18 Cheap Mobile WiFi Hotspot Plans

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It seems like free wifi hotspots are everywhere you go, but they’re not everywhere. Even if they are everywhere you go, you might prefer to use a personal wifi hotspot for additional se
[three_fourth_last]curity and quicker data speeds. These cheap mobile wifi hotspots ensure you always have internet access anywhere you go.

Whether you’re a digital nomad who makes a living online or you simply live life on the go, a cheap mobile wifi hotspot plan can one of the most valuable purchases you make each month so you can make money from a side hustle, answer personal emails, or stream the latest tv episode from your favorite show.

In extreme cases, a mobile hotspot also means you can get affordable home internet access. If you live in the middle of nowhere, satellite internet might be your only option which is metered and is very expensive.

What is a Mobile Wifi Hotspot?

A mobile wifi hotspot is a standalone device–it’s slightly smaller than your smartphone–that is solely used to provide internet access. Any computer, tablet, or phone can link to the hotspot device and instantly start using 4G LTE internet. Other hotspots are USB sticks that plug into your laptop just like a USB flash drive.

Your current cell phone might already have mobile hotspot access. If so, you can click that icon to let other internet-capable devices join your mobile network. While this option is convenient, there are a few downsides:

  • You use your cellular data quicker
  • Your cell phone battery life quickly disappears
  • The internet connection drops when you take a phone call

Cell phone hotspots are very energy intensive and can use your entire battery life in a matter of hours if your phone isn’t plugged in. Another nuisance with using your cell phone hotspot is that the connection drops every time you take a phone call. So, you most likely won’t be able to talk on the phone and browse the internet at the same time on your laptop or tablet.

My Personal Experience with Mobile Wifi Hotspots

When I was still with my former employer, I had a mobile wifi hotspot for seven years. There was also a brief period of time when we had to use our phone as a hotspot as a cost-savings initiative. Because I drove between 200 and 300 miles most days, my car was my office and I couldn’t have done it without a mobile hotspot.

If you’re going to use mobile internet on a regular basis, go ahead and get a mobile hotspot device. It’ll save your phone battery and provide constant internet access.

My personal preference is for the standalone, battery-powered hotspot devices because they can be tethered–plugged into your USB port for power–or run off of the battery for several hours. As computers seem to have fewer USB ports with each model year, a battery-powered hotspot also ensures your device is “future proof” or you can still have enough ports for accessories like a wireless mouse or external speakers.

How Fast is Mobile Wifi?

Although the 5G mobile internet wave is just around the corner, most mobile wifi hotspot plans provide 4G LTE coverage, the quickest mobile bandwidth speed available for common cellular providers like AT&T, Verizon Wireless, and Sprint. It’s as fast as when you use your cellular 4G LTE data.

While many carriers offer 4G LTE service, each carrier might not offer the same download and upload speeds. At certain times, you might have lightning fast download speeds of up to 50 Mbps (50 megabits per second). In many cases, you will probably be between 5 and 12 Mbps, which is still quick enough to stream Hulu or connect multiple devices.

When you’re not in a 4G LTE coverage area, most wifi hotspot networks still offer 4G or 3G coverage. While you might not be able to stream video, you can still answer emails and browse the Internet.

These Are The Best Mobile Wifi Hotspot Plans Without a Contract

As you’ll see, there is a small upfront cost with most mobile wifi hotspot plans as you need to buy the hotspot modem. Thankfully, these devices are significantly cheaper than brand new smartphones that can cost $1,000. In many cases, a hotspot costs less than $100.

You will also need to decide how much data you want each month. Some carriers offer free data plans, so you can truly get a cheap mobile hotspot! Even if you get a paid plan, it can still be more affordable than upgrading to a more expensive cell phone plan.

All of the hotspot plans in this section don’t require a contract but use one of the four major network providers. If you only need to use your mobile hotspot on an occasional basis or want a “no strings attached” plan, you should consider these companies first. You’ll enjoy the same 4G LTE coverage with less expense.

1. FreedomPop

Networks Used: AT&T and Sprint

FreedomPop is a leader in the low-price movement for mobile wifi hotspots and cell phone plans. You can buy a mobile hotspot for only $39.99 that lets you connect up to 10 devices. You will enjoy 4G LTE service via the AT&T and Sprint networks.

