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The best mobile hotspot plans of 2023: Verizon is arguably in the lead
Looking for the best mobile hotspot plans you can find? We don’t blame you for your interest. Mobile hotspots are a great way to share your connection to a carrier’s cellular network with others. Sure many phones now have at least some form of hotspot sharing, but a dedicated device can come in handy too. Not only are they typically able to connect dozens more devices at a time, but they are much more power efficient and can last all day or even longer while sharing their connection around an entire household.
In this guide we take a look at all the major carriers and quickly break down their best plans at a glance. We also give you a few different hotspot device suggestions as well.
The best mobile hotspot plans:
Want to cut to the chase? Let’s quickly highlight our favorite three plans across all the options listed below:
- Verizon offers up to 150GB, more than anyone else. It offers some of the fastest hotspot speeds and has reasonably decent pricing across its entire range, especially for its postpaid range. If you don’t travel much, the base plan gives you 15GB for just $20, but you can scale all the way up to 150GB for $80 a month.
- T-mobile gives you 100GB for just $50, making it a great value. You’ll find T-Mobile’s 100GB plan is $10 cheaper than Verizon’s 100GB plan. If you don’t need any more data than this, you won’t find a better deal. Note you’ll find the same pricing and experience with Metro by T-Mobile, so we’re lumping these two options together in this quick recommendation.
- Straight Talk also gives you 100GB for $50, but on Verizon’s network. Want a good deal but still want Verizon service? Straight Talk is now owned by Verizon (through TracFone) and uses its network. Just be aware you’ll likely get a deprioritized treatment that won’t be as good as Verizon or T-Mobile. Still, it’s not a bad alternative if you don’t want to spend as much and don’t have great T-Mobile coverage in your area.
The best of the rest:
Editor’s note: We will update this post when changes are made to these mobile hotspot plans.
Verizon has a wide variety of mobile hotspots for sale, ranging from as little as $80 to as much as $400 from some of the more expensive 5G models. You can also pick between prepaid or postpaid plans.
There are four different postpaid Verizon hotspot plans. Here’s a quick breakdown:
- Essential for $20: You get 15GB of premium hotspot data, but there’s no 5G Ultra Wideband support.
- Plus for $40: You get 50GB of premium hotspot data and 5G Ultra Wideband support as long as your hotspot device supports it.
- Pro for $60: You get 100GB of premium hotspot data and 5G Ultra Wideband support as long as your hotspot device supports it.
- Premium for $80: You get 150GB of premium hotspot data and 5G Ultra Wideband support as long as your hotspot device supports it.
Keep in mind all four postpaid plans include unlimited slower-speed Wi-Fi, but we’re talking about so slow that you won’t be able to do much more than send and check emails.
Verizon also offers four prepaid hotspot plans. The 5GB and 25GB options don’t include 5G access and cost $40 and $60 a month, respectively. The 100GB and 150GB packages include 5G Ultra Wideband access and up to 4K UHD streaming, priced at $80 and $100 a month, respectively.
These prices are a bit higher than Verizon’s postpaid options. That said, if you also use a Verizon prepaid plan for your smartphone, you can actually get these prepaid plans for $30 cheaper than advertised.
Looking for the best Verizon hotspot device?
If you’re looking for one of the best 5G hotspots on offer, you’ll want to consider 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 or $349.99 outright, and it’s a higher-end hotspot with 5G support and up to 24 hours of battery life.
AT&T also has a variety of hotspots for sale ranging from $80 for an LTE-only model to as expensive as $460 for the top-of-the-line 5G pick. You can also pick between prepaid or postpaid plans.
There are just two postpaid AT&T hotspot plans. Here’s a quick breakdown:
- AT&T DataConnect 50GB for $55: You get 50GB of premium hotspot data, including 5G and LTE. After you run out of data you’ll be subject to a $10 overage fee for every additional 5GB of data used.
- AT&T DataConnect 100GB for $90: You get 100GB of premium hotspot data, including 5G and LTE. After you run out of data you’ll be subject to a $10 overage fee for every additional 5GB of data used.
AT&T actually has a lot more prepaid plans than it does postpaid. You’ll find plans ranging from 20GB to $25 a month, 15GB for $35 a month, 50GB for $55 a month, and 100GB for $90 a month. You’ll notice the 50 and 100GB plans are priced the same across both the prepaid and postpaid tiers.
Looking for the best Verizon hotspot device?
