Having fast Wi-Fi download speeds is great. But many of us are only used to getting that kind of coverage when we’re at home. In our private kingdoms, our phones and tablets can wirelessly connect to high-powered routers and modems that provide unlimited Wi-Fi download speeds and coverage for Internet browsing, emailing, instant messaging, and streaming on Netflix or Hulu.
But what if you want to surf the web with the same high speeds you enjoy at home while you’re out and about? If that’s the case, you need a mobile Wi-Fi plan. The problem is that many providers only offer exorbitant prices for Wi-Fi hotspot plans. Sometimes they charge you just as much for a single gigabyte of roaming data as they do for your entire cellular plan!
Cheap Mobile Wi-Fi Hotspot Plans
Don’t have time to research? We’ve already found the best affordable mobile Wi-Fi plans so you don’t have to. Let’s break down each plan in detail so you know exactly what you’re getting.
Boost Mobile is an exceptional cheap mobile Wi-Fi plan, though they only offer a single Wi-Fi hotspot plan for 50 GB of monthly data for a $50 price tag. The reason it’s so good? You get excellent 4G LTE coverage almost everywhere, and you’ll be able to add these mobile hotspot plans to any prepaid mobile plan provided that you use the Sprint network.
However, there are a few strings attached. You’ll need to pick up a special Boost Modem for an additional $49.99 fee as soon as you join. The mobile modem can connect to up to 10 devices at once and has a decent battery life of around 10 hours.
You can alternatively go with the Boost Unlimited Plan, which adds a hotspot to your phone and costs $50 a month. Or you can pay five dollars per month for 1 GB of data or $10 a month for 2 GB of data.
Ultimately, Boost Mobile’s value comes not from its raw price but from a combination of price and the 50 GB limit. Many other cheap mobile Wi-Fi plans offer far less data, so Boost Mobile may be the best choice for streaming or watching videos on the go.
Xfinity Mobile is only offered to members of Xfinity Internet, and coverage is offered by the Verizon wireless network. However, you don’t have to subscribe to cable TV – this makes Xfinity Mobile one of the best choices if you want Internet without having to be saddled with an expensive cable bill at the same time.
They also offer free voice and text usage, though you’ll have to buy a separate data plan as well. Tethering or using your phone as a mobile hotspot are both options depending on your needs and available equipment. Xfinity provides two data plans: one for $12 per gigabyte used and a flat $45 per line plan with unlimited data for each line purchased.
This sounds great off the cuff, but keep in mind that Xfinity starts to throttle your data download speeds after you use 20 GB in a single monthly billing cycle. In this way, it might be a great choice if you don’t use a ton of data but want some flexibility and don’t usually go over 20 GB with your normal activities.
A lesser but still important benefit is the 18 million free public Wi-Fi hotspots available from Comcast. Since Xfinity is a part of the broader Comcast company, Xfinity Mobile users can take advantage of these hotspots wherever they are located (which tend to be metropolitan areas).
Tello is a prepaid phone plan that also offers free tethering. Furthermore, each Tello plan comes with unlimited talking and texting, plus free international calls to big countries like China, Canada, and Mexico. They use the Sprint network to provide data and phone services, alongside five monthly plans that offer 4G LTE data access.
These range from 1 GB of data for $10 per month all the way up to 25 GB for $39 per month, with middling values of 2, 4, 6, and 8 GB also being offered as well. The jump from 8 to 25 is a little sudden, but the latter will be great for heavy streamers or FaceTime users while abroad.
We also really like that you get unlimited 2 GB data speed even after you use your monthly 4G data allowance. The plans renew monthly and automatically, though you can change your plan or cancel at any time without a fee. We’d recommend Tello if you need something basic and easy to grasp both in terms of functionality and payment plans.
T-Mobile offers its own cheap mobile Wi-Fi plans, offering up to 22 GB per month of 4G LTE network download speeds. Through T-Mobile Simple Choice Prepaid Mobile Internet, you can even get Internet for very low prices for a single day if you only need 24-hour access. The base price for long-term mobile hotspot equipment, however, is $72. But fortunately, T-Mobile allows you to use your own tablet or modem to save money.
Then you just need to pick a data plan. You can pay $5 per day for one day access, which gives you 500 MB of 4G LTE network speeds. Monthly plans range from 2 GB for $10 per month all the way up to 22 GB for $85 per month. Whichever plan you choose, you’ll benefit from lightning-fast 4G LTE speeds: T-Mobile is one of the best providers for the areas that it covers.
Check to see whether T-Mobile provides Wi-Fi service in your local area. If they do, they might be the best choice out of all these options.
Cricket Wireless is a separate and prepaid network that is owned by AT&T, so you’ll need to settle for the AT&T network if you want to take advantage of its deals. It offers both modem-only hotspots or an additional hotspot you can add on to phone plans.
