptions.