You're looking for a way to keep your devices connected to the internet while on-the-go, but you're not sure how. These days, many wireless carriers make it easy for you to turn your phone into a mobile hotspot. In this article, I'll explain what mobile hotspot is and tell you about the best mobile hotspot phone plans!
What Is Mobile Hotspot?
Mobile hotspot is a feature included with some cell phone plans that allows you to turn your phone into a Wi-Fi hotspot. Other devices can connect to your phone's hotspot and access the internet. Most of the time, your cellular data is used to provide internet access to the devices connecting to your mobile hotspot.
Many wireless carriers also sell mobile hotspot devices that you can use to connect other devices to the internet. In addition to these devices, you'll have to purchase a monthly data plan (we'll recommend some below).
When Is Mobile Hotspot Useful?
There are a lot of practical uses for mobile hotspot. When a reliable Wi-Fi network isn’t accessible, a mobile hotspot can come in handy.
In addition, many places that offer free public Wi-Fi usually don't have a great connection, which means the internet speeds may be slow. In some cases, you might not be able to connect to the internet at all!
Mobile hotspot is also really great for frequent travelers. When you're in a new place, you'll never know when Wi-Fi will be available. Having mobile hotspot as a backup will give you peace of mind.
Finally, mobile hotspot will let you stay connected to the internet if your power goes out. As a writer who depends on internet access to do my job, mobile hotspot has bailed me out on more than one occasion!
Who Are Mobile Hotspot Plans Good For?
Mobile hotspot is a great feature for frequent travelers, especially RVers. Free, public Wi-Fi is becoming more widely available, but you can't be sure when you'll be able to connect to Wi-Fi again. A mobile hotspot can provide peace of mind by ensuring constant access to the internet.
Mobile hotspot is also useful for people do a lot of work on the road, such as real estate agents and traveling salespeople. You can use mobile hotspot to connect your computer or tablet to the internet, as it is probably more difficult to get work done on your phone.
Things To Consider Before Choosing A Mobile Hotspot Plans
The first thing to think about is whether or not you want a hotspot-only plan, or a cell phone plan with minutes, messages, data, and mobile hotspot.
It’s usually more cost-effective to get a cell phone plan with a mobile hotspot rather than purchasing a hotspot plan on its own. One good way to make this decision is to think about how much mobile hotspot you'll need.
Cheaper cell phone plans will have lower high-speed mobile hotspot data allotments. If you don't need a lot of mobile hotspot data, a cheap prepaid cell phone plan with minutes and message is probably the way to go.
Unlimited data plans typically come with high 4G LTE hotspot data caps, so you won't have to worry as much about how often you use mobile hotspot. Premium unlimited data plans can be quite expensive, but you can save a lot of money when you add multiple lines to your plan.
Finally, it's important to pick a mobile hotspot plan from a carrier that has coverage where you live and where you travel to. If you don't have service, mobile hotspot won't work! Check out our coverage maps to see which carrier has the best service in your area.
Best Mobile Hotspot Plans
|Carrier||Plan Name||Data||Hotspot Amount||Cost Per Line|
|Verizon||Prepaid||5 GB||Data can be used for hotspot||$25 / month|
|AT&T||Prepaid||8 GB||Data can be used for hotspot||$45 / month|
|Boost Mobile||Unlimited Gigs||Unlimited||12 GB||$50 / month|
|Google Fi||Monthly||Unlimited||Unlimited||$70 / month|
Check out our comparison tool and use the Features filter to compare more cell phone plans with mobile hotspot!
Verizon 5 GB Prepaid Plan
The Verizon 5 GB Prepaid plan includes unlimited minutes, unlimited messages, and 5 GB of high-speed data. You can use the high-speed data to turn your phone into a mobile hotspot. Any data you don't use rolls over to the next month.
Even after you've used up your monthly cellular data, you can continue using it at slower speeds.
AT&T 8 GB Prepaid Plan
AT&T's 8 GB Prepaid plan is similar to Verizon's. You'll get unlimited minutes, unlimited messages, and 8 GB of data that can be used for mobile hotspot. Any unused data rolls, and you can continue to use data at 128 kbps speeds, even if you've used your high-speed allotment.
If you're having trouble deciding between Verizon and AT&T, check out our coverage maps. Make sure you're choosing a carrier with coverage in your area.
Another thing to consider is whether or not you plan on keeping your phone when you switch carriers. Verizon uses a CDMA network, while AT&T uses a GSM network. If your phone is locked to a specific network type, you'll want to make sure it's compatible with the network of your wireless carrier.
Boost Mobile Unlimited Gigs Plan
The Boost Mobile Unlimited Gigs plan includes unlimited minutes, messages, and data, but your data speeds may be throttled when Boost's network is heavily congested. Unlike the previous two plans mentioned, this plan includes a high-speed data allotment (12 GB) specifically for mobile hotspot.
So although this plan is a little more expensive, you are getting more in return.
Google Fi Monthly Plan
Google Fi uses a non-traditional pricing structure. The monthly price starts at $20 for unlimited minutes and messages, and you're charged an additional $10 / month for every gigabyte of cellular data you use.
However, Google caps your monthly bill at $80 / month. Whether you use 6 GB or 16 GB of cellular data, you'll only pay $80.
For example: Say you use 3 GB of cellular data browsing the web and another 2 GB using mobile hotspot. That's a total of 5 GB, so you'd pay $70 for the month.
Best Plans With Only Mobile Hotspot
Some wireless carriers offer plans with only a data allotment for mobile hotspot. These plans are great for tablets, Wi-Fi connected cameras, and other devices. Here are a few of our favorites:
|Carrier||Plan Name||Hotspot Amount||Cost Per Line|
|Net10 Wireless||Hotspot||1–10 GB||$10–50 / month|
|Verizon||Connected Device||1–40 GB||$15–150 / month|
|AT&T||DataConnect||1–25 GB||$20–120 / month|
Net10 Wireless Hotspot Plans
Net10 offers several hotspot plans ranging from 1 GB to 10 GB of cellular data. The more data you purchase, the more expensive the plan becomes. These plans have a 30–60 service period. When that periods ends, you can purchase more cellular data to extend the length of your plan.
If you already own a device, Net10 Wireless will send you a SIM card. Just insert the SIM card into your device to activate the plan!
Verizon Hotspot Plans
Verizon offers data only plans ranging from $15–150 per line per month. The cheapest plan starts at 1 GB of premium 4G LTE data. As the data included increases, so does the price.
If you need a lot of mobile hotspot data every month, we'd recommend getting Verizon's Get More Unlimited Plan. For $90 / month, you get unlimited minutes, unlimited messages, unlimited cellular data, 30 GB of 4G LTE mobile hotspot, and much more.
AT&T DataConnect Plans
AT&T offers monthly rate plans, pay-as-you-go plans, and international mobile hotspot plans for you to choose from. This wide range plans have a wide range of prices. AT&T hotspot plans range from $20–120 in price. Subscribing to an AT&T DataConnect plans also gives you access to more than 30,000 Wi-Fi hotspot across the country!
Our Top Choice
Our favorite cell phone plan with mobile hotspot is the Verizon Prepaid Plan. You get unlimited messages, unlimited minutes, and a cellular data allotment that can be used for mobile hotspot. There are no contracts, and you can save on your bill every month with AutoPay and multi-line discounts.
Internet On The Go!
We hope this article gave you a better sense of what a mobile hotspot is and how it could be useful for you. If you have any other questions, or if you're looking for a plan recommendation, leave us a comment below!