Are you looking to get online with a mobile Wi-Fi or MiFi device?
In this article, we’ve reviewed the 5 best MiFi deals on the market in the UK at the moment.
After, we’ve explained what you need to know when choosing a MiFi device and data plan.
4GEE WiFi Mini
5G Mobile Hotspot
Best MiFi deals
Let’s begin our reviews.
Below, we’ve taken a look at 5 of the best mobile Wi-Fi deals you can buy right now.
Three offers quite a good MiFi device bundled with very reasonably-priced data plans, including some with unlimited data.
You can get this device for as little as £15-£25 per month, and Three offers 6 months half price with some of their longer-term plans.
There are 12 and 24 month contracts available, as well as month-to-month plans, which have a higher upfront cost. However, many of the 12 and 24 month agreements have no upfront costs at all.
When we tested Three’s MiFi device, we found it to be quite a powerful bit of kit, given what it costs. The battery lasts for six hours, and its Wi-Fi signal strength is quite good. It offers great download speeds, especially once positioned in the right place.
Overall, if you’re looking for 4G MiFi, it’s hard to go past Three’s 4G MiFi device, made by TCL. With most other providers’ MiFi deals, you’d be getting a lot less data per month with their plans that have a similar monthly cost.
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If you’re looking for 5G download speeds, and are willing to pay more for them, Vodafone’s 5G Mobile Hotspot device is worth checking out.
This MiFi device offers download speeds of more than 300 Mbps, as long as you get 5G signal – it will switch to 4G when no 5G is available. Plus, it also comes with WiFi 6 – the latest standard – which gives you better signal strength and download speeds when connected to the hotspot.
You can also connect up to 32 devices to this mobile Wi-Fi router at once, which is much more than most MiFi devices allow. It can function almost as well as a regular Wi-Fi router, at least for small households.
The downside is, you’ll pay quite a lot for this device. The monthly costs are surprisingly reasonable, but the upfront fees are extremely high. This makes sense, given that 5G MiFi devices are very expensive at the moment.
On the plus side though, there are plenty of data deals to choose from, including ones with 4GB, 30GB, and unlimited data each month. And you can choose between pay as you go, 12 month, and 24 month contracts.
Just be aware that on the short term 30 day plans, the upfront fee is extremely high.
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As well as their 5G Mobile Hotspot, Vodafone also sells a 4G MiFi device.
This R228t MiFi router is a powerful bit of kit. Although it doesn’t support WiFi 6, it has a very long battery life, at nearly 12 hours of use and 300 hours on standby, and it can connect up to 32 devices to the internet at once.
The R228t also offers very good download speeds, at up to 300 Mbps in theory, and about 40-50 Mbps in practice, if you get good Vodafone 4G signal.
There is a good range of data plans available from Vodafone, similar to with their 5G MiFi device – you can get unlimited data if you’d like, and their monthly costs are quite good.
However, when you also account for their upfront fees, Vodafone is a bit more expensive than Three. This is especially true on their pay as you go plans, which have a very high initial cost.
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Like Three, EE also sells a 4G mobile Wi-Fi device, made by Alcatel.
The great thing about this MiFi device is it performs really well. It can support up to 64 connected devices at once, and has a 30m Wi-Fi range, although we found it to be more like a 20-25m range in testing.
Also, EE has the best 4G mobile network in the UK. You might like to use them if you travel a lot, and often find yourself in areas with poor 4G signal. Being on the EE network allows you to get online when you normally wouldn’t be able to.
However, there is a big downside to this MiFi device – it’s only available on a 24 month contract. There are no short-term month-to-month plans available.
On the plus side, there are a good range of data deals on offer – you can get 5GB, 25GB, 125GB, or unlimited data, and each has no upfront cost. However, EE’s monthly costs on their MiFi deals are very high when compared to other providers, like Three.
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Unlike the other MiFi networks on this list, O2 allows you complete flexibility to build your own MiFi plan with their 4G Pocket Hotspot.
Rather than having to choose between a 12 or 24 month contract, you can choose 13, 15, or 17 months if you want to – the minimum is a 3 month commitment.
You can also decide exactly how much data you want, from 5GB per month, up to an unlimited data allowance. And you can even trade off having a higher upfront cost for a lower monthly cost, by building a custom data plan.
This Alcatel MiFi device is also quite a good bit of kit. It comes with an 8-hour battery life, and can connect 32 devices to the internet at once. There are also other offers available, such as double data for Virgin Media customers.
The one issue with O2 is although they’re very flexible, their monthly costs are quite high. Also, since you have to commit for at least 3 months, there are no pay as you go MiFi plans available.
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What you need to know
In this section, we’ve explained how MiFi deals work, what you need to know when choosing a mobile Wi-Fi device, and the advantages and disadvantages of using MiFi to get online.
