Looking for a mobile Wi-Fi device to get online from anywhere?
In this guide, we’ve looked at the 5 best MiFi deals in the UK in 2021, including plans with unlimited data.
We’ve also explained what you need to know when buying a MiFi device, to help you find the right deal for your needs.
Quick Comparison Table
Huawei 4G Plus MiFi
4GEE Wi-Fi Mini
R219 MiFi Device
Best MiFi Deals
Let’s begin our MiFi device reviews.
In this part, we’ve looked at 5 of the best MiFi deals on offer in 2021.
If you need a MiFi deal, it’s very hard to go past Three.
Their Huawei 4G Plus is one of the best mobile Wi-Fi devices you can buy at the moment.
It’s easy to set up, has great battery life, and when combined with the Three 4G network, it’s also very fast. You can expect download speeds of 50-100Mbps or even more, even with multiple laptops, phones, and other devices connected to the mobile hotspot.
Three offers a number of different mobile broadband plans with their MiFi device, depending on your data needs. Right now, they offer MiFi with unlimited data for just £11 per month for the first 6 months on a 24 month contract, which is very competitive. You can also choose whether to sign a pay monthly contract for 12 months or 24 months with a lower upfront cost, or you can pay as you go on a 30 day contract, which is nice.
The only downside to this mobile Wi-Fi router is the 2.4Ghz Wi-Fi signal isn’t the strongest – it won’t penetrate through multiple walls. However, it stills provides great Wi-Fi reception for most households.
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EE is known for having the best mobile network in the UK. Although their MiFi deals are sometimes expensive, EE is worth looking at if you live in a rural area and sometimes struggle to get a good 4G signal.
This MiFi plan works great for large households. You can connect up to 64 devices at once, and it offers a 30m Wi-Fi signal range, which is quite incredible for a pocket-sized MiFi device.
The best thing about the 4GEE Wi-Fi Mini though is it has a LAN port. This means you can connect a computer or Xbox/Playstation to the device directly, allowing for better mobile broadband speeds and a more stable connection. No other mobile broadband device on the market currently allows you to do this.
EE offer a good range of deals with this mobile Wi-Fi router. You can get it on a month to month pay as you go basis, albeit with a £40 upfront cost. Or, you can sign a 24 month contract to waive this upfront cost and lower the per month tariff.
Plus, there are also unlimited data mobile broadband plans available with this mobile Wi-Fi router, although they’re not cheap.
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The R219 is a mobile Wi-Fi device manufactured by Vodafone, designed with broadband-hungry households in mind.
This mobile Wi-Fi router offers a very strong Wi-Fi signal, and can cater to up to 10 devices at a time, including laptops, games consoles, phones, and iPads – just like a regular home broadband router.
Plus, you can get superfast MiFi speeds with this mobile broadband device. Depending on the 4G signal in your area, Vodafone provides download speeds of up to 150Mbps, which is plenty of bandwidth, even if you’re online all the time.
The difference between Vodafone and Three is this mobile broadband device is generally more expensive than the Huawei E5783B that Three gives you.
However, although Vodafone has a good range of mobile broadband plans available, including some unlimited data pay monthly contracts, they generally have an upfront cost.
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We’ve only put O2 at #4 on this list because their MiFi devices are often very expensive. This Huawei mobile Wi-Fi router is no exception – although you don’t have to pay an upfront cost, the monthly fee is quite high.
However, this mobile Wi-Fi device is expensive for a reason: this is the only 5G MiFi deal in the UK right now.
You can get simply incredible speeds with this gadget – up to 1.65Gbps (that’s 1650Mbps) – provided you have 5G signal. If you can’t get 5G, it will use the 4G network, albeit at a much slower speed.
What’s more, it even supports wireless charging for your mobile phone, and comes with a USB port to charge other devices. O2 also offers you the ability to create a custom mobile broadband data package, which no other mobile broadband providers allow you to do, and you can even get unlimited data with this mobile Wi-Fi device.
Since these deals are so expensive, and 5G isn’t available everywhere, we’d only recommend them if you need a lot of data on the go in major cities. If you just want 5G home broadband, it’s best to look for products like the Three 5G Hub rather than MiFi.
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5. Three 4G Hub
If you’re mostly planning on getting online at home, it might be worth looking at Three’s 4G router rather than a MiFi deal.
The Three 4G Hub doesn’t have a battery, so you have to plug it in like a regular home broadband router. However, you can use it almost anywhere, provided you have mains power.
You get an unlimited data allowance with all Three 4G Hub deals, and it’s possible to get great 4G speeds with this mobile broadband router. It’s available for as little as £14 per month, with no upfront cost on a 24 month contract.
