Vodafone’s GigaCube offers 4G and 5G home broadband from £30/month, without the need for a phone line or cable.

If you’re looking for a fast alternative to fixed-line home broadband, Vodafone’s GigaCube can give you high-speed home broadband that’s delivered wirelessly over a 4G or 5G connection from £30/month.

The GigaCube service comes on a choice of three price plans, depending on how much data you want. It costs £30/month for 100GB of data, £40/month for 200GB of data and £50/month for unlimited data. Depending on the area you live in, you’ll receive either a 4G or 5G GigaCube router (this will be either a Huawei B528 or a Huawei 5G CPE Pro).

In this article, we’ll review Vodafone’s GigaCube service. We’ll start by looking at the GigaCube price plans and how they compare to other broadband plans available from Vodafone. We’ll then look at the 4G GigaCube (Huawei B528) and the 5G GigaCube (Huawei 5G CPE Pro) routers in more detail, before comparing the GigaCube service to rival offerings from Three and EE. Finally, we’ll look at the level of coverage you can expect when using a Vodafone GigaCube for home broadband.

GigaCube Price Plans

For many people, 4G technology is now able to deliver similar or even faster download speeds than traditional fixed-line home broadband. With new 5G technology, download speeds can get even faster with average speeds of 200Mbit/s or more.

In the UK, Vodafone is now offering GigaCube price plans powered by 4G or 5G as an alternative to traditional fixed-line home broadband. This sits alongside their more traditional fibre-based plans like Superfast and Gigafast broadband.

The GigaCube plans vary in price depending on how much data you want. You’ll pay £30/month for the entry-level plan with 100GB of data, increasing to £40/month for 200GB of data and £50/month for fully unlimited data. There may also be an upfront cost for the router, depending on the contract length you choose and the router you select. On an 18-month contract, you can get the 4G GigaCube router for free or you can get the 5G GigaCube router for £50 upfront.

The following table shows a list of currently available Vodafone GigaCube price plans:

Data Allowance Contract Length Upfront Price Monthly Price
Vodafone GigaCube 4G Plans:
100GB Data 18 month contract £0 £30/month
100GB Data 1 month contract £100 £30/month
200GB Data 18 month contract £0 £40/month
200GB Data 1 month contract £100 £40/month
Unlimited Data 18 month contract £0 £50/month
Unlimited Data 1 month contract £100 £50/month
Vodafone GigaCube 5G Plans:
100GB Data 18 month contract £100 £30/month
100GB Data 1 month contract £325 £30/month
200GB Data 18 month contract £50 £40/month
200GB Data 1 month contract £325 £40/month
Unlimited Data 18 month contract £50 £50/month
Unlimited Data 1 month contract £325 £50/month

Apart from Vodafone, Three is the only other UK mobile network to offer unlimited data on a 4G home broadband plan. On Three, you can get unlimited data for £23/month on the HomeFi and unlimited data for £26/month on the AI Cube.

It isn’t possible to use the Vodafone GigaCube on a Pay As You Go basis – you’ll need to sign up for a contract to use it.

The Vodafone GigaCube service is subject to “coverage and capacity in your local area”.

Before signing up, it’s worth noting that the Vodafone GigaCube plans have some restrictions on what you can do with them. Firstly, the 5G GigaCube is only available for customers living in selected 5G coverage areas. Everyone else is restricted to using 4G. Secondly, GigaCube traffic may undergo “data de-prioritisation”, meaning it gets a lower level of priority compared to other network traffic. Finally, the GigaCube SIM card will not work in other devices and international roaming is disabled so you can only use it inside the UK.

Compared to Vodafone’s Superfast Broadband (which uses Openreach fibre-to-the-cabinet connections) and Vodafone’s Gigafast Broadband (which uses full fibre connections from Cityfibre), GigaCube tends to be a more expensive service. On the lower priced plans, there are also limits on how much you can download. For this reason, we’d probably still recommend choosing one of the fixed broadband plans over the GigaCube if you’re able to get it where you live. Alternatively, look at rival mobile networks like Three’s HomeFi where you can get unlimited data for £23/month.

Huawei B528 4G Router

The Huawei B528 has a cylindrical design.

Customers signing up for the 4G version of Vodafone GigaCube will receive a Huawei B528 wireless router. This is offered at no upfront cost when you take out an 18-month contract, or for an upfront fee of £100 when you take a 30-day rolling plan.