This might be the cheapest mobile hotspot plan available because you can get 200 MB free. Let’s be realistic for a moment about how much you can actually do with 200 MB a month, or one-fifth of one gigabyte (1 GB).

With 200 MB, you can complete a combination of the internet activity below:

  • 1,000 text-only emails
  • 50 emails with photo attachments
  • 150 emails with other attachments
  • 60 social media posts with photos
  • View 500 web pages

To stream one hour of video, you need at least one gigabyte of data for standard definition. As you realize, 200 MB isn’t going to go too far and you should only consider the free plan to handle those important emails that can’t wait until you can get on a public or work wifi network.

FreedomPop Hotspot Data Plans

For the first month, you get 2 GB of hotspot data for free as a free trial! After the free trial ends, you will have to choose one of the plan options below of 4G LTE data:

  • 200 MB: Free
  • 500 MB: $7.99 per month
  • 1 GB: $13.99 per month
  • 2 GB: $19.99 per month
  • 3 GB: $26.99 per month
  • 4 GB: $33.99 per month

By switching to the free data plan within the 30-day free trial, you will receive continuous free data. If you switch to the free plan after the free trial ends, you’ll have to pay a $15 refundable fee for the plan downgrade. You can switch between the premium plans fee-free each month.

There are zero contracts with FreedomPop so you pay on a month to month basis. If there’s a month you don’t foresee using your mobile hotspot, you can pause you plan and resume your subscription in the future without paying a cancellation fee.

Earn Bonus Internet

By referring your friends and family to join FreedomPop, you can get 10 MB of free data! You can also earn free data by completing offers and taking surveys with FreedomPop partners too.

You can read our FreedomPop review to learn more about cheap cell phone and wifi hotspot access.

2. Boost Mobile

Network Used: Sprint

Boost Mobile offers up to 10 GB of monthly data which can be more than enough if you travel on a regular basis, have multiple devices connecting at once, or you want to stream a couple hours of video in your free time.

Boost Mobile Data Plans

You have two different choices of mobile hotspot plans with Boost:

  • 1.5 GB: $25 per month
  • 10 GB: $50 per month

Although you only have two plan options, Boost can be a good option if you need lots of data or only a little. Regardless of the plan you choose, you will have to buy Boost mobile hotspot device for $49.99 plus a SIM card for $9.99. The mobile hotspot boasts a battery life up to ten hours and connects up to ten devices at once.

3. Net10 Wireless

Network Used: AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, Verizon

With Net10 Wireless, you can enjoy prepaid mobile hotspot access and they partner with the four major network providers to ensure you get the best data coverage at the lowest possible price.

Unlike many other providers that partner with a specific carrier, Net10 will recommend the best carrier during the onboarding process. You will have your pick between GSM and CDMA network coverage from one of these four providers:

  • AT&T
  • Sprint
  • T-Mobile
  • Verizon

Regardless of the carrier you choose, the ZTE mobile hotspot costs $29 and provides up to 13 hours of battery power. If you’re especially frugal, you can also buy a reconditioned hotspot for $9.99 that works like new.

Net10 Wireless Data Plans

Once you pick out your hotspot device, you can choose from one of three plans:

  • 500 MB: $10 every 14 days
  • 1 GB: $20 every 30 days
  • 2.5 GB: $30 every 30 days
  • 5GB: $50 every 60 days

As you can see, Net10 offer different pricing plans that can fit any budget. Like cellphone data, your unused amount doesn’t roll over into the next month with Net10. The best deal can be paying $50 every two months for 5 GB of data, that saves you $5 a month compared to the 2.5 GB plan. And, you have some additional flexibility in case you need to use more the 2.5 GB the first month but not as much in the second 30 days.

Net10 Data Add-On Packs

If you need to “top off” your data balance in between billing dates, you can also buy add-on packs too. Net10 add-on packs don’t expire and the unused data rolls into the next month. You have two add-on pack options to choose from:

  • 500 MB: $5
  • 1 GB: $10

4. Karma

Network Used: Sprint

Here’s an eye-catching headline: Get free data by sharing your Karma wifi hotspot with others.

