Vodafone’s GigaCube offers 4G home broadband from £35/month without the need for a phone line or cable.

If you’re looking for an alternative to fixed home broadband delivered through a phone line or cable, Vodafone’s GigaCube is a 4G-powered service giving you a wireless home broadband connection from £35/month. The service comes on a variety of price plans with download limits of between 60GB and 300GB per month. Customers will receive a Huawei B528 router to use on the service, which supports up to Category 6 LTE download speeds of 300Mbit/s.

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 the other fibre broadband plans available on Vodafone. We’ll then look at the inclusive Huawei B528 router 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 broadband.

GigaCube Price Plans

For many people, 4G technology can now deliver similar or even faster download speeds than a traditional fixed-line broadband connection.

In the UK, Vodafone is now offering 4G-powered GigaCube price plans as an alternative to their more traditional cable-based plans like Superfast and Gigafast broadband.

The GigaCube plans vary in price depending on how much data you require. On the entry-level, you can get 60GB of data for £35/month which should be suitable for occasional browsing and streaming. The data plans increase in size up to 300GB of data, which costs £80/month and is likely a more suitable package for busy families with multiple devices at home.

There is no upfront cost when taking the Vodafone GigaCube on an 18-month contract or there’s a £120 upfront cost when you take it on a 30-day rolling contract.

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

Data Allowance Contract Length Upfront Price Monthly Price
60GB Data 18 month contract £0.00 £35/month
60GB Data 1 month contract £120.00 £35/month
100GB Data 18 month contract £0.00 £45/month
100GB Data 1 month contract £120.00 £45/month
200GB Data 18 month contract £0.00 £60/month
200GB Data 1 month contract £120.00 £60/month
300GB Data 18 month contract £0.00 £80/month
300GB Data 1 month contract £120.00 £80/month

Unfortunately, it isn’t possible to get an unlimited data plan on Vodafone GigaCube. At present, unlimited data plans are only available on Three (you can choose either the HomeFi plan which costs £22/month or the AI Cube plan which costs £25/month). It also isn’t possible to use 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”.

It’s worth noting that the Vodafone GigaCube data plans have some restrictions on what you can do with them. Firstly, it’s only available to customers living in selected areas where there’s sufficient “4G coverage and capacity available in the local area”. When purchasing your GigaCube plan, a check will be made on this. Use of your GigaCube router will also be restricted to your registered postcode giving you less flexibility when moving to a different location. The GigaCube SIM card will not work in other devices or when you’re travelling abroad outside 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 and comes with 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 £22/month.

Huawei B528 Router

The Huawei B528 has a cylindrical design.

Customers signing up for the Vodafone GigaCube service will receive a Huawei B528 wireless router. This is offered with no upfront cost when you take out an 18-month contract, or for an upfront fee of £120 when you take a 30-day rolling contract.

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 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 also a single 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 any mobile network, though we recommend the unlimited data SIM card from Three (available for £20/month on a 12-month contract).

Alternatives

In the UK, there are currently two main alternatives to the Vodafone GigaCube service. These are Three’s HomeFi service and EE’s 4GEE Home Router.

If you’re looking for a lower-cost plan that gives you unlimited data, the HomeFi service from Three is well worth a look. You can get unlimited data for £22/month on a 24-month contract, making it far cheaper than Vodafone’s entry-level 60GB plan. There’s also the option to use it on Pay As You Go.

The following table shows HomeFi price plans from Three:

Data Allowance Contract Length Upfront Price Monthly Price
Unlimited Data 24 month contract £0.00 £22/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 £2/month on top of the cost for HomeFi, you could 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 could also look into EE’s 4GEE Home. This is priced fairly similarly to Vodafone GigaCube with a range of plans starting from £35/month for 50GB of data:

Data Allowance Contract Length Upfront Price Monthly Price
50GB Data 18 month contract £0.00 £35/month
100GB Data 18 month contract £0.00 £45/month
200GB Data 18 month contract £0.00 £50/month
300GB Data 18 month contract £0.00 £80/month
500GB Data 18 month contract £0.00 £100/month

You’ll need to take out an 18-month contract to use 4GEE Home. The service comes with an Alcatel-made router and there’s an optional external antenna installation service available for £100. For more information, read our full review of 4GEE Home.

Coverage

Vodafone offers 97% population coverage on its 4G network. In order to be eligible 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, there is a further round of checks in place to make sure there’s sufficient “4G coverage and capacity available in the local area”. This will be performed for you when you sign up for the GigaCube service.

It’s worth noting that your GigaCube service will be restricted so it will only work in your registered postcode area. This gives you much less flexibility compared to HomeFi and 4GEE Home where you can easily switch on your router at a new location to get connected to the internet.

