The best hotspot plans in April
Cheap mobile hotspot plan benefits
Want to stay on the same network, keep your phone and number, plus get greater flexibility?
Yep. You've got it. Forget the major carriers. Plans include everything you need, but come at a much better price with an MVNO.
Nationwide coverage: These cell phone carriers operate on the very same networks as the big four carriers.
High-speed data: Just because you're paying less, that doesn't mean you'll get lower speeds.
Much lower prices: Why are MVNOs so much cheaper? They don't have the huge overhead and advertising costs the big guys do.
No contracts: Don't get trapped into a two-year agreement. Switch carriers when you decide to with a no contract phone plan.
Bring your own device: You can bring your own device. No need to sign up for pricey device payments.
Customize your plan: You decide how much data you need. Pick the plan options that fit your budget - not the one your carrier thinks you need.
Great customer support: Smaller mobile providers are known for their attention to their customers. Stop feeling like an anonymous number getting lost in the crowd! Check out our carrier user reviews before switching.
Mobile hotspot plan comparison chart
Verizon & T-Mobile
$10Free Starter Kit with code: MSPUSM
Verizon & T-Mobile
$15Free Starter Kit with code: MSPUSM
4G LTE coverage comparison
Which prepaid carrier is best for you? That depends on which network has the best coverage in your area.
Network performance ratings
Carrier customer service comparison
Concerned that low-cost carriers won't have good customer service? Don't be, on average MVNOs score much higher customer ratings than the big networks as you'll see in the comparison chart below:
TRUSTPILOT USER RATING
Switching to a cheaper mobile hotspot plan
It's never been easier to switch. Let's break it down.
Customize your plan. Whether you're looking for a truly unlimited plan, or in the market for something more basic, choose a plan to suit your cell phone needs.
Prepare to make the switch. Make sure your old bills are paid up and your phone is unlocked. If you're getting a new device, transferring data from one to another is simple. Even if you're going from an iPhone to Android, and vice versa.
Set up your new plan. Keep your current carrier account open until your number has ported over. Once you're sure your new plan is up and running, cancel your old account. If you've got a new device with your Tello plan, it should be ready to use when it arrives. If you're bringing your own phone then you'll need to follow the instructions with the new SIM card kit that Tello will send to you in the post.
Best prepaid hotspot carriers by network
Key considerations when comparing hotspot data plans
In addition to price, the right mobile hotspot data plan for you depends on several factors:
1. Coverage - Mobile coverage used to be a big deal. Now, all of the major mobile networks boast very similar coverage areas. When you're shopping for a data only plan for your internet capable devices, you'll want to look at the LTE coverage in the locations where you spend the most time. If you travel and need mobile data usage during those times check those zip codes as well.
2. Speed - You're probably wondering just how fast your data only plan will be. The good news is that most carriers deliver a 4G LTE high-speed internet connection to enabled devices. This means that if your hotspot device or smartphone is capable of handling LTE speeds then you will have a high-speed connection. Of course as with your smartphone, your speeds will depend upon signal strength.
The caveat (sorry, sometimes there is one!) - read the fine print. Particularly with unlimited mobile hotspot plans, if you exceed your data allowance you may be throttled to 3G. As with any mobile monthly plan, whether for your cell phone or another device, know exactly what you're getting before you buy.
3. Data Allowance - Your mobile hotspot usage will inform your decision as to what data allowance you need to buy. Packages are available in various sizes to meet all data usage needs, from 500 MB to unlimited. Of course the smaller the data bucket the less you'll pay, and you can always add more data if necessary.
Mobile hotspot vs tethering
It's easy to confuse the two functions, but there is a difference:
Connects to a cellular network to provide internet access to Wi-Fi compatible devices.
Can be a separate device with its own SIM card or activated through a smartphone.
Provides internet to multiple devices - phones, tablets, computers, etc.
Includes its own separate data allowance.
Connects one computer or other devices to the internet via a USB cable to your smartphone.
Does not support multiple connections.
May count against your cell phone data allowance.
Note that whether you're tethering your phone or using it as a hotspot, the battery will drain more quickly than usual so be sure to bring a charger along.
Mobile hotspot plans FAQs
Who has the best mobile hotspot plans?
Who has the best unlimited hotspot plan?
Tello offers the best value unlimited hotspot plan at around $39 a month. But unlimited doesn't always mean unlimited, so be sure to check the small print as most carriers have a set data limit which when reached data speeds are significantly reduced after that.
Who has the cheapest mobile hotspot plan?
You'll find the cheapest hotspot plans with a low cost carrier like US Mobile or Tello. Running on the same major networks offering you nationwide coverage but with prices starting from as low as $6 a month.
The takeaway from all of this information is that MVNOs are changing the mobile data landscape. You have more options than ever for cheap plans that meet your needs.
If you prefer to consolidate all of your data needs into one package rather than purchasing separately, consider building your own cell phone plan.