Being able to get free data is a huge draw for Karma. Each time you let another Karma member hop onto the internet with your Karma Go device, you get 100 MB of free data and they use their personal data plan. You can also earn $1 for every guest that connects and uses your data too!

The only catch is that Karma has a $199 upfront cost to buy your Karma Go hotspot device and receive 5 GB of free data that’s good for three months. After you use up your first five gigs, you can choose a monthly subscription plan or a pay-as-you-go plan.

Karma Data Plans

You have your choice of four different monthly plans based on your monthly data usage:

  • Drift Plan: $3 per month plus $10 per GB used
  • 5 GB: $39.99 per month
  • 10 GB: $79.99 per month
  • 20 GB: $99.99 per month

Occasional users will benefit the most from the Drift plan because you pay for data on-demand. FreedomPop is still a better option if you use less than 200 MB each month since you’ll get free wifi, but Karma can fill that void if you use less than 1 GB per month.

The monthly Karma plans are more expensive than some of the other hotspot plans mentioned in this article. You might be able to get a discount if you’re a student.

Karma can also be an excellent option if you want a private network that’s more secure with the Premium or Karma Black add-on packages. These additional benefits can cost between $5 and $99.98 per month depending on which package you choose.

5. NetZero

You might know NetZero for offering free home internet. Maybe, you even received a free CD from them about a decade ago when internet access was still measured by minutes of use instead of the amount of data used.

NetZero also offers cheap mobile hotspots plans too. Although, you will need to check the coverage map as they primarily serve the eastern United States and the Pacific coastal states. If you live in a NetZero service area, you can save some money on your monthly wifi subscription.

NetZero Data Plans

A NetZero hotspot device costs $79.95 and will arrive in the mail within three to five business days. Surprisingly, NetZero is one of the few carriers that also lets you bring your own modem hotspot from a different carrier if it’s an eligible model!

You have your choice of six different monthly data plans:

  • 200 MB: Free
  • 500 MB: $17.95
  • 1 GB: $27.95
  • 2 GB: $42.95
  • 4 GB: $63.95
  • 6 GB: $89.95

Besides the Free Plan (200 MB per month), there also a $3.95 monthly fee in addition to the data charges. The Free Plan is also only available for the first 12 months. After that, you will need to upgrade to a paid plan. These restrictions are negative for NetZero, but if you only need cheap hotspot access for a short period of time, NetZero can be worth considering.

6. Straight Talk Wireless

Networks Used: Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile

You can sign up for a Straight Talk Wireless plan at your local Walmart or also online. They also use the Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile towers to make sure you get coverage almost anywhere in the United States.

A mobile hotspot costs between $9.99 and $19.99 depending on which model you choose. Straight Talk only lets you connect up to five devices at once. While this still might be plenty, many other hotspot plans let you connect up to ten devices at once.

Data Plans

Your data purchase is good for either 30 days or 60 days. Like the other network providers that offer 60-day packages, you get a small discount by purchasing an extended package. If you’re going to be using all of the data anyways, go ahead and spend more upfront to save money long term.

  • 1 GB: $15 every 30 days
  • 2 GB: $25 every 30 days
  • 4 GB: $40 every 60 days
  • 5 GB: $50 every 60 days
  • 7 GB: $75 every 60 days

None of the data plans require a contract and can be adjusted at any time.

Don’t forget to join the Straight Talk rewards program too so you can enjoy awards like additional data or free service plans.

7. H2O Bolt

Network Used: AT&T

H2O Bolt uses the AT&T network and provides 4G and 2G hotspot coverage. Opting for a 30-day plan instead of the 10-day option gives you a 10% discount when you sign up for auto refills too. With the AT&T network coverage, you will enjoy hotspot access in most of the U.S.

A mobile hotspot will cost $29.99 from H2O Bolt.

Data Plans

H2O Bolt offers four different data plans that split the monthly data allowance evenly between 4G LTE and 2G network speeds:

  • 4 GB (2 GB 4G and 2 GB 2G): $25 every 10 days
  • 10 GB: $50 every 30 days
  • 14 GB: $70 every 30 days
  • 20 GB: $90 every 30 days

Because H2O Bolt has a unique pricing strategy, you need to remember that even though you get 10, 14, or 20 GB of data every month, only half of that amount is 4G LTE. The 2G data speeds are sufficient for basic email and web browsing, but you need to determine if the 4G and 2G combination is worth the subscription.

