The Cheapest Mobile Wi-Fi Hotspot Plans (Updated for 2024)

Mobile Wi-Fi hotspot plans and devices are growing in popularity, particularly with those who travel frequently or live a nomadic lifestyle. Broadband internet access has pretty much become as indispensable as the food we eat, water we drink, and air we breathe – it doesn’t matter where we are, we want it. And, in recent years, mobile data plans (while still pricier than they should be) have dropped in price significantly. I’ll include a breakdown of the best cheapest mobile Wi-Fi hotspot data plan prices at the bottom of this article.

Luckily, there are a lot of options out there and prices are on the decline. As I previously did with research into the cheapest prepaid plans and cheapest data plans, I similarly wanted to research and share what the cheapest mobile Wi-Fi hotspot plans on the market were. First, let’s start with some mobile hotspot basics.

What is a Mobile Hotspot?

A mobile hotspot is device that allows you to connect one or multiple Wi-Fi-enabled devices in order to connect to the internet. Some people refer to a mobile hotspot as “MiFi”, however, MiFi is a registered brand name for mobile hotspot devices created by the Novatel company – not a name for the technology. Since MiFi was one of the first mobile hotspot devices, the MiFi name became a bit of the go-to name for mobile hotspot technology (similar to Kleenex for facial tissues).

cheapest mobile hotspots

Mobile hotspots can be generated in 1 of 2 ways:

  1. Dedicated Mobile Hotspot Wi-Fi Device: connecting to Wi-Fi through a dedicated mobile modem device (similar to the one seen in the image above).
  2. Tethering to a Mobile Device: connecting to Wi-Fi through a mobile device such as a mobile phones or tablet, through hotspot tethering functionality.

As I’ll discuss next, there is a difference in experience. Today’s dedicated hotspots are typically cheap, tiny, and can often connect somewhere between 3-15 Wi-Fi-enabled devices simultaneously. Many of them enable either a 4G LTE or 5G connection.

Mobile Hotspot vs. Tethering with your Phone

Many of the mobile Wi-Fi hotspot device providers below additionally have free hotspot tethering on their data plans, where you can connect W-Fi-enabled devices to your phone and use it as a data passthrough. Unfortunately, today, no carriers offer unlimited data tethering on unlimited data plans without significantly pumping the brakes on speeds when you reach a certain data allotment.

So, why would you want to buy a hotspot device (that is only a hotspot device) when you could just buy a mobile phone and tether it to your Wi-Fi devices for free?

It’s a great question. For those who are frequent hotspot users, a dedicated hotspot is more reliable than tethering from your phone, largely due to larger antennas. And, there are a few other reasons why a dedicated mobile hotspot device can make sense for certain users than tethering:

  • Battery life: mobile hotspots have a much longer lasting battery life than mobile phones used as data passthroughs, particularly tethered ones.
  • Free up your phone: a mobile hotspot lets you keep your phone free for taking calls, using apps, and doing other work without bogging it down.
  • Reliably tethering to multiple devices: while some mobile phones can tether multiple devices, the more devices that are tethered, the worse the experience, with drops, etc. Devices that are dedicated as a Wi-Fi modem can provide a better experience.

Mobile hotspots are cheap enough that, for power users, the benefits outweigh the cost of the device and the hassle of carrying a dedicated mobile hotspot device around.

Mobile Network Coverage Maps

When it comes down to it, as I highlighted in my cheapest prepaid plans post, there are really only 3 major mobile national network operators left in the U.S. (Dish Network has launched a 4th, but it is not quite national yet):

  1. Verizon
  2. AT&T Wireless
  3. T-Mobile

If you’re not one of these 3 mobile providers, you’re classified as a mobile virtual network operator, or MVNO. MVNOs do not own their own wireless spectrum and networks, they lease network access at wholesale prices from the big 3 and re-sell it to consumers.

As you’re reviewing what the best cheapest mobile hotspot providers are, it’s important to note what network they run on. A mobile hotspot is worthless if the provider does not have strong coverage (preferably 5G or 4G LTE) where you live and frequently travel to.

Here are the coverage maps of the big 3:

  1. Verizon
  2. AT&T Wireless
  3. T-Mobile

It’s worth noting that in recent speed tests, however, T-Mobile clocked as the fastest, despite its perceived lesser reputation, with median download speeds close to double that of AT&T and Verizon. Your mileage may vary significantly based on your location.

International Mobile Hotspot Data Plans

If you are planning to travel internationally, a few of the mobile plan providers listed below include international data with their plans (some offer this as part of the plan, others as an add-on).

