Vodafone offers 4G mobile broadband from £11/month, allowing you to get connected to the internet on up to 10 devices.

In the UK, Vodafone offers a 4G mobile broadband service allowing you to get connected to the internet on up to 10 devices at the same time. With 99% 4G population coverage and download speeds of up to 150Mbit/s, the service can be a useful alternative to home broadband especially if you’re struggling with slow internet or poor wi-fi at home. It can also be useful for working from home, using video conferencing or for keeping the kids entertained.

When joining Vodafone’s mobile broadband service, there’s a choice of two devices. Most people now choose the Vodafone R219 mobile wi-fi hotspot as it allows you to connect up to 10 devices to the internet at the same time. The Vodafone K5161 USB data dongle is also available if you want a simpler device that gives you mobile broadband on your laptop. Alternatively, it’s also possible to get a mobile broadband SIM card that gives you access to mobile broadband on Vodafone without a new device.

In this article, we’ll review Vodafone’s mobile broadband service including the devices and price plans available. We’ll also look at the download speeds and coverage available on the service.

Vodafone Mobile Broadband

In the UK, Vodafone’s 4G mobile broadband service gives you access to high-speed broadband internet on up to 10 devices at the same time. With 99% population coverage, download speeds of up to 150Mbit/s, and a choice of flexible one-month or 12-month plans, it can be a useful addition or alternative to your regular home broadband service.

Unlike Vodafone’s regular fixed-line home broadband (including Superfast Broadband and Gigafast Broadband), Vodafone’s 4G mobile broadband service doesn’t rely on a phone line. This gives you the flexibility to use it in more places – whether that’s at home or outside at a different location. You can even use it abroad in 51 destinations at no extra cost through Vodafone Global Roaming (or in 81 destinations if you have an Unlimited Max price plan).

When joining Vodafone’s mobile broadband service, you’ll currently have a choice of two devices: either the Vodafone R219 mobile wi-fi hotspot or the Vodafone K5161 USB data dongle:

Vodafone R219 Mobile Wi-Fi Hotspot Vodafone K5161 USB Data Dongle
Best for connecting multiple devices to the internet at the same time (up to 10 devices at one time).
Best for connecting a single device (your laptop) to the internet using mobile broadband.
Compatible with any device that supports wi-fi connectivity. Includes your phone, laptop, tablet, smart TV, games console and more. Compatible with a laptop running Windows 7 or later, or Mac OS X 10.9 and newer. A driver will be installed on your laptop for the dongle.
Fairly light and portable: the hotspot weighs 95g and measures 10.0 x 5.8 x 1.37 cm. A micro-USB cable is used for charging, giving up to 6 hours battery life on one charge. Even lighter and more portable. The dongle weighs just 35g and measures 8.8 x 2.8 x 1.15cm. There’s no need for a separate charger – just plug the dongle into a USB port on your laptop to use it.
Available for £35 upfront on a one-month rolling plan. No upfront cost on 12-month plans with 6GB+ of data. Available for £30 upfront on a one-month rolling plan. No upfront cost on 12-month plans with 6GB+ of data.
See Vodafone R219 Price Plans & Specifications → See Vodafone K5161 Price Plans & Specifications →

In the following sections, we’ll review each of the two mobile broadband devices in more detail.

Vodafone R219 Mobile Wi-Fi Hotspot

For most people, we’d recommend the Vodafone R219 mobile wi-fi hotspot as the best device for getting online through Vodafone’s mobile broadband service.

The R219 hotspot allows you to get up to 10 devices connected to the internet at the same time. It connects to Vodafone’s 4G network, offering Category 4 LTE download speeds of up to 150Mbit/s. Using the 4G signal, it then broadcasts a regular wi-fi network for your other devices to connect to. This means it should work with any wi-fi enabled device including your laptop, tablet, smartphone, smart TV, games console and more.

Weighing just 95g, the Vodafone R219 is designed to be a portable device that you can easily carry in your pocket. It has a built-in battery with a capacity of 1,500mAh (enough for up to 6 hours of active usage on one charge). The battery can be topped up using a micro-USB cable and charger which is provided in the box.

