4G & 5G home broadband is available from £20/month without the need for a phone line. We compare the major providers.

In the UK, 4G & 5G home broadband has been rapidly growing in popularity as an alternative to fixed-line home broadband. It offers greater flexibility along with download speeds that are comparable to fibre.

As 4G and 5G home broadband are not tied to a phone line, it isn’t limited by what you’re able to get through a BT Openreach or Virgin Media connection. You can set it up in an instant without an engineer visit and you can even bring the broadband connection with you to other places (perfect if you’re renting temporarily, occasionally travelling to other places or planning to move home soon).

At the moment, three UK internet service providers offer 4G and 5G home broadband: Three, Vodafone and EE. In this article, we’ll compare these home broadband services in a number of categories such as price, connectivity, coverage and hardware. We’ll also discuss how 4G and 5G home broadband services compare to traditional fixed-line broadband providers like BT, Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin Media.

4G & 5G Home Broadband: How It Works

4G and 5G home broadband has rapidly grown in popularity as an alternative to fixed-line home broadband. Rather than having your home broadband connection delivered through a phone line or cable, 4G or 5G broadband allows you to receive it over a wireless connection (using the same underlying technology that serves your mobile phone).

With 4G broadband, download speeds of up to 300Mbit/s are possible, though average speeds are normally closer to 15-30Mbit/s. Newer 5G broadband technology can offer download speeds of up to 1,000Mbit/s (1Gbit/s) with a typical download speed of around 150-250Mbit/s.

When you sign up, you’ll get a 4G or 5G home broadband router. This works in much the same way as a normal fixed-line broadband router or ‘hub’. The router creates a wi-fi network for your other devices to connect to, including your laptop, tablet, smartphone, smart TV or other smart home devices. There’s no difference in what you can do and what content you can access when using 4G or 5G broadband. For instance, you can still stream from all of your favourite services including iPlayer, Netflix, Spotify and more.

As 4G and 5G broadband do not require a phone line to be set up at your address, it’s a great alternative to fixed-line home broadband. This is especially the case if you aren’t able to get fibre broadband from other providers. Customers using 4G or 5G home broadband services may be able to cancel their home landline connection (potentially saving you in the region of £20/month on line rental).

Overview of 4G & 5G Broadband Providers

There are currently three ISPs offering 4G and 5G home broadband: Three, Vodafone and EE. Each of them allows you to get your home devices connected to the internet without the need to use a BT phone line or Virgin Media cable connection.

4G Broadband Services

There are currently four home broadband services based on 4G technology: Three’s HomeFi Plus, Three’s AI Cube, Vodafone’s 4G GigaCube and EE’s 4GEE Home.

The following table shows a comparison of the four different services:

Three HomeFi Plus
(Huawei B535)
Three AI Cube
(Huawei B900)
Vodafone GigaCube 4G
(Huawei B528)
4GEE Home
(EE 4GEE Home Router)
Home Broadband Plans
Price:From £20/monthFrom £25/monthFrom £30/monthFrom £35/month
Data:UnlimitedUnlimited100GB - 300GB50GB - 500GB
Unlimited Data:£20/month£25/monthNot availableNot available
Contract Length:1-24 months1-24 months1-18 months1-18 months
Mobile Connectivity
4G Connectivity:Category 7 LTECategory 6 LTECategory 6 LTECategory 7 LTE
4G Download Speed:Up to 300 Mbit/s downloadUp to 300 Mbit/s downloadUp to 300 Mbit/s downloadUp to 300 Mbit/s download
4G Upload Speed:Up to 100 Mbit/s uploadUp to 50 Mbit/s uploadUp to 50 Mbit/s uploadUp to 100 Mbit/s upload
4G Bands:LTE bands 1, 3, 7, 8, 20, 28, 32 & 38LTE bands 1, 3, 7, 8, 20, 32 & 38LTE bands 1, 3, 7, 8, 20, 32 & 38LTE bands TBC
External Antenna:Yes, 2x SMA connectorsNoYes, 2x TS-9 connectorsYes, 2x SMA connectors
Home Network Connectivity
Dual-Band Wi-Fi:YesYesYesYes
Wi-Fi Connectivity:802.11a/b/g/n/ac802.11a/b/g/n/ac802.11b/g/n/ac802.11a/b/g/n/ac
Wi-Fi Devices:Up to 64 devicesUp to 64 devicesUp to 20 devicesUp to 32 devices
Ethernet:4 Gigabit Ethernet ports1 Gigabit Ethernet port1 Gigabit Ethernet port2 Gigabit Ethernet ports
Other
Model:Huawei B535Huawei B900Huawei B528EE 4GEE Home Router
Colour:WhiteWhiteWhiteWhite
Other Features:-360° Alexa smart speaker--
Review:Three HomeFi Plus ReviewThree AI Cube ReviewVodafone GigaCube 4G Review4GEE Home Review

