Best Hotspot Data Plans 2021

  • Best overall
    t-mobile company logo
    T-Mobile 2GB
    • $10/mo.
    • Quick compatibility with multiple hotspots
    • Limited network size compared to bigger providers
    • Lots of options for getting more data
  • Best for Verizon customers
    verizon logo
    Verizon Unlimited Plus
    • $85/mo.
    • Easy access to ultrafast 5G network
    • Best hotspots to choose from
    • High monthly price
  • Best for international travel
    skyroam solis hotspot logo
    Skyroam Global Daypass
    • $9/day
    • Flexible service
    • Easy access to Wi-Fi when you need it
    • Inconsistent speeds depending on country

We dug into the specifics of all the major cellular providers to get you the best hotspot data plans for your dollar. Read on for the highlights of monthly packages, prepaid options, and data deals for international roaming.

Which hotspot plan is best? Our top pick.

The best mobile hotspot plan is T-Mobile’s 2GB plan. It gives you 2 GB of data to use on a T-Mobile–approved hotspot for $10 a month, with lots of options to buy more data through a “data pass” if you run out.

Another 5 GB on this plan costs $20, 10 GB is $30, and 30 GB is $40—either way you’re getting a solid deal for a hotspot-only plan, especially in comparison to other providers’ offerings. You also have a few different hotspots to choose from that work on T-Mobile’s network, including Inseego’s 5G MiFi M2000 for 5G fans.

Pro tip:

Remember—you can also use your phone as a hotspot. That may be a simpler solution if you need a hotspot only every once in a while. To learn more, read our guide to Wi-Fi tethering on your phone.

The five best hotspot data plans

Best hotspot data plans

Best forPlanPriceData allowanceGet it
Best overall T-Mobile 2GB $10/mo.*2 GB/mo. (can order more GB w/ data pass)View Plan
Best for Verizon customersVerizon Unlimited Plus$85/mo.30 GB of 4G LTE/5G, then reduced to 600 KbpsView Plan
Best for AT&T customersAT&T 15 GB$50/mo. (w/ AutoPay)15 GB/mo.View Plan
Best prepaid planCricket Simply Data 20 GB$35/mo. (plus price of hotspot)20 GB/mo.View Plan
Best for international travelSkyroam Global Daypass$9/day1 GBView Plan

What should you look for in a hotspot data plan?

The best hotspot data plans give you the most Wi-Fi data possible for every dollar you spend. The plan you pick should operate over a large enough network that you’ll get internet wherever you use it. And it should be compatible with a good-quality hotspot that gives you fast speeds and lets you connect at least 10 devices.

Most hotspot plans give you a set amount of data per month. But if you’re traveling or need the hotspot only intermittently, consider getting a prepaid plan so you pay for only the amount of data you need.

If you want to know more about the nitty gritty on what makes a hotspot plan worthwhile, read our longer hotspot features guide further down on this page.

Pro tip:

Still shopping around for a hotspot to use on your data plan? Take a look at our guide to the best mobile hotspots for a breakdown of the fastest and most useful hotspots for work, travel, and 5G.

Best overall—T-Mobile 2GB

Best overall
t-mobile company logo

Price: $10/mo. (with option to buy more)*

T-Mobile has the most flexibility when it comes to hotspot data. It’s cheap to start out and you can pay upfront for more internet data throughout the month. This plan is ideal if you need your hotspot at irregular intervals. Get it if you regularly spend large blocks of time traveling on the road or working remotely out of town.

The 2 GB plan doesn’t give you a whole lot to start out with, but it costs just $10 a month—a steal compared to the steep dollar-for-data prices that other providers have. (It’s also better than T-Mobile’s other baseline plan available, which gives you just 500 MB for $5 per month.)