You can currently get the Vodafone R219 on the following mobile broadband plans from Vodafone:

Data Allowance Contract Length Upfront Price Monthly Price
12 month contract
Unlimited Data (Max Plan) 12 month contract £0 £33/month
Unlimited Data (Up to 10Mbit/s) 12 month contract £0 £28/month
24GB Data 12 month contract £0 £22/month
6GB Data 12 month contract £0 £17/month
2GB Data 12 month contract £20 £11/month
1 month contract
Unlimited Data (Max Plan) 12 month contract £35 £37/month
Unlimited Data (Up to 10Mbit/s) 12 month contract £35 £32/month
24GB Data 12 month contract £35 £26/month
6GB Data 12 month contract £35 £21/month
2GB Data 12 month contract £35 £15/month
Pay As You Go
15GB Data (90 day validity) Pay As You Go £50 Top-up as required

For more information on the R219 including detailed specifications, please see the Vodafone website.

Vodafone K5161 USB Dongle

As an alternative to the R219 mobile wi-fi hotspot, Vodafone also offers the K5161 USB data dongle. This is a simpler device compared to the R219, allowing you to use mobile broadband on only one device at a given time (your laptop).

The main advantage of choosing a K5161 USB data dongle is the fact it’s lighter and more portable than a R219 hotspot. Weighing just 35g, it’s around one-third of the weight of a R219 hotspot. There’s also no need to charge the device or to carry around a charging cable for it – simply plug it in to the USB port on your laptop to use it. The dongle also has a built-in micro-SD card reader. This allows you to transfer files between different devices.

The main disadvantage of the K5161 data dongle is that it can only be used on one device at a time. This needs to be a laptop with a spare USB port, running on Windows 7 and later or Mac OS X 10.9 and later. It isn’t possible to use the dongle with other types of device like your tablet, smartphone or games console.

The following table shows a list of available mobile broadband plans for the Vodafone K5161. Broadly speaking, these are very similar to the price plans on the R219 hotspot. However, you can save £5 on the upfront cost if you choose to take the K5161 dongle on a 1-month rolling plan:

Data Allowance Contract Length Upfront Price Monthly Price
12 month contract
Unlimited Data (Max Plan) 12 month contract £0 £33/month
Unlimited Data (Up to 10Mbit/s) 12 month contract £0 £28/month
24GB Data 12 month contract £0 £22/month
6GB Data 12 month contract £0 £17/month
2GB Data 12 month contract £20 £11/month
1 month contract
Unlimited Data (Max Plan) 12 month contract £30 £37/month
Unlimited Data (Up to 10Mbit/s) 12 month contract £30 £32/month
24GB Data 12 month contract £30 £26/month
6GB Data 12 month contract £30 £21/month
2GB Data 12 month contract £30 £15/month
Pay As You Go
15GB Data (90 day validity) Pay As You Go £45 Top-up as required

For more information about the K5161 USB data dongle, please see Vodafone’s official website.

Mobile Broadband SIM Cards

If you already have an unlocked mobile broadband device that you’re happy to use, Vodafone offers data-only SIM cards for mobile broadband from £11/month. These data-only SIM cards are enabled for both 4G and 5G coverage. This means you can access 5G download speeds if you have a compatible device to use with the service.

Vodafone currently offers the following mobile broadband SIM cards:

Data Allowance Contract Length Upfront Price Monthly Price
12 month contract
Unlimited Data (Max Plan) 12 month contract £0 £33/month
Unlimited Data (Up to 10Mbit/s) 12 month contract £0 £28/month
24GB Data 12 month contract £0 £22/month
6GB Data 12 month contract £0 £17/month
2GB Data 12 month contract £0 £11/month
1 month contract
Unlimited Data (Max Plan) 12 month contract £0 £37/month
Unlimited Data (Up to 10Mbit/s) 12 month contract £0 £32/month
24GB Data 12 month contract £0 £26/month
6GB Data 12 month contract £0 £21/month
2GB Data 12 month contract £0 £15/month

Please see the Vodafone website for full details about all of their mobile broadband SIM cards.