The first option is pretty price since Cricket’s Moxie Mobile Device must be purchased for $79.90. After buying the device, you can get 20 GB of data for $35 a month or 40 GB of data per month for $50 a month. This overall costs a bit more than what Sprint offers natively, but it’s also cheaper than Verizon. We also really like the coverage the AT&T network offers for rural and many other metropolitan areas.
The second offering is an additional mobile hotspot for your phone plan. This is pretty cheap at only $10 per month for 10 GB of hotspot data. You can also add more hotspots for extra phones, with prices starting at $55 per line. If you enroll in Cricket’s auto-pay option, you can get a five dollar monthly discount.
All in all, it’s a solid mobile Wi-Fi plan option with reasonable prices. If you’re already part of the AT&T network, consider this option more than the others.
Net10 Wireless offers a great spread of available networks and coverage options since they operate with AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, and T-Mobile networks. They offer prepaid mobile hotspot access and you’ll be able to choose between GSM or CDMA network coverage from any of the above providers. Regardless of your choice, the mobile hotspot device only costs $9.99. Net10 is, therefore, one of the cheapest hotspot providers on the market.
You’ll also need to choose between one of three plans: 1 GB of data for $20 a month, 2.5 GB of data for $30 a month, or for the best value, 5 GB of data for $50 every two months (or 5GB of data for $25 per month).
Net10 also offers “add-on packs”, which are basically data bundles that rollover to your next billing period. These come in two permutations: 500 MB of data for $5 or 1 GB for $10. Ultimately, Net10 offers extremely affordable Wi-Fi hotspot access and great user customization, especially compared to other providers.
FreedomPop is another great choice for a cheap mobile Wi-Fi plan, especially since it’s arguably the cheapest overall. With FreedomPop, you’ll be able to purchase a mobile hotspot for just $39.99 and connect up to 10 total devices. Since the plan uses either AT&T and Sprint networks, 4G LTE service is practically guaranteed.
Plans start off pretty basic with a 500 MB mobile hotspot plan. Keep in mind that this is best used for basic web browsing instead of streaming. But FreedomPop sweetens the deal by giving you 2GB of 5G and 4G hotspot data for free as a trial. After the trial ends, you can choose a monthly plan, including:
- The basic and free plan described above
- A Pro 500 MB plan for $6.99 per month
- 3 GB of 4G and 3G service for $20.99 per month
- 4 GB of the above for $34.99 per month
Download speeds obviously increase as you pay more, ranging from 1 MB per second for the free plan and up to 5 MB per second for any of the paid tiers. We’d also note that Freedom Pop has a relatively limited coverage area, offering decent service in larger cities or areas east of the Mississippi but otherwise being a bit underwhelming. They are still a good choice for their prices overall.
Even better, you can get 10 MB of free data by referring your friends and family to FreedomPop, or complete surveys and redeem extra offers for free data over time.
Google, along with having its hands in practically every other market, also has a proprietary cell phone company. Google Fi is currently partners with big cellular companies like Sprint, T-Mobile, and U.S. Cellular, so they theoretically offer nationwide coverage.
However, they don’t offer a standalone mobile hotspot. Instead, you’ll be forced to use the mobile hotspot produced by your phone or tablet. The bright side is that this is totally free and you’ll be able to use any other free public hotspots you come across during your travels.
Google Fi is also possibly worthwhile since you get free data every month. When paying as a single person, you only need to pay for the first 6 GB you use, each of which costs $10. The first 15 GB of data you use is at 4G LTE download speeds, whereas any data used afterward is a bit slower.
But each line you purchase also comes with unlimited talk and text functionality. Your first line will cost $20 per month, and every line after that costs $15 per month. Every gigabyte of data you use costs $10 up to your monthly cap. Where does it get interesting?
You see, Google Fi only charges you a maximum of $80 per person per month, and you can have up to six lines for any combined plan. You’ll also not have to pay international data roaming charges – the price of $10 per extra gigabyte used holds for over 200 countries.
Even better, you can sign up for an Unlimited Plan that gives every person on the combined plan 22 GB of high-speed data every month. Any excess data is free but is offered at a lower speed until the next billing cycle.
All in all, Google Fi offers some excellent mobile Wi-Fi plans for groups or for international travelers. They may also be a good choice if you tend to go over your monthly data cap more often than not.
Family Motor Coach Association
This mobile Wi-Fi plan is specifically developed for RV owners and enthusiasts. It’s actually a club instead of an exclusive hotspot providing service, and it costs $85 per year. In addition to mobile Wi-Fi access, you’ll get additional benefits like RV insurance and roadside assistance. Thus, this plan is a perfect choice if you primarily live on the road or if you want to really boost your RV camping experience the next time you take a vacation.
