Everything You Need to Know About T-Mobile Hotspots

Here’s the scoop on T-Mobile’s best mobile hotspot devices, hotspot plans, and cell phone plans with tethering options.

  • Best T-Mobile hotspot
    T-Mobile Inseego 5G MiFi M2000
    Inseego 5G MiFi M2000
    Price: $336.00
    • Excellent 5G speeds
    • Connectivity for 30 devices
    • No C-band compatibility
  • Best T-Mobile hotspot plan
    T-Mobile 2GB
    Price: $10.00/mo.
    • Cheap price
    • Lots of flexibility if you need more data
    • No unlimited data option
  • Best T-Mobile cellular plan for hotspotting
    T-Mobile Magenta Max
    Price: $85.00/mo. (for one line)
    • Lots of included data
    • Unlimited data for phone use
    • High price

T-Mobile is pretty much the best cellular carrier to go to if you’re in the market for a mobile hotspot. T-Mobile has the best 5G hotspot on the market—and some solid 4G LTE hotspots too. Its hotspot data plans come cheap and give you a lot of flexibility. And if you just need data for your phone’s mobile hotspot, well, T-Mobile has a great phone plan for that too.

See below for the scoop on the best T-Mobile hotspots, how much they cost, and how much data you get.

Looking for a new internet plan? Use your zip code below to find providers in your area.

The starter pack—Here’s the best T-Mobile hotspot, hotspot plan, and hotspot-friendly cellular plan

Most mobile hotspots are locked for use with specific cellular carriers, a reality we’re not thrilled about because it means you have limited choices and less flexibility no matter which hotspot you choose. But T-Mobile is a smart cell carrier to go with since it has the best 5G hotspot around, great prices on all of its mobile Wi-Fi hotspots, and a dirt-cheap hotspot data plan that lets you get more data whenever you run out.

Here’s a quick rundown of your best options if you go with T-Mobile as your one-stop hotspot shop.

The best hotspot: Get Inseego’s 5G MiFi M2000 for $336. Sure, it’s a pretty high price for a hotspot, but it gives you cutting-edge 5G access with 100+ Mbps speeds in some areas. It’s also fully loaded with security features and Wi-Fi 6 efficiency, able to connect up to 30 devices at a time. Stick to a cheaper device if you’re only hotspotting once in a while, but spring for the M2000 if you go on lots of work-related trips and share your hotspot data with groups of coworkers or students.

The best hotspot data plan: T-Mobile’s 2 GB data plan is the best hotspot plan in our opinion. This plan costs only $10 a month, which is a steal compared to the inflated prices you usually see for hotspot plans. It doesn’t come with a whole lot of data, but that isn’t a problem if you use a mobile hotspot occasionally. And if you run out, you can buy more data for a reasonable price any time.

Pro tip: 

Take our speed test to see what kind of performance you’re getting with your hotspot. If you’re on a phone hotspot, a mobile hotspot device could give you a major boost.

 

The best cellular plan for your phone’s hotspot: Not everyone needs a standalone hotspot—a cell phone’s hotspot works just as well in a pinch. A lot of phone plans come with a little data you can use for hotspot tethering. T-Mobile’s Magenta Max plan comes with 40 GB of high-speed hotspot data and costs $85 for one line. That 40 GB should give you plenty to cover your needs at a work conference or holiday weekend Netflix binge.

What should you look for in a T-Mobile hotspot?

You should get a T-Mobile hotspot that follows recent Wi-Fi standards, supports enough devices for your needs, and comes at an affordable price.

T-Mobile has a handful of mobile Wi-Fi hotspots for sale on its website, but you can also find mobile hotspots on Amazon that work with T-Mobile’s network. Bear in mind, not all of these handheld devices are built the same. The most expensive ones are like pocket-sized sports cars, festooned with features and capabilities. The cheaper ones give you a 4G LTE connection that ranges from fast and reliable to somewhat shaky.

What you get from a great hotspot:

  • 4G LTE or 5G connectivity
  • Wi-Fi 6 or Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac)
  • Long-lasting battery (10 hours or more when in use)
  • Strong network coverage over a major cellular carrier
  • Affordable data plan options
  • A steady, continuous connection for multiple devices
  • A USB port for charging phones and tablets

Pro tip: 

Take a look at the best hotspots you can buy for more details on what to look for—even if you don’t have T-Mobile, you can still find a great deal.

Best T-Mobile hotspots

Best forProductPriceConnectivityMax devicesOrder online
Best overall (and best for 5G)Inseego 5G MiFi M2000$336.005G, 4G LTE, dual-band 2.4GHz & 5GHz, Wi-Fi 630View on T-Mobile
Best 4G LTE hotspotFranklin T10 Mobile Hotspot$90.004G LTE, dual-band 2.4GHz & 5GHz,
Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac)
15View on T-Mobile
Best budget optionAlcatel LINKZONE$55.004G LTE, dual-band 2.4GHz & 5GHz, Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac)16View on Amazon

Outside of the MiFi M2000, most of T-Mobile’s hotspots are fairly standard. The Franklin T10 Mobile Hotspot and the Alcatel LINKZONE don’t come with the digital touchscreens or security features of higher-priced hotspots. But they’re cheap, and they get the job done, giving you decent speeds over 4G LTE networks. Get one of those if you only occasionally use a hotspot or use it for just a handful of Wi-Fi devices at a time.

Pro tip: 

Want the fastest and most secure hotspot around? Take a look at the best 5G hotspots for the most innovative designs and greatest Wi-Fi firepower.