If it is, you can save 10% each month on any of the 30-day plans. For example, you’ll pay $45 instead of $50 with the 10 GB plan or $81 instead of $90 if you decide to go with the 20 GB per month plan.

8. MetroPCS

Network Used: T-Mobile

If you currently have your cell phone service through MetroPCS, you can get a mobile hotspot add-on for a decent price. You can connect up to 15 devices at once; remember that ten is the maximum number of devices for most carriers.

MetroPCS offers one mobile hotspot plan which costs $35 per month for 10 GB of data when you add a line. So, to enjoy the cheap hotspot plan, you must also have a cell phone plan through MetroPCS too. If 10 GB isn’t enough, MetroPCS offers add-on data packages in the following amounts:

  • 2 GB: $5
  • 4 GB: $10
  • 6 GB: $15

There are a few strings attached to the hotspot plan, but it can be worth it if you have more devices than most hotspot users.

9. AT&T

AT&T offer contract and prepaid wireless plans. Thankfully, their mobile hotspot falls in the prepaid category so you have additional flexibility with your payment frequency.

You have your pick of three monthly data plans:

  • 2 GB: $25 ($10 per additional 500 MB)
  • 5 GB: $50 ($10 per additional 1 GB)
  • 8 GB: $75 ($10 per additional 2 GB)

Up to 10 devices can connect to the hotspot device at once. If you want to use the AT&T network, it can still be cheaper to use one of the other alternative hotspot providers mentioned in this article.

10. T-Mobile

With T-Mobile Simple Choice Prepaid Mobile Internet you can get up to 22 GB per month of 4G LTE network speeds. They even offer one-day passes if you only need internet for a single day.

The base price for a mobile hotspot device is $72, but you can receive a discount if you purchase additional plans from T-Mobile along with the prepaid mobile internet plan.

Data Plans

If you only need mobile hotspot access for a day, you pay $5 per day for 500 MB of 4G LTE access.

For ongoing hotspot access, you should consider one of these monthly plans:

  • 2 GB: $20
  • 6 GB: $35
  • 10 GB: $50
  • 14 GB: $65
  • 18 GB: $80
  • 22 GB: $95

T-Mobile is also known for having some of the fastest 4G LTE speeds in the industry. If you’ve written of T-Mobile in the past because they didn’t have coverage in your area, they might be in your area now. Since 2015, T-Mobile has doubled their 4G LTE coverage across the entire United States.

Mobile Hotspot Plans That Require a Contract

If you need to use your mobile hotspot on a regular basis, the no-contract plans listed above might not offer enough data. Just be prepared for some “sticker shock” as you’ll have to use a major carrier that also requires a two-year contract. You should only consider this option if you don’t have internet at home and have already explored getting internet without cable.

11. Verizon Wireless

With Verizon Wireless, you can select a plan that offers between 2 GB and 100 GB each month. You will have to buy a mobile hotspot that will cost $99 with a two-year contract. In addition to the monthly data charges, you will also pay $20 for having the mobile hotspot device on your plan too.

The smallest Verizon hotspot data package is $20 per month for two gigabytes. After the $20 monthly hotspot device fee, you’ll pay $40 for two gigabytes of date. Choosing a discount mobile hotspot plans helps you access the same data for half the cost!

It might make more sense to go with a larger data plan if you have multiple devices connected at once. The largest plan–100 GB per month–costs $710 per month but might be worth it if you’re a small business or household with large mobile data needs.

Verizon Prepaid Data Plans

Verizon also offers prepaid mobile hotspot plans, that let you pay $100 for up to 10 GB of date every 60 days. You also subscribe to a plan with less data that may or may not be a better deal.

12. Sprint

Sprint offers mobile hotspot contract plans with standalone and USB stick devices with a two-year contract with a $19.99 payment today. To skip the contract, you can buy the device with a $180 lump sum payment. If you go with the two-year contract, you won’t pay any additional fees unless you cancel the contract early.

