One way to get a great deal is to go with a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO), also known as alternative carriers. These companies sell service on the big four networks at better prices.
Other benefits of going with a MVNO include:
Custom packages - pay only for what you need.
Solid customer service support.
Bring-your-own-device prepaid mobile hotspot options.
Key Considerations for Mobile Hotspot Plans
In addition to price, the right mobile hotspot data plan for you depends on several factors:
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.
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.
How do I switch to a mobile hotspots cell phone plan with another carrier?
Switching to an MVNO is smart, quick and simple. You don't have to buy a new device, since you can bring your own phone to the new carrier and you can keep your old number. All you need to do is order a prepaid SIM card and once you have that, you can switch your phone service in as little as 2-3 minutes.
Do these mobile hotspots cell phone plans have network coverage in my area?
All MVNO's are powered by at least one of the big 4's networks. In our comparison list of mobile hotspots cell phone plan we display the network options available with each plan. For example, if the plan says 'powered by Verizon', it means the carrier operates on the Verizon network and you'll receive exactly the same nationwide 4G LTE coverage that you would if you bought a plan from Verizon directly.
Can I keep my phone number when I switch to a new mobile hotspots cell phone plan?
Yes! It's easy to port your existing phone number to another carrier during the activation process.
Will a mobile hotspots cell phone plan with any carrier work with my phone?
Yes! Most unlocked smartphones that have a SIM card slot will work with your new mobile hotspots cell phone plan. If your phone is locked to a carrier you will need to contact your existing carrier to get it unlocked.
How do I check if my device is compatible with the mobile hotspots cell phone plan I want?
You can check your devices compatibility on the carriers website before you signup for a new mobile hotspots cell phone plan.
Is there a contract or credit check?
No. MVNO's work on a prepaid month-to-month basis, meaning there is no credit check or commitment, so you can switch to a new mobile hotspots cell phone plan whenever you like.
How does billing work these mobile hotspots cell phone plans?
All plans are prepaid with no contract. This means that you pay for 30 days when your plan starts, not afterwards. Most MVNO's allow AutoPay which ensures you'll automatically renew your plan every 30 days.
Can I share my mobile hotspots cell phone plan across multiple devices?
No. Each mobile hotspots cell phone plan is for one line and every device needs it's own line.
Do mobile hotspots cell phone plans allow tethering?
Yes, most mobile hotspots cell phone plan allow tethering but it will depend on the carrier and plan you select. Check the carrier site before signing up.
Do mobile hotspots cell phone plans offer international calling?
Yes, most MVNO's include calls to international countries. Be sure to check the carriers website for more details before you sign up.
Do MVNO's have a refund policy?
Most MVNO's offer a refund within 7 days if you are not satisfied with the mobile hotspots cell phone plan you selected. Check the carriers website for full details before you sign up.
Who should switch to a mobile hotspots cell phone plan?
MVNO's are perfect for anyone that is looking to save money on a mobile hotspots cell phone plan, without compromising on coverage, there's a customized plan suitable for everyone.
The Best Prices on the Best Networks
All low-cost carriers are powered by the major US networks
Money Saving Pro believes everyone should be able to cut their bills and choose the best deal based on their individual requirements. While our site doesn't feature every carrier or provider available on the market, we're sure you'll be able to make significant savings from the information we provide and the free independent tools we create.
How can we provide this service for free? Our partners compensate us. This may influence which plans we compare and review and write about, but it does not effect our recommendations or advice, which are based on thousands of hours of research. Our partners cannot pay us to guarantee favorable reviews of their products or services.