If you’re looking for a new 4G tablet on which to use Vodafone’s mobile broadband service, they also sell a range of iPads along with tablets from Samsung and Huawei.

Download Speeds

Both the Vodafone R219 mobile wi-fi hotspot and the Vodafone K5161 data dongle support Category 4 LTE speeds (up to 150Mbit/s download and up to 50Mbit/s upload). In practice, however, the actual download speeds you get will depend on the coverage available in your area. It may also be affected by the number of other people using the service in your area.

For an estimate of the download speeds available, enter your postcode on Vodafone’s online coverage map. You can tap on the “data speed info” button after entering your postcode to see a range of speeds that will likely be available.

Most of Vodafone’s mobile broadband plans have uncapped download speeds so you’ll get the fastest available speeds in your area and on your device. The only exception is on their £28/month Unlimited data plan which has a maximum download speed of 10Mbit/s. The £33/month Unlimited Max plan has uncapped download speeds.

Customers using their own mobile broadband device with Vodafone’s data-only SIM card may be able to access even faster speeds than what is available on the Vodafone R219 and K5161. For instance, 5G speeds are available on a data-only SIM if you have a 5G device and are living in a 5G coverage area.

Coverage

2G, 3G & 4G Coverage

On Vodafone’s mobile broadband service, you’ll have access to 99% population coverage in the UK on Vodafone’s 2G, 3G and 4G networks.

Before signing up to Vodafone mobile broadband, we’d strongly recommend double-checking the coverage in your area. You can do this by entering your postcode on Vodafone’s online coverage map:

Check Vodafone Coverage (vodafone.co.uk) →

It’s worth checking the coverage on Vodafone in all of the places where you’d use your mobile broadband service (e.g. at home and at work).

If you’re using a 5G-ready device with a mobile broadband SIM card, it may also be possible to access 5G coverage on Vodafone.

For more information, see our in-depth guide to coverage on Vodafone or our overview of how mobile coverage works in the UK.

International Roaming

If you’re travelling abroad, you can use your mobile broadband service through Vodafone Global Roaming.

On all mobile broadband plans, it’s possible to roam at no extra cost when travelling to one of 51 European destinations (capped at a maximum of 25GB per month on unlimited data plans).

On the Unlimited Max price plan, you can roam at no extra cost in 81 international destinations with Global Roaming Plus. This includes most European countries along with the USA, Canada, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, Turkey and more.

In most other countries, it will cost you £6/day to use your Vodafone mobile broadband service as part of the Roam-further offer.

For more information, see Vodafone’s official website or read our full guide to Vodafone Global Roaming.

More Information

For more information on Vodafone mobile broadband, please see Vodafone’s official website.

Your Comments 32 so far

We'd love to hear your thoughts and any questions you may have. So far, we've received 32 comments from readers. You can add your own comment here.

  • Hi Ken,
    Thanks for your website and reviews of these products – very helpful.
    I am looking at getting 4G Broadband as I have just moved house and there is no fibre to cabinet connection available at my new property (just standard ADSL or Virgin which is expensive). The Vodafone website says we have good 4G coverage at the new address, and since moving I have gotten a speed of around 22Mbps on my 4G connection on my phone (on O2 network). Vodafone and O2 seem to be the only 4G mobile providers available here (no EE or 3 available in our rural market town).
    I am looking at the R219 hotspot as an option, as the Unlimited Max data plan is currently on offer which would bring it in at an average of about £25 per month on the 12m contract (this is the same price Sky offered me for an ADSL connection). The price is OK but I want the fastest speed for the money, be it wired or 4G (we’re not bothered about a fixed phone line as we both have unlimited text/call bundles on our mobiles anyway).
    My only concern is the actual WiFi broadcast range of the R219 hotspot device itself. I can’t find details of this anywhere. It says you can connect 10 devices, which is more than sufficient for us (at max we would have two phones, an iPad and a Smart TV connected, but unlikely they’d all be active at the same time). My concern is, how close you have to be to the hotspot itself to get a strong connection (as I would like to position it in the house so I don’t really have to move it and it acts like a traditional wired router but through 4G).
    I’m tempted to get the unlimited data deal and just see how the hotspot itself performs, then maybe buy an alternative 4G Router to put the SIM into, if the WiFi broadcast on the hotspot isn’t wide ranging enough to cover the whole house well. Do you have any tips on which 4G Router might be a good alternative (and do you think it’ll be needed)?
    For info, I will be (currently) using the connection to deliver online live teaching (with screen-share and two devices connected) during the daytime, and we watch our internet TV in the evening (just one TV). We occasionally video call friends and relatives overseas, and our phones are usually on all the time. Will the R219 do the job do you think?
    Cheers
    Jen