The Huawei B528 router will pick up a 4G signal from Vodafone’s network and will rebroadcast it as a Wi-Fi network for your other devices to access. Download speeds of up to 300Mbit/s are supported by the router (Category 6 LTE speeds), with full backwards compatibility for 2G and 3G coverage.

Up to 20 devices can be connected to your Wi-Fi connection at any given time with there being full support for dual-band Wi-Fi connectivity (802.11b/g/n/ac technologies on 2.4GHz and 5GHz). Alongside the wireless connectivity, there’s one Gigabit Ethernet socket for connecting a wired device to your network and two TS9 sockets for attaching an external antenna to your router. There is also a RJ11 phone socket on the router but all of the calling functionality has been disabled on the GigaCube in the UK.

In our opinion, the Huawei B528 is a decent mid-range router and the cylindrical design sets it apart from many other 4G routers. Besides the Huawei GigaCube B528, the only other 4G router available in the UK with a cylindrical design is the Huawei AI Cube B900 (available from Three with a built-in Amazon Alexa smart speaker).

The Huawei B525 is an alternative router with a more traditional form factor.

If you don’t mind having a router in the more traditional rectangular form factor, it may be worth considering the unlocked Huawei B525 router instead (available for around £120). This has 4 Gigabit Ethernet sockets (compared to 1 on the B528 GigaCube) and allows you to have up to 64 devices connected to your Wi-Fi network at one time (compared to 20 on the B528 GigaCube). The Huawei B525 also uses SMA connectors for the external antenna which will give you a wider choice of options compared to the more obscure TS9 connector on the B528 GigaCube.

You can use a Huawei B525 router with a SIM card from Vodafone or from any other mobile network. For instance, Vodafone offers an unlimited data SIM card for just £30/month with uncapped download speeds. With this SIM card inside a Huawei B525 router, you’ll pay the equivalent of just £36.67/month over 18 months for an unlimited data allowance (£120 upfront plus £30/month). Other mobile networks like Three may additionally offer unlimited data SIM cards at a slightly lower price than Vodafone.

Huawei 5G CPE Pro Router

If you decide to sign up for the 5G version of the GigaCube service, you’ll receive a Huawei 5G CPE Pro wireless router (also known as the Huawei H112-370). This is offered for £50 upfront on an 18-month contract (or £100 upfront if you choose the entry-level 100GB plan). Alternatively, there’s an upfront fee of £325 to get the router on a 30-day rolling plan.

The 5G GigaCube is able to pick up Vodafone’s 5G signal, in addition to 4G. In theory, the router is able to support download speeds of more than 1,000Mbit/s (1Gbit/s). However, actual download speeds of around 150-250Mbit/s will be much more common when using the GigaCube on Vodafone’s 5G network.

Up to 64 devices can connect at any given time to your Huawei 5G CPE Pro router, with support for the latest Wi-Fi 6 technology (802.11a/b/g/n/ac/ax technologies). There are also two Gigabit Ethernet sockets for connecting a wired device to your network and two TS9 connectors for attaching an external antenna.

If you’re living in a 5G coverage area, the extra speeds will probably make it worthwhile to upgrade to the 5G version of the GigaCube. Besides this, you’ll also get better Wi-Fi connectivity along with an extra Ethernet socket for your wired devices. The 5G router can also help to future-proof your technology, especially if you’re expecting 5G coverage to launch soon in your area.

Alternatives

In the UK, there are currently four main alternatives to the Vodafone GigaCube service:

4G Home Broadband

If you’re looking for a cheaper 4G-powered home broadband service, the HomeFi from Three is well worth a look. You can currently get unlimited data for £23/month, with the first 6 months at half price (so costing you just £11.50/month). This makes it far cheaper than the 4G Vodafone GigaCube, when you sign up for a 24-month contract.

The following table shows HomeFi price plans from Three:

Data Allowance Contract Length Upfront Price Monthly Price
Unlimited Data 24 month contract £0.00 £11.50/month for 6 months
then £23/month
Unlimited Data 12 month contract £29.00 £27/month
1GB Data (1 month validity) Pay As You Go £59.99 Top-up as required
3GB Data (3 month validity) Pay As You Go £65.99 Top-up as required
12GB Data (12 month validity) Pay As You Go £89.99 Top-up as required
24GB Data (24 month validity) Pay As You Go £109.99 Top-up as required

You can use Three’s online coverage checker to see whether a 4G signal is available where you live. Three’s HomeFi service comes with a Huawei B311 4G LTE router. For more information, see our full review of the HomeFi service.