They offer Wi-Fi mobile hotspot plans for Sprint or Verizon networks. It costs $49.99 per month for unlimited 3G and 4G LTE data so long as you remain in-network. Keep in mind that Sprint sometimes throttles users’ data speeds during certain high demand timeframes.
You also get 300 MB of roaming coverage every month so long as you stay within the US. The Association does not, unfortunately, provide any international service. Because mobile Wi-Fi is technically provided through Tech Connect Plus, you have to have a year of FMCA membership remaining in order to qualify.
You’ll also need to pay $39.99 to rent the mobile hotspot equipment, although it comes with free two-day shipping. You do have to mail the hotspot device back to Sprint if you decide to cancel or pay a $200 fee.
Verizon users can alternatively use the Connect-on-the-Go plan, which offers rates of $49.99 for 25 GB of 4G LTE coverage in applicable areas. You also get unlimited data at 200 kB per second once you reach the high-speed data cap, which is suitable for general Internet use but not for streaming or gaming.
You are locked into a two-year contract, or you’ll have to pay a $175 early termination fee. They also don’t offer any international Wi-Fi plans by default, though you may be allowed one from Verizon if you call.
All in all, the FMCA is a decent choice for those who want excellent coverage for their RVs. It’s not the cheapest plan overall, but data speeds and unlimited low-speed data coverage are good bonuses that offset these downsides somewhat.
Republic Wireless is another cheap mobile Wi-Fi alternative if you like discounted cell phone plans, especially since they don’t provide mobile hotspot plans outright. Instead, you’ll use your own phone as the hotspot. Or you can tether your phone to another hotspot device. Consider them if you also need cell phone coverage in addition to mobile Wi-Fi.
They offer basic talking and texting with a flat monthly fee of $15, plus a $5 fee for every 1 GB of data you use. This basically adds up to a $20 per month fee for a 1 GB per month data plan. Republic does impose a limit on your purchasing, only allowing you to buy up to 15 GB per month. This is a bit strange from a business standpoint since it’s artificially limiting their profits.
But it does mean that Republic could be a good and very cheap choice if you don’t use a lot of hotspot data and just need something accessible and affordable when casually browsing or if you suddenly need to shoot off a few emails.
Straight Talk Wireless
These plans are fairly easy to sign up for either online or at local stores like Walmart and similar supermarkets. They’ve partnered with a variety of networks like Verizon, Sprint, AT&T, and T-Mobile, so nationwide coverage is likely for most of their users.
Mobile hotspots can cost between $9.99 and $19.99 depending on the service provider you choose and the data plan that goes with it. You’re also faced with a limitation of 5 connected devices per plan – this is a bit of a downside since many other hotspot providers let you connect up to 10 devices.
Still, the available plans are pretty decent. You can get a small discount for many of the below plans if you purchase a 60-day package. Plans range from 1 GB of data for $15 a month to 7 GB of data for $75 every two months (or $35 per month).
Or you can go with the Ultimate Unlimited phone plan, which isn’t available for AT&T users. But it offers 10 GB of hotspot data for $55 per month.
The nice thing is that none of these plans require a contract, so you can switch providers or plans at any time without an additional fee or cancellation charge. Furthermore, Straight Talk provides a rewards program – you automatically earn points by paying your bill on time or playing games on the main website. You can then redeem those points for service plan credits (essentially discounts for your next billing cycle) or additional bonuses.
This mobile Wi-Fi provider operates exclusively on the AT&T network and offers both 2G and 4G LTE hotspot coverage. They also offer plans in 30-day or 10-day increments. The latter of the two is good for short-term Internet needs, but is much rare to see from other providers. You should still almost always go with a 30-day plan since you get a 10% discount if you sign up for automatic renewal.
Mobile hotspots cost $29.99 from this provider, and you’ll need to pay extra for one of the four different data plans. Each of the plans will split your monthly data between 2G and 4G LTE speeds at about half and half. For instance, the 4 GB plan, which costs $25 every 10 days, gives you 2 GB of 2G speed and 2 GB of 4G LTE speed.
The other plans are 10 GB for $50 per month, 14 GB or $70 per month, and 20 GB for $90 per month. These plans are best used for minimal Wi-Fi usage, especially since 2G speeds are better for basic web browsing and email use instead of streaming. Remembering that you also save 10% on any of the 30-day plans.
Sprint, in addition to offering cellular coverage across the country, provides mobile hotspot plans. These can obviously be added to your phone plan if you are already a Sprint user, or you can purchase one of these plans standalone or with a USB device. This works since Sprint provides a “Sprint Drive”, which can plug into your car to provide Wi-Fi while you are on the road. Or you can have a mobile hotspot for your smartphone or tablet.