    • Hi Jen,
      Thanks for your comment. The Wi-Fi range of the R219 is definitely going to be a lot worse than a normal router, so it really depends on how large your home is! As a rule of thumb, you can expect around 10 metres Wi-Fi coverage (versus around 30 metres coverage with a more traditional router). If you decide you want to upgrade to a proper 4G router, my recommendation would probably be to get something like the Huawei B311 or the Huawei B535.
      Finally, with regards to whether the R219 should be “up to the job” for what you want to do: yes, it should be able as long as you’re in an area with good enough speeds and coverage 🙂
      Hope this helps,
      Ken

  • Hi Ken I’ve been quite happily using an R219 for working from home for nearly a year now however I have noticed in the last couple of weeks it’s become much slower. I don’t think it’s a problem with the 4G signal strength as my phone is much quicker if I switch from the mifi to mobile data. Do they wear out after a year of constant use and should I be looking to replace the device with a new one? Thanks Nigel

    • Hi Nigel,
      Thanks for your comment. There shouldn’t be a problem with your device “wearing out” but it could be that coverage has worsened or that your local mast has become more congested. I’d possibly test out placing your device in a different location and seeing whether this makes a difference 🙂
      Hope this helps,
      Ken

      • Nigel Batten replied:

        Hi Ken

        Thanks for your advice and yes I tried that without success. However as a last resort I switched it off overnight and the next day it was back to full strength and has been working fine ever since. For anybody reading this I think it’s a great product and really useful being able to take it out and about. Although you might find it likes a rest after a year’s constant use.

        Best wishes

        Nigel

  • Daniel Eiloart said:

    Hi Ken, I’ve been following your website for the past few months. It’s very informative so thank you for the insights. I live in a rural location and there’s no fibre to the cabinet nearby and I can only get weak BT broadband signal – less than 5mb down and 1mb up. There is a good 4G signal (60mb down) from Vodafone and O2 but not other networks such as Three or EE. I’m already a Vodafone customer so can get a 15% discount on an extra line and want to get an unlimited max plan over 24 months. However, it seems the discount doesn’t apply to “data only” plans that are also only available over 12 months for some reason – making it even pricier than the 24 month extra sim over 24 months. I’m planning on getting a Huawei B235-232 router. The question I have is will Vodafone object to me taking the cheaper non-data plan and using it in the router rather than a phone? Also, I want the flexibility as I may use the sim in a phone at some point. My usage probably won’t be huge but I want a reliable service that can take the strain when my kids visit. Many thanks in advance for your help.

    • Hi Daniel,
      Thank you for the kind words, and I’m really glad that you’ve found the website to be helpful!
      Yes, it’s possible to use the regular Unlimited Max SIM card in any device you like, including in a 4G mobile broadband device. For more information, see my guide to SIM cards for tablets and mobile broadband. Like you said, it would also give you the flexibility to use the SIM card in your phone at some point. You can currently get Unlimited Max at a discounted price of £26 per month through this link.
      Hope this helps!
      Ken

  • Hi, I just got one of these (Vodafone R219). We have very slow broadband so we use this as our main source of internet- we live in rural Scotland so this so far has been a great alternative. I was wondering do we leave it plugged in all the time or is it good to plug it and let it run on the battery once in a while? Thank you

    • Hi Jo,
      Thanks for your comment. You can leave it plugged in all the time if you like. There’s no real need to run down the battery (if anything, this will simply reduce the battery life of the device in the future).
      Hope this helps,
      Ken

  • Hi there!