You can also get the Three 4G Hub on a pay monthly contract. However, this is more expensive and involves a £30 upfront cost.
It’s also worth mentioning that Three have a similar but more expensive 5G Hub mobile broadband router available, if you can get 5G signal in your area.
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How to Choose a MiFi Deal
Now, we’ll explain what you need to know when selecting a mobile Wi-Fi deal to buy.
How does MiFi work?
A mobile Wi-Fi or “MiFi” device is a small, pocket-sized electronic gadget that creates a portable Wi-Fi hotspot for you to connect to the internet.
MiFi connects to a 4G or 5G mobile broadband network, just like your mobile phone, allowing you to get your devices online without having to use your landline.
When your mobile Wi-Fi device arrives, it will come with a MiFi SIM. You can’t use this data SIM card to make calls or send texts like with most SIM deals. Instead, you just slot the SIM card into the device in order to get online with mobile broadband.
MiFi devices also come with a battery, meaning they don’t need to be plugged in all the time. This allows you to take them when travelling if you’d like to use mobile broadband on the go.
The Wi-Fi network created by a MiFi device works just like the one created by a Wi-Fi router. You simply browse for available networks on your computer, select the correct network, and type in your password to connect. When you first get the mobile Wi-Fi router, there will be a sticker in the box with your network login details, allowing you to begin using mobile broadband immediately.
And just like with a regular Wi-Fi router, you can connect multiple devices to the mobile hotspot created by your mobile Wi-Fi device.
MiFi contracts explained: can you pay as you go?
Yes, you can pay monthly on a pay as you go basis with MiFi. Mobile broadband plans are often very flexible, especially when compared to a fixed-line broadband connection.
Some providers also offer MiFi devices with contracts lasting 24 months or 12 months, which will mean you pay a lower fee per month, and may reduce your upfront cost.
If you get a pay as you go MiFi deal, expect to pay an upfront cost, to cover the cost of the device. If you go for a longer term 12 month contract, or a 24 month contract, you shouldn’t have to pay an upfront cost.
Also note, if you choose a 1 month contract, the monthly cost of your MiFi package will likely be quite high. You can save money on mobile Wi-Fi by signing a longer term contract rather than going for a 30 day pay monthly deal.
Is MiFi as good as Wi-Fi?
MiFi is often as good or even better than WiFi, especially if your home broadband connection is very slow. For many households in areas with good 4G coverage, mobile broadband offers faster download speeds.
However, you need to ensure that you will have good 4G coverage before you make the switch, otherwise you may experience dropouts and slow speeds.
If switching to a 4G MiFi device for home broadband, you can use a provider’s network coverage map to check the coverage at your address. Here’s Three’s coverage map, as an example.
Also note that the mobile hotspots created by some MiFi routers won’t have as good signal strength as the network created by a proper Wi-Fi router. Although you should be fine to connect multiple devices at once, you may find that the signal is interrupted if it has to travel through walls, and you might find that the range isn’t very good.
To get around this issue, you can get a MiFi device with a very strong Wi-Fi signal, such as the Vodafone R291. Or you can look at 4G mobile Wi-Fi routers such as the Three 4G Hub, which are designed for home broadband use.
How much MiFi data do I need?
Each type of mobile Wi-Fi device is typically available with a range of different data packages. You can get MiFi with as little as 5GB of data per month, all the way up to unlimited data.
- If you plan to use MiFi as a replacement for home broadband, then it’s best to look at unlimited data mobile broadband plans. Watching videos and making Zoom calls can use up a lot of data very quickly, especially if you spend a lot of time online.
- If you only have a small household, don’t watch many online videos, and don’t use the internet that often, then you should be fine with a 50-100GB per month data deal. You might not need unlimited data if your mobile Wi-Fi router will only be used for less data-intensive activities.
- If you only use MiFi very occasionally, such as when travelling, or in your car, and you don’t use it for videos, then you should be fine with a 10-20GB monthly data plan. You definitely won’t need unlimited data.
Although getting MiFI with unlimited data might sound expensive, it’s actually not that costly these days. With providers such as Three, you can get unlimited portable WiFi for about £20 per month on a longer contract length.
Given the amount of data most UK households use, we recommend choosing an unlimited data package in most cases, unless you will only be using MiFi very occasionally, or don’t use the internet much in general.
4G MiFi vs 5G MiFi deals
Most MiFi deals in the UK right now use 4G mobile broadband.
4G mobile broadband is very widely available, even if you live in a rural area. It also offers mobile broadband speeds of up to 150Mbps, depending on the network, and the signal strength at your address.
However, as of 2021, O2 has started to offer a 5G pocket hotspot device. With this mobile Wi-Fi router, you can get speeds of up to 1.65Gbps, which is faster than most fibre broadband connections in the UK. Plus, with their MiFi device, you can still get multiple laptops, phones and iPads online at once, like with a normal home broadband connection.
