4G & 5G home broadband is available from £21/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. 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 aren’t tied to your phone line, it isn’t limited by what you can get through a BT Openreach or Virgin Media connection. There’s the ability to set it up straight away 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, there are three ISPs offering 4G and 5G home broadband: Three, Vodafone and EE. In this article, we’ll compare the wireless home broadband services in a number of categories including price, connectivity, coverage and hardware. We’ll also discuss how 4G and 5G home broadband services compare against traditional fixed-line providers such as BT, Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin.

4G & 5G Home Broadband: How It Works

4G and 5G home broadband has recently been growing quickly 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 infrastructure that also serves your mobile phone).

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

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 broadband, both in urban and rural areas. This is especially the case if you aren’t able to get a fibre broadband connection through BT Openreach or Virgin Media.

You’ll get a 4G or 5G home broadband router that 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 use, so you can connect your laptop, tablet, smartphone, TV and other smart devices to the network. There’s no difference in what you can do and what content you can access when connected to a wi-fi network that’s powered by 4G & 5G or fixed-line technology in the background (you can still stream all of the normal things like iPlayer, Netflix, Spotify, etc whilst connected to the network).

The only key difference is how your router connects to the internet behind the scenes. It’ll be using a wireless 4G or 5G network connection rather than a wired phone line or cable connection. For this reason, customers using 4G or 5G home broadband can cancel their home landline connection if they don’t need it for other reasons (potentially saving you in the region of £20/month for 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 five home broadband services based on 4G technology: Three’s HomeFi, Three’s WebBox, Three’s AI Cube, Vodafone’s 4G GigaCube and EE’s 4GEE Home.

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

Three HomeFi
(Huawei B311)
Three WebBox
(Huawei B535)
Three AI Cube
(Huawei B900)
Vodafone GigaCube 4G
(Huawei B528)
4GEE Home
(EE 4GEE Home Router)
Home Broadband Plans
Price:From £21/monthFrom £20/monthFrom £25/monthFrom £30/monthFrom £25/month
Data:UnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited100GB - Unlimited10GB - 500GB
Unlimited Data:£21/month£20/month£25/month£50/monthNot available
Contract Length:1-24 months1-24 months1-24 months1-18 months1-18 months
Mobile Connectivity
4G Connectivity:Category 4 LTECategory 7 LTECategory 6 LTECategory 6 LTECategory 7 LTE
4G Download Speed:Up to 150 Mbit/s downloadUp 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 50 Mbit/s uploadUp to 100 Mbit/s uploadUp to 50 Mbit/s uploadUp to 50 Mbit/s uploadUp to 50 Mbit/s upload
4G Bands:LTE bands 1, 3, 7, 8 & 20LTE bands TBCLTE bands 1, 3, 7, 8, 20, 32 & 38LTE bands 1, 3, 7, 8, 20, 32 & 38LTE bands TBC
External Antenna:Yes, 1x SMA connectorYes, 2x SMA connectorsNoYes, 2x TS-9 connectorsYes, 2x SMA connectors
Home Network Connectivity
Dual-Band Wi-Fi:NoYesYesYesYes
Wi-Fi Connectivity:802.11b/g/n802.11a/b/g/n/ac802.11a/b/g/n/ac802.11b/g/n/ac802.11a/b/g/n/ac
Wi-Fi Devices:Up to 32 devicesUp to 64 devicesUp to 64 devicesUp to 20 devicesUp to 32 devices
Ethernet:1 Gigabit Ethernet port4 Gigabit Ethernet ports1 Gigabit Ethernet port1 Gigabit Ethernet port2 Gigabit Ethernet ports
Other
Model:Huawei B311Huawei B535Huawei B900Huawei B528EE 4GEE Home Router
Colour:BlackWhiteWhiteWhiteWhite
Other Features:--360° Alexa smart speaker--
Review:Three HomeFi ReviewThree WebBox ReviewThree AI Cube ReviewVodafone GigaCube 4G Review4GEE Home Review

Three are the most aggressive player in the 4G broadband area, with competitively-priced unlimited data plans from just £21/month. Vodafone has recently started offering unlimited data on 4G broadband, but currently charges a premium price of £50/month. EE are typically the least competitive provider in this area, only offering up to 500GB of data per month.

As of yet, O2 is the only major mobile network not to have yet launched a 4G home broadband service. O2 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 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 from any mobile network offering enough data for your usage (e.g. for unlimited data we’d recommend the unlimited SIM card from Three which costs just £20/month).

5G Broadband Services

In the UK, 5G home broadband services have started to roll out over the past few months. 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 broadband, Vodafone’s 5G GigaCube and EE’s 5GEE WiFi.

