Mobile hotspots, either in standalone devices or included as a feature in smartphones, let people share their connection to a carrier’s cellular network with others. It’s 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 for 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. If you own a smartphone, 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.
1. Verizon Wireless
The nation’s largest carrier sells four standalone mobile hotspot devices. If you just have that postpaid mobile hotspot on your Verizon account, with no other devices, you can get service starting as low as 1GB a month for $15. Each extra GB will cost you $10. In addition, Verizon offers extra data plans for your mobile hotspot devices. For example, you can get 10GB of data for your standalone mobile hotspot for $60 a month, all the way up to 40GB of data for $150 a month. You can also opt for Verizon’s $80 unlimited plan, which would grant you endless GBs, but you would be throttled after 15GB of 4G LTE usage.
If you’ll only use a hotspot every now and then, such as if you are on a business or family trip, Verizon has some prepaid plans as well. Verizon’s prices start at $35 a month for 6GB. You can also get 16GB of data for $45 a month, or 30GB for $65.
Verizon recently launched its first 5G mobile hotspot, the Verizon Inseego 5G MiFi M1000. Verizon customers who already own a smartphone with an unlimited smartphone plan can add a 5G MiFi M1000 to their account and get 50GB of 5G data per month, along with 15GB of 4G LTE data for $30 a month. For the 5G hotspot alone, data plans start at $85 a month.
The second biggest carrier in the US has three mobile hotspots in its lineup. Those who buy one can sign up for AT&T’s DataConnect mobile hotspot plans, which offer 10GB of data for $50 or 15GB for $70 a month. Alternatively, you can choose to go with one of AT&T’s Wireless Internet packages. Voice talk alone will cost you $20. You can add 10GB of data for $50, 50GB for $60, or 100GB for $100. All data packages also include voice talk.
You can also sign up for prepaid mobile hotspot plans, starting at $25 a month for 3GB of data. There’s also a $50 monthly plan that gets you 10GB, and a $75 plan with 18GB per month.
AT&T’s coolest mobile hotspot device is the Netgear Nighthawk, which comes with 4G LTE support, up to 24 hours of battery life, Quick Charge 2.0 support, and a LAN port for physical connections. It can be had for $249.99, but AT&T offers an installment plan and discounts for 2-year contracts.
The nation’s third-biggest carrier currently sells a couple mobile hotspot devices. The cheapest plan is $10 a month for 2GB of data, and it goes up to 6GB if you pay $25 a month. $40 a month gets you 10GB, $55 a month offers 14GB, and $70 a month will give your hotspot access to 18GB. Finally, the most expensive plan gives you 22GB of data for $85 a month.
Those who have a smartphone on a T-Mobile One account get unlimited 3G hotspot speeds. Upgrading to a T-Mobile One Plus plan will get you 20GB of LTE hotspot speeds, but speeds will be reduced to 3G speeds afterwards.
T-Mobile’s Franklin T9 mobile hotspot isn’t as amazing as what the carriers above offer, but it will get the job done in good fashion. The device supports 4G LTE speeds, can connect with up to 15 devices, and sports a 2,450mAh battery. It’s also pretty affordable at just $84 straight from T-Mobile.
Sprint sells three mobile hotspots. If you choose to buy one of these devices and use it on Sprint’s network, you have three plans to choose from. One offers 10GB of data for $30 a month, another sells 50GB of data for $50 a month, and finally, you can get 100GB of data for $60 a month. Gotta love Sprint’s simplicity!
The HTC 5G Hub is pretty expensive at $600, but it is a powerful router that supports 5G speeds. Not only that, but this little machine runs Android and can be used as a standalone tablet of sorts. It has dual speakers and supports voice commands. It is no slouch either; this device has 4GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage, all running on a powerful Snapdragon 855 processor. As a router it can connect with up to 20 devices, and sports a large 7,660mAh battery that is said to last “all day.”
If you don’t need that much power, you can also opt for a simpler mobile hotspot like the MiFi 8000, which costs $240.