Three are the most aggressive players in 4G home broadband, with competitively-priced unlimited data plans from only £20/month. Vodafone offers up to 300GB of data on their 4G GigaCube service and EE offers up to 500GB of data on 4GEE Home (both of them charge a lot more than £20/month for this).

As of yet, O2 is the only major mobile network not to have launched a 4G home broadband service. O2 previously exited the home broadband market in 2013, though rumours suggest they might return to the market later this year.

As an alternative to the four options listed above, it’s also possible to build your own custom 4G broadband solution. This can be done by buying an unlocked 4G home broadband router like the Huawei B525 (approximately £120). You can then combine this with a SIM card offering enough data for your usage (e.g. for unlimited data we’d recommend the unlimited SIM card from Three which costs £18/month).

5G Broadband Services

In the UK, 5G home broadband services have started to roll out over the past year. Offering even faster speeds than 4G home broadband, 5G broadband is an even stronger competitor to traditional fixed-line home broadband.

At present, there are three 5G-based home broadband services: Three’s 5G Home, Vodafone’s 5G GigaCube and EE’s 5GEE Home. All three services come with a Huawei 5G CPE Pro broadband router.

The following table shows a comparison of 5G broadband services that are currently live in the UK:

Three 5G Home
(Huawei 5G CPE Pro)
Vodafone GigaCube 5G
(Huawei 5G CPE Pro)
5GEE Home
(Huawei 5G CPE Pro)
Home Broadband Plans
Price:From £29/monthFrom £30/monthFrom £70/month
Data:Unlimited100GB - Unlimited1000GB
Unlimited Data:£29/month£50/monthNot available
Contract Length:12-24 months1-18 months18 months
Mobile Connectivity
5G Connectivity:Up to 2330 Mbit/s downloadUp to 2330 Mbit/s downloadUp to 2330 Mbit/s download
5G Bands:5G NR band n785G NR band n785G NR band n78
4G Connectivity:Category 19 LTECategory 19 LTECategory 19 LTE
4G Download Speed:Up to 1600 Mbit/s downloadUp to 1600 Mbit/s downloadUp to 1600 Mbit/s download
4G Upload Speed:Up to 150 Mbit/s uploadUp to 150 Mbit/s uploadUp to 150 Mbit/s upload
4G Bands:LTE bands 1, 3, 5, 7, 8, 18, 19, 20, 28, 32, 34, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42 & 43LTE bands 1, 3, 5, 7, 8, 18, 19, 20, 28, 32, 34, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42 & 43LTE bands 1, 3, 5, 7, 8, 18, 19, 20, 28, 32, 34, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42 & 43
External Antenna:Yes, 2x TS-9 connectorsYes, 2x TS-9 connectorsYes, 2x TS-9 connectors
Home Network Connectivity
Dual-Band Wi-Fi:YesYesYes
Wi-Fi Connectivity:802.11a/b/g/n/ac/ax802.11a/b/g/n/ac/ax802.11a/b/g/n/ac/ax
Wi-Fi Devices:Up to 64 devicesUp to 64 devicesUp to 64 devices
Ethernet:2 Gigabit Ethernet ports2 Gigabit Ethernet ports2 Gigabit Ethernet ports
Phone:1 RJ11 phone port1 RJ11 phone port1 RJ11 phone port
Other
Model:Huawei 5G CPE ProHuawei 5G CPE ProHuawei 5G CPE Pro
Colour:WhiteWhiteWhite
Review:Three 5G Home ReviewVodafone GigaCube 5G Review5GEE Home Review