What is MiFi and how does it work?
A mobile Wi-Fi (also known as MiFi) device is a small gadget that creates a WiFi hotspot, allowing you to get online on your laptop, phone, iPad, and other devices.
To connect to the internet, MiFi devices use the 4G or 5G mobile broadband network, just like your phone. They take a SIM card, and use mobile data to get you online.
When you buy a MiFi device, you can get it bundled with a data plan and a SIM card. You will typically have a monthly data limit of 10-100GB, although unlimited data plans are also available.
MiFi devices also come with a battery, so they don’t need to be plugged in all the time. Since they’re also lightweight, MiFi devices are very portable when compared to most other ways of getting online.
Advantages of MiFi
Here are some of the main advantages of getting online with MiFi, compared to a traditional fibre broadband connection.
- MiFi devices are very flexible. You can buy them on a pay as you go plan, or on a 12, 18, or 24 month contract if you’d prefer.
- MiFi offers a cheap way to get online. With certain mobile networks, you can get a MiFi device bundled with a data plan for a very reasonable monthly cost, especially if you buy a 4G MiFi device, and don’t choose a plan with unlimited data. Also, you don’t have to pay for line rental with a MiFi device, helping you to save money.
- Sometimes, if you have slow broadband at home, MiFi devices can allow you to get faster download speeds.
- MiFi devices are very easy to set up. Simply insert the SIM card, put in the battery, charge up the device, and you’re ready to turn it on. You can get connected within about 15-20 minutes of the device arriving in the mail.
- You can get online almost anywhere using MiFi, as long as you have 4G signal. You’re not just limited to getting online at home.
Disadvantages of MiFi
However, there are also some disadvantages to mobile Wi-Fi when compared to a traditional Wi-Fi connection that you need to be aware of.
- Many MiFi deals come with a data limit. Unlike with regular broadband, you won’t always have unlimited downloads, unless you pay more for a plan with unlimited data.
- You will need to ensure that the MiFi device has enough charge when you want to use it. In saying this, you can use your MiFi device while it’s charging, if you want to.
- MiFi devices won’t create as strong a Wi-Fi hotspot as a traditional home broadband router. Also, you won’t be able to get online with as many devices at once.
What download and upload speeds will I get with MiFi?
The exact download and upload speeds you’ll get with a MiFi device depend on a number of factors.
The most important thing is whether or not you’re using a 4G or 5G mobile Wi-Fi router.
- If you’re using 4G MiFi, you can expect download speeds of about 20-40 Mbps, and upload speeds of about 5-8 Mbps.
- If you’re using 5G MiFi, you can expect download speeds of 300 Mbps or even more, and upload speeds of about 10-15 Mbps.
The issue with 5G MiFi is, it’s very expensive. If you’re looking for these types of speeds, and you mostly want to get online at home, we’d recommend looking at the Three 5G Hub router instead.
If you’re put off by the cost of 5G MiFi, 4G speeds are plenty for most MiFi use cases, especially when travelling. You can stream HD video with as little as 5 Mbps without experiencing buffering. However, don’t expect to get your whole family online at once using a 4G MiFi device.
The exact speeds you’ll get with mobile broadband depend heavily on the mobile network coverage at your address. We recommend using network coverage maps to check your signal – you want it to say that there is good indoor and outdoor 4G coverage at your address. Here is Three’s network coverage map, as an example.
When you get your MiFi device, we highly recommend trying it in a few different rooms around the house, to see where it gets the strongest 4G signal. The best place to put your MiFi router for the fastest speeds is typically a second-storey windowsill.
How much does a MiFi device cost per month?
With Three, who sell the cheapest MiFi plans at the moment, you can expect to pay about £15-£25 per month for their MiFi device with a data plan.
Other MiFi providers charge more for their MiFi packages, or offer a much lower data limit for the same per-month cost.
The exact amount you’ll pay depends on how much monthly data you need, and the contract length. The longer the contract, the less you’ll pay per month for a MiFi device.
Also, going for a longer-term contract typically allows you to avoid having to pay an upfront charge. On a month-to-month plan, you can expect to pay a £30-£50 upfront fee, in addition to the monthly cost we mentioned above, and this initial fee is much higher with 5G mobile Wi-Fi devices.
How to calculate how much MiFi data you need
When buying a MiFi device, it’s very important to consider how much data you’re going to use per month.
If your limit isn’t high enough, you’ll run out of data, and have to stop using the internet before the end of the month. On the other hand, if your limit is too high, you’ll likely be wasting a significant amount of money each month.
As a rule of thumb:
- If you’re only getting online every few days or so, and only sending emails, browsing the web, and using social media occasionally, a data limit of 10-20 GB should be enough.