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

Three 5G Home
(Huawei 5G CPE Pro)
Vodafone GigaCube 5G
(Huawei 5G CPE Pro (H112-370))
5GEE WiFi
(HTC 5G Hub)
Home Broadband Plans
Price:From £35/monthFrom £30/monthFrom £50/month
Data:Unlimited100GB - Unlimited50GB - 100GB
Unlimited Data:£35/month£50/monthNot available
Contract Length:12 months1-18 months24 months
Mobile Connectivity
5G Connectivity:Up to 2330 Mbit/s downloadUp to 2330 Mbit/s downloadUp to 2630 Mbit/s download
4G Download Speed:Up to 1600 Mbit/s downloadUp to 1600 Mbit/s download-
4G Upload Speed:Up 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 TBC
External Antenna:Yes, 2x TS-9 connectorsYes, 2x TS-9 connectorsNo
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
Wi-Fi Devices:Up to 64 devicesUp to 64 devicesUp to 20 devices
Ethernet:2 Gigabit Ethernet ports2 Gigabit Ethernet ports1 Gigabit Ethernet port
Other
Model:Huawei 5G CPE ProHuawei 5G CPE Pro (H112-370)HTC 5G Hub
Colour:WhiteWhiteBlack
Other Features:--Hub & tablet functionality
Review:Three 5G Home ReviewVodafone GigaCube 5G Review5GEE WiFi Review

As 5G technology is still fairly new, coverage is currently limited to the UK’s largest towns and cities. The following table shows a summary of where you can get 5G home broadband:

5G NetworkCurrently LivePlanned & Announced
EE
(check coverage)
6 towns and cities live
Belfast, Birmingham, Cardiff, Edinburgh, London, Manchester
19 towns and cities planned
Aberdeen, Bristol, Cambridge, Coventry, Derby, Glasgow, Gloucester, Hull, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, Newcastle, Nottingham, Peterborough, Plymouth, Portsmouth, Sheffield, Southampton, Wolverhampton
O2
(check coverage)
-42 towns and cities planned
Aberdeen, Belfast, Birkenhead, Birmingham, Blackpool, Bournemouth, Bradford, Brighton, Bristol, Cambridge, Cardiff, Coventry, Derby, Edinburgh, Eton, Glasgow, Guildford, Hove, Leeds, Leicester, Lisburn, Liverpool, London, Luton, Manchester, Milton Keynes, Newbury, Newcastle, Northampton, Norwich, Nottingham, Plymouth, Portsmouth, Reading, Sheffield, Slough, Southampton, Stoke-on-Trent, Sunderland, Warrington, Windsor, Wolverhampton
Three
(check coverage)
1 towns and cities live
London
24 towns and cities planned
Birmingham, Bolton, Bradford, Brighton, Bristol, Cardiff, Coventry, Derby, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Hull, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, Manchester, Middlesbrough, Milton Keynes, Nottingham, Reading, Rotherham, Sheffield, Slough, Sunderland, Wolverhampton
Vodafone
(check coverage)
15 towns and cities live
Birkenhead, Birmingham, Bolton, Bristol, Cardiff, Gatwick, Glasgow, Lancaster, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Newbury, Plymouth, Stoke-on-Trent, Wolverhampton
7 towns and cities planned
Blackpool, Bournemouth, Guildford, Portsmouth, Reading, Southampton, Warrington

If you’re not able to get 5G in your area, it’s still possible to access 4G coverage through your 5G home broadband service.

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

Price Plans

Unlimited data is available from £21/month on Three’s HomeFi service.

Where possible, we’d always strongly recommend choosing a broadband plan that gives you unlimited downloads. This means you can stream and download as much as you like, 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, Three WebBox, 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 WebBox
Unlimited Data24 month contract£0£20/month
with special offer

Three HomeFi
Unlimited Data24 month contract£0£21/month

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

Three HomeFi
Unlimited Data12 month contract£29£26/month

Three WebBox
Unlimited Data12 month contract£29£28/month

Three HomeFi
Unlimited Data1 month contract£59£31/month

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

Three WebBox
Unlimited Data1 month contract£79£32/month

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

Three 5G Home
Unlimited Data12 month contract£0£35/month

Vodafone GigaCube 4G
Unlimited Data18 month contract£0£50/month

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

Vodafone GigaCube 4G
Unlimited Data1 month contract£100£50/month

Vodafone GigaCube 5G
Unlimited Data1 month contract£325£50/month
To show you the most relevant price plans, 8 similar plans have been hidden. .