As 5G is still a fairly new technology, 5G coverage is still limited to certain UK towns and cities. The following table shows an overview of where you might be able to get 5G home broadband:

5G NetworkCurrently LivePlanned & Announced
EE
(check coverage)
80 towns and cities live
Ashton-under-Lyne, Bath, Belfast, Birkenhead, Birmingham, Borehamwood, Bransholme, Bristol, Bury, Cardiff, Castlereagh, Chatham, Chelmsford, Cheshunt, Chesterfield, Clevedon, Clifton, Clydebank, Coventry, Dartford, Dinnington, Dudley, Edinburgh, Gillingham, Glasgow, Grays, Guildford, Hamilton, Harlow, Hoddesdon, Huddersfield, Hull, Inchinnan, Kimberley, Kingston-upon-Thames, Leeds, Leicester, Lichfield, Lisburn, Liverpool, London, Loughborough, Loughton, Maidstone, Manchester, Milnrow, Motherwell, Newcastle, Newton-le-Willows, North Shields, Northampton, Nottingham, Oldham, Paisley, Potters Bar, Rochdale, Rochester, Romford, Rotherham, Rugeley, Salford, Sheffield, Solihull, South Shields, Southend-on-Sea, Staines-upon-Thames, Stevenage, Stirling, Sunderland, Sutton Coldfield, Swadlincote, Sydenham, Wakefield, Walsall, Waltham Cross, Watford, West Bromwich, Westhoughton, Weybridge, Wolverhampton
9 towns and cities planned
Aberdeen, Cambridge, Derby, Gloucester, Peterborough, Plymouth, Portsmouth, Southampton, Worcester
O2
(check coverage)
30 towns and cities live
Belfast, Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Cardiff, Chatham, Coventry, Derby, Eastbourne, Edinburgh, Gateshead, Glasgow, Leeds, Leicester, Lisburn, Liverpool, London, Lowestoft, Luton, Manchester, Mansfield, Newcastle, North Shields, Northampton, Norwich, Nottingham, Sheffield, Slough, South Shields, Stoke-on-Trent
20 towns and cities planned
Aberdeen, Birkenhead, Blackpool, Bournemouth, Brighton, Cambridge, Eton, Guildford, Hove, Kingston-upon-Thames, Milton Keynes, Newbury, Plymouth, Portsmouth, Reading, Southampton, Sunderland, Warrington, Windsor, Wolverhampton
Three
(check coverage)
68 towns and cities live
Aberdeen, Abingdon-on-Thames, Aldershot, Aldridge, Balloch, Barrow-in-Furness, Basildon, Bath, Bedford, Birkenhead, Birmingham, Blackpool, Borehamwood, Bradford, Brighton, Brookmans Park, Cannock, Cardiff, Chatham, Clayton-le-Woods, Coventry, Crawley, Cullingworth, Derby, Doncaster, Dundee, Glasgow, Gorebridge, Grays, Grimsby, Guildford, Heanor, Hedge End, Hemel Hempstead, Huddersfield, Inchinnan, Ipswich, Leeds, Leicester, Leyland, Liverpool, London, Lower Stondon, Luton, Maidstone, Manchester, Mansfield, Motherwell, Neston, Newquay, Nottingham, Nuneaton, Peterborough, Plymouth, Preston, Reading, Redcar, Royston, Sheffield, Slough, St Albans, Stevenage, Swadlincote, Swindon, Telford, Westhoughton, Wickford, Wigan
0 towns and cities planned
Vodafone
(check coverage)
45 towns and cities live
Ambleside, Bebington, Belfast, Birkenhead, Birmingham, Bishopbriggs, Bolton, Bootle, Bristol, Cardiff, Cheadle, Droylsden, Eccles, Edinburgh, Gatwick, Glasgow, Guildford, Horwich, Huyton-with-Roby, Isle of Scilly, Kingswood, Lancaster, Leeds, Liverpool, Llandudno, London, Manchester, Mangotsfield, Newbury, Paisley, Penarth, Plymouth, Portsmouth, Prestwich, Reading, Rochdale, Salford, Solihull, Southampton, Stockport, Stoke-on-Trent, Stretford, Wallasey, Warrington, Wolverhampton
2 towns and cities planned
Blackpool, Bournemouth

Use our 5G coverage checker to see what’s available where you live. If you’re not able to get 5G in your area, it’ll still be possible to access 4G coverage through your 5G home broadband service.