I’d also recommend checking out Airalo, which is the world’s largest eSIM store for international phone/data plans. You’ll have to have a device that is eSIM compatible for this to work.

Compatible Mobile Hotspot Devices

Whether you decide to tether a hotspot with your phone or purchase a dedicated hotspot device, you’ll want to make sure that the device you are using is compatible with the mobile network of the plan you are purchasing. I have listed which network each of the mobile plan providers uses in the chart below. If the mobile plan provider sells dedicated hotspot devices, I have listed those devices. You could also search for compatible devices on Amazon or purchase directly with the mobile plan provider (if applicable).

The Cheapest Mobile Wi-Fi Hotspot Plans

Here is a list of the cheapest prepaid mobile hotspot plans I was able to find, including monthly/data costs, device costs, network used, and more. Note that a few of the service providers do not sell hotspot devices, however, you should be able to use a mobile device as a hotspot (or potentially find and connect a dedicated hotspot device, if you prefer).

Mobile Wi-Fi Hotspot ProviderMobile Hotspot Plan CostHotspot Device & CostMobile Network Used & Peak Speed on Hotspot DeviceNotes
AT&T hotspotData-Only Plans:
$25/mo (12 months prepay): 20GB
$35/mo: 15GB
$55/mo: 50GB
$90/mo: 100GB
$10/mo add-on data: 5GB
Netgear Nighthawk M6 Pro 5G: $12.78/mo or $459.99
Netgear Nighthawk M6 5G: $8.62/mo or $309.99
Franklin A50 5G: $5.84/mo or $209.99
AT&T, 5G speeds w/ compatible devicePre-paid option called "AT&T PrePaid Mobile Hotspot". Some AT&T prepaid voice plans allow limited (less) data as a mobile hotspot as well.
Boost Mobile hotspotPhone Hotspot Tethering Plans:
$10/mo: 2GB
$15/mo: 5GB
$40/mo: "Unlimited" w/ 12GB hotspot
$60/mo: "Unlimited Plus" w/ 30GB hotspot
n/a - use your own Boost Mobile (GSM AT&T or T-Mobile) compatible device. No specific hotspot available for purchase through Boost Mobile.Dish Network, T-Mobile, & AT&T, 5G speeds w/ compatible deviceNo mobile data-only plans (plans included talk/text). Dish (owner of Boost Mobile) launched its own mobile network in 2023, but it still leases bandwidth from T-Mobile and AT&T as well.
Cricket Wireless hotspot"Simply Data" Data-Only Plans:
$35/mo: 20GB
$55/mo: 100GB
$90/mo: 150GB

Phone Hotspot Tethering Plans:
$55/mo: "Unlimited Cricket Core" add 10GB hotspot for $10/mo
$60/mo: "Unlimited Cricket More" w/ 15GB hotspot
Cricket Turbo Hotspot 2: $79.99 1-timeAT&T, 4G LTE speeds (w/Turbo Hotspot), 5G speeds w/ compatible deviceCricket is an AT&T Wireless brand that uses AT&T's network. Data-only plans include US/Canada/Mexico use.
Gen Mobile hotspotData-Only Plans:
$10: 1GB
$20: 3GB
$30: 6GB