From there, you can add more data as you like. Here’s a quick breakdown of the pricing options for T-Mobile’s hotspot-related “data pass”:

  • 5 GB—$20
  • 10 GB—$30
  • 30 GB—$40

As you can see, you’ll get exponentially more data as you spend more money, but you also have the option of just getting a little bit extra if your needs aren’t so serious. You also have the option of paying $10 extra per month (with AutoPay) for unlimited data. But there’s a catch: your speeds will be slowed to a crawl after you exceed your initial data allotment.

Pros

  • Cheap price
  • Lots of options to add more data

Cons

  • Smaller network compared to AT&T and Verizon
  • Fewer hotspots to choose from

Best for Verizon customers—Verizon Unlimited Plus

Best for Verizon customers
verizon logo

Price: $85/mo.

If a hotspot user needs a deluxe option for a high-flying mobile lifestyle, this is the hotspot plan to pick. Verizon’s Unlimited Plus plan (which you can sign up for when you order a hotspot on Verizon’s website) gives you a nice chunk of high-speed internet data to work with for the month before it slows down your speed a bunch.

You also get unlimited access to Verizon’s much-touted 5G Ultra Wideband network, which has a relatively small footprint nationwide but will get you stupendously fast speeds in select areas of several dozen major cities, including Las Vegas, San Francisco, and Baltimore. It’s not affordable enough to justify using this as your permanent home Wi-Fi option (that’s what Verizon 5G Home Internet is for). But it’s fast and reliable all the same.

Pros

  • Compatibility with the best hotspot devices
  • Excellent speeds

Cons

  • Expensive price
  • Limited availability of 5G

Pro tip:

Verizon also gives you the pick of the biggest variety of hotspots. Several top-of-the-line Wi-Fi hotspots work on its network—including our personal favorite, the Jetpack MiFi 8800L—and you can add your own unlocked device if you want.

Best for AT&T customers—AT&T 15 GB

Best for AT&T customers
AT&T company logo

Price: $50/mo. (w/ AutoPay)

We’ve got to admit that we’re a little confused by AT&T’s hotspot situation. When you go on the provider’s website to pick out a new hotspot, you’ll also pick out a monthly data plan to go with it—and the prices are all over the place. Here’s a rundown of the options we got when we queued up an order for the Nighthawk LTE Mobile Hotspot Router.

AT&T hotspot plans:

  • 3 GB for $50/mo.
  • 9 GB for $60/mo.
  • 15 GB for $50/mo.
  • 35 GB for $75/mo.

So you can get 9 GB for $60 a month, or 15 GB for $50, or 3 GB for the same price as 15 GB? (All of these prices require AutoPay.) Well, go ahead and pick the 15 GB plan because that’s obviously the best deal here.

Despite these wacky numbers, the advantage of getting a hotspot plan through AT&T is that you have access to a large, fast nationwide network. And you’ll have some pretty sweet hotspot devices to choose from too—we recommend NETGEAR’s Nighthawk M1 Mobile Hotspot Router, which has dual-band capability and connects an impressive maximum of 20 devices.

Pros

  • Large 4G and 5G network
  • Great hotspots to choose from

Cons

  • Confusing plan options
  • High price for the amount of data you get

Pro tip:

Like Verizon and T-Mobile, AT&T gives hotspot users access to its budding 5G network, which is faster and more responsive than 4G. Take a look at our 4G vs. 5G guide to learn more about what sets the two apart.

Best prepaid hotspot plan—Cricket Simply Data 20 GB

Best prepaid hotspot plan
cricket wireless logo

Price: $35/mo.

  • Data allowance: 20 GB
  • Network access: 4G LTE (over AT&T network)
  • Compatible hotspots: Moxee Turbo Hotspot 2, some unlocked hotspots

Prepaid provider Cricket runs over AT&T’s network and gives you a lot of flexibility. Prices are reasonable for the amount of data you get, and if you want more data you can simply upgrade. Another plus is that this data plan gives you Wi-Fi access across Cricket’s wireless network in Mexico and Canada as well as the United States.

Here are all the options you have for data plans.

Cricket hotspot data plans:

  • 20 GB for $35/mo.
  • 40 GB for $50/mo.
  • 100 GB for $90/mo.

