Vodafone 5G Broadband Review | GigaCube Mobile Router

Looking at getting online using Vodafone 5G broadband?

In this guide, we’ve reviewed the 5G GigaCube, to see if it’s worth buying.

Ultimately, the Vodafone GigaCube offers good download speeds, and strong Wi-Fi signal, but is a bit expensive compared to the Three 5G Hub.

Let’s get started.


Vodafone 5G broadband overview

Manufacturer brandZTE
Manufacturer nameMC888 Ultra
Dimensions100 x 100 x 206mm
Speed ratingCat 18
Ethernet ports2 (2.5Gb)
External antenna sockets2
WiFi802.11a/b/g/n/ac/ax (WiFi 6), dual-band, 4x4 MIMO
Maximum connected devices256
Rating3.7 (out of 5)
PriceCheck on Vodafone

Vodafone currently sells a mobile broadband router known as the GigaCube, which can connect to the internet using 4G or 5G.

The GigaCube functions just like a traditional fibre broadband router, except it takes a SIM card, rather than plugging into a broadband socket.

It connects to the internet using 4G or 5G, like your phone, then creates a local Wi-Fi hotspot you can use to get online – just like any other Wi-Fi router.

When you buy the GigaCube, you’ll get everything you need to get online, including the router, and a data SIM card from Vodafone.

The router Vodafone is currently supplying to 5G broadband customers is a ZTE MC888 Ultra – we’ve shared its specs in the table above.

Buying the GigaCube

Vodafone GigaCube router.

Currently, you can buy the GigaCube on a 1 month or a 24 month plan. The month-to-month deal has a much higher upfront cost.

Apart from the contract length, you can also choose how much data you want. You can either get unlimited data, or a 200GB monthly usage allowance.

For most families, especially if more than three people live at home and use the internet regularly, you will most likely need the unlimited data plan. 200GB is more suited to smaller households, if your GigaCube will be your main way of getting online.

To actually buy the GigaCube, you currently need to go to their GigaCube page and get connected through live chat. They’ll then check what speeds you can expect, and walk you through signing up.

This process is not too difficult – their live chat is quite responsive, and the team is UK based. However, it would be nice to have an automated checkout process, like what Three offers.

There used to be a separate 4G GigaCube, but currently Vodafone only sells one device that can connect to both types of mobile networks.

Vodafone’s 5G router

Vodafone currently supplies the ZTE MC888 Ultra router on their 5G broadband plans.

This router generally performs very well. It can support up to 256 concurrent connected devices – more than enough for most households – and has WiFi 6, meaning it offers good signal, even in large houses.

There are downsides to this router though. It only has two Ethernet ports, meaning you can only plug in two devices to the router without buying an Ethernet switch or hub, to give you more ports.

However, this configuration is fairly typical for most 5G routers – the Three 5G Hub (Zyxel NR5103E V2) is the same.

Set up process

Vodafone SIM card.
Vodafone SIM punch-out card.

Once your GigaCube arrives in the mail, here’s what you need to do to get online.

  • Find the SIM card in the box, and remove the SIM from its punch-out card. You want the smallest SIM card – the nano SIM.
  • Grab the router, and open the SIM card slot, located on its base. Insert the SIM, making sure it goes in the correct way (the cut corner of the SIM should go in first). Put the SIM tray cover back into place.
  • Plug the router into mains power using the included cable, and turn it on.
  • Wait for the router to pick up 4G or 5G signal, and establish a Wi-Fi network.
  • Once the lights on the router turn blue or green, you’re ready to connect to Wi-Fi and get online. You can connect using the login details printed on the base of the router.

To get the best speeds, it’s a good idea to test the router in a few different locations around the house.

Typically, the best place is somewhere high up, near a window, such as an upstairs windowsill. Make sure to try the GigaCube in a few different spots and perform speed tests, to make sure you get the best speeds.

Vodafone 5G broadband speeds

ZTE MC888 Ultra router.

The main thing that will affect the speeds you can get with the Vodafone GigaCube is whether you get 4G or 5G signal at your address.

To tell, go to the GigaCube page on the Vodafone website, and connect to their live chat. They’ll help you find out what sort of speeds you can expect to receive.

You can also use the Vodafone network coverage map to see if they offer 4G or 5G at your postcode.

In general:

  • With 4G, you can expect download speeds of 25-40 Mbps, and upload speeds of 5-8 Mbps.
  • With 5G, you can expect download speeds of 150-300 Mbps, possibly peaking at 500 Mbps or more, and upload speeds of 10-20 Mbps.

These speeds are comparable to the speeds of the Three 5G Hub – but we were able to get speeds of 500-700 Mbps with Three’s 5G router.

If you want 5G broadband, make sure to check on the Vodafone website that you can get 5G signal where you live before buying, because the GigaCube is not a 5G-only device.

