If you struggle to get a quick and reliable fixed-line internet connection, then a 4G home broadband solution could be a great alternative.
At face value, 4G home broadband options are practical for a number of households. However, it must be said that these solutions are particularly popular with people who live in rural locations, as well as those who live in areas that do not yet have access to fibre connections.
4G home broadband packages are different to traditional fixed-line connections. However, this isn't something that should necessarily put you off purchasing one. After all, these innovative solutions provide you with many of the benefits you would receive if you took out a traditional broadband contract. For example, with 4G broadband, you still receive a reliable and fast internet connection. Plus, you can connect all of your home's smart devices seamlessly.
However, there are some notable differences between 4G broadband and regular broadband connections that you must be aware of before you take out a deal. For example, traditional broadband deals are fixed but 4G solutions are portable. This means that if you're travelling on the train for work, you can take your broadband connection with you. This is because, while regular internet runs through cables, 4G broadband runs off 4G mobile data (just as the name suggests). However, this does mean that 4G broadband is slower than traditional fibre broadband options.
Similarly, when you choose 4G home broadband, you don't need a phone line. Plus, there's no need for an engineer to visit your home. As no cables are required, setup is simple. All you need to do is put a SIM card in the router and plug it in. The whole process only takes a couple of minutes.
If you like the sound of the flexibility provided by a 4G broadband deal, then you're in luck. In this guide, we've outlined all the best 4G broadband deals available. We've also answered a number of popular queries about 4G broadband, so you can make sure the product is right for you. If you decide it isn't, then make sure you check out the best fibre deals currently available.
4G home broadband deals
Three 4G Home Broadband: 24-month contract | free upfront | Unlimited data | free for the first three months, then £20 per month (opens in new tab)
We think that this 4G home broadband option from Three is the best on the market. This is because not only is this deal one of the very cheapest available, but it also provides you with rapid speeds and truly unlimited data. Plus, when you opt for this deal, Three also provides a 30-day money back guarantee. What's more, Three is known to offer great incentives. Right now, this deal is free for the first three months. Following this, it costs just £20 per month.
BT 4G Home Hub with EE SIM: 18 months | free upfront | 300GB data | £40 a month (opens in new tab)
Searching for the fastest speeds available? This deal from EE might be the best option for you. EE is home to the UK's fastest 4G network, so customers enjoy rapid downloads. However, this extra speed does come at a cost. Not only is this deal more expensive than the one we highlighted from Three, but it also comes with a data limit. If you'd like an option without a data limit, then you'll need to pay at least £50 a month.
4G National Broadband: 24 months | £99 upfront | unlimited data | £29.99/month (opens in new tab)
National Broadband is a 4G broadband specialist. Although the company's 4G options are more expensive than those offered by some of the other providers on this list, you do receive a risk-free 14-day trial. On top of this, the company also uses specialist equipment and a high-performance 4G router. Plus, if you live in an area with low signal strength, the company also offers an external antenna. If your signal is incredibly poor, then this more expensive option may provide you with the most reliable connection.
Vodafone GigaCube: 24 months | £0 upfront | 200GB data | £40/month (opens in new tab)
Although Vodafone's 4G home broadband options are excellent, they are also expensive. Plus, the company also pulled a number of its GigaCube options from the market, so there aren't many deals on offer right now. We think this 200GB option is the best available, but if you need more data then there is a 300GB option, as well as a couple of 30-day contracts.
4G home broadband: what is it and how does it work?
Rather than relying on cables and landlines, 4G home broadband solutions instead harness the power of mobile signals. In this regard, they work in a similar way to your smartphone when you're not connected to Wi-Fi.
While traditional fixed-line internet options are entirely dependent on a web of cables, a 4G home broadband hub instead contains a SIM card that operates through mobile signals, just like your mobile phone does.
Although your 4G home broadband router still needs to be plugged into the wall, this is the only cable required in the set-up process. This means that it's a mobile solution that can be used anywhere with a plug.
Similarly, this also means the set-up process is incredibly simple. When you take out a 4G home broadband deal, there's no need for an engineer to visit your home because no cables need to be installed. Instead, once your router has been posted to you, you'll find that it's simple to set it up yourself. All you need to do is put the SIM card in the back and and then plug it in at the wall. Then, you can connect all your devices and get online.
What are the pros and cons of 4G home broadband?
- 4G broadband is portable. It can be used anywhere with a plug and signal.
- These solutions are much faster than ADSL connections.
- Some contracts only last for one month.
- A great alternative to a fixed-line connection.
- You can install the solution yourself in a couple of minutes.
- Short contracts can be incredibly expensive.
- Cheaper plans usually come with data limits.
- 4G broadband is less reliable than traditional fixed-line broadband.
- 5G broadband options are quicker, as are many fibre deals.
What are the downsides to 4G home broadband?
Although there are many positives associated with 4G home broadband options, there are downsides you must be aware of. By discovering more about these, you can take a balanced view before you select a deal.
