Router with SIM card: how to make your own flexible internet plan

Router with SIM card
(Image credit: Future)

A router with SIM card could be the best solution to your internet connectivity issues. Be it a lack of broadband where you are or simply that you want to avoid getting into a contract, this is an alternative option.

Alternative isn't to say lacking in any way though. You can still get all the connectivity speeds and data allowance that you might on a broadband connection, minus the need for physical infrastructure changes to your home.

Since this is SIM only based, it can also mean you dodge a contract if you want, on a pay monthly basis that you control.

Here's everything you need to know about a router with SIM setup.

How a router with SIM works:

There are lots of routers out there which work with SIM only deals. What you're looking for is something either called a 4G router, or a mobile router. Whatever the name, make sure if takes a SIM then you know it's what you need.

This will enable you to get connected without the need for broadband deals or a landline. The router will connect via the SIM, much like your smartphone does. Only this will then send that data out over Wi-Fi to any devices in your home that need the connection. As far as those other devices know, this Wi-Fi connection is the same as a broadband one – where that data comes from (over wires or the air) makes no difference.

You can get varying routers, with dual band and tri-band, for example, to fire that Wi-Fi at higher speeds. But ultimately you're throttled by the SIM connection, so it's best to go for 4G if possible, making sure you have a decent connection in your home. There are specialist models with externally mounted receivers that you can look into if this is an issue in your home.

Where to find a SIM card router: *

* As we say above, it is crucial that you buy the right kind of router. Make sure you are buying one that can insert a SIM and not one for cable broadband. It will make it clear in the description of any item.

How to setup a SIM router:

 After you've got the router to suit you then you need to get it connected. This is where you need to find the best SIM deal for the job. You can go for a SIM contract that typically means a lower price for more data – ideally unlimited. But if you want to ditch the contract commitment that's an option if you with a SIM only deal. Again, it's worth paying a bit more for an unlimited data option  if you think you're going to use plenty. 

SIM + router combination pros and cons:

The best bits about a SIM router are the freedom to move it anywhere, with no physical infrastructure installation needed in your home. It's fast and in some cases can be as fast or even faster than broadband. It can be affordable with lots of data plans dishing out enough to suit your needs. Routers are not much different in price to the broadband options so this isn't a decision factor either. 

The downsides are that you may struggle to get a decent 4G connection in your home which could affect speeds. Some data plans can be more expensive if you don't go for a contract option. 

So if you think a SIM router is for you check out our best SIM deals here to find a data plan that suits your needs.

Luke Edwards

Luke is a freelance writer and editor with over two decades of experience covering tech, science and health. Among many others he writes across Future titles covering health tech, software and apps, VPNs, TV, audio, smart home, antivirus, broadband, smartphones, cars and plenty more. He also likes to climb mountains, swim outside and contort his body into silly positions while breathing as calmly as possible.