The ZTE 5G Hub (ZTE MC801A) was offered on Three’s 5G home broadband service. Read our review.

In the UK, Three previously offered the ZTE 5G Hub router from £10 per month on their 5G home broadband service.

The ZTE 5G Hub router supports maximum download speeds of 3.8Gbps (3,800Mbps). However, these maximum speeds won’t normally be accessible on the 5G networks of today. For this reason, Three advertises an average download speed of 100-200Mbps (depending on your area) with peak speeds of 1Gbps (1,000Mbps).

As of September 2022, the ZTE 5G Hub has been replaced by the new 5G Hub (the Zyxel NR5103E). Compared to the ZTE 5G Hub, this allows you to connect more devices at the same time to your home network. It also supports faster 5G speeds.

In this article, we’ll review the ZTE 5G Hub router. We’ll start by looking at how it works. We’ll then look at the technical specifications and the network coverage that’s available.

Prices From: £10 per month
Contract Length: 1 month or 24 months
Download Speeds: 100Mbps+ (average download speed)
Will vary based on the signal strength & coverage in your area
Model Number: ZTE MC801A
Availability: Selected UK postcodes (check your postcode)

What is the ZTE 5G Hub?

The ZTE 5G Hub was a 5G home broadband router provided by Three in the UK. It allows all of your devices at home to get connected to the internet, including your laptops, tablets, mobile phones, smart TVs and other smart home devices.

Instead of using a phone line or cable like traditional fibre broadband providers, the ZTE 5G Hub uses a wireless 5G connection. This 5G connection sits in-between the 5G Hub and Three’s 5G mobile network. Your other devices will then interface with the Hub using regular Wi-Fi (so there’s no need for your individual devices to support 5G connectivity).

The ZTE 5G Hub supports a maximum possible download speed of 3.8Gbps (3,800Mbps). However, in practice, Three says you’ll normally get an average download speed of 100-200Mbps (subject to coverage and capacity in your area) with peak speeds of up to 1Gbps (1,000Mbps).

For comparison, most fibre broadband services offer an average download speed of 67Mbps. You can, however, get much faster speeds of up to 900Mbps if you’re using full fibre broadband.

As of September 2022, the ZTE 5G Hub has been replaced by a newer 5G Hub (Zyxel NR5103E).

Technical Specifications

In the background, the ZTE 5G Hub will connect to Three’s 5G mobile network, broadcasting a Wi-Fi network from it that your other devices are able to connect to. As it produces just a regular Wi-Fi network, there’s no need for your individual devices to support 5G or any other technology.

In terms of mobile connectivity, the ZTE 5G Hub is powered by Qualcomm’s X55 5G chip. It’s therefore able to support download speeds of up to 3.8Gbps on 5G. It also supports Category 22 LTE 4G technology. In actual usage, Three normally advertises an average download speed of 100-200Mbps, with a peak speed of 1Gbps (1,000Mbps) on their 5G network.

For your home network, you’ll get support for the latest Wi-Fi 6 technology (802.11a/b/g/n/ac/ax). This allows you to connect up to 30 devices wirelessly to your 5G Hub. You’ll also get 2 Gigabit Ethernet sockets for connecting wired devices to your home network. On the back of the hub, you’ll also find 2 TS-9 sockets for attaching an external antenna, a one-touch WPS pairing button and a RJ11 phone port. The RJ11 phone port is disabled on Three as they do not offer a home phone service with their 5G home broadband.

ZTE 5G Hub portsAlthough the ZTE 5G Hub supports Wi-Fi 6 technology, one potential downside is the limit of 30 devices connected to Wi-Fi at a given time. For most households, the 30 device limit should be plenty. However, if you’re using lots of smart home devices such as doorbells, sensors and speakers, you may run into this 30 device limit. If so, you may need to work around this by using a separate mesh wi-fi system such as Google Wi-Fi or Amazon Eero. This will support more connected devices and will also give you a stronger Wi-Fi signal across your home.

The following table shows the full technical specifications of the ZTE 5G Hub:

ZTE MC801A
Mobile Connectivity
5G Connectivity:Up to 3800 Mbps download
5G Bands:5G NR bands n41, n77, n78 & n79
4G Connectivity:Category 22 LTE
4G Download Speed:Up to 2400 Mbps download
4G Upload Speed:Up to 316 Mbps upload
4G Bands:LTE bands 1, 3, 7, 20, 28 & 40
External Antenna:Yes, 2x TS-9 connectors
Home Network Connectivity
Dual-Band Wi-Fi:Yes
Wi-Fi Connectivity:802.11a/b/g/n/ac/ax
Wi-Fi Devices:Up to 30 devices
Ethernet:2 Gigabit Ethernet ports
Phone:1 RJ11 phone port
Other
Dimensions:22.5 x 15.5 x 8.7 cm
Model:ZTE MC801A
Colour:White
More Information:See three.co.uk

The ZTE 5G Hub router (ZTE MC801A) launched on Three in February 2022. In September 2022, it was replaced by a newer 5G Hub (Zyxel NR5103E). The new 5G Hub supports faster download speeds (up to 4.7Gbps). You’ll also be able to connect up to 64 devices to your Wi-Fi network at the same time (versus the 30 devices supported on the ZTE 5G Hub).

Coverage & Availability

Three offers their 5G home broadband service in selected postcodes across 300 UK towns and cities.

You can see whether the 5G Hub is available where you live by entering your postcode on Three’s broadband availability checker.

Check Three 5G Broadband Availability (three.co.uk) →

Once you’ve entered your postcode and selected your address, you’ll be told about the plans available in your area.

If Three’s 5G home broadband isn’t yet available where you live, you might be offered a 4G home broadband plan on the 4G Hub or on the 4G Plus Hub. Alternatively, you might be able to get 4G mobile broadband on the 4G Plus MiFi.

More Information

For more information about the ZTE 5G Hub, please see Three’s official website.

Your Comments 13 so far

We'd love to hear your thoughts and any questions you may have. So far, we've received 13 comments from readers. You can add your own comment here.

  • Hi, is it possible to connect to the ZTE two wired device and use the WiFi at the same time or I’m loosing WiFi if I switch to wired mode? Thanks

  • martin newman said:

    I’m now on my second replacement ZTE device.

    I live in 2 different places. I take the router with me and in London it works very well, getting up to 300mb download on 5G. The other place has 5G very close, but it doesn’t connect yet, and 4G drops out and gives me no signal at all at times.
    I kept my old Huawei router and account going until the ZTE is running properly, but after installing the latest replacement, I’m still getting dropout after watching a streaming show on Prime with Dolby Atmos. This is very annoying and I don’t know what the solution is. I don’t want to keep having to switching back to the Huawei when the ZTE fails. I want to be able to cancel the Huawei account with Three and just have the ZTE. It’s ridiculous!

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