For example, one of the main benefits of 4G home broadband is that these solutions are portable. But, in spite of the fact you can take your router anywhere with a plug, it will not work in an area without 4G signal. So, if you live in an area where 4G signal is patchy, then you can't rely on a 4G broadband solution to provide you with a reliable and fast internet connection. In this scenario, a traditional fixed-line broadband deal will likely be much better for your needs.
Added to this, although 4G home broadband solutions can provide you with a reliable connection, the speeds are not the fastest available. If you'd like to stream regularly, download in UHD or need the capacity for multiple people to get online at once, then you may be better with a 5G home broadband plan or a fibre broadband package.
Can I use 4G broadband as my home internet?
Yes. In many circumstances, 4G broadband can be used as an alternative to a fixed-line connection.
For example, if your home does not have access to fibre internet packages and can only select an ADSL package, then you'll find that 4G broadband is a particularly attractive solution. Similarly, if you live in a densely populated city centre or a block of flats, then 4G home broadband could be a great alternative to a fixed-line connection, which may be slow.
By contrast though, if you can access 5G speeds or fibre internet connections, you may find that the speeds offered by 4G home broadband are comparatively slow. This is particularly the case if you live in a large home or live in a house where multiple people are streaming or downloading in HD simultaneously.
How much are installation fees?
Generally speaking, the upfront costs associated with 4G home broadband options are much lower than those associated with traditional fixed-line connections. In fact, in many instances, 4G home broadband deals come without any installation fees at all.
Today, the vast majority of fixed-line broadband packages come with at least some form of upfront cost. This usually covers the admin fee for creating the account, for delivering the router, or for the cost of an engineer visiting your home. In some extreme circumstances, the cost of getting your new broadband up and running could exceed £100.
Thankfully, when it comes to 4G home broadband solutions, the associated upfront costs are a lot lower. This is because there's no need for an engineer to visit your home. Plus, because all you need to do is put a SIM card in the router and plug it in, you can set your broadband up yourself.
That said, although you do not need to pay any installation fees when you purchase 4G home broadband, you may still need to make some form of upfront payment. This is because some providers ask you to pay for the router if you're only purchasing a one-month deal. Thankfully, longer-term deals don't normally require you to make any form of payment.
Does 4G home broadband have any data caps?
The UK's top 4G home broadband providers offer a range of deals, including options with and without data caps.
Whether your plan comes with a data cap will depend on how much you'd like to spend. Cheaper deals often come with some form of data limit and, generally speaking, the less you spend the less data you'll receive.
Buying a plan with a data limit isn't necessarily an issue. However, before you sign up for a deal with a data limit, you need to make sure that it's right for you. For example, if you only really use the internet to browse the web, check your email and update your social media profiles, then a plan that has a data limit won't necessarily be an issue.
However, by contrast, if you regularly use the internet to download films in HD or stream your favourite shows on Netflix, then you'll find these limits highly inconvenient. If you run out of data midway through the month, then you'll need to either buy more or wait until your data renews to watch more TV and get online.
So, it's up to you to determine how much data you need and whether an option with data limits is right for you. Often, we think the increased convenience provided by unlimited data is worth the additional cost.
Is 4G home broadband right for me?
It's tricky to say. After all, whether 4G broadband is right for you will primarily depend on a number of personal factors, such as where you live and the type of deals available in your area.
As a general rule, 4G home broadband will usually be suitable for your needs if you live in an area with reliable 4G signal and you usually struggle to get a decent fixed-line connection. However, you must check the speeds and what else is available in your area before you commit to a deal.
But, in order to determine whether a 4G home broadband deal or a fixed-line connection is better for your needs, you must first make sure that you're aware of the advantages and disadvantages of using 4G broadband over regular broadband.
For example, one of the main benefits of 4G home broadband is that the solution is portable and can be used anywhere with a plug. Plus, short contracts that offer you greater flexibility are available.
Added to this, if fibre speeds aren't available yet in your area or you're unsure you want to make a long-term commitment, then 4G broadband could be great for your needs as it may provide you with a faster connection.
However, 4G home broadband connections aren't right for everyone. For example, while almost all regular broadband packages offer unlimited downloads and uploads, many 4G broadband packages have data caps. Plus, while 4G broadband can be faster than traditional broadband packages, it can be more unreliable and you may suffer from slower speeds in areas where network coverage is poor. If the 4G connection in your area is unreliable, then you may find that 4G broadband isn't suitable for your needs.
Finally, when determining whether 4G home broadband is right for you, it's important to consider price. While 4G solutions are often available with one-month contracts, these are usually expensive and you'll be charged set-up or upfront fees. This can make these solutions much more expensive than a traditional fixed-line deal.
By contrast, if you're willing to take out a longer-term deal, these fees are usually waived. This can make these deals substantially cheaper. In some circumstances, they may even be cheaper than a comparable fixed-line deal.
Still want more options? Then head to our main broadband deals guide for all the best tariffs out there right now.