In-Depth Comparison of 4G & 5G Broadband Providers

Price Plans

Where possible, we’d strongly recommend choosing a home broadband plan that gives you unlimited data. This allows you to stream as much as you like, and download to your heart’s content, without needing to worry about how much data you’re using. There also won’t be any additional charges for going over your allowance.

Unlimited Data Plans

At present, unlimited data plans are available on the Three HomeFi Plus, Three AI Cube, Three’s 5G Home and the Vodafone GigaCube. The following table summarises some of these options:

ServiceData AllowanceContract LengthUpfront PriceMonthly Price

Three HomeFi Plus
Unlimited Data24 month contract£0£20/month
with special offer

Three AI Cube
Unlimited Data24 month contract£0£25/month

Three HomeFi Plus
Unlimited Data12 month contract£29£27/month

Three 5G Home
Unlimited Data24 month contract£0£29/month

Three HomeFi Plus
Unlimited Data1 month contract£29£30/month

Three AI Cube
Unlimited Data12 month contract£49£32/month

Three AI Cube
Unlimited Data1 month contract£149£32/month

Three 5G Home
Unlimited Data12 month contract£0£34/month

Vodafone GigaCube 5G
Unlimited Data18 month contract£50£50/month

Vodafone GigaCube 5G
Unlimited Data1 month contract£325£50/month

5GEE Home
1000GB Data18 month contract£100£70/month
To show you the most relevant plans, 6 similar but more expensive plans have been hidden. .

The HomeFi Plus and AI Cube routers from Three are available with no upfront cost on a 24-month contract. On Three’s 5G Home, there’s no upfront cost but the router is leased from Three and needs to be returned when you cancel the service. Vodafone’s 5G GigaCube has a £50 upfront cost on an 18-month contract.

Limited Data Plans

You can get limited data plans on the Vodafone GigaCube, 4GEE Home and 5GEE Home. The following table shows an overview of the options currently available:

ServiceData AllowanceContract LengthUpfront PriceMonthly Price

Vodafone GigaCube 4G
100GB Data18 month contract£0£30/month

Vodafone GigaCube 4G
100GB Data1 month contract£100£30/month

Vodafone GigaCube 5G
100GB Data18 month contract£100£30/month

Vodafone GigaCube 5G
100GB Data1 month contract£325£30/month

4GEE Home
100GB Data18 month contract£0£35/month

4GEE Home
100GB Data1 month contract£100£35/month

4GEE Home
50GB Data1 month contract£100£35/month

Vodafone GigaCube 4G
200GB Data18 month contract£0£40/month

4GEE Home
200GB Data18 month contract£0£40/month

Vodafone GigaCube 5G
200GB Data18 month contract£50£40/month

Vodafone GigaCube 4G
200GB Data1 month contract£100£40/month

4GEE Home
200GB Data1 month contract£100£40/month

Vodafone GigaCube 5G
200GB Data1 month contract£325£40/month

4GEE Home
300GB Data18 month contract£0£45/month

4GEE Home
300GB Data1 month contract£100£45/month

4GEE Home
500GB Data18 month contract£0£50/month

Vodafone GigaCube 4G
300GB Data18 month contract£0£50/month

Vodafone GigaCube 5G
Unlimited Data18 month contract£50£50/month

4GEE Home
500GB Data1 month contract£100£50/month

Vodafone GigaCube 4G
300GB Data1 month contract£100£50/month

Vodafone GigaCube 5G
Unlimited Data1 month contract£325£50/month

5GEE Home
1000GB Data18 month contract£100£70/month
To show you the most relevant plans, 10 similar but more expensive plans have been hidden. .