Regardless of what you eventually choose, Sprint requires that you sign a two-year contract unless you decide to buy their proprietary Wi-Fi hotspot device in full. Keep this in mind when deciding since the contract will carry a cancellation fee if you decide to switch providers early.
Sprint offers three hotspot data plans in total, and each of them offers 4G LTE speeds. You can get 10 GB for $30 per month, 50 GB for $50 per month, or a whopping 100 GB for $60 per month. This last plan offers the most data out of all of them, and much more 4G LTE data compared to other mobile hotspot providers.
Even after you use all of your 4G LTE data allowance, Sprint will give you unlimited 2G data speeds for the rest of your billing cycle. In this way, you’ll never actually be out of mobile Wi-Fi in a pinch, even if you can’t stream high-quality Netflix shows once you run out of the 4G LTE data.
If you only need Wi-Fi in your car, Sprint may be an even better choice. That’s because the Sprint Drive only costs $10 for 2 GB of data per month. You can alternatively purchase unlimited mobile device data for $25 a month: a reasonable flat fee that isn’t too expensive, even compared to the competition.
All in all, we think Sprint provides one of the best Wi-Fi mobile hotspot plans on the market, both in terms of pricing and in total data allowance. This is doubly true if you just need Wi-Fi for your car, like if you want to make sure you get excellent GPS coordinates whenever you use your maps. If you already use Sprint, this should be a no-brainer.
NetZero is most well-known for offering free home Internet. But they also provide mobile Wi-Fi hotspots for data capacity of up to 8 GB per month. They do offer a 200 MB data plan for free, but it’s only valid for 12 months.
For most users, you’ll have to pay $59.95 to buy the NetZero hotspot device that comes with the subscription. You can alternatively use your own mobile router to save money if you have one. They are a bit limited overall since they usually serve the eastern United States and Pacific coastal states. So if you’re in America’s heartland, you may be out of luck with this provider.
Still, if you do qualify, you’ll only need to purchase the modem or bring your own modem and buy a NetZero SIM card for a relatively small fee. From there, you’ll be able to monthly data plans. The 200 MB plan is, as mentioned, totally free. 1 gigabyte of data per month starts at $17.95, and the plans go up to 8 GB for $79.95.
With each plan, you’ll need to pay an additional $3.95 monthly fee. Still, even with these costs, you could potentially save good money if you use your own router. We wouldn’t recommend them for the higher-priced plans, but the free 200 MB plan is excellent if you just need some mobile coverage for basic web surfing and emailing.
Karma is a relatively unique mobile Wi-Fi provider in that they are free data so long as you share your Karma Wi-Fi hotspot with other users. This could make them a good choice if you like getting free data for very little effort and if you have plenty of peers or friends you can convince to use your hotspot.
The rate is this: you get 100 MB of free data whenever any friend signs on your hotspot. Plus, Karma gives you an additional $1 credit as soon as they connect. This is a good thing, too, since they require you to purchase a Karma Voyage modem that costs $79.99: one of the most expensive mobile modems on the market. This does come with 5 GB of free data to sweeten the deal so long as you use it within three months.
They offer four monthly data plans using the Sprint network overall. The Drift Plan costs $3 per month, plus an additional $10 per gigabyte you use. Then there’s a 5 GB plan for $39.99 per month, 10 GB for $79.99 per month, and 20 GB for $99.99 per month. As you can see, Karma isn’t the most affordable provider, but you can seriously decrease these prices or manage to get all the data you need if other people use your hotspot frequently.
For instance, you could easily get one of the cheaper 5 GB or 10 GB plans and use the free 100 MB of data for every person who signed on your hotspot to get as much data as you need for browsing or streaming.
They also offer a special “Karma Black” add-on, which can hide your metadata from websites that track your habits for advertising purposes. This costs an additional $20 per month, and the modem (a Karma Black model) costs $249 instead of $80.
In the end, Karma is pricey upfront but has the potential to be a great cheap mobile Wi-Fi provider if you play your cards right and have plenty of friends who will use your hotspot.
Each of the above mobile Wi-Fi plans is valuable either for their price or for the amount of data that comes bundled with their monthly subscriptions. We think there’s something for everyone in this collection, so consider your budget and think over the options carefully before buying.
It’s almost always helpful to consider what you plan to use the Wi-Fi for and how much data you normally burn through per month. Some plans, for instance, offer 2G speeds once you max out your 4G LTE data allowance. These plans are excellent in case you want to maintain Wi-Fi coverage throughout your billing cycle, even if you can’t access top-tier speeds for a week or so before the month ends.
Other plans are valuable because they offer really cheap service, but low data caps. These might be better choices if you just need browsing capabilities for your work every once in a while and aren’t interested in streaming on the go.
Whatever you end up choosing, have fun with your high-speed internet!