Unlimited 4G home broadband is available from £17/month, giving you unlimited data and broadband without the need for a phone line.

In the UK, 4G home broadband has been rapidly growing in popularity as an alternative to fixed-line home broadband that uses ADSL or fibre. It offers greater flexibility along with download speeds that can sometimes be comparable to fibre.

As 4G home broadband doesn’t require a phone line, it isn’t limited by what you’re able to get through a BT Openreach or cable connection. You can easily set it up yourself without an engineer visit and you can even bring the broadband connection with you to another location (perfect for moving home or just going away for the weekend).

At present, there are three UK internet service providers that offer a 4G home broadband service: Three Broadband, EE and Vodafone.

In this article, we’ll look at how 4G home broadband works and we’ll compare 4G home broadband deals from major UK internet providers. We’ll then look at the 4G home broadband services available on each provider, before comparing them to regular fixed-line providers such as BT, Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin Media.

If you’re living in a 5G coverage area, you can also see our guide to 5G home broadband deals.

How Does 4G Home Broadband Work?

4G broadband is a popular alternative to regular fixed-line home broadband. Instead of having your home broadband connection delivered through a phone line or cable, 4G broadband allows you to receive it over a wireless connection instead (using the same 4G technology that serves your mobile phone).

With 4G home broadband, you’ll normally get average download speeds of 15-30Mbps (though download speeds of up to 300Mbps are available in some places). This makes it comparable to an ADSL or entry-level fibre broadband service. In certain locations, 5G home broadband can offer even faster download speeds in excess of 100Mbps on average (and up to 1,000Mbps in some cases).

When you sign up for a 4G home broadband service, you’ll be given a 4G router or ‘hub’. This works in much the same way as a normal fixed-line broadband router or hub. It 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 the devices you’re able to connect to 4G broadband – for instance, you can still stream from all of your favourite online services including BBC iPlayer, Netflix, Spotify and more.

In addition, because 4G broadband doesn’t require a phone line to be set up at your address, it offers a lot more flexibility than traditional broadband. For instance, you can easily set it up yourself with a simple plug-and-play setup that doesn’t require any engineer visits. You can also bring your 4G broadband service with you to another location.

Customers using 4G home broadband may be able to cancel their home landline service, potentially saving around £20/month and making it close to a cost-neutral solution.

Compare 4G Home Broadband Deals

At present, Three Broadband is our recommended provider for 4G home broadband. This is because they offer unlimited 4G home broadband for just £17/month (reduced from the normal price of £22/month for Black Friday 2020).

On Three Broadband, you’ll get a 4G Hub router (Huawei B535), offering download speeds of up to 300Mbps on Three’s 4G network. You’ll also get dual-band Wi-Fi 5 connectivity (802.11a/b/g/n/ac) on up to 64 devices at the same time.

You can compare all 4G home broadband deals using the following interactive comparison tool. Simply choose the amount of data you’d like followed by the length of your plan and the providers you’ll consider.

How much data do you want on your plan each month?

How long are you willing to commit for on a contract?

Which networks would you be happy to take a plan from?

Showing 17 of 17 price plans that match your criteria

NetworkServiceData AllowanceContract LengthUpfront PriceMonthly Price
Three
Three 4G Hub
Unlimited Data24 month contract£0£17/month
Three
Three 4G Hub
Unlimited Data12 month contract£19£20/month
Vodafone
Vodafone GigaCube 4G
100GB Data18 month contract£0£30/month
Three
Three 4G Hub
Unlimited Data1 month contract£49£30/month
Vodafone
Vodafone GigaCube 4G
100GB Data1 month contract£100£30/month
EE
4GEE Home
100GB Data18 month contract£0£35/month
EE
4GEE Home
100GB Data1 month contract£100£35/month
Vodafone
Vodafone GigaCube 4G
200GB Data18 month contract£0£40/month
EE
4GEE Home
200GB Data18 month contract£0£40/month
Vodafone
Vodafone GigaCube 4G
200GB Data1 month contract£100£40/month
EE
4GEE Home
200GB Data1 month contract£100£40/month
EE
4GEE Home
300GB Data18 month contract£0£45/month
EE
4GEE Home
300GB Data1 month contract£100£45/month
EE
4GEE Home
500GB Data18 month contract£0£50/month
Vodafone
Vodafone GigaCube 4G
300GB Data18 month contract£0£50/month
EE
4GEE Home
500GB Data1 month contract£100£50/month
Vodafone
Vodafone GigaCube 4G
300GB Data1 month contract£100£50/month