5. US Cellular
US Cellular 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.
The Inseego MiFi 7000 is 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 a connection with up to 15 devices, file sharing via USB, and up to 24 hours of battery life. It costs $191.52.
6. Boost Mobile
7. Metro by T-Mobile
T-Mobile’s Metro offers a mobile hotspot. If you buy it, you can get a mobile hotspot plan with 10GB of data for $35 a month. You can go up to 15GB of data for $45 a month, 20GB of data for $55 a month, and 30GB of data for $75 a month.
Mobile hotspots can’t get much cheaper than the MetroSmart Hotspot at just $29.99. The unit is LTE compatible, has a 5.3-hour battery life, and can connect with up to 15 devices simultaneously.
8. Cricket Wireless
Cricket Wireless has its own Wi-Fi hotspot device, as well as some enticing plans. Paying $25 a month gives you 3GB of data, while $35 a month boosts that cap to 10GB. If you pay $70 a month, or $65 with Auto-Pay, you can get 30GB of data. Keep in mind that Cricket limits download speeds to 8Mbps.
The Cricket Turbo mobile hotspot costs $99.99. The device can connect with up to 15 Wi-Fi devices, is LTE-capable, and has a 2,930mAh battery that should last 11 hours under continuous use.
This prepaid carrier currently sells one mobile hotspot. You automatically get 200MB of free high-speed data every month. Paying $17.95 a month gives you 1GB of data, and $27.45 a month increases that cap to 2GB. $45.95 a month gets you 4GB of data for NetZero’s mobile hotspots, while $63.95 a month increases it to 6GB, and $89.95 a month sees it going up to 8GB. If you want to get a mobile hotspot with a certain amount of free data every month, this might be for you, but its paid plans are not nearly as competitive as other carriers.
NetZero makes it clear that mobile hotspot images in its site are for illustrative purposes only, and what you get may vary depending on availability. To summarize, you don’t really know what you are getting and the device you get is labeled as “certified pre-owned.” At $59.95 it’s not expensive, though, and whatever you get will more than likely get the job done.
10. Net10 Wireless
This prepaid service offers a single very affordable mobile hotspot. Its mobile hotspot data plans start at $10 for 500MB of data for 14 days. The other plans are for 30 days and cost $20 for 1GB of data, $30 for 2.5GB, and $50 for 5GB. The prices are not bad, but you can certainly find better ones with more data for a little more money.
Net10 Wireless offers the ZTE Z291DL mobile hotspot for a mere $9.99! This gets you a device that can last up to 14 hours on a single charge and has 4G LTE speeds.
11. Straight Talk Wireless
Straight Talk has several mobile hotspot plans, starting with 1GB a month for $15 for 5 days, and 2GB a month for $25 for 30 days. You can also spend $40 to get 4GB of data for two months, or $50 for 5GB of data for the same time period. Finally, spending $75 will give you 7GB 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.
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 Karma Go and Karma Black hotspots are rather pricey at $199-249, but their plans are actually competitive.
Karma offers a plan for $3 a month, plus $10 for each GB of data you think you will use. There are regular monthly plans priced at $39.99 a month for 5GB, $79.99 for 10GB, and $99.99 for 20GB. You can also pay $10 a month extra on all of these plans to access Karma’s premium services, which include creating a private Wi-Fi network with your mobile hotspot for several people to use, for better security.
While the Karma Go and Karma Black might be better for some users, those devices are currently sold out and the company is only offering the Karma Voyage. The good news is that it costs only $49.99, and is meant for travelers. It has its own set of plans, priced at $9.99 for 1GB, $49.95 for 5GB, or $99.90 for 10GB. These are pricier, but include service in over 50 countries.
Smartphone mobile hotspot plans
If you just want to turn your smartphone into a mobile hotspot, rather than getting a dedicated device, 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.
Sharing your cellular connection with others is what mobile hotspots are all about. As you can see, there are a ton of options to choose from when it comes to finding the right plan for your needs.