Best T-Mobile hotspot data plans

Best forPlanPriceData allowanceOrder online
Best overall2 GB$10.00/mo.*2 GB/mo. (can order more GB w/ data pass)View Plan
Best budget option500 GB$5.00/mo.*500 MB/mo. (can order more GB w/ data pass)View Plan
Best prepaid planUnlimited Mobile Internet with up to 50 GB of 5G & 4G LTE Data$50.00/mo.50 GB/mo. (speeds slowed to 128 kbps after)View Plan

While it’s tempting to be drawn in by lots of gigabytes upfront, for many people it’s actually smarter to start small, especially if you use hotspots only occasionally. That’s why we recommend T-Mobile’s 2 GB plan as the best option: you get a little bit of hotspot data for a super cheap price. You can just buy more when you run out, in quantities ranging from 5 GB to 50 GB.

If you’re in need of a big bunch of data right off the bat, consider T-Mobile’s prepaid Unlimited Mobile Internet plan. It’s a pretty good option if you live in a rural area and want to use a hotspot in place of a pricey and cumbersome satellite internet plan. Keep in mind that your speeds will be throttled considerably once you use 50 GB of data.

The easy alternative: Best T-Mobile cellular plans for hotspotting

Best forPlanPriceHotspot data allowanceOrder online
Best overallT-Mobile Magenta Max$85.00/mo. (for 1 line)40 GB/mo. (speeds slowed to 128 kbps after)View Plan
Best prepaid planSimply Prepaid 10 GB$40.00/mo. (for 1 line)10 GB/mo. (shared w/ phone data)View Plan
Best budget dealMint Mobile$45 for first 3 mos.4 GB/mo. (shared w/ phone data)View Plan

A standalone mobile hotspot gives you faster speeds than a smartphone hotspot. Plus, a dedicated device lets you connect more users and doesn’t drain your phone’s battery. Still, for many users a phone hotspot is enough, and T-Mobile’s Magenta Max plan gives you a ton of data to tether your phone to Wi-Fi devices all day long.

T-Mobile has a good prepaid option if you want something cheaper. Or if you’re really going for a budget option, Mint Mobile uses T-Mobile’s network and offers a ridiculously cheap plan. Just be mindful of your hotspot data use because it counts towards your cell phone data. (Other MVNO providers like Boost Mobile also offer cellular and hotspot plans that give you data to work with. The connection isn’t quite as reliable, but the plans are usually great budget options.)

Need wireless internet for your home? Get T-Mobile Home Internet

T-Mobile 5G Home Internet

Price: $50.00/mo.*

Speed: 35–115 Mbps

Get T-Mobile Home Internet

Like a hotspot, T-Mobile Home Internet uses wireless signals from T-Mobile’s network to get you an internet connection. Unlike a hotspot, it’s meant to be used at a fixed location inside your home, using a cellular router that connects to the network over transmitters on the street.

If you’re looking to use a hotspot as a permanent internet setup, T-Mobile 5G Home Internet is a much better option because it’s cheaper, doesn’t have data limits, and comes with a lot of extra perks.

But if you seek portable internet—with lots of mobility for when you travel or work away from the office—then stick with a hotspot.

FAQ about T-Mobile hotspots

Can you get unlimited data from a T-Mobile hotspot?

The short answer is, no. You can’t get truly unlimited data from a T-Mobile hotspot.

Hotspots and hotspot plans rarely come with unlimited data. T-Mobile technically offers unlimited data on its hotspot plans, but the reality is that all your high speed 5G and 4G LTE data is capped at a certain amount. After you use it, your speeds get throttled to a snail’s crawl, making your hotspot connection basically useless.

You can get unlimited data from T-Mobile’s 5G Home Internet plan, which (like a hotspot) uses a cellular network to get you an internet connection. That’s actually a great plan, but it’s meant for a fixed location, so you don’t get the mobility of an actual hotspot.

Data is still something of a hot commodity on cellular networks these days, so unlimited hotspot data is still something of a distant dream (sigh).

Can you use the Moto G hotspot with T-Mobile?

Yes, the hotspots on Motorola’s Moto G phones work on T-Mobile networks. Here’s how you turn on the hotspot:

Step one: Go to Settings > Network & internet > Advanced.

Step two: Tap Mobile Hotspot & Tethering.

Step three: Tap Mobile Hotspot.

Step four: Tap the Mobile Hotspot switch to turn the Wi-Fi hotspot on or off.

Can you use a NETGEAR Nighthawk hotspot with T-Mobile?

NETGEAR Nighthawk hotspots are not compatible with T-Mobile networks. However, they do work on AT&T networks. We recommend the Nighthawk LTE Mobile Hotspot Router for a 4G LTE connection or the NETGEAR Nighthawk 5G Mobile Hotspot Pro for advanced features, Wi-Fi 6 capability, and the fastest possible speeds.

Looking for a new internet plan? Use your zip code below to find providers in your area.

Disclaimer

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 - Rebecca Lee Armstrong

Rebecca Lee Armstrong has more than six years of experience writing about tech and the internet, with a specialty in hands-on testing. She started writing tech product and service reviews while finishing her BFA in creative writing at the University of Evansville and has found her niche writing about home networking, routers, and internet access at HighSpeedInternet.com. Her work has also been featured on Top Ten Reviews, MacSources, Windows Central, Android Central, Best Company, TechnoFAQ, and iMore.