The one hotspot you can get over Cricket’s website costs only $79.99 (much cheaper than many other hotspots). It doesn’t seem to be the finest piece of hardware out there—some reviews on the Cricket website report it losing its Wi-Fi connection easily.

But Cricket’s Simply Data plans also give you the option to use your own unlocked hotspot, so long as it’s compatible with Cricket’s network. (Make sure to ask a Cricket customer service rep to see if the one you have in mind will work.)

Pros

  • High-speed Wi-Fi available in US, Canada, and Mexico
  • Cheap prices for plans and hotspot

Cons

  • Mixed reviews for the Turbo Hotspot 2
  • Spotty connections in some areas

Best for international travel—Skyroam Global Daypass

Best for international travel
skyroam solis hotspot logo

Price: $9/day

Skyroam makes hotspots and hotspot plans with itinerant van dwellers and globe-trotting backpackers in mind. How it works is you buy the hotspot—either the Skyroam Solis X or the Skyroam Solis Lite—and then you pick a plan to go with it. That gives you mobile Wi-Fi access in 135+ countries.

Depending on your needs, you can pick a monthly unlimited subscription ($99/mo.), a Global Daypass ($9 per day), or the Global GoData per GB subscription ($9 per 1 GB per month). We think the Global Daypass is the best bet because it gives you the simple option of just paying for internet when you need it. But the $9 per 1 GB option is also a great deal, since you can just buy more data if you run out.

Based on our own experiences traveling and living abroad, we’d say the Global Daypass is the best option if you’re planning a trip to several countries over a short time period. (Say, you’re touring Europe by train or doing a month-long vacation across Southeast Asia.) That way you can pay for the Daypass when you really need it and at other times rely on public hotspots at hotels and restaurants.

Pros

  • Accessible service in 135+ countries
  • Flexible usability

Cons

  • Expensive price
  • Inconsistent internet service depending on which country you’re in

Pro tip:

If you’re traveling overseas for a longer period and mostly staying in one place, then you’re better off getting this USB hotspot from Huawei and using it with a SIM card from a local cellular provider. You can also use your phone’s hotspot with a local SIM card. That way you’ll save money and have more control over how much data and speed you’ll get.

Hotspot data plan features

Most hotspot plans are relatively straightforward—basically you pick from what your cellular provider offers you when you buy a hotspot. But you don’t have to limit yourself to your cellular provider: you can also shop around for other providers that give you more data, have a larger cellular network, or a hotspot data plan that leaves room for international roaming.

How much data do you get?

You can pay a relatively small amount of money for a couple GB of data per month, or you can go all out and fork over $50 per month for 30 GB or more. Most plans work on a month-to-month basis, but some plans give you a prepaid option and/or let you top up with more data when you need to. That’s a good way to go if you use a hotspot once or twice a month and don’t want to pay a monthly fee.

Sadly, you won’t get nearly as much data from a hotspot plan as you would from a home internet plan over a connection like fiber or cable. Cellular companies just don’t have the same capacity to serve our ravenous Wi-Fi needs in the way internet providers do.

But you’ll still have enough data to last you several days and maybe even a few weeks, depending on what you use the hotspot for.

Pro tip:

Prepaid data plans are often easier to get and sometimes give you more data for how much you pay. You’re also more likely to get a prepaid plan that works with your own unlocked hotspot (as opposed to one you have to buy directly from the provider). Our favorite prepaid data plan is Cricket’s Simply Data 20 GB.

What carrier has unlimited hotspot data?

Verizon, T-Mobile, and AT&T all technically give you unlimited hotspot data on qualifying phone and hotspot plans. But that comes with a major caveat—each provider limits the amount of high-speed data you can get on a hotspot.

Usually you’ll get somewhere between 15–30 GB of data. After you’ve used it up for the month, your hotspot will be “deprioritized” and revert to 3G speeds, which can be as slow as 128 Kbps (or 0.128 Mbps). Cellular companies don’t have the capacity (or the financial incentive) to give you more data than that for straight Wi-Fi use, but hopefully that will change in the near future as they bulk up their network capacities.

