Top 5 Mobile Internet Service Providers in the USA

All of the top 5 mobile internet service providers in the USA obviously provide the essential services to connect personal computers including laptops, desktops, and notebooks as well as mobile devices like smartphones to the Internet. These companies are also known as internet access providers.

Differences between the Two

It must first be emphasized that mobile Internet describes access to the Internet using a mobile device via an independent device like a USB modem or a PCMCIA card. Access to the Internet is then made via a non-fixed line method.

In contrast, a personal computer Internet access can be on a fixed line. Subscribers on a fixed line enjoy the benefits of faster connections coupled with several web applications displayed on a larger screen.

Mobile web access has certain limitations because of the lesser screen size on the mobile device, the slower connections, and fewer web applications. In the case of the latter, this is because sites use Flash or Javascript to display graphics, which most browsers do not run on.

When it comes to wireless Internet service providers, both personal computers and mobile devices can be hooked up to the Internet. It takes a few simple steps to hook up your personal computer to your smartphone’s Internet connection and vice versa.

Tips to Choose the Best

Of course, the top 5 mobile internet service providers in the USA all provide for high-quality products and services in the industry. But consumers are well-advised to carefully consider their choices before starting on a subscription plan. Keep in mind that the sales pitch made by the sales representative may be attractive but the fine print may eventually work against your favor.

• Look at the coverage area of the wireless Internet service providers. Take note coverage areas tend to be regional (i.e., northeast US).

• Check the speed of the mobile broadband service. Online sites are available for this purpose although we also suggest reading the customer reviews regarding the Internet speed of the top 5 mobile internet service providers in the USA. Take note that the advertised speeds are not the actual speeds and that the stated download/upload speeds are under ideal conditions; average speeds are the more reliable measure in this aspect.

• Compare the prices, network speed and coverage, data network reliability, and customer support of these wireless Internet service providers. You must shop around for the best provider.

• Furthermore, all of the top 5 mobile internet service providers in the USA are imperfect in the sense that one or two aspects will be less than satisfactory for consumers. For example, AT&T has an excellent network speed (10 in a rating of 1 to 10 with 1 being the lowest) but its customer support may be less than satisfactory (say, a 6).

With that being said, here is a summary of the top 5 mobile internet service providers in the USA and their available services.

AT&T

When it comes to being the nation’s fastest 3G network, AT&T certainly lives up to its hype. Download speeds can reach anywhere from 700Kbps to 1.2 Mbps while its services are available in 22 states in the US. Monthly subscription rates range from $14.95 to $22.95 depending on the plan.

Features available with the plans include free Internet security, full Yahoo integration, and parental controls. Subscribers also have the benefit of accessing the Internet via its national Wi-Fi network.

With their GSM network coupled with their strategic partnerships with carriers worldwide, AT&T leads the pack of the top 5 mobile internet service providers in the USA. Even its customer support services are improving by leaps and bounds.

Verizon Wireless

With 111.3 million subscribers as of the third quarter of 2012, Verizon Wireless is considered the largest wireless communications services provider in the country. The company, a joint venture of Verizon Communications and Vodafone, offers wireless voice, messaging and data transmission products and services. It has also the most extensive nationwide coverage as well as the most reliable network, which explains its inclusion in the top 5 mobile internet service providers in the USA.

However, its $29.99 fee for a network card can discourage potential customers from availing of the service.

Comcast

Comcast Corporation is one of the biggest Internet service providers for both residential and commercial customers – over 14 million subscribers in 39 states and the District of Columbia. It also provides one of the fastest network speeds of 18.64Mbps down and 39.94 Mbps up; Take note that Comcast also offers business-only services such as the Comcast Business Class with an average download speed of 24.13Mbps.

Its monthly subscription rates are reasonable, too, with prices starting at $29.99 per month. Features include 10MB storage in 7 e-mail accounts, parental controls, free Internet security, and access to ESPN3.

Sprint Nextel

The company’s inclusion in the top 5 mobile internet service providers in the USA is attributed to its fast connection speeds, which are comparable to AT&T and Verizon Wireless.

It also provides for nationwide coverage while its data network reliability is very satisfactory. The downsides: Customers will be disappointed in its lack of international presence and its poor customer service support system.

T-Mobile

Customers love the excellent data network reliability coupled with the competitive network speeds provided by T-Mobile. Data plans include features like unlimited e-mail, instant messaging, unlimited web browsing and affordable voice calls. Plus, the customer service support is highly satisfactory.

The downside: T-Mobile has a limited footprint in its coverage area. The company has plenty of room for improvement in the mobile Internet service industry but it is getting there, thus, its inclusion in the top 5 mobile internet service providers in the USA.