An upfront cost applies when taking the 5G-enabled Vodafone GigaCube on a limited data plan (£100 on the 100GB tariff or £50 on the 200GB tariff). No upfront cost applies on the 4G GigaCube or on 4GEE Home. On 5GEE Home, there’s an upfront cost of £100 for the Huawei 5G CPE Pro router.

Mobile Connectivity & Coverage

All of the home broadband services mentioned in this article claim to offer 99% population coverage across the UK on 4G. On the other hand, 5G coverage is much more limited and is currently restricted to certain UK towns and cities.

The most important thing to consider is what the coverage is like where you live. This will depend a lot on your location and on your proximity to the nearest 4G or 5G mast.

To get an initial estimate of the coverage in your area, use the relevant online coverage checker as follows:

If you’re only able to get 4G coverage where you live, it may not be worth paying the premium for a more expensive 5G home broadband product.

Download Speeds

If you’d like the fastest possible download speeds, this is available on the 5G home broadband services (Three’s 5G Home, Vodafone’s GigaCube 5G and 5GEE Home). In theory, all three services will allow you to access up to Gigabit download speeds (up to 1,000Mbit/s). However, actual download speeds in reality may be closer to 100-250Mbit/s.

With 4G home broadband services, you can get up to Category 7 LTE speeds (up to 300Mbit/s) when using a Huawei B535 HomeFi Plus router from Three. The Three AI Cube, 4GEE Home and Vodafone GigaCube 4G support Category 6 LTE speeds. In reality, however, the maximum possible speeds can rarely be obtained. Something more like 15-30Mbit/s is a much more realistic download speed.

External Antennas

An external antenna can improve the speed and stability of 4G home broadband.

You can use an external antenna to improve the strength of your 4G or 5G signal on all broadband services with the exception of Three’s AI Cube. This can give you a more stable network connection with faster download speeds, especially if you’re living in an area with poor or marginal coverage.

A professional outdoor antenna installation service is available on 4GEE Home and 5GEE Home (a fee of £100 applies for the service). Customers of other 4G & 5G home broadband services will need to purchase and install their own antenna.

Unfortunately, the AI Cube on Three does not allow you to use an external antenna. This makes it a less attractive option if you’re living in an area with poor or marginal coverage.

Travel

Finally, it’s worth thinking about the portability of the service and whether you can use your broadband connection in other places (e.g. whilst you’re visiting a friend or going somewhere on holiday).

The 4G home broadband solutions from Three are the clear winners in this area. You can plug the router in anywhere inside the UK to instantly spin up a 4G broadband connection (subject to coverage being available). You can also use the service at no extra cost in 71 destinations including Europe, the USA, Australia and more (a fair usage limit applies for data usage abroad).

The Vodafone GigaCube, 4GEE Home and 5GEE Home will only work when you’re inside the UK.

Home Network

Alongside the 4G & 5G connectivity, it’s also worth having a look at your home network connectivity.

Wi-Fi

Devices like your laptop, tablet & TV connect to the wi-fi network made by your 4G router.

On all of the 4G home broadband services discussed in this article, you’ll get dual-band wi-fi connectivity, supporting up to 802.11ac wi-fi (also known as ‘Wi-Fi 5’). What this means is your home wi-fi network will operate in two different frequency bands: the traditional 2.4GHz band along with the newer 5GHz band. Providing your other devices are compatible with this technology, it should give you better performance and faster download speeds on your home wi-fi network.

If you’re choosing one of the 5G home broadband services, your router will additionally support 802.11ax wi-fi (also known as ‘Wi-Fi 6’). This should give even faster speeds and improved battery life on devices that support the technology.

It’s also worth having a look at the maximum number of devices you can connect to your wi-fi network at any one time. On most services, you’ll be able to connect up to 64 devices to your home wi-fi network at the same time. Vodafone’s GigaCube 4G is more restrictive with a limit of 20 devices and the 4GEE Home Router is limited to 32 devices.

Ethernet (Wired Connections)

If you’re looking to connect a wired device like a desktop computer to your home network, it can be useful having an Ethernet socket on your router. You’ll get 4 Ethernet sockets on the Huawei B535 HomeFi Plus from Three. There are 2 Ethernet sockets available on Three 5G Home, Vodafone GigaCube 5G, 5GEE Home and 4GEE Home. Just a single Ethernet socket is available on the Three AI Cube and Vodafone GigaCube 4G router.