Wireless network size

Hotspots depend on cellular service to give you Wi-Fi access, so you’ll want your data plan to be on a big enough network to get internet wherever you are. If you’re traveling a lot—say, planning a cross-country road trip or flying to different cities for business—consider getting a plan on the biggest US cellular network possible.

Here’s a breakdown of American cellular providers, according to the size of their wireless networks:

  • Verizon—Largest network nationwide
  • T-Mobile—Second-largest network nationwide
  • AT&T—Third-largest network nationwide
  • US Cellular—Fourth-largest network nationwide

International roaming

Not every hotspot plan will let you access the internet while traveling abroad. But you can get cellular access from a local provider—just plug the new SIM card into your unlocked phone. Or you can pick a hotspot and data plan from an American cellular company that gives you cellular access overseas.

Going with a local provider when traveling abroad is usually cheaper and gives you more options to choose from. But that may be difficult if you’re planning to visit a lot of countries in a relatively short period. Going with a set plan from your current provider or a data plan option like Skyroam’s Global Daypass can save you the headache and confusion of figuring out cellular options in a foreign country.

Our verdict

If you’re shopping for a hotspot data plan, you can’t go wrong with T-Mobile’s 2GB plan for the affordable price, large nationwide network access, and option to buy more data upfront at your leisure. It also works with a lot of great hotspots, so you’ll have reliable Wi-Fi as you’re on the go.

But plenty of other providers have excellent hotspot plans too. Sign up with Verizon for a 5G hotspot data option, seek out Cricket for a simple hotspot package, or go for the Skyroam Global Daypass if you’re traveling abroad.

Disclaimers

Simply Data Plan

Plan includes a monthly data allotment only, without cellular network voice support. No credit for unused data. Plans are not combinable with Autopay or Group Save Discount, voice-and-data rate plans, or voice-and-data extras. 5G Service: Requires a compatible 5G device. 5G service is not available everywhere. See https://www.cricketwireless.com/map.html for details. Mexico and Canada: Canada usage cannot exceed 50% in a 3-month period. Data roaming may be reduced to 2G speeds. Video Streaming: Plan comes w/Stream More which streams higher definition video at Standard Definition quality, similar to DVD (about 480p). Cricket will activate Stream More for you, but you may turn it off or back on at any time online. See cricketwireless.com/streammore for details. HD streaming may increase rate of data usage. Data usage and tethering that violates contract terms may be slowed or terminated. General: Activ./upgrade (up to $25/line) & add’l one time fees (min. $4 rep-assisted and automated phone system payments) & restr’s may apply; see cricketwireless.com/fees. Pricing, avail., terms & data usage & speed & other restr’s subject to change w/o notice. Service subject to Cricket Terms of Service (cricketwireless.com/terms). Devices: Sold separately. Limits: 9 devices. Svc good for 30 days. Coverage not avail. everywhere © Cricket Wireless LLC. All rights reserved.

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Author -

Peter Holslin has more than a decade of experience working as a writer and freelance journalist. He graduated with a BA in liberal arts and journalism from New York City’s The New School University in 2008 and went on to contribute to publications like Rolling Stone, VICE, BuzzFeed, and countless others. At HighSpeedInternet.com, he focuses on covering 5G, nerding out about frequency bands and virtual RAN, and producing reviews on emerging services like 5G home internet. He also writes about internet providers and packages, hotspots, VPNs, and Wi-Fi troubleshooting.

Editor - Cara Haynes

Cara Haynes has been editing and writing in the digital space for seven years, and she's edited all things internet for HighSpeedInternet.com for five years. She graduated with a BA in English and a minor in editing from Brigham Young University. When she's not editing, she makes tech accessible through her freelance writing for brands like Pluralsight. She believes no one should feel lost in internet land and that a good internet connection significantly extends your life span.

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