    Thanks for this article, it’s really helpful.

    I am considering the Vodafone R219 Mobile Wi-Fi Hotspot as my current WiFi is very unreliable and slow. We don’t have fibre here so our speeds are very slow and our hub constantly loses connection. Our 4g speeds on our phones however is decent and according to Vodafone’s coverage checker, the coverage where we are is good. Do you think this would be a good option please?

    Obviously, 150mbps is peak speed and we’re unlikely to get that, but how much of a drop off are we likely to see from the hub connecting to 4g, to our devices connecting to the hub? We use WiFi for watching live TV and Netflix etc all via an xbox as well as video calling friends and family etc. Will it be able to handle all of this do you think?

    Many thanks,
    Alex

    • Hi Alex,
      Thanks for your comment. The Vodafone R219 is potentially an option to consider, though like you say, it’ll probably suffer from some performance issues if you’re using lots of devices at the same time. The Wi-Fi signal will also be substantially weaker than a regular router (as a rule of thumb, it might only travel around one third of the distance of your normal router). You can, however, use it as a good starting point as you can always move the SIM card to a mains-powered router later on if you like (to get the improved Wi-Fi, better performance, etc).
      As an alternative, have you considered getting a 4G home broadband plan from Three Broadband? At the moment, they’re charging just £17/month for unlimited 4G home broadband. You’ll get a mains-powered router which should perform better than the battery-powered hotspot along with things a more powerful wi-fi signal, faster speeds, etc.
      Ken

      • Hi Ken,

        Thanks for getting back to me. Unfortunately Three say their home broadband isn’t available to my property. I don’t understand why that is though.

        There are only two of us so we would rarely have more than 4 devices connected. At the moment our WiFi gives us around 4mbps on a really good day, often it is less. Are we likely to experience better speeds than that with this do you think? The range I don’t think will be too much of an issue as we have a relatively small living room which is the only place we really use Internet. If we really needed it elsewhere we could move it to another room as it’s mobile, right?

        Really appreciate your help.

        Thanks,
        Alex

        • Hi Alex,
          That’s a shame regarding Three Broadband.
          Based on what you’ve said, I’d probably agree and say that the range of the R219 should be fine for your usage. Hopefully, the speeds you get should be better than 4Mbps as well, though that’s obviously dependent on the 4G coverage you’re able to get from Vodafone. Typically, Vodafone says you should be able to get around 23-35Mbps, but there is a lot of variability in that due to signal quality, congestion, etc. You can get a personalised expected speed range for where you live by entering your postcode here and then tapping on the “Data speed info” button in the result.
          Hope this helps,
          Ken

  • Hi Ken

    None of the websites actually advise if the R219 would support wireless printing (no USB cable or port). The Wireless printing (HP deskjet plus 4120) does not connect on my BT open zone, would the R219 work in the same way as BT open zone? I’d like to try something new as I travel long distance and abroad for work, so having a monthly fixed line router at home is not an option. (no telephone line). However at home my wireless printing and scanning simply does not work when I am connected to open zone on any device so hoping the above would help connect?
    Thank you.

    • Hi Lucy,
      Thanks for your comment and a very good question. Unfortunately, I’m not familiar with exactly how your wireless printer works, but I imagine it requires the devices on your wi-fi network to be able to communicate with each other. On public networks like BT Openzone, this is obviously disabled as it would be a major security risk (e.g. other people on the network might be able to access data from your device). As the Vodafone R219 is producing your own private network, I see no reason why this type of access would be blocked. Saying that, there might be something else that I’m unaware of, so unfortunately it’s something you’ll need to test out for yourself!
      Ken

    • Hi Laura,
      Thanks for your comment. You can certainly do this if you like! However, the wi-fi signal on your Vodafone R219 might not be as a strong as a mains-powered router and it’s also limited to a maximum of 10 devices at one time. If you need a more powerful router, I’d recommend getting a 4G home broadband router instead.
      Hope this helps,
      Ken

  • Hazel Bartle-Ross said:

    Hi. I am hoping to set up Vodaphone hotspot RG219. No landline.
    Coverage checker reports 33.39

    However. I note you say that £28 unlimited data plan is capped. Will I be able to stream films etc on LG Smart Tv?
    Sorry I am new to this as neighbour used to provide all this: I think I am accustomed to very good broadband.