The Netgear Nighthawk M6 is a 5G and 4G LTE hotspot router with Wi-Fi 6 compatibility, a 2.4-inch color touch display for easy configuration, an ethernet port, and a fully removable battery. It can be yours for just $8.62 a month, or $309.99 if you’d rather purchase it outright.
T-Mobile currently sells a few mobile hotspot devices, ranging from $90 to $264. You’ll find prepaid and postpaid plans but the latter are the best deal.
There are several postpaid hotspot plans to choose from, though we honestly recommend the 100GB plan as it’s not much more than the others and yet offers significantly more data. Still, here’s a quick breakdown of what to expect across all plans:
- 2GB Mobile Internet is $10: The pricing includes taxes and fees, though you’ll pay $5 more if you opt out of autopay. In addition to 2GB of high-speed data for use on the T-Mobile network, you also get up to 5GB of data in use for 215+ countries and destinations outside of the US, though you’ll get just 2GB in Mexico and Canada.
- 5GB Mobile Internet for $20: Everything from before applies, though you’ll get 5GB of data for use on the T-Mobile network. You’ll also get 5GB in over 215+ countries including Mexico and Canada.
- 10GB Mobile Internet for $30: Everything from before applies, though you’ll get 10GB of data for use on the T-Mobile network. You’ll also get 5GB in over 215+ countries including Mexico and Canada. Additionally, there’s a $5 discount per line up to 8 lines with autopay on this plan.
- 100GB Mobile Internet for $50: Everything from before applies, though you’ll get 100GB of data for use on the T-Mobile network. You’ll also get 5GB in over 215+ countries including Mexico and Canada. Additionally, there’s a $5 discount per line up to 8 lines with autopay on this plan.
Looking for T-Mobile prepaid hotspot plans? You’ll find identical pricing for the 2-10GB plans, but there is no 100GB plan for prepaid users. Instead, you’ll pay the same $50 for 50GB of data.
Looking for the best T-Mobile hotspot device?
T-Mobile’s Inseego MiFi X Pro 5G hotspot is identical to Verizon’s hotspot, which means the same great 24-hour battery life. While not the flashiest, it’s a decent 5G option and can be yours for just $11 a month or $264 if you prefer to pay outright.
UScellular only offers three hotspots ranging from $69.99 to $249.99. As for plans? You’ll find four different plans to choose from:
- 4GB for $25 a month
- 10GB for $50 a month
- 20GB for $75 a month
- 40GB for $105 a month
To say these prices are extremely expensive would be an understatement. Unless you live in a rural pocket where they are few other options, we recommend avoiding US Celluar for your hotspot needs.
Looking for the best US Cellular hotspot device?
The Inseego 5G Mifi M2000 looks identical to the rest of Iseego’s routers annd works essentially the same. It’s the only 5G option on US Cellular’s network. It offers an easy to configure touchscreen and battery life that can easily last a day and then some.
Metro by T-Mobile
Now we’re moving on to carriers that are strictly prepaid in nature, but that doesn’t mean they don’t offer decent mobile hostposts. Metro by T-Mobile only has two hotspots to pick from, a T-mobile-branded LTE model for $79.99 or a JEXtream 5G model for $199.99. Both work great and it just really depends on whether you care about 5G or not.
As for plans? You can start with a mobile hotspot plan with 10GB of data for $30 a month, 30GB of data for $40 a month, or 100GB for $50 per month.
Cricket Wireless has only one WiFi hotspot, the Turbo Hotspot 2. It gives you 4G LTE access only and will run $79.99 in total. 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.
As for plans? There are three to pick from. Paying $35 a month gives you 20GB of high-speed data with Mexico and Canada usage that cannot exceed half of your total. There’s also a 50GB and 100GB plan with the same international access priced at $55 and $90 respectively.
Be aware Cricket is owned by AT&T and runs on the AT&T network.
Straight Talk Wireless
Straight Talk has four different hotspot routers to choose from ranging from just $14.99 to as much as $199.99. As for Straight Talk hotspot plans? You’ll just have two plans: 10GB for $25, or 100GB for $50. We’d recommend the latter plan as you get 90GB more for just double the price.
Be aware Straight Talk is owned by TracFone, which itself is now part of Verizon. That means these plans will run on Verizon’s network.
Mobile hotspot FAQ
Are you free to use your phone as a mobile hotspot? Sometimes, but 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.