The HomeFi, WebBox and AI Cube routers from Three are available with no upfront cost. On Three’s 5G Home, there’s no upfront cost but you’ll need to pay £105 if you’d like to keep your router when cancelling your contract. Vodafone’s GigaCube has no upfront cost if you choose the 4G router, or a £50 upfront cost if you choose the 5G router.

Limited Data Plans

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

ServiceData AllowanceContract LengthUpfront PriceMonthly Price

4GEE Home
10GB Data18 month contract£129.99£25/month

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
50GB Data18 month contract£0£35/month

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

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

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

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

Vodafone GigaCube 5G
200GB Data18 month contract£100£40/month

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

Vodafone GigaCube 4G
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

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

5GEE WiFi
50GB Data24 month contract£100£50/month

5GEE WiFi
100GB Data24 month contract£100£75/month
To show you the most relevant price plans, 9 similar plans have been hidden. .

An upfront cost will apply when taking the 5G-enabled Vodafone GigaCube on a limited data plan (£100 on the 100GB tariff and £50 on the 200GB tariff). No upfront cost applies to the 4G GigaCube and 4GEE Home. On 5GEE WiFi, there’s an upfront cost of £100 for the HTC 5G Hub 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. 5G coverage, on the other hand, is much more limited and is currently restricted to the UK’s largest 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 your proximity to the nearest phone 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 (and not 5G coverage), 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 WiFi). In theory, all three services will allow you to access up to Gigabit 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 WebBox 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 30Mbit/s is a much more realistic download speed.

The HomeFi, being a slightly cheaper service, only supports up to Category 4 LTE download speeds. In theory, this can be up to 150Mbit/s, with speeds of around 15Mbit/s being much more common.

External Antennas

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

The HomeFi, WebBox, Three’s 5G Home, 4GEE Home and Vodafone GigaCube allow you to attach an external antenna to improve the strength of your 4G or 5G signal. This can lead to a more stable connection with higher download speeds, especially if you’re living in an area with poor or marginal coverage.

A professional outdoor antenna installation service is available for 4GEE Home, whereas customers of HomeFi, WebBox, 5G Home and GigaCube will need to purchase and install their own antenna.

The AI Cube and 5GEE WiFi do not have support for an external antenna. This makes them a less attractive choice in areas with poor or marginal coverage.

Travel

Finally, it’s worth thinking about how the different services compare when it comes to mobility and using your broadband connection in other places (e.g. whilst you’re visiting a friend or going somewhere on holiday).

Three’s HomeFi, WebBox and AI Cube are the clear winners in this area. You can plug the router in anywhere in the UK to instantly spin up a 4G broadband connection (subject to coverage being available at that location). 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 WiFi will only work when you’re inside the UK.

Home Network

Alongside the mobile 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 the Three WebBox, Three AI Cube, Three 5G Home, Vodafone GigaCube and 4GEE Home, you’ll get a dual-band home wi-fi network 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 newer technology, it should offer you better performance and faster download speeds on your home wi-fi network.

The Three 5G Home and Vodafone GigaCube 5G routers additionally support 802.11ax wi-fi (also known as ‘Wi-Fi 6’). Meanwhile, the HTC 5G Hub on 5GEE WiFi supports 802.11ad (also known as ‘WiGig’).

The HomeFi router only supports 2.4GHz Wi-Fi (802.11n or ‘Wi-Fi 4’) meaning performance will cap out at around 300Mbit/s on your home wi-fi network.

The Three WebBox, Three AI Cube, Three 5G Home and Vodafone GigaCube 5G support up to 64 devices on your home wi-fi network at any given time. Meanwhile, the 4GEE Home Router and Three HomeFi support up to 32 devices. The most restrictive products are the Vodafone GigaCube 4G and 5GEE WiFi, both of which only support up to 20 devices at one time.

Ethernet (Wired Connections)

If you’re looking to connect a wired device like a desktop computer to your network, it can be useful having an Ethernet socket on your router. You’ll get 4 Ethernet sockets on the Huawei B535 WebBox from Three, 2 Ethernet sockets on Three 5G Home, Vodafone GigaCube 5G and 4GEE Home Router, and just a single Ethernet socket on all other devices.

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 eight home broadband services come with a different customised router. A Huawei-made router is used on most of the services (a Huawei B311 router on the HomeFi, a Huawei B535 router on WebBox, a Huawei B900 router on the AI Cube, a Huawei B528 router on GigaCube 4G and a Huawei 5G CPE Pro on 5G Home and GigaCube 5G). 4GEE Home uses a custom router manufactured by Alcatel and 5GEE WiFi uses the HTC 5G Hub router.

