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.
- How to setup a mobile hotspot on Android
- The best mobile hotspots you can buy
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:
- Verizon Wireless
- US Cellular
- Boost Mobile
- Metro By T-Mobile
- Cricket Wireless
- Net10 Wireless
- Straight Talk Wireless
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 the postpaid mobile hotspot on your Verizon account, with no other devices, you can get service starting as low as 1GB a month for $10. Each extra GB will cost you an additional $10.
In addition to the per-Gigabyte plan, Verizon has a handful of other ways to get connected. You can use any of the shared data plans or Unlimited plans as a mobile hotspot with no extra charge. Verizon also allows access through the More Everything Plan and the Verizon Plan. If you’re on the $75 Prepaid Unlimited plan you can get speeds of 600kbps but hotspot is unavailable on the $70 and $80 plans.
If you’ll only use a hotspot every 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 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.
Unfortunately, the Inseego 5G MiFi M1000 is currently out of stock online, but it should be back before long.
If you’re on the nation’s second-largest carrier, you 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, But you can get 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 $35 for 3GB of data over 30 days. The next level up is a $50 plan that gets you 10GB. At the highest level, you can grab 18GB of data for $75 per month.
One of your best options right now is to pick up the Netgear Nighthawk LTE Hotspot for just $8.34 per month. 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.
The nation’s third-biggest carrier currently sells a couple of 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 afterward.
T-Mobile’s Franklin T9 mobile hotspot isn’t as amazing as devices that 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.
4. 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 $5.32 per month for 24 months.
5. Boost Mobile
Boost Mobile sells one standalone mobile hotspot. If you purchase it, you can get a mobile hotspot plan that offers 50GB of data for just $50 a month.
The Coolpad Surf is as simple as mobile hotspots can get, and it costs only $49.99 off-contract. It grants 4G LTE speeds, can connect with up to 10 devices, and has a battery life of up to 6.4 hours.
6. Metro by T-Mobile
T-Mobile’s Metro offers a mobile hotspot. If you buy it, you can start with a mobile hotspot plan with 10GB of data for $35 a month. You can also get 15GB of data for $45 a month, 20GB of data for $55 a month, or 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.
7. Cricket Wireless
Cricket Wireless has it’s Moxee Mobile Hotspot back in stock and you can pick from two enticing plans. Paying $35 a month gives you 20GB high-speed data with Mexico and Canada usage that cannot exceed half of your total. For $50 you can double your data to 40GB with the same international access. If you really want to splurge, you can drop $90 per month for 100GB of access.
The Moxee 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 Moxee can support up to 16 devices with dual-band Wi-Fi and a rechargeable 2,300mAh battery.
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 $27.95 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 $79.95 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.” But at $59.95 it’s not expensive, and whatever you get will more than likely get the job done.
9. Net10 Wireless
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.
10. Straight Talk Wireless
Straight Talk has several mobile hotspot plans, starting with 1GB a month for $15, and 2GB a month for $25. 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. 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 Karma Go and Karma Black hotspots have also been dropped in favor of a new Karma Voyage hotspot for $79.99.
Karma offers a $9.99 plan with 1GB of data as well as unlimited rollover and a $2.95 per month base fee. The going rate seems to be $10 per GB of access though as $49.95 will net you 5GB and $99.90 adds up to 10GB of data access. We can go ahead and say that the old Karma plans were a bit more worthwhile, but it’s still a good option if you only need a little bit of data.
Like we said, the Karma Go and Black are no more, and the Voyage has taken their place. It appears to be a ZTE hotspot with a fancy shell on top, so the inclusion of a color touchscreen is nice. At $79.99 it’s a bit more expensive than other options, but it includes 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.
- AT&T plans
- Verizon Wireless plans
- T-Mobile plans
- Sprint plans
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.