The Gigabit Ethernet socket can also be used to attach your 4G/5G router to a mesh networking solution such as Whole Home Wi-Fi (possibly allowing you to bypass the limitations of wi-fi connectivity on your router).

Hardware

Three’s AI Cube can double up as an Amazon Alexa smart speaker.

The seven home broadband services come with a different customised router. A Huawei-made router is used on most of the services (a Huawei B535 router on HomeFi Plus, a Huawei B900 router on the AI Cube, a Huawei B528 router on GigaCube 4G and a Huawei 5G CPE Pro on 5G Home, GigaCube 5G and 5GEE Home). 4GEE Home uses a custom router manufactured by Alcatel.

Of note, Three’s AI Cube service comes with a Huawei B900 router which also doubles up as an Amazon Alexa smart speaker. This means you can use the router in the same way as you would an Amazon Echo speaker (e.g. for listening to music, making internet-based phone calls, controlling your smart home devices, etc). The router has four far-field microphones and a 360° speaker.

Comparison to Fixed Broadband

4G and 5G broadband use mobile network technology, in contrast to traditional “fixed line” broadband which uses a landline or cable connection.

Advantages of 4G & 5G Broadband

The advantages of using 4G and 5G broadband over traditional fixed-line broadband are:

  • 4G & 5G broadband isn’t limited by your landline or cable connection. The download speeds you can get using 4G & 5G home broadband are not constrained by what your landline or cable connection can support. For instance, in many rural locations, BT Openreach and Virgin Media have refused to install fibre broadband connections due to the prohibitive cost. In these areas, 4G or 5G broadband is a much better solution (it’s also far more economical for ISPs to install a single mobile mast, rather than installing an individual cable connection to every home).
  • 4G & 5G broadband is faster to set up. There’s no engineer visit, and no need to wait for a phone line to be installed and activated. If you’ve moved into a new-build house, or into a different address, you can get connected to the internet on the same day in many cases.
  • There’s no need to pay for a landline you don’t use. Unless you’d like to keep your landline for other reasons, it’s possible to cancel it when you’re using 4G or 5G home broadband. This can save you in the region of £20/month on line rental.
  • You can bring the broadband connection with you to other places. For instance, if you’re going away for the weekend, you can simply bring your 4G or 5G broadband router with you. With some broadband services such as Three’s HomeFi Plus or AI Cube, you can even bring your broadband connection with you to other countries (roaming at no extra charge is available in 71 destinations including Europe, the USA, Australia and more).
  • 4G & 5G broadband will eventually over-take fixed broadband in download speed. At present, 4G broadband is comparable in speed to a traditional fixed-line broadband connection. In the next few years, this is likely to change quickly with 5G technology and Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) playing a big role in this. 5G FWA will offer increased network capacity along with download speeds of up to 1Gbit/s (1,000Mbit/s).

Disadvantages of 4G & 5G Broadband

However, there are also some disadvantages of 4G and 5G broadband at the moment:

  • 4G & 5G broadband is more easily affected by network congestion and poor weather. For instance, you may see a reduction in your download speed due to poor weather conditions or lots of other people using the service in your area. This tends to be less of a problem on traditional fixed broadband services.
  • Download speeds can vary depending on location and proximity to nearby masts. For this reason, the maximum download speeds stated can rarely be obtained in practice. You can maximise your coverage and download speed by placing the router close to a window, ideally on an upper floor and facing towards your nearest phone mast. An external antenna can also be helpful if your router allows you to use one.
  • Latency or “ping” is higher on 4G broadband. Latency (also known as “lag” or “ping”) refers to the amount of time it takes for data to travel up and then back down from the internet. On a 4G connection, the typical latency is around ~50ms (0.05 seconds). Meanwhile, fixed broadband connections typically offer lower latency of around 10-20ms (0.01-0.02 seconds). This shouldn’t noticeably affect things like browsing the internet or watching online videos, but it may affect fast-paced online gaming. With 5G technology, latency should be more comparable with a fixed-line broadband connection.
  • 4G & 5G broadband is typically more expensive. Historically, 4G broadband has been more expensive than a fixed-line broadband connection, especially if you want a data allowance that’s large enough for a typical family’s usage. Nowadays, the gap is much smaller than before with unlimited 4G home broadband now available on Three from £20/month. 5G home broadband services still tend to be more expensive but we’re expecting prices to gradually drop over time.