You can scroll down to see a full list of plans that match your requirements. Alternatively, read on through the rest of this article for information about the price plans that are available on each provider.

Unlimited 4G Home Broadband

If you want unlimited data on 4G home broadband, this is currently only available on the following price plans from Three Broadband:

NetworkData AllowanceContract LengthUpfront PriceMonthly Price
Three
Three 4G Hub
Unlimited Data24 month contract£0£17/month
Three
Three 4G Hub
Unlimited Data12 month contract£19£20/month
Three
Three 4G Hub
Unlimited Data1 month contract£49£30/month

Unfortunately, EE only offers up to 500GB of data per month on their 4G home broadband service. Meanwhile, Vodafone offers up to 300GB of data per month on their GigaCube 4G service. Both of these are substantially more expensive than Three’s unlimited 4G broadband.

If you want a larger data allowance on a provider besides Three, consider getting 5G home broadband if you’re in an area that has 5G coverage. On 5G broadband, EE offers up to 1,000GB of data per month (1TB) whereas Vodafone offers unlimited data over their GigaCube 5G service.

In 2019, the average household consumed 315GB of data per month on their home broadband connection (up from 240GB per month in 2018). Continuing the same rate of growth, average data consumption is now likely to be closer to 450GB per month (and that’s before we even consider the impact of the COVID-19 and the increased data use as a result). For this reason, we’d strongly recommend choosing unlimited data where possible if you’d like to use 4G broadband as a replacement for your current home broadband.

4G Home Broadband Providers

Three 4G Broadband

In the UK, Three Broadband is currently the largest and most popular provider of 4G home broadband. They currently offer unlimited 4G broadband from £17/month (discounted from the normal price of £22/month for Black Friday 2020).

On Three, you can get unlimited 4G home broadband on a choice of either a 24 month, 12 month or 1 month contract. You’ll get the 4G Hub router included in the price with free delivery on the next working day:

NetworkData AllowanceContract LengthUpfront PriceMonthly Price
Three
Three 4G Hub
Unlimited Data24 month contract£0£17/month
Three
Three 4G Hub
Unlimited Data12 month contract£19£20/month
Three
Three 4G Hub
Unlimited Data1 month contract£49£30/month

See all Three 4G Home Broadband deals →

If you like, it’s also possible to add one of two smart devices to your 4G home broadband service. The Amazon Echo Show 5 is available for an extra £3/month and the Google Nest Audio is available for an extra £4/month.

For more information, see our Three 4G home broadband review.

In selected postcodes, it may also be possible to get Three’s 5G home broadband service.

EE 4G Broadband

EE offers a 4G home broadband service from £35/month with a range of download limits between 100GB and 500GB per month. You’ll get a 4GEE Home Router on the service with an average download speed of 31Mbps. EE also offers an optional 4G antenna installation service for an extra £100.

The following table shows EE’s 4G home broadband plans:

NetworkData AllowanceContract LengthUpfront PriceMonthly Price
EE
4GEE Home
100GB Data18 month contract£0£35/month
EE
4GEE Home
100GB Data1 month contract£100£35/month
EE
4GEE Home
200GB Data18 month contract£0£40/month
EE
4GEE Home
200GB Data1 month contract£100£40/month
EE
4GEE Home
300GB Data18 month contract£0£45/month
EE
4GEE Home
300GB Data1 month contract£100£45/month
EE
4GEE Home
500GB Data18 month contract£0£50/month
EE
4GEE Home
500GB Data1 month contract£100£50/month
To show you the most relevant plans, 4 similar but more expensive plans have been hidden. .