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 and AI Cube, you can also 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 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 reduce to be comparable with a fixed-line broadband connection.
  • 4G & 5G broadband is typically more expensive. Historically, 4G broadband has been more expensive than a fixed 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 available on Three from £23/month. 5G home broadband services still tend to be more expensive but we’re expecting prices to drop gradually 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 Mobile (4GEE Home & 5GEE WiFi)
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 Mobile (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 Mobile (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.

EE and Vodafone offer both fixed-line broadband and 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.

More Information

For more information, please read our in-depth reviews of the Three HomeFi, Three WebBox, Three AI Cube, Vodafone GigaCube, 4GEE Home, Three 5G Home and 5GEE WiFi.

Your Comments 22 so far

We'd love to hear your thoughts and any questions you may have. So far, we've received 22 comments from readers. You can add your own comment here.

  • Hi Ken,

    Thank you for the wonderful article. very helpful.
    We are currently considering using 4G/5G mobile broadband as well but like mentioned in other comments, it seems that voice sims are better deals (even when unlimited) so we were thinking to just tether from the voice sim (via iPhone). we don’t see a problem but wanted to know if you see any disadvantage in doing this without using a 4G router?

    your comments would be most helpful!! thank you in advance!!

  • I live in rural Scotland, and while I do have a landline, it’s abysmally slow. I do, however, get a good 4G signal on Vodafone and EE. I’m planning to use either Vodafone’s Unlimited Max (£30/m) sim, or EE’s cheapest unlimited data sim (£34/m) with a 4G router for my home internet.

    Is there anyone who is using this solution for their own home internet, and if so, have you had any problems with it?

    Unlimited 4G data seems too good to be true, but I haven’t heard of anyone having any problems with it.

  • Ken,

    Great article. Do you know if there is a difference in download speeds between a standard voice sim and and a mobile broadband sim?

    Vodafone’s SIM only unlimited max (voice and data) appears better bang for buck than their mobile broadband SIM but I cannot see much info on actual download speeds.

    My intention was to purchase this SIM and obtain a router separately.

    Many thanks,

    Ben

  • Curious about the performance difference between HomeFi and ThreeBroadband (relish).

    Have you seen the performance be better on the HomeFi service than the Three Broadband service? As the Three Broadband service uses the old Relish network?

    Also the HomeFi service offers the newer HuaWei routers. Although at longer contract lengths. Is the homeFi service better?

    • Hi Steve,
      Thanks for your comment. Unfortunately, I haven’t done a side-by-side comparison of the two! My understanding was that the old Relish network was being gradually phased out, and being “converted” into 5G spectrum for use on the Three network. I suspect this is why Three have been pushing people towards their newer 4G broadband products like HomeFi, the Huawei B535, AI Cube, etc (though I do believe the old Relish service is still going in parts of London & Swindon).
      Ken

      • Interesting, why can the HomeFi products not be found through the normal navigation menus on the main 3 site. It only takes you to the home broadband service/Relish.

        • Hi Steve,
          Thanks for your comment. I believe Three have recently launched a postcode checker on their website, and they currently steer customers in selected postcodes towards the Relish Broadband service. There’s nothing, however, to stop you from signing up for HomeFi if you prefer (or other products like the Huawei B535 or AI Cube, for that matter).
          Hope this helps,
          Ken

  • Hi Ken,

    Great site, so glad I found it. I have recently moved to a rural property where BT could only promise 1Mbps, so I looked into some options and went with the vodafone unlimited plan for £30 p/m sim only. I bought it through mobiles.co.uk as they have £120 automatic cashback which brings it down to £20 p/m.
    I sourced a router the 4GEE one, got it unlocked through a code purchased on ebay and its going well, but I would like to improve the signal a bit so I would like your advice on the options for an external aerial. I am sure you are aware it has 2 LTE connection ports, I am happy to mount an aerial outside if its worthwhile or perhaps one on the window? Also the property I am in is about 200 years old with thick stone walls, signal strength and coverage is a problem. I have a BT smart hub 1 and wondered if I could plug the 4GEE router into that?

    Many thanks in advance
    Justin

    • Hi Justin,
      Thanks for your comment. Based on what you’ve said, it is possible worth testing out an external antenna. I normally recommend the Poynting XPOL-1 antenna: see the article here for a bit more background on your different external antenna options.
      With regards to plugging in your BT Smart Hub 1, what are you trying to achieve with this? In theory, it might be possible to use it as a bridge, so the wi-fi network is produced by your Smart Hub rather than the 4GEE Home router. However, I don’t think this would be very beneficial (you’ll probably get the same results using the 4GEE Router directly!). I’d normally recommend going for a Wi-Fi repeater (or ideally a mesh networking solution) if you’d like to improve your wi-fi signal at home.
      Ken

  • Hi Ken,

    Recently discovered you site and i’m extremely glad i did! its very helpful!

