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The best mobile hotspot plans right now
Mobile hotspots are a great way to share your connection to a carrier’s cellular network with others. They’re pretty handy if you are on the road where Wi-Fi internet access might not be available. It’s important to find the best mobile hotspot plans to pair with those devices as well.
The nation’s biggest wireless carriers all sell standalone mobile hotspots, at least to some degree. If you buy one from them, you can go and sign up for a mobile hotspot plan. Most carriers also offer a way to turn your phone into a mobile hotspot in their regular data plans. Here’s a look at the best mobile hotspot plans that are currently available.
The best mobile hotspot plans:
Editor’s note: We will update this post when changes are made to these mobile hotspot plans.
The nation’s largest carrier sells three standalone mobile hotspot devices. If you have the postpaid mobile hotspot on your Verizon account, with no other devices, you can get service for either $80 or $90 per month.
Verizon has recently revamped its hotspot plans once again, this time giving you control over how much data you need. You can stick with the Essential plan for $20 and tap into 15GB of data, or jump to $40 for 50GB, $60 for 100GB, and $80 for 150GB. Keep in mind none of these plans are actually capped. Instead, they are throttled. This means your speeds are likely to get slower after you reach said limits.
If you’ll only use a hotspot now and then, like if you’re on a business or family trip, Verizon has some prepaid plans as well. Verizon’s prices start at $40 a month for 5GB. You can also stretch to 25GB for $60, 100GB for $80, or 150GB for $100 per month.
Verizon recently moved on to a new 5G hotspot, the Verizon Inseego MiFi X Pro. The device is similar to Verizon’s previous 5G hotspot, but it offers a few improvements, like a smaller footprint and better battery life. It’s reasonably affordable at $9.72 per month, and it’s a higher-end hotspot with 5G support and up to 24 hours of battery life.
You can sign up for AT&T’s prepaid data-only plans for as little as $25 per month. To get the lowest rate, you’ll have to prepay for an entire year of service, which grants you 20GB of data per month. If you’d rather pay month to month, you can choose 15GB for $35 or go all-in with 50GB for $55 per month or 100GB for $90.
AT&T also has postpaid plans for hotspots, but we don’t recommend them. The prices aren’t great; you can get 25GB for $50 or 40GB for $75. These plans are actually capped, too, and you have to pay $10 for every 2GB you use over your limit.
T-Mobile currently sells a few mobile hotspot devices. The cheapest plan is $10 a month for 2GB of data. The following one is $20 for 5GB, and it goes up to 10GB if you pay $30 a month. $40 a month gets you 30GB, and $50 a month offers 50GB of data access. In fact, T-Mobile’s plans are far more affordable than they once were — the Un-Carrier used to top out at 22GB of access for $85 per month.
Those who have a smartphone on a T-Mobile unlimited plan get 3G hotspot speeds. Upgrading to a T-Mobile Magenta plan will get you 5GB of premium hotspot speeds, but speeds will be reduced to 3G speeds afterward. If you opt for Magenta Max, you’ll get 40GB instead.
T-Mobile’s Inseego MiFi X Pro 5G hotspot is identical to Verizon’s hotspot, and it represents the carrier’s entry into the 5G hotspot game. The good news is T-Mobile’s version is a little cheaper! T-Mobile also has its own branded hotspot, which offers 5G connectivity for about half the price of the Inseego model.
UScellular offers just one mobile hotspot for sale. If you purchase it, you can choose from several mobile plans. They begin at $10 a month with 1GB of data, all the way to $40 a month with 10GB of data. There’s also an unlimited data plan for $90 a month.
UScellular follows in T-Mobile’s and Verizon’s footsteps with the Inseego MiFi 7000. It’s one of the few mobile hotspots with a touchscreen. Not that it matters much for its use, but it’s a cool feature to have. Other features include connecting with up to 30 devices, file sharing via USB, and up to 24 hours of battery life. It costs $5.32 per month for 24 months.
Metro by T-Mobile
T-Mobile’s Metro offers a mobile hotspot. You can start with a mobile hotspot plan with 10GB of data for $30 a month if you buy it. You can also get 30GB of data for $40 a month or 100GB for $50 per month.
Mobile hotspots can’t get much cheaper than those from Metro. The MVNO offers two devices — a T-Mobile Hotspot and a JEXtream RG2100 for 5G speeds. While the JEXtream might be the faster option, it’s tough to argue with the price of free.
Cricket Wireless has its Turbo Hotspot 2 back in stock, and you can pick from three enticing plans. Paying $35 a month gives you 20GB of high-speed data with Mexico and Canada usage that cannot exceed half of your total. For $55, you can balloon your data to 100GB with the same international access.
The Turbo hotspot itself will run you $79.99 all in. It’s as easy to use as hotspots get, with just one button and a small display. The Turbo 2 can support up to 15 devices with dual-band Wi-Fi and a rechargeable 3,000mAh battery.
This prepaid service offers just one very affordable mobile hotspot. Its mobile hotspot data plans start at $10 for 1GB of data per month. You can double your data for $20, jump to 2.5GB for $30, or go up to 10GB of data for $50. The prices are not bad, but you can certainly find better ones with more data for a little more money.
Net10 Wireless has dropped the ZTE Z291DL mobile hotspot in favor of the Moxee mobile hotspot for $49.99. It has a built-in color display and fully recharges in just three hours.
Straight Talk Wireless
Straight Talk has several mobile hotspot plans, starting with 2GB a month for $15 and 4GB a month for $25. You can also spend $40 to get 8GB of data for two months or $50 for 10GB of data for the same time period. Finally, spending $75 will give you 20GB of data for two months.
The company offers multiple mobile hotspot devices, but they vary depending on your area. Visit the Straight Talk Wireless website to check which you can purchase. Most hotspot devices are available brand-new or reconditioned with a hefty discount.
Karma is a bit different than the other carriers in that they offer only mobile hotspot services. They have no smartphones, tablets, or other connected devices. The original Karma Go and Karma Black hotspots have also been dropped in favor of the Franklin Wireless R717.
Karma offers a $10 plan with 1GB of data or 5GB of data for $30 per month. If you’re looking for more data, you can also check out the 10GB plan for $50. The good news is that there are no credit checks or contracts involved, so you can have your internet when and where you need it.
As we said, the Karma Go and Black are no more, and the Franklin R717 has taken their place. It appears to be a basic hotspot with up to eight hours of battery life and the capacity to support 15 devices. At $60, it’s just about in line with other options, and it includes service in over 50 countries.
Smartphone mobile hotspot plans
Suppose you want to turn your smartphone into a mobile hotspot rather than getting a dedicated device. In that case, the major wireless carriers all offer plans with a limited amount of mobile hotspot high-speed data. You can check out the current plans for all four major wireless carriers and their smartphone-based mobile hotspot features at the links below.
Now you know which plan you want, but what about the hotspot hardware? Check out our guide to the best hotspot devices.
Mobile hotspot FAQ
Not necessarily. Some unlimited data plans will offer you a fixed level of hotspot support, while not allowing you to use unlimited levels. Certain MVNOs may also offer hotspot data as an add-on to your plan.
It depends on your data connection. If you’re using a 5G hotspot, there is every chance that it will be faster than your home Wi-Fi. However, some 4G LTE hotspots may offer slightly slower speeds.
Yes, as long as you have a service that offers live TV, you can stream it with your hotspot connection. Be mindful of your data usage, as live TV can burn through gigabytes quickly.
It takes about 1GB to stream an hour of Netflix in standard definition, or about 3GB per hour in high definition.