See all EE 4G Home Broadband deals →

For more information, see our EE 4G home broadband review.

In certain areas, you may also be able to get 5GEE Home which is the 5G home broadband service from EE.

Vodafone 4G Broadband

Vodafone offers a 4G home broadband service known as GigaCube with a choice of plans that include 100GB, 200GB or 300GB of data per month. These are available on an 18-month contract with no upfront cost or on a 1-month rolling contract with a £100 upfront fee.

The following table shows Vodafone’s 4G home broadband plans:

NetworkData AllowanceContract LengthUpfront PriceMonthly Price
Vodafone
Vodafone GigaCube 4G
100GB Data18 month contract£0£30/month
Vodafone
Vodafone GigaCube 4G
100GB Data1 month contract£100£30/month
Vodafone
Vodafone GigaCube 4G
200GB Data18 month contract£0£40/month
Vodafone
Vodafone GigaCube 4G
200GB Data1 month contract£100£40/month
Vodafone
Vodafone GigaCube 4G
300GB Data18 month contract£0£50/month
Vodafone
Vodafone GigaCube 4G
300GB Data1 month contract£100£50/month
To show you the most relevant plans, 3 similar but more expensive plans have been hidden. .

See all Vodafone 4G Home Broadband deals →

For more information, see our Vodafone GigaCube 4G home broadband review.

In areas with 5G coverage, you can get the 5G version of the GigaCube. This has an unlimited data option for £50/month.

Other Providers

Unfortunately, other providers such as giffgaff, O2, SMARTY, Sky and Virgin Media do not currently offer a 4G home broadband service. However, you can choose to build a custom 4G broadband solution using a SIM card from one of these providers .

To do so, buy an unlocked 4G home broadband router from somewhere like Amazon. The Huawei B311 is a good entry-level choice or the Huawei B535 if you’re looking for a mid-range router. Once you have a 4G router, you can insert a 4G SIM card (preferably one that gives you an unlimited data allowance).

For instance, the following SIM cards will give you unlimited 4G data from £16/month:

NetworkMinutesTextsDataMonthly
Cost
ThreeUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited£16.00
12 months
SmartyUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited£18.00
1 month
Superdrug MobileUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited£20.00
1 month
giffgaffUnlimitedUnlimitedAlways-On£25.00
1 month
Virgin MobileUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited£27.00
24 months
Tesco Mobile5,0005,000Unlimited£28.00
18 months
VodafoneUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited£30.00
24 months
VOXIUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited£35.00
1 month
Lebara MobileUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited£35.00
1 month
EEUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited£37.00
24 months

Be sure to check the fair usage policy for unlimited data before you order a SIM card. This is because certain providers have a monthly fair usage limit (e.g. 600GB per month on EE’s unlimited data plans). Other providers may prohibit the use of unlimited data SIM cards in a mains-powered device (e.g. the unlimited data plans on O2).

4G Router & Hubs

You’ll be given a 4G router or hub when you sign up for a 4G home broadband service. The 4G hub serves the same purpose as any other broadband router, producing a Wi-Fi network for your other devices to connect to (including your laptop, tablet, smartphone, smart TV and other smart home devices). It will normally also provide some Ethernet sockets, allowing you to connect wired devices to your home network.

You’ll get a Huawei B535 router on Three Broadband, a 4GEE Home Router on EE and a Huawei B528 GigaCube on Vodafone.