Data Plans

You can choose between two data plans with Sprint:

  • 50 GB: $55 per month
  • 10 GB: $35 per month

With either plan, you get 4G LTE hotspot internet until your monthly allowance is exhausted. While you can buy addition LTE data–$10 for 2 GB–you’ll be capped at 2G connection speeds for the rest of the billing cycle penalty-free.

You’ll also save some cash by enrolling in auto-pay which gives you a $5 monthly discount. While mobile hotspot contracts often have a bad reputation for being extremely expensive, Sprint’s data plans are competitively priced. If you’re a heavy data user, it’s going to be hard to find another provider that offers 50 GB for roughly $1 a gigabyte.

One reason why Sprint’s data plans are more affordable than the other primary wireless networks is that most of the discount hotspot plans use the Sprint network. In fact, Sprint owns Boost Mobile who also offers their own mobile hotspot plan.

Smartphone-Only Mobile Hotspot Plans

What’s your option when you only have to use a mobile hotspot a few times a year? While you can use a prepaid mobile hotspot option that lets you buy data as you need it, you might be better off using your smartphone. Sticking with your smartphone eliminates the hassle and expense of buying a standalone hotspot you’ll only use once or twice, plus it’s convenient on the rare occasions you need hotspot access.

You’ll have to remain conscious of your data usage and make sure you don’t go over. As I’m sure you know, data overage fees are relatively expensive and it’s usually more cost-effective to upgrade plans if you’re expecting to use a lot of data this month.

Thankfully, many carriers now offer data overage safeguards that don’t charge you an overage fee but continue to offer slow 2G connection speeds for the rest of the month. You won’t be able to stream videos, but your email apps and internet browser will still work.

Use Prepaid Cell Phone Networks First

Just like you should consider signing up for prepaid mobile hotspot networks before signing a two-year contract, you should also consider using a prepaid cell phone provider first. This is mostly because you can get larger data packages at a lower rate. Depending on how much data you plan on using, your normal 5 GB phone plan might not be enough.

With prepaid plans, you have the flexibility to increase your data plan for a single month and then lower it back to the normal amount next month. You can do the same thing with postpaid plans after your two-year contract expires, but it can cost more.

13. Republic Wireless

Republic Wireless is another popular carrier that offers discount cell phone plans. With Republic’s “My Choice Plan,” the basic talk and text monthly fee is $15 and each gigabyte of data costs $5. You can turn your phone into a hotspot when you need it to connect your laptop or tablet to the internet.

Regarding prepaid cellphone carries, Republic Wireless might be the most affordable way to use your smartphone’s mobile hotspot function.

14. Verizon Wireless Prepaid

Every Verizon Wireless Prepaid phone plan comes with mobile hotspot. Upgrading to the Unlimited plan–$75 a month–gives you the faster hotspot and tethering speeds. Starting at $40 a month, you get 3 GB of 4G LTE data that can be consumed with mobile browsing or mobile hotspot broadcasting.

If you’re a Verizon loyalist, these plans can also be cheaper than your current Verizon postpaid plan too.

15. Project Fi

Did you know Google has their own cell phone company? It’s called Project Fi and Google partners with Sprint, T-Mobile, and U.S. Cellular to give you nationwide coverage.

Project Fi doesn’t have a standalone mobile hotspot yet, but you can use your phone’s mobile hotspot for free. The pricing model is a little different than you might expect as you can enjoy virtually unlimited data with some extra flexibility.

Each gigabyte of data costs $10, but Project Fi’s Bill Protection feature places a price ceiling on how much you’ll pay each month. Your monthly bill is based on the number of lines in your plan and how much data you use:

  • 1 person (6 GB): $60
  • 2 people (10 GB): $100
  • 3 people (12 GB): $120
  • 4 people (14 GB): $140
  • 5 people (16 GB): $160
  • 6 people (18 GB): $180

Are you ready for an example?

Let’s assume you’re the only person with a Project Fi account. That means your maximum monthly bill is $60 and you get 6 GB of data. If you use less than 6 GB in a month, your bill will be prorated to reflect $10 per gigabytes used. So, your monthly bill will be $30 if you only use 3 GB. But if you use more than 6 GB in a month, you won’t pay extra but you won’t get 4G LTE data unless you continue paying $10 per extra gigabyte.