UK Internet Service Providers

The following table shows a list of UK internet service providers (ISPs) and the type of home broadband connection they offer:

Internet Service Provider (ISP) Connection Type
BT Broadband* Fixed (ADSL & fibre using BT/Openreach landlines)
EE Fixed (ADSL & fibre using BT/Openreach landlines)
4G & 5G (4GEE Home & 5GEE Home)
Now Broadband Fixed (ADSL & fibre using BT/Openreach landlines)
Plusnet Fixed (ADSL & fibre using BT/Openreach landlines)
TalkTalk Fixed (ADSL & fibre using BT/Openreach landlines)
Three 4G & 5G (HomeFi, AI Cube & 5G Home)
Sky Fixed (ADSL & Fibre using BT/Openreach landlines)
Virgin Media Fixed (fibre using Virgin Media cables)
Vodafone Fixed (fibre using BT/Openreach landlines)
4G & 5G (Vodafone GigaCube)

* For businesses, 4G broadband is available from BT as a backup connection method if you have ‘4G Assure’. 4G broadband isn’t currently available to consumers on BT.

Both EE and Vodafone offer fixed-line broadband in addition to 4G/5G home broadband. As such, they tend to price their 4G & 5G broadband services at a premium to their fixed-line products. Three exclusively offers 4G and 5G home broadband so tends to follow a more aggressive approach to their pricing.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does 4G and 5G broadband cost in the UK?
In the UK, you can currently get 4G home broadband from £20/month and 5G home broadband from £29/month. Normally, the best value plans can be found on Three Broadband as they offer the lowest monthly prices and unlimited data. You should, however, compare this to the 4G & 5G home broadband plans currently offered on Vodafone and EE.
How does 4G and 5G broadband differ from regular fixed-line broadband?
Rather than using a phone line or cable connection to deliver your home broadband service, 4G and 5G broadband makes use of wireless mobile technology instead. This makes it easier and faster to set up. The service should also be much more flexible (e.g. you can bring it with you to another location).

You can use 4G & 5G broadband in the same way you would use other home broadband services (e.g. to stream content from your favourite online services, to work from home, etc).

What download speeds can I get on 4G and 5G broadband?
On 4G broadband, it’s possible to get download speeds of up to 300Mbit/s. In reality, however, actual download speeds are normally be closer to 15-30Mbit/s. Newer 5G home broadband technology can offer download speeds of up to 1,000Mbit/s (1Gbit/s). Typical download speeds are around 150-250Mbit/s.
Which internet service providers offer 4G and 5G home broadband?
At present, three UK internet service providers offer a 4G or 5G home broadband service:

For more information, see our guide to broadband technologies used in the UK.

What coverage is available on 4G and 5G broadband?
4G broadband should be available to more than 99% of the UK’s population. Meanwhile, 5G broadband is currently available in selected towns and cities. You can use the following online coverage checkers to see what is available in your area:
Can I get 4G and 5G broadband with unlimited data?
Yes. Unlimited data is available on all Three Broadband services including on the HomeFi Plus, AI Cube and 5G Home routers. You can also get unlimited data on Vodafone’s GigaCube 5G service.
Should I use a external antenna with 4G or 5G broadband?
An external 4G or 5G antenna can sometimes help to improve the speed and reliability of your connection. To start with, we’d probably recommend trying your 4G or 5G broadband service without using an external antenna. If needed, you can then follow the instructions on this page if you’d like to try out an external antenna.

More Information

For more information, please read our in-depth reviews of the Three Huawei B535 (HomeFi Plus), Three AI Cube, Vodafone GigaCube, 4GEE Home, Three 5G Home and 5GEE Home.

Your Comments 38 so far

We'd love to hear your thoughts and any questions you may have. So far, we've received 38 comments from readers. You can add your own comment here.