The following table shows a side-by-side comparison of the three routers:

Three 4G Hub
(Huawei B535 HomeFi Plus)
4GEE Home
(EE 4GEE Home Router)
Vodafone GigaCube 4G
(Huawei B528)
Home Broadband Plans
Price:From £17/monthFrom £35/monthFrom £30/month
Data:Unlimited100GB - 500GB100GB - 300GB
Unlimited Data:£17/monthNot availableNot available
Contract Length:1-24 months1-18 months1-18 months
Mobile Connectivity
4G Connectivity:Category 7 LTECategory 7 LTECategory 6 LTE
4G Download Speed:Up 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 100 Mbit/s uploadUp to 50 Mbit/s upload
4G Bands:LTE bands 1, 3, 7, 8, 20, 28, 32 & 38LTE bands TBCLTE bands 1, 3, 7, 8, 20, 32 & 38
External Antenna:Yes, 2x SMA connectorsYes, 2x SMA connectorsYes, 2x TS-9 connectors
Home Network Connectivity
Dual-Band Wi-Fi:YesYesYes
Wi-Fi Connectivity:802.11a/b/g/n/ac802.11a/b/g/n/ac802.11b/g/n/ac
Wi-Fi Devices:Up to 64 devicesUp to 32 devicesUp to 20 devices
Ethernet:4 Gigabit Ethernet ports2 Gigabit Ethernet ports1 Gigabit Ethernet port
Other
Model:Huawei B535 HomeFi PlusEE 4GEE Home RouterHuawei B528
Colour:WhiteWhiteWhite
Review:Three 4G Hub Review4GEE Home ReviewVodafone GigaCube 4G Review

4G Broadband VS Fixed Line Broadband

4G broadband uses mobile network technology, unlike traditional fixed-line broadband which uses a landline or cable connection.

Advantages of 4G Broadband

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

  • 4G broadband isn’t limited by your landline or cable connection. The download speeds you can get using 4G home broadband are not constrained by what your landline or cable connection can support. For instance, in many rural locations, BT’s Openreach and Virgin Media have refused to install fibre broadband connections due to the prohibitive cost. In these areas, 4G broadband can be a much better solution (it’s far more economical for ISPs to install a single mobile mast, rather than laying a fibre broadband connection to every home).
  • 4G 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. This is ideal if you’re moving into a new-build home, or if you’re planning to move home soon.
  • There’s no need to pay for a landline you don’t use. Unless you’d like to keep your landline for another reason, you can cancel it when you’re using 4G 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 broadband hub with you. With some 4G broadband services, you can even bring your broadband connection with you to another country.

Disadvantages of 4G Broadband

However, there are also some disadvantages of using 4G broadband:

  • 4G 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 due to 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 your 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.
  • 4G 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 big enough for a typical family’s usage. Nowadays, the gap is much smaller than before with unlimited 4G home broadband available from £17/month.
  • EE and Vodafone don’t offer public IP addresses with 4G broadband. At present, it isn’t possible to get a public IP address when using 4G home broadband from EE and Vodafone. This is because both providers use CGNAT technology so you’ll be assigned a private IP address that’s unable to accept incoming connections. This doesn’t make a difference for most online activities such as browsing, streaming or downloading. However, it may cause some issues if you’re running a server, using P2P applications or playing some multiplayer games online. On Three’s 4G home broadband, you’ll get a regular IP address that’s still publicly available.

The introduction of 5G home broadband will alleviate some of these downsides (particularly with regards to network capacity, congestion and latency).

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does 4G broadband cost in the UK?
In the UK, it’s possible to get unlimited 4G home broadband from £17/month. Normally, the best value plans can be found on Three Broadband as they offer the lowest monthly prices and fully unlimited plans. It tends to be more expensive on EE and Vodafone. If you’re living in a 5G coverage area, unlimited 5G home broadband is available from £24/month.
How does 4G broadband differ from fibre broadband?
Instead of using a phone line or cable to deliver your home broadband connection, 4G broadband uses 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 broadband in the same way you’d 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 broadband?
On 4G broadband, it’s possible to get download speeds of up to 300Mbps. In reality, however, download speeds are normally be closer to 15-30Mbps. If you need faster speeds, 5G broadband can offer download speeds of up to 1,000Mbps and average speeds of 100-200Mbps.
Which internet service providers offer 4G home broadband?
At present, there are three UK internet service providers that offer a 4G home broadband service:

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

What coverage is available on 4G broadband?
4G broadband is available to more than 99% of the UK’s population. In addition, faster 5G broadband services may also be available in selected postcodes.