With many other cellular networks, you lose any data you don’t use and don’t receive a discount. With Project Fi, you get a discount each month you don’t reach your data limit and it’s nice to know you have mobile hotspot capability for those infrequent occasions.

16. Ting

Ting is another discount carrier that offers “a la carte pricing” based on the number lines, minutes, texts, and data you use each month. If you only carry a cell phone for emergencies and free wifi hotspots, Ting can be a match made in heaven.

Each line has a $6 basic fee and you can expect to pay the following amounts for 4G LTE data:

  • 100 MB: $3
  • 500 MB: $10
  • 1 GB: $16
  • 2 GB: $20

Each additional gigabyte of data costs $10 each. For a single trip, it can be easier paying a few extra dollars for additional data when you rarely use your phone during your normal monthly routine.

17. Cricket Wireless

Cricket Wireless is a prepaid network owned by AT&T and–as you already guessed–operates on the AT&T network. The mobile hotspot feature costs an additional $10 a month and is only available on Unlimited plans that start at $55 per line. You will get a $5 monthly discount if you enroll in auto-pay.

If you opt for the hotspot, you get 8 GB of high-speed data at 3 Mbps. This speed is still slower than many of the other carriers that offer limited cellular data. After your monthly 8 GB allowance has been reached, your data speeds reduce to 128 kbps. Despite the slower speeds, you do get access to the AT&T network which may be one of your only options in a semi-rural area that T-Mobile or Sprint don’t serve on a reliable basis.

18. Xfinity Mobile

You must be an Xfinity Internet customer to have Xfinity cell phone service powered by Verizon Wireless, but you have two different data options if you qualify:

  • $12 per GB
  • $45 per line for unlimited data

You won’t pay an access fee as long as you have five lines or less and you also have unlimited talk and text. You might be able to skip the mobile hotspot altogether if you can hang out at one of Comcast’s 18 million public wifi hotspots too.


What questions do you have about mobile hotspots? Most of them might be answered below.

Are Mobile Hotspots Worth It?

Mobile hotspot plans are almost always going to be an additional expense. There are two exceptions to this rule:

Although you might have to buy a separate hotspot modem, there can be no additional recurring expense after the initial purchase. Free mobile hotspots are only realistic if you briefly have to use your hotspot each month. Some examples might include working on a project while traveling or there’s a temporary home wifi outage.

If you need to pay for your mobile hotspot, the benefits must outweigh the cost. Mobile hotspot data is generally more expensive than the regular 4G LTE data you use on your smartphone, so try to use your smartphone data as much as possible before upgrading to a mobile hotspot.

Does Every Cell Phone Carrier Offer Mobile Hotspots?


Many cell phone carriers offer mobile hotspots, but a few don’t. You can see if your current cell phone company offers a mobile hotspot plan. If it’s one of the carriers mentioned in the first two sections, you can either purchase a standalone device or use the hotspot app on your phone.

If your phone has hotspot capability, you might have to upgrade to a premium plan to enable the capability but this isn’t always true. Verizon is one carrier that offers phone hotspot capability with every plan.

Are Mobile Hotspots Better Than Smartphones For Multiple Devices?

You can connect multiple devices to a standalone mobile hotspot or your built-in smartphone hotspot. In most cases, you will see better performance with a standalone mobile hotspot.

There are a few reasons for this:

  • Mobile hotspot devices are designed to connect up to 10 devices at once
  • They have a longer battery life
  • There aren’t as many background applications running as your smartphone
  • The internet connection drops on every connected device when you answer a phone call

While you can browse the internet on your smartphone while you’re talking on the phone, you can’t activate the hotspot and talk on the phone simultaneously. If you’re working on something very important online, a standalone mobile hotspot is well worth the investment for the peace of mind that your work is never interrupted.

Is Mobile Hotspot Data Unlimited?

All mobile hotspot data is limited to some extent or another. Once again, each carrier has different policies of what happens when you exceed your monthly data limit. Some carriers will reduce your speed to 2G until you buy additional 4G LTE data or your next billing period starts. Other companies might automatically charge an overage fee and continue provided high-speed data.

Even on unlimited cell phone plans with a built-in smartphone hotspot, you can only broadcast a specific amount of your data with the hotspot.