For an extra £3/month on top of the cost for HomeFi, you can alternatively choose to have the Huawei AI Cube B900 router. This has a cylindrical design, supports faster download speeds and also includes a built-in Amazon Alexa smart speaker (see our review).

If you’re not able to get a signal from Three where you live, you can also have a look into EE’s 4GEE Home. This starts from £35/month for 50GB of data:

Data Allowance Contract Length Upfront Price Monthly Price
50GB Data 18 month contract £0 £35/month
100GB Data 18 month contract £0 £40/month
200GB Data 18 month contract £0 £50/month
300GB Data 18 month contract £0 £60/month
500GB Data 18 month contract £0 £70/month

The 4GEE Home service comes with an Alcatel-made router, with an optional external antenna installation service available for £100. For more information, read our full review of 4GEE Home.

5G Home Broadband

At present, EE is the only other mobile network to offer a 5G-powered home broadband service. With 5GEE WiFi, you’ll get a HTC 5G Hub router, starting from £50/month for 50GB of data:

Data Allowance Contract Length Upfront Price Monthly Price
50GB Data 24 month contract £100 £50/month
100GB Data 24 month contract £100 £75/month

Whilst EE’s 5G broadband option is much more expensive than Vodafone GigaCube, it has the ability to function on-the-go using battery power. EE also offers 5G coverage in different cities to Vodafone, meaning it might be the only 5G option available to some.

For more information, see the EE website or read our in-depth review of 5GEE WiFi.

Coverage

4G Coverage

Vodafone offers 99% population coverage on its 4G network.

In order to use the GigaCube service, you’ll need to live in an area that’s covered by Vodafone for 4G. The easiest way to check this is by entering your postcode on Vodafone’s online coverage map:

Check Vodafone Coverage (vodafone.co.uk) →

Once you’ve verified that you’re living a 4G coverage area, you can sign up for the GigaCube service online.

5G Coverage

Vodafone has started to roll out 5G coverage in a handful of cities including Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Liverpool, London and Manchester. You’ll need to live in one of these cities to benefit from the higher speeds available on GigaCube 5G.

Now Live15 towns and cities are live on Vodafone 5G (July 2019)
Birkenhead, Birmingham, Bolton, Bristol, Cardiff, Gatwick, Glasgow, Lancaster, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Newbury, Plymouth, Stoke-on-Trent, Wolverhampton
Planned &
Announced
7 towns and cities planned
Blackpool, Bournemouth, Guildford, Portsmouth, Reading, Southampton, Warrington (End of 2019)

You can check the 5G coverage in your area, by entering your postcode on Vodafone’s online coverage map:

Check 5G Coverage (vodafone.co.uk) →

A total of 22 towns and cities should be live on Vodafone 5G by the end of 2019. For more information, see our city-by-city rollout tracker for 5G.

For more information, see the Vodafone website or read our in-depth guide to the coverage on Vodafone.

More Information

For more information about the GigaCube service, please see Vodafone’s official website.

Your Comments 16 so far

We'd love to hear your thoughts and any questions you may have. So far, we've received 16 comments from readers. You can add your own comment here.

  • David Watson said:

    Problem..
    I’ve got a 3 part SIM card and this modem requires it to be reduced to Nano.
    On Micro, SIM too big.
    On Nano, SIM too small.
    (No it’s not the 3 bears 2)

    Am I just not getting it? Or is something wrong here.
    I’ve tried all day but SIM continues to drop in then out, appears to be no SIM carrier inside port hole. Anyone else got this issue?
    Anyone with answer to dilemma?
    David Watson Ph.D
    (Not in IT)

    • Hi David,
      Thanks for your comment. That’s really strange. The 4G Vodafone GigaCube (Huawei B528) should take micro-sized SIM cards, whereas the new 5G GigaCube (Huawei 5G CPE Pro) should take nano-sized SIM cards. I’m not sure why the SIM card isn’t working on your router – it might be worth contacting Vodafone Customer Support if the problem persists?
      Ken