You can use the following online coverage checkers to see what is available in your area:

Can I get 4G broadband with unlimited data?
Yes. Unlimited data is available on Three’s 4G home broadband. It’s also available on Vodafone’s GigaCube 5G broadband service (the GigaCube 4G service only gives you up to 300GB per month).
Should I use a external antenna with 4G broadband?
An external 4G antenna can sometimes help to improve the speed and reliability of your connection. To start with, we’d probably recommend trying your 4G broadband service without 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 Three Broadband review, 4GEE Home review and Vodafone GigaCube review.

If you’re living in a 5G coverage area, you may also find it helpful to read our guide on 5G home broadband.

Your Comments 46 so far

We'd love to hear your thoughts and any questions you may have. So far, we've received 46 comments from readers. You can add your own comment here.

  • Hi Ken. Fantastic resource. Thank you.
    Moving into a rural property and 4G home broadband is our only viable option. The property has thick walls so worried about the signal throughout the house.
    Do you have any advice on some of the “mesh” WiFi options and how well they are able to work with any of the 4G home broadband units. I currently have a Linksys Velop router from my previous provider.

    • Hi Tony,
      Thanks for the kind feedback! Sadly, I don’t have any specific advice to share on mesh Wi-Fi systems, except that I think they work pretty well and are definitely a worthwhile investment! You should be able to use pretty much any mesh wi-fi system with any 4G home broadband router, as long as the router has an Ethernet port.
      Ken

  • Hi Ken
    So glad I found this article. Thank you so much. We are coming to the end of our broadband and landline contract with BT. Living in the rural area (North Devon), we get only 3Mbps at most. Which was ok before the lockdown but now I do a lot of work on Zoom, it is almost unusable. After some reserach, I have decided we should go 4G. Where we live, we get 4G on Vodafone and EE but only 3G on Three.

    I would like unlimited usage with Vodafone but it is advertised for 5G. Do you think I can still get this deal? It’s unlikely we get 5G in our area anytime soon. Vodafone 4G is 300GB for £50, whereas 5G is unlimited for £50. Seems no comparison to me.

    • Hi Atsuko,
      Thanks for your comment. You should definitely have a chat with Vodafone when you place your online order for the GigaCube. As far as I know, I believe it should still be possible for you to sign up for the 5G plan, even though you’re currently unable to get 5G coverage where you live.
      Ken

  • Thinking of converting over to 4g home broadband when my talk talk ADSL contract ends.

    I was thinking about setting the network up myself (buy unlocked Huawei b535, smarty SIM and pointing xpol 1 antenna on the roof for the highest speeds).

    I am only 0.2 miles from a 4g smarty (3) cell tower and get great speeds at home on a three pay as you go sim (can be 70mbps down 40mbps up at peek times).

    Compare this to talk talk ADSL where I’m getting 9mbps down and 1mbps up it might be a serious option to go 4g for home broadband.

  • Hi Ken
    Great site with lots of useful information but having just switched to a 4g service there are a few other things people should be aware of. There are a wider range of possible deals if you just buy a 4g router and stick a sim into it. I’m on Vodafone paying £37 a month for unlimited data on a 30 day contract. Cheaper deals are available from 02 and EE. A big drawback is that mobile providers use CGNAT which means you don’t get a public IP address. If you are a gamer this gives you strict NAT and might prevent online multiplayer gaming. There are VPN work arounds. On the plus side I get 80 down 25 up and a much more reliable service to ADSL.