More Information

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

Your Comments 9 so far

We'd love to hear your thoughts and any questions you may have. So far, we've received 9 comments from readers. You can add your own comment here.

  • 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 David,
      Thanks for your comment. The download speed you get will depend on lots of local factors (e.g. the quality of coverage you get from Three and the quality of coverage you get from Vodafone). However, comparing the maximum speeds on the Three HomeFi (Huawei B311) to Vodafone’s GigaCube (Huawei B528), the service from Vodafone is up to twice as fast.
      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.
      Hope this helps,
      Ken

      • David McDougall replied:

        Hi Ken,
        Thanks for your speedy response, always helpful when considering the options and looking for qualified advice in a hurry.I now have Vodafone’s GigaCube 4G home broadband and whilst I am impressed with the significant difference it has made (Ookla’s download speed ping test showed an improvement from 2.30Download / 0.33Upload to 31.68 / 15.54respectively) it’s still an awful long way of their suggested download speeds of ‘up to 300Mbit/s’ and so I am thinking that as I have 7 days to cancel this devices contract (300GB Data 18 month contract @ £80/month) – from my already significant existing contract for several phones with Vodaphone – would it not be just as good for me to get the ‘Three HomeFi’ deal as it will provide the same speed at a fraction of the costs…with the upside of ‘Unlimited Data’ as well? Even EE can only guarantee me 31Mbits/s on their fancy system with an outside aerial.

        David.

        Regards,
        David

        • Hi David,
          Many thanks for your comment. The speeds you’re getting (32Mbit/s download and 15Mbit/s upload) aren’t actually too bad for a 4G broadband service! In general, your mileage may vary as it depends on the quality of your coverage and capacity/congestion on the local mast, but adding an antenna might sometimes help to improve these speeds further if coverage is the limiting factor. The maximum speed of “up to 300Mbit/s” is a theoretical maximum of Category 6 LTE technology and is almost never actually obtained in real-world usage.
          With regards to the HomeFi, it’s difficult to say! Personally, I think unlimited data for £22/month is definitely much more economical than the packages on GigaCube. However, it will also depend on the quality of coverage you’re able to get from Three. It’s also worth noting that the HomeFi router only supports up to Category 4 LTE speeds, so your service will most likely be slower than what you’re getting from Vodafone GigaCube (see my full comparison of the different 4G broadband options here). If you’re happy to do-it-yourself, I’d recommend buying a Huawei B525 router (£120) and pairing it with an unlimited data SIM card from Three (currently £20/month). That will give you Category 6 LTE connectivity (the same as on GigaCube) along with a better router and more flexibility (only a 12-month contract rather than a 24-month contract). Alternatively, you could go for the AI Cube from Three which does give you Category 6 LTE connectivity, but that lacks support for an external antenna should you ever want to use one.
          Hope this helps,
          Ken

          • “Boom!”.. there you have it – “buying a Huawei B525 router (£120) and pairing it with an unlimited data SIM card from Three (currently £20/month). That will give you Category 6 LTE connectivity (the same as on GigaCube) along with a better router and more flexibility (only a 12-month contract rather than a 24-month contract) – that’s me done and dusted!..
            I shall update you as to the merits of such an arrangement as soon as I have returned the ‘GigaCube 4G home broadband’ router from whence it came.
            David.

  • How is Three able to offer unlimited and at lower prices and the other big networks are not.
    For Vodafone to restrict their service to a single address or post code is basically marketing it to those who are unable to get a fixed line connection and punishing them with a punitive price.
    The pricing and in todays age 4k streaming, the limit on data usage makes all these wireless broadband concepts other than Three, unpractical.
    The US and most other developed countries routinely offer unlimited data and have been for a number of years now. Only the UK are failing to move with the times.
    I am stuck on an extortionate £45 per month with ee with a data limit of 100gb. Wish I had seen the three offer at the time.

    • Hi Mike,
      Thanks for your comment. I believe the mobile networks have taken different approaches to the launch of 4G home broadband. Both BT/EE and Vodafone are also players in traditional fixed home broadband, so I imagine 4G is currently seen as a strategy for them to extend coverage into areas where a fixed line broadband connection isn’t available. As such, they haven’t been pricing their 4G home broadband services very competitively and you can see that most of the marketing has been focussed on more rural areas.
      Three have made no secret of the fact that they’re looking to break in to the home broadband market, and they’re pushing 5G as a full-on replacement for fixed line broadband. The 4G-based HomeFi service is really the first step towards this, with 5G services hopefully starting to roll out from later this year. I think part of this strategy means having data plans and allowances that are competitive against traditional fixed-line broadband. They also don’t have a fixed-line business so there’s less worry about cannibalising a different part of the business.
      Ken

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