What's 4G home broadband and why would I give up my internet plan for it? Well, for those who want some flexibility in their contract, live in a rural area with no fibre cables or just for those who want something a bit different, 4G home broadband could be an excellent option.
4G broadband in essence is just like the regular broadband found in most homes but with a few key differences. You're still getting a steady internet connection, you can connect all of your devices and you even pay a monthly fee for it.
However, unlike regular internet which runs through cables and Wi-Fi signals, 4G broadband runs off, well...4G. That means it works in the same way as your phone, operating through a SIM card and mobile signals.
This means you don't need a phone line, you don't need to pay set-up fees and the best part...you can take it on the go. You can use it on the train, in the garden or even on the beach (if you have a long enough extension cable). You don't get that kind of thing with normal broadband deals.
If all of this sounds like the ideal broadband set-up for you then you're in luck, we've gathered all of the best options and listed them down below, as well as answering a few key questions about 4G home broadband.
4G home broadband: what is it and how does it work?
Unlike regular broadband, 4G home broadband operates through air waves instead of cables. In this sense, it's more similar to the way your phone operates when using mobile data.
Also unlike regular broadband there is no set-up process needed. All you need to do is plug in the router and your internet is ready to go.
Who offers 4G home broadband?
4G broadband from Three:
Three 4G Hub | 24 months | FREE upfront | 24 month contract | Unlimited data
Three's 4G Hub is easily the best option around for 4G Home Broadband. While the prices change frequently, we've seen them as low as £14 a month. More typically, they're around the £20 a month-mark, but you can usually rely on Three to throw in a tasty freebie to sweeten the deal. Plus, Three doesn't limit the data you can use, so there's no anxiety about using up your allowance.
4G broadband from EE:
EE Mobile Broadband with 4GEE Home Router | 18 months | 100GB data | £50 upfront
Obviously, the major benefit to EE is its speeds. As the UK's fastest 4G network, EE will be the option to go for if you like your internet consistently fast. However, what's not so great with EE is its data caps. Unlike Three, you'll be capped on your usage. EE's most popular plan comes in at 100GB, offering you a pretty substantial amount to work through each month.
EE Mobile Broadband with 4GEE Home Router | 30-day rolling contract | 100GB data | £150 upfront
Absolutely identical to the option above with two exceptions - an upfront cost and the contract length. If the idea of shelling out for 4G broadband for a whole 18 months is too much of a commitment, this plan drops you down to a 30-day rolling contract. However, you have to pay an £150 upfront fee to get the special privileges of abandoning EE a few months in.
4G broadband from 4G National:
4G National Broadband | 12 month contract | £99 upfront | unlimited data | £39.99pm
National broadband is an interesting brand. It specialises in...well, 4G broadband. And while it is a bit more expensive than some of the options above, it has a stellar TrustPilot score, uses specialist equipment, offers a risk-free 14-day trial and offers nationwide installations. If you're looking for the most complete package, it's probably going to be this one.
4G broadband from Vodafone:
Vodafone GigaCube | 24 months | £0 upfront | 300GB data | £50 a month
With a dramatic name like 'GigaCube' you would expect a lot from Vodafone's home broadband and luckily, it delivers. For £50 a month you're getting capped at 300GB data on this package. Or, if 18 months is too long, you can pay a larger upfront fee to drop to a 30-day rolling contract instead.
- Need something more portable? Check out the best mobile broadband
What are the pros and cons of Home Broadband?
- Portable - can be taken anywhere as long as there is a plug
- Can be a much faster option over broadband (depending on the package)
- More flexible plans available - 1 month through to 24 months
- Ideal if you struggle to get fixed line broadband
- 4G can end up costing more overall than regular broadband
- Most plans carry download limits
- 4G broadband can be patchy in areas making it less reliable
Below you'll find some more detailed exploration of these positives and issues:
What are the downsides to 4G Home Broadband?
More than anything, the major issue is 4G broadband's reliance on mobile data. While you can plug it in anywhere, it will need to work off 4G signals. That means if you live in the middle of nowhere or in a 4G blackspot, you will find yourself running into slow or non-existent internet.
To counter this, make sure you test the mobile speeds where you live first. If you find that you're getting next to no internet there, a regular broadband deal could be a safer bet.
If you want an even faster connection, you can also get 5G home broadband plans. However, you will then need to be in an area where 5G is available. Most home broadband plans are both 4G and 5G compatible and will simply work on what is in your area.
How much are installation fees?
Because there is no need to have anything installed or have any engineers come around, 4G home broadband is completely free to have set up. Wherever you get your 4G broadband from, the company will send you your retailer and you set it up yourself.
Does 4G home broadband have any data caps?
Depending on who you go with and which package you use, there is likely to be data caps. However, unlimited plans are also available. As you can guess, the more data you choose the more expensive your package becomes.
If the idea of having data caps is a major issue then Three looks like your best choice, offering a number of unlimited data plans.
Does 4G broadband work as well as regular home broadband?
Neither package is necessarily better, but there are a few pros and cons that 4G broadband faces compared to regular broadband.
Firstly, the pros. 4G broadband offers more flexibility, there are more options for contract lengths and pricing and most importantly, you can take it on the go. That means you can use it anywhere there is a plug - trains, hotels etc.
However, there are negatives too. While almost all regular broadband packages have unlimited downloads and uploads, many 4G broadband packages will see you capped. And, while 4G broadband is faster, it can be more unreliable. Speeds aren't necessarily always going to be the same.
Still want more options? Then head to our main broadband deals guide for all the best tariffs out there right now.