What is a Mobile Proxy?

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A mobile proxy uses mobile IP addresses or redirects web traffic through mobile devices connected to cellular networks. Such proxies provide an extra layer of anonymity and they may also be useful in certain business-related scenarios.

What you’ll learn

What is a mobile IP address?

Even outside the home network, Internet traffic can be forwarded with a fixed IP address using the mobile IP communication protocol. This allows users to have mobile or wireless devices to remotely use the Internet.

A mobile IP address is most often used in a WAN network when a user needs to take a mobile device with different IP addresses across different LANs. Although mobile IP is not a wireless protocol as such, it can be used for cellular networks’ IP infrastructure.

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What is a mobile proxy?

Proxy servers are mediators between the internet and a user. They enable data exchange by forwarding the user’s web requests.

Proxies are mainly used for anonymity. Apart from privacy, internet anonymity and security, proxy servers could be used for other things. Some examples would include to save bandwidth and improve speed. Proxies can also limit or control the usage of the internet within a school or company.

Mobile proxies act similarly to residential proxies. It is essentially one IP address that is obtained from mobile operators like Vodafone, T-Mobile, and Sprint. Such a proxy does, however, use mobile data, as opposed to a residential proxy that uses broadband ISPs and home Wi-Fi.

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What is a 4G proxy?

4G proxies are essentially one of several names that are used when referring to a mobile proxy. Certified mobile operators provide users with 4G proxy addresses.

These proxies can be used by mobile devices to connect to the internet, e.g. smartphones and tablets. The mobile ISP controls the connection speeds.

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How do mobile proxies work?

Mobile proxies are proxies servers that either expose mobile IP address or redirect the traffic through mobile devices that use real cellular towers (4G/3G) to connect to the Internet.

Diagram showing how a mobile proxy works (proxy client, mobile IP proxy, mobile devices, Internet).

Mobile proxies are usually implemented as a back-connect proxy to be able to rotate the mobile IPs and redirect traffic through various devices. It makes it much more difficult to detect the masked IP, resulting in a more anonymous and private connection that remains as user-friendly and convenient as a normal one.

Mobile IPs will refresh on every website request when any website is visited via such a proxy. Although it is possible to use the same IP for a longer period, this can normally not be done longer than a few minutes.

ISP or gateway country control can be used to choose the location of any proxy devices we want to use, allowing you to use proxies from different countries.

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Why do you need mobile proxies?

There are a number of advantages to using mobile proxies. The first of these is ad verification. When ads are watched without a proxy, the website would pick up the real user and their mobile device. If an ad is run through a real mobile IP, it will enable better fraud detection.

A second good reason to use mobile proxies is to do proper price comparisons. Vendors often display different prices based on device location and the mobile carrier used. When a real 3G/4G mobile proxy is used, it becomes possible to verify true prices across the internet without being blocked or misled.

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How are mobile proxy networks built

An IP can get banned when it is used to access specific websites or to collect data. Proxy providers offer mobile IPs to help beat this problem.

Creating a huge quantity of mobile proxies is however not easy and proxy networks can, however, achieve that by using app developers.

App developer makes a deal with proxy providers whereby a user downloading the app agrees to terms of service (TOS). This allows them to use the apps for free when they agree to become a peer on a proxy network and provide their IP.

The proxy network then uses their device’s IP address as a mobile proxy. 

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How to choose a mobile proxy provider

Setting a reliable mobile IP proxy network takes a lot of time and effort. There are mobile proxy providers that claim to have a proxy network, but this only contains a limited number of IPs. As it is virtually impossible to test a huge number of IPs to verify these claims, it is best to research proxy providers properly before selecting one.

Make sure you select one with a good reputation and make sure you check out reviews (both good and bad) before making your final selection.

There are several proxy services that offer mobile IP proxies. You may take a look at Luminati or check my proxy tools list.

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Mobile proxies act similarly to residential proxies by providing a safe gateway to the internet. It is essentially a single IP address that is obtained from mobile internet operators like Vodafone, T-Mobile, or Sprint. A mobile proxy does, however, use mobile data, as opposed to residential proxies that use broadband ISPs and home Wi-Fi.

Two of the biggest advantages of using mobile proxies are ad verification and doing proper price comparisons. 

I have a background in marketing and I have been working with proxies for several years. I started this blog to share my knowledge about proxies and proxy tools.