The issue with 5G is it’s very new, so coverage isn’t great. Although the rollout is accelerating, you’re unlikely to get it unless you live in the heart of a major city. Therefore, as of right now, for most people, it’s better to get a 4G MiFi device, because they’re cheaper and give you more mobile broadband deals to choose from. Also, most 5G deals either don’t come with unlimited data just yet, or have a very high per month cost.
What are the best MiFi providers?
The following UK networks offer mobile Wi-Fi deals:
- Three sell a mobile broadband device called the Huawei E5783B. It’s available with a number of different data deals and contract lengths. Three typically have the cheapest data plans, especially if you want unlimited data.
- Vodafone sell their own MiFi device, called the R219. It’s a good bit of kit, and offers great Wi-Fi connectivity. Vodafone also offers a good range of data plans, although they typically have higher upfront costs than Three, and their deals are often more expensive.
- EE have some of the best coverage of any UK network, including with their 4G mobile broadband plans. They mostly focus on wireless home broadband technology. However, they do have a MiFi option, known as the 4GEE Wi-Fi Mini. It’s an expensive mobile broadband device, requiring you to either enter a 24 month contract or pay a high upfront cost. However, it’s of the best mobile Wi-Fi devices available if you want to connect a number of devices to your mobile hotspot at the same time. Recently, EE has introduced mobile broadband plans without a maximum data allowance, allowing you to get unlimited data.
- O2 are the only UK network to offer 4G and 5G MiFi devices, both made by Huawei. Their deals aren’t particularly cheap, but they do offer good flexibility – you can basically build your own plan, by defining the contract length and amount of data you want.
In our opinion, Three are typically the best choice when it comes to buying a MiFi device. They offer great value, have a good range of plans, and provide good customer service.
However, Vodafone and EE are worth looking at if you don’t mind paying more for a device with a better hotspot signal. Also, O2 offer 5G speeds, unlike any other MiFi provider.
How much does MiFi cost?
The cost of each MiFi deal really depends on the contract length and the amount of data, as well as any promotions that each provider is currently running.
For example, with the Three MiFi device, you can currently get an unlimited data allowance for just £11 per month for the first 6 months, then £22 per month from then on, on a 24 month contract. If you pay monthly rather than locking into a 24 or 12 month contract, the same unlimited data plan costs £24 per month.
Other broadband providers typically charge you a higher monthly cost, even if you lock in for 12 months or 24 months. However, in most cases you should be able to get a good MiFi deal for around £20-£25 per month, or less if you get a package with a smaller data allowance.
Alternatives to MiFi devices
Other than using MiFi, there are two other alternatives you might want to consider for mobile broadband:
- Dongles – rather than using Wi-Fi, dongles plug into a USB port on your computer, allowing one device to use mobile broadband. They don’t require charging, and are very simple to use, but dongles only allow you to use the internet on one device at once. Typically, this one device is your computer, since most other devices don’t have a USB port.
- 4G and 5G routers – similar to a normal broadband router, 4G and 5G routers plug into mains power – they don’t have a battery, so they aren’t as portable as MiFi. However, they still connect to the internet using 4G or 5G signal, depending on what’s available in your area, allowing you to bypass your landline. The benefit of 4G and routers is they’re generally cheaper than MiFi, offer a stronger Wi-Fi signal, and perform better when multiple laptops, iPads, and phones use your mobile broadband at once. They perform more like you would expect from a typical home broadband router.
Essentially, MiFi is a portable, flexible option for connecting multiple devices to the internet. Unlike a dongle, a mobile Wi-Fi router creates a proper hotspot, and unlike a 4G router, they can be used without being plugged in. Plus, mobile Wi-Fi allows you to pay monthly, rather than having to lock in for 12 months or 24 months, and you can still get them with unlimited data included.
This is the end of our buyer’s guide.
Remember, the MiFi package you should buy depends entirely on how you plan to use mobile broadband.
If you plan to get online occasionally when travelling with your mobile broadband plan, then you should be fine with 20-50GB of data per month with a short-term contract length.
However, if you need a MiFi deal as a replacement for home broadband, it’s worth getting a mobile Wi-Fi router with unlimited data on a longer term pay monthly contract. Otherwise, you might face significant data usage charges in addition to the per month cost.
Also remember that the longer you commit for, the lower your upfront cost will be, in general. This may affect your choice as to whether to go for a long term pay monthly contract, or a shorter pay as you go MiFi deal.
If you’re still not sure which mobile broadband plan to buy, drop a comment below and we’ll help you find the right mobile Wi-Fi device for your specific needs.
About the author
Tyler 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.