Are the speeds consistent?

Compared to a fibre broadband connection, you can expect less consistent speeds with the Vodafone GigaCube.

It’s not uncommon for your speeds to fluctuate by 100 Mbps or more over the course of a day with this device, depending on how much load the local 5G network is under.

For most day-to-day internet use cases, these fluctuations are not a cause for concern. However, if you need more consistent speeds, fibre broadband might be a better choice.

Latency and ping

Latency is a measure of how responsive your connection is when sending and receiving small packets of data.

It’s most important when online gaming – having a high latency is not normally noticeable when watching videos, web browsing, or using social media.

With 5G internet, you can normally expect a latency of about 40-50ms, or a bit less if connected to the router using an Ethernet cable, rather than Wi-Fi.

This is not extremely high, but it is a lot higher than when using fibre broadband. You can still play online games smoothly on the GigaCube, especially when plugged into the router, but it’s not the best for extremely competitive online games where every millisecond of latency matters.

Vodafone 5G broadband value for money

5G GigaCube

Vodafone logo.



Value rating


The Vodafone GigaCube is not extremely expensive, but it could offer better value for money.

Currently, if you want unlimited data, you can expect to pay £40-£50 per month for the Vodafone GigaCube, which is a similar amount to what you’d pay for a full fibre broadband deal with similar download speeds. It’s not much cheaper if you choose the 200GB plan, either.

However, Three’s 5G broadband plans are about half price – by comparison, Vodafone looks extremely expensive.

You also get a 30-day return policy with Three, and unlike Vodafone, they allow you to use their router anywhere in the UK – not just at your home address – meaning you can use it when travelling around the country.

If you can get Three 5G signal where you live, their wireless broadband deals are a lot better value than Vodafone’s.

You can check if Three 5G is available in your street using their network coverage map.

Is Vodafone 5G broadband any good? Our verdict

There are some things we like about Vodafone 5G broadband:

  • Their router is quite good, apart from its lack of Ethernet ports, and offers great Wi-Fi signal.
  • Vodafone’s 5G network is generally very fast – you can get good speeds with this router.
  • You have the choice of a 1 month pay as you go contract, which is nice to have if you don’t want to commit for 24 months.

However, there are some significant downsides to the Vodafone GigaCube:

  • It’s much more expensive than some other 5G broadband solutions, such as the Three 5G Hub.
  • There is no trial period or money-back guarantee, meaning you can’t test and see what the download and upload speeds are like before committing.

Overall, we rate Vodafone 5G home broadband 3.7/5.

The main thing that lets Vodafone 5G down is its pricing. The GigaCube offers a fast, easy way to get online using 5G, but its monthly and upfront costs make it poor value for money in most cases.

We’d only recommend buying this router if the Three 5G Hub isn’t available where you live, and the GigaCube is cheaper than fibre broadband in your area – or fast fibre internet isn’t available yet.

Vodafone 5G broadband alternatives

If you want to save money, or need a more portable internet solution, here are some alternatives to the Vodafone GigaCube you could consider using.

1. Three 5G Hub


Three logo.


5G Hub

Value rating


Three 5G Hub.

If you can get Three 5G signal at your address, their 5G router is a lot better value than Vodafone’s.

It costs a lot less, always comes with unlimited data, and doesn’t have a high upfront cost. And you can take it with you when travelling, unlike Vodafone’s router.

Also, we were able to achieve download speeds of more than 700 Mbps with this router – we think it’s generally a bit faster than Vodafone 5G broadband as well, but this will depend on how good the two networks are where you live.

2. Three 4G MiFi Device


Three logo.


4G MiFi

Value rating


Huawei E5783B Mi-Fi device.

If you want to get online when travelling, it might make more sense to use a mobile Wi-Fi device, like this one from Three.

Since MiFi devices come with a battery, you can use them anywhere with mobile broadband signal – no need to be plugged into mains power all the time. They can also often be cheaper to buy.

The downside is, you won’t get quite as good speeds with a mobile Wi-Fi device, and your connection will generally be a bit less consistent compared to using a 5G router.

This TCL MiFi device from Three only supports 4G. Vodafone does sell a 5G mobile Wi-Fi device, but it’s much more expensive.

3. EE Smart 5G Hub


EE logo.


Smart 5G Hub

Value rating


In some cases, it might be that EE has the best 5G signal at your address.

Their Smart 5G Hub router is a good bit of kit, and offers very fast download speeds, especially given how good the EE network is in most parts of the UK.

The issue is, EE 5G broadband is very expensive, even compared to Vodafone’s router, especially if you want unlimited data.


You’ve reached the end of our review of the Vodafone 5G GigaCube.

If you’re still not sure if this 5G broadband service is right for you, leave a comment below, and we’ll get back to you.

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