  • Peter John said:

    Dear Ken,
    Many thanks for an excellent, plain-speaking review.
    Following David’s pioneering saga (thank you David), I’m ready to switch to the heady climes of unlimited 4G with Three.
    At the moment I have 4G, supplied Vodaphone through BigBlu (£35 for 40Gb), with a Zyxel F410 router fed by a Panorama WMM8G-7-27-275SP external aerial. The service is pretty good with 20-25 Mbps down and 10-15Mbps up. The Panorama appears to be pointing in the correct direction, so would it work just as well with a Huawei B525 two SMA connectors to each, I think. The Three signal coverage appears to be the same as Vodaphone as checked on your link.
    Any comments or thoughts would be gratefully received.
    Kind regards,
    Peter

    • Hi Peter,
      Thanks for your comment. This sounds like a great plan, and I would personally definitely want to try this as you’ll get more data for less money on the deal from Three.
      Regarding coverage, you should expect it to be fairly different with Three. For instance, Three generally share their masts with EE (as opposed to Vodafone who often share their masts with O2). For this reason, you might find that your nearest mast from Three is in a different direction from the nearest mast from Vodafone. I’m not sure whether you have an omni-directional or a directional 4G antenna, but if it’s the latter, you might need to test out different placements for your antenna.
      Ken

  • Right, so the madness continues – As I promised, I shall update you as to the merits of my search for ‘4G nirvana’ as soon as I have returned the ‘GigaCube 4G home broadband’ router from whence it came, which I now have done, so as you know…

    1. I had settled on buying a Huawei B525 router – However from what I can see, it doesn’t accommodate the fitting of an outdoor Antenna and I need one here on the farm, so now looking at the TP-Link AC1200 4G LTE SIM Slot Unlocked Wi-Fi Dual Band Router, No Configuration Required, Fixed External Wi-Fi Antennas, UK Plug (Archer MR400) instead, which does (I have been told?)

    2. The ‘unlimited’ data SIM card from Three (currently £25/month) is actually not unlimited but subject to a 1TG threshold (still a great offer) beyond which they have the right to stop the service pending investigation as to the use of the data. However that shouldn’t be a problem as the upside on that is it can be taken on a pay as you go contract – or ‘Three Advanced Plan – Unlimited Data allowance’ as its called – on a one month contract.

    3. I also contacted Sky, my Internet service provider and they very kindly provided me with data to suggest that the main reason for my poor service (2.30Download / 0.33Upload – beyond the fact that we have as I said before a crappy copper ADSL phone line) is that we are currently using between 150Ghz and 200Ghz per month of ADSL provided WI-FI through their modem / router, with…and get this!!!.. 17 active connections sharing an average of 47 different background apps such as internet security, social media like Face book, WhatsApp etc.. Netflix, Google maps, banking apps, Messenger, News, Podcasts, Weather.. that all require constant updating at some time to serve the user as they should.

    Now its obvious to anyone reading this that I am not particularly tech-savvy but that’s a lot of background stuff I didn’t even know about!!! and I wondered how many people actually do? Other than the social media stuff it would obviously be beneficial to turn off all the background stuff possible, especially scheduled updates and the like because once I’m 4G ready the faster this stuff is going to be consumed – by even the biggest of packages. Data usage of this nature is therefore a huge concern for people coming off traditional internet services I would have thought. Automatic software updates for operating systems including apple I-pads and phones that back themselves up to the I cloud more often than they probably realistically need to are paramount and antivirus solutions of course, but all other programmes and Apps should be updated on an unmetered internet connection wherever possible.

    I’m advised also that Windows 10 has a default-setting allowing it to act as an update server to other windows 10 users on line…without even telling you??On demand movies and sky boxes that automatically download the next episode of a box set etc are another huge draw on those monthly data allowances.

    So whilst my search for the best kit goes on, my empirical knowledge grows exponentially…what ever happened to moving the ‘bunny-ears’ on the tv to get the squiggly lines away.. lol!

    David.