  • 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

  • Thanks for this article. I am a member of a boatclub in Cambridge – getting fibre or a phoneline to the boathouse (it’s a brand new build) is too expensive so 4/5g seems like a good idea for now at least. Something we are concerned about is the number of concurrent connections that the hub could provide – ideally we’d like something that can comfortably support 20-30 connections with half-decent service. Do you have any idea of a 4g/5g hub that might be powerful enough for that?

    • Hi Guy,
      Thanks for your comment. In theory, both Three’s HomeFi Plus (Huawei B535) and Vodafone’s Gigacube 5G will comfortably support up to 64 concurrent connections. The thing to watch out for, however, is that download speeds will be shared across all connected devices. For instance, if your 4G broadband connection gives 30Mbit/s of throughput, that would work out at approximately 1Mbit/s per device if all are connected & in active use at one time (e.g. downloading or streaming something).
      Ken

  • do any of the 5g offerings have fixed IP address ?
    we are a small business in London who have problems cabling the building
    We need VPNs and access to our DMZ so fixed IP is required

    • Hi Peter,
      Thanks for your comment. That’s a very good question regarding static IP addresses on 5G broadband. I believe Three can give you a static IP address on their 5G broadband service. I’m not sure whether Vodafone can do this – it might be worth contacting their business arm and asking them whether this is possible on the GigaCube service.
      Ken

  • Hi Ken

    I live in an old farm house in South Wales with a fibre enabled cabinet so far away they can only offer 1mb, frustratingly there is a new fibre enabled cabinet 300metres from my house but they refuse to connect me to this….So i went with the THREE HomeFi (B535) solution, the issue is stability of the signal (ranging from 10Mb to 0Mb within seconds), and sometimes a strong signal but impossible to load a webpage on the iPad…the result is a very unhappy family.

    We also have skyQ which needs a stable WiFi signal to work and the fluctuation means any online TV service is almost impossible to watch.

    Ive called THREE many times but no constructive help

    Any advice?

    Pete

    • Hi Pete,
      Sorry to hear about the unstable connection you’re getting. Except from the usual advice about testing out a different location for your router (ideally it should be placed near an upstairs window, facing in the direction of your nearest mobile mast), the best way to improve the stability of your connection is getting an external antenna for it. It’s worth having a read through the comments other people have shared on that page as well for some tips, advice & experience around using an external antenna.
      Hope this helps,
      Ken

  • Hi
    Thinking of using mobile broadband for church. Do you know if the technology supports remote printing (printer/copier in church, user at home creating documents for printing)?

    • Hi Chris,
      Thanks for your comment. Yes, I don’t see why this wouldn’t work! It’s just a regular broadband internet connection, but with 4G providing the backhaul link rather than a landline connection. The 4G router also produces a regular wi-fi network, so all of your wi-fi connected devices like printers will work in the same way.
      Hope this helps,
      Ken

  • Well I decided to ditch Virgin (due to the annual price increases) and went with Three broadband today. As an existing customer I managed to get a B535-232 router on a 2 year contract for £18 a month! (I’m told this is available in all the Three stores.)

    First impressions are very good. Installed in upstairs window with no external aerials I’m getting

    Ping Download Upload
    35 ms 26.29 Mb/s 23.94 Mb/s

    Webpages seem snappy and the wifi signal is really good throughout the entire house.

    I’m wondering if it’d be worth getting a couple of the flat style external screw in aerials to see if I’d gain anymore speed? but looking at the stats page of my router it might improve the quality of the signal, but overall they look pretty good to me.

    I’m around 300yds from the mast, here’s my new routers LTE stats…maybe you can tell me what it all means?

    RSRQ -5.0dB
    RSRP -91dBm
    RSSI -67dBm
    SINR 15dB
    Wireless transmit power
    PPusch:-12dBm PPucch:-23dBm PSrs:0dBm PPrach:2dBm

    Uplink mod/demod of MCS
    mcsUpCarrier1:29

    Downlink mod/demod of MCS
    mcsDownCarrier1Code0:0 mcsDownCarrier1Code1:0
    PLMN 23420

  • 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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