  • Hi Ken,
    Brilliant site with so much useful information but is there a reason that there’s no info on O2’s 4G broadband?
    I’m with BT and pay an extortionate amount for slow (0-4 mbs) downloads so was looking to change to 4G.
    My first choice would be Three for cost and unlimited but I only get at best 2 bars of 3G so not really an option unless I fit an external aerial and I don’t even know if an aerial would help that much.
    I have my mobile with 02 and I’m getting 4G speeds up to 19/15 mbs so checked out O2’s site and the have a 4G router and 150Gb for just over £32/ month, albeit over 24months but you can adjust the criteria to suit.
    I’m not sure whether EE, Vodafone or O2 would suit me best, all 3 give me decent coverage and their price plans are similar (ish) but when reading your info on limits and throttling I need the same for O2 to compare.
    What do you think is the best network reliability for circa 100Gb a month?

    • Hi Mike,
      Thanks for your comment. The reason we haven’t covered O2 on this website is because they don’t really offer a 4G home broadband service! They do, however, have a 4G mobile broadband service which is what I believe you’re referring to in your message. This is similar to 4G home broadband in some ways (e.g. it uses the same underlying technology) but the router may not always be as optimised for regular usage at home.
      Ken

  • Ken this is a super useful article, thanks.
    I’ve been looking at the Vodafone options and am struggling to understand the difference between the gigacube and their standard mobile wifi – the price difference is crazy, does this imply a performance difference?
    Thanks
    Tom

    • Hi Tom,
      Thanks very much for the feedback! Like you say in your message, Vodafone has their normal mobile broadband service along with the GigaCube which is more of a home broadband replacement. The underlying 4G service and coverage is exactly the same for both so the main difference is the hardware you get. I discuss this in a bit more detail here, but you can expect the mains-powered GigaCube to perform better overall. It has a larger antenna, supports faster speeds on 4G & wi-fi, has a powerful wi-fi signal that travels further, Ethernet ports for connecting a wired device, support for an external antenna, etc. These features can come in handy if you’re looking for a home broadband replacement, but it’s obviously not as portable as the battery-operated mobile wi-fi device.
      You’ll pay £33/month for Unlimited Max on the mobile wi-fi router (with unlimited data and uncapped speeds) vs £50 upfront and £50/month for unlimited data on the GigaCube. Over the course of 18 months, this equates to a price difference of £356. This is pretty close to the difference in cost between the two devices. The Vodafone R219 will cost £50 on Pay As You Go, whereas the Huawei 5G CPE Pro router will cost £410 on an unlocked basis (a difference of £360).
      Hope this helps!
      Ken

  • Great article loads of useful. Info.

    Please can I suggest you update this article by adding in average download speeds for the services and something on customer experince/satisfaction?

    I have bought Three’s 4G package and am now stuck with speeds consistently below 1mbs. I live in London in an area which according to Three supposedly has great service signal strength.

    I have tried installing an external antenna and have been through all Threes potential tech fixes to no avail, I can only assume that Three deliberaly limit their speeds.

    Three will not let me leave the service.

    This sort of info should be brought out as it would be really helpful for people choosing which service to go for.

    Can I also suggest you highlight which providers have signed up to the ofcom voluntary agreements?

    Thanks
    Max

    • Hi Mike,
      I’m sorry to hear about the poor experience you’re having with Three’s 4G home broadband. This is something that I’d recommend reaching out to them directly – e.g. it might be due to congestion or maintenance on your local mast or something. You could also decide to put in a formal complaint with them which will help to escalate the issue upwards.
      Regarding average download speeds and customer experience, this is really good feedback. However, I haven’t quite figured out how to make this useful as it really seems to depend so much on the location. There’s also a really wide spread of speeds. For instance, EE advertises an average download speed of 31Mbit/s whereas Three advertises an average download speed of 14Mbit/s on their 4G home broadband service. The caveat, however, is this depends so much on your location and your individual set-up. For instance, I regularly see feedback where people get more than 60Mbit/s download. On the other hand, you’re getting less than 1Mbit/s on your set-up. Therefore, I don’t know how useful the average speed really is, given there’s so much variance & variability.
      Ken

Load more comments (32)

Leave a Reply