I have searched around this week for a mobile broadband package to make sure I have access while moving house. 3 offer a far, far better deal here than the competition, and I signed up straight away once I'd read through the T&Cs.
£9.99 initial purchase for the dongle, then £15 a month thereafter on a one month rolling contract. This is somewhere between PAYG and contract mobile broadband. Details direct from 3 on the 'go to deal' link. Download speeds up to 3.6 Mbps, the dongle is also a microSD card reader (which I think is standard, but still cool).
Orange, for example, will charge you £30 up front for the dongle, then £14.98 a month (30 day contract) for a 3GB allowance.http://shop.orange.co.uk/shop/mobile-broadband/dongle
Vodaphone charge you £40 for the dongle, then £15 per GB thereafter.http://shop.vodafone.co.uk/shop/mobile-broadband-devices/usb-modem-stick-topup-and-go?compatible=false
02 want £30 for the dongle, then £2 a day, £7 a week or £15 a month for 500mb/1GB and 3GB data allowance respectively.http://shop.o2.co.uk/promo/o2mobilebroadband/tab/Pay_and_Go
T-mobile want £2/day (so long us you top up £10?!) or £10 month for 18 months, both with 3GB allowance. They will gove you the dongle for free though. (Thanks?)http://www.t-mobile.co.uk/shop/mobile-broadband/
The downside is that they need 30 days notice to cancel, meaning you need to serve 2 months minimum on this contract once you've signed up. The chap in the shop said they can sign me back up to it if I decide to cancel then sign up again. The offer is available online and in store.
I would love to hear if any of you can find a better deal for mobile broadband from any provider.