    • Hi David,
      Thanks for getting back to me and updating me on your search for a new 4G broadband provider! To answer your questions in turn:
      1. The Huawei B525 does indeed allow you to use an external antenna (it has 2x SMA connectors for this – see my guide to mobile broadband antennas for more info on how to source an antenna). My recommendation would probably be to go with something like the Poynting omni-directional external antenna (XPOL-1) as it should give you the best speeds. With regards to the TP-Link router, I don’t know too much about this but will take a look at it!
      2. I believe the unlimited data SIM card from Three is just £20/month if you take it on a 12-month contract. You’re right, however, this increases to £25/month if you want it on a one-month rolling contract.
      3. It sounds like the root issue here is still the poor download speeds of 2.3Mbit/s down and 0.33Mbit/s up. This greatly limits the capacity of your connection (e.g. you would typically use up around 4Mbit/s if you were watching some HD content online). Obviously, Sky can share some data with you to try and deflect the blame elsewhere, but I actually don’t think it’s that uncommon to be using lots of applications on your network at one time! I think there’s probably a bit of misdirection from them as well (e.g. something like your news app, weather app or messaging app probably uses next to zero data). I do agree that background services like Windows 10 updates & automatic TV show downloads are worth keeping an eye on as they can use up some valuable bandwidth (it might be worth trying to schedule these to happen overnight, if you want to “conserve” some bandwidth for other things during the day).
      Hope this helps,
      Ken

      • Hi Ken,

        Right!…having settled on following your advice to the letter (so I can blame you when it doesn’t workout lol!) I now have the Huawei 525 router in situ – I have located it near my ADT router, in the middle of what is a 5000 sq.ft house on a remot’ish farm – as this was deemed to be the best spot for maximum signal when they tested for their installation.

        I have also attached that to a ‘Poynting omni-directional external antenna (XPOL-1)’ as you also suggested and gone with a one month (30 day) three 3 – ‘unlimited’ data SIM card for now, to see how good the whole thing would be before committing to any one provider, because its one thing getting ‘unlimited GB’ but if the signal strength is compromised (as I now think it is due to three more limited coverage in my area) then my previous experience with Vodafone’s GigaCube may be a better alternative (because though it is limited to just 500GB, Ookla’s download speed ping-test showed an improvement from 2.30download / 0.33upload (SKY router) to a consistent 31.68 /15.54 respectively with it) which is surprising as when I asked you before about that, you said – “You can use Three’s AI Cube B900 router for faster download speeds, or something like the unlocked ‘Huawei B525 router’. Both of these will give you the same maximum download speed as Vodafone’s GigaCube router”.

        The Wi-Fi and network check on my Vodaphone mobile phone app tells me that on my Voda handset I am getting 11.4 Mbps (DL) and 3.1Mbps (UL) with a 40.0ms ping speed through the Huawei router and as high as 19.8Mbps (D/L) and 4.8 Mbps (DL) with a 72.0 ping speed on Vodas own 4G network. However on the ‘Ookla ping-test’ on the laptop in my office (12ft from the Huawei 525 router) and next to my voda handset I am only achieving uploads of 12.44Mbps and 2.72Mbps respectively with a ping speed of 39.

        That said, I am also about to add a ‘Huawei Q2 smart-home plug and play mesh Wi-Fi seamless roaming system’ to the mix and whilst I have been assured that the overall 4G coverage will be substantially better in this rambling old farm house this will inevitably also mean slower download speeds etc due to the additional appliances. What I don’t yet know is to what extent … and how I can negate that if at all possible?

        All said and done Ken, I am just pleased to have increased the overall functionality of my internet to what it currently is and now just want to ensure that I am maximising it without compromising it at the same time.

        Regards

        David.

        • Hi David,
          Thanks for your comment and for the updates on your installation! I think there are really two separate issues in play here:
          1) The quality of the 4G mobile signal between your Huawei B525 router and the nearest phone mast from Vodafone or Three. An external antenna (e.g. the Poynting) can help you here, by improving the strength of your 4G signal.
          2) The quality of the wi-fi signal between your device (e.g. your laptop or smartphone) and the Huawei B525 router. A mesh networking solution can help you here, by boosting the Wi-Fi signal strength in your home.
          One way to disentangle the two things above is by attaching your device directly to the router using a wired Ethernet connection. This should allow you to see the download speeds available on your 4G connection, without any chance of the wi-fi signal causing things to slow down..
          Adding a mesh networking solution will only help to improve download speeds if it’s the wi-fi network that’s causing things to be slow. However, when set up and installed properly, it shouldn’t have too much of a negative impact on speeds.
          Hope this helps!
          Ken

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