Can I Bring My Own Mobile Hotspot?

Most mobile hotspot providers require you to buy their own hotspot device. Even if you have the exact same model from a different network, this rule is still enforced. Some carriers are more specific and let you bring your own device if the serial number is compatible with their network.

Although most mobile hotspots cost less than $50, you might be able to find a used hotspot on the internet if it comes with a warranty and can be brought over to your new mobile hotspot plan. This trick also works with buying used cell phones to save money too.

Why Should I Use a Prepaid Mobile Hotspot Plan?

There are a few benefits to using a prepaid mobile hotspot plan instead of one that requires a signed contract.

For starters, prepaid plans are cheaper per gigabyte and you pay by the month. You can quit paying for the hotspot when you no longer need it without paying a contract termination fee. The equipment charges are less expensive too with discount mobile hotspot plans too.

Cheap mobile hotspot plans also have the benefit of using a different carrier than you use for your daily cell phone plan. For instance, you might use AT&T for your cell phone but can use the Verizon, Sprint, or T-Mobile network for your mobile hotspot. In case you don’t have cell phone coverage, you might have mobile hotspot internet access and can still communicate with your friends and family when you can’t call or text.

This might be something to consider so you have one plan with a GSM signal network (AT&T or T-Mobile) and a CDMA signal network (Verizon or Sprint). While the four largest cell phone companies have towers in almost every major community, GSM and CDMA signals function differently and one might provide reception where the other doesn’t reach.


Cheap mobile wifi hotspot plans are more common than you think. You will need to consider a third-party cell phone provider to get the lowest rate, but you will still use one of the major network providers. Once you determine how many gigabytes you need each month and which company has the best coverage for your area, you can choose a plan.

Do you prefer a standalone mobile hotspot or a using your built-in smartphone hotspot? Which carrier is the best?

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22 responses to “18 Cheap Mobile WiFi Hotspot Plans”

  1. PHILLIP LEET says:

    I have the T-mobile international one plus plan. I get unlimited 4G LTE mobile hotspot for an extra $25/Month. I can’t afford to buy AT and T’s Wi-Fi services at $60 per month, and only get about 7MB’s when I’m supposed to get 18MB’s of speed. It’s a total rip off. Spectrum offers 100MB’s of speed, but they want $49.95 per month. So, I think that my T-mobile plan seems to be the cheapest way to go.

  2. Pam Molvar says:

    I have a house in Rancho Mirage, CA and in Kirkland, WA. I am currently paying for WiFi in both locations. Would it be smarter to get a Mobile Hot Spot device to move between the two locations and not pay for the WiFi? I need to connect to my work network while in CA, so I’m not sure how much data that would use. Any help would be appreciated.

    • Deacon says:

      It might pay off. Perhaps you can find out how much data you are currently using each month? That might help you compare plans and prices to decide if a mobile hot spot you can use anywhere is cheaper. Also, it could prevent you from getting a mobile hot spot that is slower than what you need.

  3. Sue Murray says:

    We are semi-retired. Although we live in PA, we are interested in a snowbird lifestyle. My husband would work remotely 4 hours per day. What type of hotspot would probably be best?

    • Deacon says:

      That depends a bit on just how much data he’ll need. You could always click on the link in the post for one, such as FreedomPop, and try out their free trial period. For your info, their plans say you can change them at any time. So if the plan needs to be upgraded for more data, you can do that.

  4. mike manieri says:

    If you’re an RVer and a member of FMCA it’s $50 for Sprint Unlimited. Go to FMCA’s website as Sprint knows nothing of this plan. Pay your bill to FMCA.

