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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.
Learn more: How to set up a mobile hotspot on Android
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 $35 a month for 6GB. You can also get 16GB of data for $45 a month, or 30GB for $65.
Verizon recently moved on to a new 5G hotspot, the Verizon Inseego 5G MiFi M2100. 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 not exactly cheap, but 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 100GB for $55 per month.
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.
One of your best options right now is the Netgear Nighthawk 5G Hotspot Pro. It’s a convenient, pocket-sized router with a bright screen that displays battery percentage, speed, and how much data is left on your plan. It supports 5G speeds, and can share a connection with up to 32 Wi-Fi devices. There’s also Wi-Fi 6 on-board, and the 5,040 mAh should last up to eight hours.
Unfortunately, AT&T’s 5G Nighthawk is currently unavailable. Your best bet, for now, might be to try the LTE-enabled Nighthawk instead.
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 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 afterward.
T-Mobile’s Inseego MiFi M2000 hotspot is nearly 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!
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.
US Cellular 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, 50GB of data for $50 a month, or 75GB of data for $75 a month.
Mobile hotspots can’t get much cheaper than the $79.99 Alcatel Linkzone 2. It’s a capable device, too. Speeds can reach 150Mbps down and 50Mbps up. The device can handle 16 connected devices simultaneously. Battery life is expected to last up to 24 hours, and it can even be used as a battery pack to charge other devices.
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 $80, it’s a bit more expensive than other options, but 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.