Don't. Seriously, unless you absolutely have to, don't use your UK mobile broadband service abroad as it's very expensive and you could get an unexpected bill running into thousands of pounds if you use it as if you were in the UK. Even O2 say they "don't recommend you use mobile broadband abroad"!
It is a bit cheaper in Europe, but still very expensive compared to using it in the UK. Try looking at local wireless hotspots or a local pre-pay SIM card at your destination, and make sure you can use it for mobile broadband.
If you absolutely must, make sure you check with your provider on the charges for the country and network you're going to be roaming onto. You won't be able to use most pay-as-you-go (PAYG) connections abroad.
Remember your inclusive data allowance does generally not apply abroad.
You can use your UK broadband modem abroad, but most of these will be 'network locked' so you can only use them with your UK SIM card (and therefore have to pay the UK charges). This means you probably can't use them with a local pre-pay SIM card. Try to make sure your next laptop is one with a SIM card slow and mobile broadband built in as these tend not to be network locked. Also, be aware mobile broadband can use different frequencies in some countries so check with your provider if you are unsure
Yes, if you are using 3 Mobile Broadband, you can use a PAYG modem abroad provided you activate your account for international roaming. For others, you need a contract based broadband package to use it abroad. You may find that some month-to-month contracts allow this, but it's very high risk and you could end up with a large bill at the end of the month.
|**£0.10/MB within the Republic of Ireland until 31/01/2010**
£1.25/MB within EU Australia, USA, Japan and a few others; £6/MB everywhere else. Three appear to allow PAYG customers to use the service abroad.
|Base Roaming charges are £2.94/MB (incl. VAT) within the EU and £6/MB outside of the EU. Data Abroad bolt-ons can provide better value. Residential and business customers can add 10MB/month for £19.58 or 50MB for £48.95 incl VAT. Business customers can also add 200MB for £127.66+VAT/month. A discount is offered to business customers adding a bolt-on for 12 months where the cost is reduced by around 20-40%.|
|Internet Everywhere Tariffs both for laptops and mobile broadband packages - Inclusive data applies to UK only. Usage abroad costs £2.94/MB within EU ("Zone 1-2"); £6.46/MB rest of world|
|Mobile Broadband Travel package costs £95/month and includes 5GB UK
usage with 200MB abroad in certain countries mainly in Europe (with USA,
Japan, Australia and New Zealand included for a limited period). After
this, cost is £4.25 per MB, around 9 times the cost of the bundled
allowance. On a mobile phone, each 25MB block costs £4.99 per day within
Europe and £14.99 further afield.
|Roaming within selected EU countries is £1.50/MB whilst roaming from any other countries is £7.50/MB. Not available for PAYG customers.|
|Flat rate £5/MB abroad.|
Make sure you don't download any operating system or application updates when roaming as these can consume a lot of bandwidth. Also, avoid YouTube, iPlayer and any other video content. It is not unheard of for mobile operators to send bills running into thousands of pounds for some use so don't take any risks.
Check out local pre-pay mobile broadband SIM cards. Some plans for phones may not work as fast, but at least with PAYG you are protected against unexpected charges.
Consider using wireless hotspots (Wi-Fi); most laptops support it and many hotels and cafes have access points. Do be careful not to pay over the odds--Some hotels charge over the odds for broadband access.
Internet cafes are great if you don't want to bring your laptop, but make sure you are careful where you surf. We would advise against carrying out online banking or shopping transactions from Internet cafes, and would recommend at the very least you change your e-mail/Facebook passwords when you get back if you have used these from an Internet cafe.
If you're going to Ireland, 3 Mobile Broadband have a special 10p/MB offer which is unbeatable which expired 31 January 2010. Do check with 3 that you qualify for this to be safe.
If you're on holiday, consider taking a break from the Internet :)