  5. Steve says:

    FreedomPop’s “free” plan is a classic instance of the “bait and switch” ploy. Upon downgrading to their “free plan,” I was informed that rather than 500MB of free data, I would only get 200MB of free data because “GSM hotspots can’t get 500MB of free data.” I was charged $20 for account credit (to cover overages in case my usage exceeded the 200 MB of free data) instead of $10 as was explained to me by their sales rep, Allen. After about a month, I was charged $50 for “subscription credit.” When I opened a trouble ticket to protest this charge, I was met with an incomprehensible response that went (and this is verbatim from an email I received from their customer support), “We sincerely do apologize for the confusion this has caused you. Upon account review; you was charge dated 11-25-2018 7:11 PM for subscription credit that equivalent into $65 where in it apply on renewal charge however we confirmed here account has been downgraded into Freedom Basic GSM 200 (plan-free-zmp). We regret to inform you that we unable to issued refund since this charged is non refundable.” A day after I began a dispute with my credit card company, FreedomPop promptly closed my account. We’ll see if I’m able to get my money back. The bottom line is, don’t trust FreedomPop to abide by their promises for a free plan. Perhaps they’re better with customers on other plans, but I’d be very, very wary and look at alternatives.

    • Deacon says:

      I’m sorry you had a negative experience with FreedomPop, but I thank you for sharing it with us and other readers. Hopefully this is a one time occurrence that other’s will not experience.

  6. Michael kelly says:

    Can you clarify a few things for me? When you talk about the data plans charging an average of $10 per gig, is that the amount of data or is that the speed of the day that you use?

  7. Michael kelly says:

    I have used both Cricket and Pure Talk. Cricket has a good 4 line unlimited data and talk,but as you stated, you pay extra for mobile hotspots. As far as I know, there is no tethering, so you can’t share your data with another phone. Pure Talk has a decent plan, but there’s no unlimited group plan like Cricket has. But, you can tether and have a hotspot. Of the data you have with Pure Talk, you just can’t add more data to it, but they don’t charge extra for the tethering or hotspot.

  8. Paul says:

    Do your research before considering Karma hot spot. You pay $200 for a very nice looking device, deceptive marketing, and virtually no support. Although the “Drift” plan says that you “get credit for unused data”, your data expires every month and they will use a portion of your “credit” and you pay cash for the rest. I don’t know how you would ever use all the credits. Just check the Better Business Bureau for numerous horror stories dealing with this company. There isn’t a phone number to call for support and when you email them, they do quickly respond, but usually with very vague non-answers. Their site brags about an app to manage your account, but it doesn’t exist on either Google Play or App Store. Support replied that they will notify their engineering department of this problem, until I pointed out it hasn’t been available for at least 4 months. I will have to eat the $200 for the device and move on.

    • Deacon says:

      I’m sorry that you had a bad experience with them. Thank you for sharing what happened to you. Fortunately there are other choices available to you should you decide to try again.

  9. Darleen says:

    If you buy a mobile hotspot can you hook two smart TVs up to it for Netflix and YouTube and maybe 3 cell phones?

    • Deacon says:

      Yes, you can hook multiple devices to a hotspot. This is called tethering. Once your phone’s hotspot is turned on, open the second device’s list of WiFi options and look for the hotspot name and choose it. Some hotspot plans may charge extra for this, so check out your plan first to see how many devices it will support without extra fees being charged.

  10. Johnny Layne says:

    Some of the information here is incorrect. I do not see any mobile WiFi hot spots that are cheaper then most of the plans offered by the main cell companies. T-Mobile offers a 55+ plan with unlimited data, and 20 gigs of high speed 4G for 15 bucks more. After the 25 gigs it just slows down, but I can still stream Hulu, even then. I’ve found it best, only if you want to save money though, to actually call and talk to a real person, and they can easily tell you about which plan best suits your needs. I have unlimited data, talk and text, with 20 gigs of high speed 4G, for $65 plus about 5 bucks in additional charges, making it average 70-73 bucks a month.

    • Deacon says:

      Whether or not you think it’s cheap can depend on the circumstances. For instance a mobile hot spot might be more expensive that regular WiFi, but if you own more than one home or travel a bunch, a mobile hotspot might be cheaper than paying fees for multiple locations. This post is about some hotspot plans that may be cheaper than others that are higher priced.

  11. Levi says:

    Which would you recommend if I’m trying to get enough hotspot data to Twitch stream Halo 5 around 3 days a week for roughly 3 hours at a time? I live in an area where it is impossible to get fast internet so I want to use mobile hotspot data for the sole purpose of streaming. I just want to buy the cheapest phone I can with the cheapest hotspot plan, maybe around 20 GB or so.

    • Deacon says:

      You’ll just need to compare the plans out there to see which features you need and don’t need along with the price of each.

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