Phone Hotspot Tethering Plans:
$50/mo: "Unlimited" w/ 10GB hotspot
$60/mo: "Unlimited" w/ 20GB hotspot
Alcatel Linkzone 2 (pre-owned): $19.99 or SIM for $1T-Mobile, 4G LTE speeds (w/Alcatel Hotspot), 5G with compatible deviceGood price for a hotspot device, if you don't mind that it is pre-owned.
Karma Mobility hotspotData-Only Plans:
$10/mo: 1GB
$30/mo: 5GB
$50/mo: 10GB
Franklin Wireless R717: $59.99 1-timeT-Mobile, 4G LTE speeds (Franklin Hotspot) or 5G with compatible deviceKarma was once a leader in the hotspot space, but now lags behind with its pricing.
Mint Mobile hotspotPhone Hotspot Tethering Plans:
$15/mo: 5GB
$20/mo: 15GB
$25/mo: 20GB
$30/mo: "Unlimited" (40GB 4G/5G cap)
n/a - use your own Mint Mobile (T-Mobile) compatible device. No specific hotspot available for purchase through Mint.T-Mobile, 5G speeds w/ compatible deviceMint Mobile is now owned by T-Mobile. Prices listed vary based on how many months you purchase at the beginning of term. Prices listed are for 3-month prepaid terms.
Straight Talk hotspotData-Only Plans:
$25/mo: 10GB
$50/mo: 100GB
Moxee: $49.99 1-time
Moxee 5G: $199.99 1-time
AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon, 5G speeds w/ compatible device (Moxee 5G or other), 4G LTE speeds with compatible device (Moxee)The 100GB plan is not cheap, but that is a good amount of data. The 5G hotspot device is a good value as well.
T-Mobile hotspotData-Only Plans:
$10/mo: 2GB
$20/mo: 5GB
$30/mo: 10GB
$40/mo: 30GB
$50/mo: 50GB
Franklin T10 Mobile: $90 1-time
Inseego MiFi X PRO 5G: $264 1-time
JEXtream® RG2100 5G: $198 1-time
T-Mobile, 4G LTE (Franklin device) or 5G (Inseego, JEXtream, other devices) w/ compatible devicePlans work in Canada and Mexico at no extra charge, but capped at 5GB/mo.
Tello Mobile hotspot"No Minutes" Plans (talk/text plans also available):
$5/mo: 1GB
$6/mo: 2GB
$10/mo: 5GB
$15/mo: 10GB
$20/mo: 15GB
$25/mo: "Unlimited" w/ 5GB hotspot
n/a - use your own Tello (T-Mobile) compatible device. No specific hotspot available for purchase through Tello.T-Mobile, 5G speeds (w/ compatible device)Tello is an MVNO that uses T-Mobile's network. Interestingly, the 10GB and 15GB plans give you more hotspot data than the "Unlimited" Plan.
Twigby Mobile hotspotPhone Hotspot Tethering Plans:
$15: 2GB
$20: 5GB
$25: 10GB
$35: 20GB
n/a use your own Twigby Mobile (Verizon) compatible device. No specific hotspot available for purchase through Twigby Mobile.Verizon, 5G speeds (w/ compatible device)Pricing is reasonable and on Verizon's network. Plans included unlimited talk, text, and data, but data speeds are capped at amounts listed.
US Mobile hotspotPhone Hotspot Tethering Plans:
$15/mo (annual prepay): 10GB
$25/mo: "Unlimited Basic" w/ 10GB hotspot
$40/mo: "Unlimited Premium" 50GB hotspot w/ "Unlimited Premium"
n/a - use your own US Mobile (T-Mobile or Verizon) compatible device. No specific hotspot available for purchase through US Mobile.Verizon or T-Mobile, 5G speeds (w/ compatible device)"Unlimited Premium" seems to be a good deal.
Verizon hotspotData-Only Plans:
$20/mo: 15GB
$40/mo: 50GB
$60/mo: 100GB
$80/mo: 150GB

Phone Hotspot Tethering Plans:
$35/mo: 15GB
$50/mo: "Unlimited" w/5GB hotspot
$60/mo: "Unlimited Plus" w/ 25GB hotspot
Verizon Orbic Speed 4G LTE: $79.99 1-time
Verizon Orbic Speed 5G: $299.99 1-time
Inseego MiFi X Pro 5G: $349.99 1-time
Inseego MiFi M2100 5G: $399.99 1-time
TCL Linkzone 5G: $299.99 1-time
Verizon, 5G speeds (w/ compatible devices), 4G LTE (w/ Orbic Speed)Great value considering the amount of data. Nice selection of hotspot devices for sale.
Visible Mobile hotspotPhone Hotspot Tethering Plans:
$25/mo: "Visible Unlimited"
$45/mo: "Visible+ Unlimited"
n/a - use your own Visible (Verizon) compatible device. No specific hotspot available for purchase through Visible.Verizon, up to 5Mbps (w/ compatible Verizon device)Visible is a Verizon sub-brand. No hotspot device, but tethering offered at speeds up to 5Mbps.
Xfinity Mobile hotspotPhone Hotspot Tethering Plans:

“By the Gig”:
$15/mo: 1GB
$30/mo: 3GB
$60/mo: 10GB

$55/mo: "Unlimited Plus" (5GB high speed hotspot)
$65/mo: "Unlimited Premium" (15GB high speed hotspot)
n/a - use your own Xfinity Mobile compatible device. No specific hotspot available for purchase through Xfinity Mobile.Verizon, 5G (w/ compatible device)See my Xfinity Mobile review for more info on plans & pricing. All Xfinity Mobile plans are able to connect to millions of customer hotspots.

Here’s a random tip: since many of these plans come with free text messaging, but pricey data, you may want to learn how to send text messages to email, so you don’t have to constantly pay data fees when accessing your web browser for email composition.

Which mobile Wi-Fi hotspot plan do you use and why?

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