    • Hi Hazel,
      Thanks for your comment. Yes, the £28 plan is capped at a maximum download speed of 10Mbps. Take a look at my full guide here for information on what you can do with these speeds. However, to summarise, you can stream TV shows and movies in high-definition using just 5Mbps per device (so fine to do this on two devices at the same time if you get 10Mbps). If you’re streaming in ultra-HD (4K) quality, you’ll need a download speed that’s faster than 10Mbps.
      Ken

  • Nicholas Clough said:

    I live in a remote part of Somerset and, as a result, I cannot get more than about 12 television channels on Freeview. Would this device increase the number of channels I can receive?

    • Hi Nicolas,
      Thanks for your comment. The mobile broadband dongle won’t have any direct impact on the Freeview signal. However, you can potentially use it to watch internet-based television channels, including BBC channels through the iPlayer or 40+ TV channels through the TV Player website or app.
      Hope this helps,
      Ken

  • Hello, thank you so much for your article.
    I just bought the hotspot devise from vodafone I would like to know if the connection cuts? Normally I’m using this devise because I have electricity cuts this days because of some work in the street and I have a really important online exam soon and I’m worried that the connection will cut ? (It’s a 3 hours exam)

    (Normally my wifii is good and my 4g connection at home is also good).

    • Hi Nina,
      Thanks for your comment. Your Vodafone mobile broadband connection shouldn’t normally cut out, providing you have sufficient coverage in your area. The fact you’re getting good 4G is a good indicator, and the hotspot is powered by a battery so won’t be affect by a power disruption.
      Ken

  • Thanks for writing this article, it’s very helpful!

    Could you please advise me as to whether I should get the dongle or hotspot? I would like to go with the pay as you go option.

    I’m looking for a temporary way to access the internet as I’m currently moving house and the internet isn’t set up yet. I need to able to use Zoom (the video chat) for two hours per week. Would the above options be suitable?

    Could you explain to me what the pay as you go option mean – 15GB Data ? (90 day validity) ? I don’t no what this is, I’m not very tech-savvy!

    • Hi Anastasia,
      Thanks for your comment. There’s a little bit of a comparison here between the dongle and the hotspot but in short, I’d probably go for the hotspot unless you only want to use your mobile broadband service on a laptop that has a spare USB port.
      With regards to what you’re able to do with your 15GB data, there’s more information here in my guide to mobile download allowances. You can expect a one-on-one Zoom call to use around 600MB per hour at basic quality (1.6GB in high definition) and a group Zoom call to use around 800MB per hour (2.4GB in high definition).
      Hope this helps,
      Ken

  • Hi Ken
    While roaming in Europe I realise I will be capped at 25GB / month. Can I buy a local PAYG SIM card an put it into my R219. To get round the roaming limit?

    • Hi Quentin,
      Thanks for your comment. Yes, you can put in a different SIM card if you want to use more than 25GB of data abroad in a month. However, you’ll need to make sure the R219 is unlocked from Vodafone UK before you depart.
      Hope this helps,
      Ken

      • Thanks for this super fast reply Ken but we are already in France so could we get the unit unlocked in a store here or do we have to be in the UK?

        • Hi Quentin,
          It should still be possible to request an unlock through the Vodafone website. Do be aware, however, that it might take them a little bit of time to process this.
          Ken

  • Stephen Yeomans said:

    I have purchased an R219 from Vodafone. Working well but I’d there a range extender to boost it further within the house

    • Hi Stephen,
      Thanks for your comment. With a portable wi-fi hotspot device like the Vodafone R219, you’ll only be able to get around 10m of Wi-Fi range. You can use a mains-powered 4G router like the GigaCube or one of the unlocked devices here which will increase this to around 30m. Alternatively, you can also buy a Wi-Fi repeater like you mentioned which is available from a range of retailers like Amazon.
      Hope this helps,
      Ken

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