- If you’re getting online most days, including with the occasional YouTube video as well as more regular social media usage, a data limit of about 50GB should be enough.
- If you’re getting online every day, including watching YouTube/Netflix and using social media on a regular basis, you might want at least 100GB of data per month, or an unlimited data plan.
The above assumes that only a single person is using the MiFi device. With more than one person getting online, you will need to increase your monthly limit accordingly.
Which is the best MiFi network in the UK at the moment?
The best MiFi provider depends on what you’re looking for:
- In terms of value for money, Three is the best MiFi provider at the moment. Their TCL MiFi device is very reasonably priced given the amount of data you get, and Three also has good network coverage.
- In terms of download speeds, Vodafone is a good choice, because they offer a 5G MiFi device. However, it is very expensive.
- In terms of network coverage, EE is a good pick, because their 4G network covers the most area in the UK compared to any other provider. However, their MiFi plans come with quite low monthly data limits.
In most cases, we would recommend Three MiFi over Vodafone, O2, and EE. Their MiFi deals are so much cheaper, while still offering great download speeds and a good Wi-Fi hotspot, that it usually makes sense to choose them over other mobile networks.
Can you use a MiFi device when travelling, including overseas?
If you buy a MiFi deal, you can use the device anywhere in the UK you can get 4G or 5G mobile broadband signal from the network you’re with. This allows you to get online almost anywhere in the country.
You can also use your MiFi device overseas, but the rules around doing this vary from network to network.
- Three MiFi works in 138 different countries, once you activate roaming. This is inclusive up to a fair usage limit in Go Roam countries, and is chargeable elsewhere.
- EE MiFi works overseas, but you need to buy a roaming broadband data add-on, which lasts for 30 days. The cost depends on the roaming zone you’re travelling to.
- With Vodafone, data roaming is enabled by default, but you are subject to a fair usage limit, or may have to pay for usage in certain countries.
- O2 MiFi does not allow roaming.
You can also use a local SIM card in your MiFi device, since most of these devices are unlocked, however, it may need to be a data-only SIM.
It’s important to note, some countries use different 4G frequencies, meaning that your MiFi device will not work no matter what.
Alternatives to MiFi
Other than using a mobile Wi-Fi device, there are other ways you can get online without using a fixed-line broadband connection.
- Dongles work in a very similar way to MiFi devices. They take a SIM card, and use 4G signal to get online. The difference is, mobile broadband dongles plug into your computer using a USB connection, rather than creating a WiFi hotspot. This means that although they are very easy to set up, since they’re plug and play, you can only get online on a computer with a dongle.
- 4G routers are similar to MiFi devices, except they must be plugged in all the time, and don’t come with a battery. Although they’re not as portable, the upside to 4G routers is they typically offer faster speeds, and provide a better Wi-Fi network. You’ll be able to get online with more devices at once using a 4G broadband router, and you’ll still be able to take the device to other locations, as long as you have somewhere to plug it in. We recommend looking at the Three 4G Hub if you don’t need a MiFi device with a battery.
- 5G routers are just like 4G routers, except they offer much faster download speeds. The Three 5G Hub is a good choice if this is what you’re looking for – it offers extremely fast download speeds for a very reasonable monthly cost.
- You can also use your phone hotspot to get online on the go. The downside to doing this is your phone’s battery will drain quickly, and you’ll need to ensure that you have enough data on your plan. However, this is a simple way to create a Wi-Fi network you can connect your laptop to, for example.
You’ve reached the end of our guide to the best MiFi deals in the UK.
Ultimately, for most people, we’d recommend Three’s MiFi device. Although it’s not the best bit of kit on the market at the moment, it offers good download speeds for a very low monthly cost. Even if you want unlimited data, this MiFi device is not all that expensive.
If you’re not sure which MiFi deal to buy, feel free to leave a comment below, and we’ll respond as soon as we can.
About the author
Tyler is the co-founder of Broadband Savvy. He has been helping people improve their broadband connectivity since 2018 by writing about fibre broadband and mobile broadband providers, as well as creating tutorials to help people improve their broadband speeds and Wi-Fi signal.
Tyler is responsible for the majority of buyer’s guides and broadband reviews published on Broadband Savvy. He has a wealth of experience testing and reviewing different broadband tariffs, including fibre internet plans, as well as 4G and 5G broadband deals. He is responsible for testing and evaluating Wi-Fi routers, performing speed and latency tests, and comparing the value for money of different broadband providers on the market in the UK.
Before co-founding Broadband Savvy, Tyler had a long history of tinkering with computers. He built his first PC at the age of 12, and since then, he’s become obsessed with all things networking and internet-related. He’s a massive gamer, loves Rocket League, and also plays Sunday League football.