    I am a student moving into an old building in the centre of Liverpool and have found that my maximum speed is around 10mb/s using an ordinary broadband package. So i am interested in the idea of using a Mobile Broadband Package instead.

    After looking into different providers and packages, i have found a close match up between the ‘3’ Unlimited SIM which is £20/m (appears to be the best option regarding data limits) and the Vodafone Unlimited Max SIM deal £30/m. However i’m unsure that I’ll be able to use it in a mobile broadband router. I know that both of these providers do offer a Mobile Broadband Service but their prices/deals on the Voice SIMs are much better.

    Hope you can help shine some light on this for me.

    Thanks

    Henry

  • Hi Ken
    I am looking at getting a local company to supply me with a 4g router and external aerial. I live in North West Wales and currently get 1-1.5mb down on BT ADSL with no plans for this location to be fibre enabled. If I get this installed, can I just use a standard mobile phone sim from Vodafone (speed of 31-32mb showing via mobile speedtest inside and outside the property).

    Standard Sims are significantly cheaper than getting the specific 4g home broadband product they sell, £30 compared to £50 per month. Obviously the dearer one includes the router which I would not need.

    We are a family of four with two kids who if they have the chance will be constantly on YouTube, online gaming, Netflix etc so definitely need an unlimited product and we have no Three coverage so Vodafone are the only option. Apparently I will be eligible for a grant from Welsh Govt that will cover the whole installation.

    I can’t see that there is anything in Vodafones acceptable use policy that stops you using a standard sim for this purpose but possibly you can correct me if there is?

    Many thanks

    • Hi Clive,
      Thanks for your comment. Yes, it should be possible to use the normal SIM card in your 4G router. I’d recommend getting the £30/month Unlimited Max plan if you do this, as it’s the only unlimited data plan from Vodafone without speed restrictions.
      Previously, there used to be restrictions on which devices you could use a SIM card inside. However, Ofcom ruled last year that this was in contravention of net neutrality legislation. As such, you can now use any SIM card in any device (so you can use the normal smartphone SIM card in your 4G router).
      Hope this helps,
      Ken

  • I’m very interested in home mobile broadband and will be cancelling my BT broadband as soon as I’m out of contract. We live rurally and although our cabinet is fibre we are too far away from it to benefit. Laughably our guaranteed min download is 0. Despite asking & looking on-line I cannot find any info on when this situation will be remedied. We already have a couple of mobile phones with great data plans which we use to tether our devices to, but they have to be strategically, sometimes precariously positioned at the window to get a decent signal. We want a more elegant and whole house solution and an external aerial. This article has been a great help and I’m thinking of going DIY. It is irksome that I can get a better data deal for my phone than for home mobile broadband. Sadly 3 coverage is not so good where we are. Vodafone & ee are good, O2 so so.

  • In the Hebrides, I am currently getting 30 mg down and 5 up with 3 from a h+ mast at £25 for their unlimited service. (Outdoor Router)
    From an EE 4g mast I get 64 mg down, 4.5 up, but unlike 3 they don’t offer an affordable unlimited plan.
    So, currently happy, but hoping 3 convert from h+ to 4g (Phone)

      • Should have said “distant transmission masts” perhaps, my outdoor router is fitted on a scaffold pole sourced from a local builder.
        I would stress from personal experience, the 4g router is much more sensitive than my little Moto phone….!

  • Russell Chaplin said:

    Hi Ken – This all looks like great news for those people who have outrageous service from BT in rural areas and cannot even get BBC iplayer min speed. 4G only is almost like a dream. However, for some familys where TV is almost continually in use, such as old and infirm – what would be the data cost? Also what would happen to an Email user name when signing up for a 4G.

    Great article – thanks for your good work.

    Russell

    • Hi Russell,
      Thanks very much for the feedback! So traditional TV won’t use any data, but anything that’s viewed over the internet will consume some data (so iPlayer, Netflix, YouTube, ITV Player, etc). I’ve got an article here on how you can find out how much data you need, but you can certainly expect a HD quality stream to use a couple of gigabytes per hour.
      With regards to an old e-mail address, are you currently getting one from your internet service provider (e.g. BT, Sky, TalkTalk, etc)? If so, you’ll normally lose access to the e-mail address when changing your internet service provider. To stop this from becoming a problem in the future whenever you change your ISP, I’d probably recommend moving to an e-mail service that’s separate from your ISP (e.g. something like Gmail).
      Ken

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