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Best mobile broadband 2024: Get speedy 4G or 5G internet at home or on the go

Looking for a real alternative to your landline connection or Wi-Fi everywhere you go? We’ve got the mobile broadband deals for you

Once a niche service you might use on holidays or as a backup while moving home, mobile broadband has now hit the mainstream. On the one hand, a new generation of mobile 4G and 5G routers mean you can share one connection across lots of devices, which is perfect when you’re travelling, living somewhere where a fixed line isn’t an option, or moving into temporary digs.

On the other hand, 4G and 5G connections are now a viable alternative to a traditional ADSL or fibre connection. In some cases, the best mobile broadband connections might even be faster than anything BT or its rivals can offer at your property. That’s only going to happen more often as 5G services roll out further and the technology matures.

We rounded up the very best mobile broadband options, along with a handy buying guide, below.

Deal of the week

Three is serving up a 50% saving on its class-leading 5G broadband plan for the first six months of a two-year contract, with no upfront costs. 

View deal at Three

Best mobile broadband: At a glance

Best unlimited 5G broadbandThreeView deal at Three
Best high-performance 5G broadband optionEE Smart 5G HubView deals at EE
A solid alternativeVodafoneView deals at Vodafone

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The best mobile broadband you can buy in 2024

1. Three Home Broadband: The best unlimited 5G broadband

Price: £24 (£12/mth for six months) | View deals at Three

Three 5G Hub on a wooden table next to a potted houseplantIf you’re lucky enough to live in an area within Three’s 5G coverage, its Home Broadband package is difficult to beat. For £12/mth for the first six months of a 24-month contract (then £24), you get unlimited 5G broadband at the fastest speed available, with performance that can match and even beat many fibre options.

Three promises average download speeds of 150Mbits/sec, and it isn’t unknown for data speeds to peak above 400Mbits/sec. Some customers still complain of slow or inconsistent connections, although increased and improved coverage seems to be working in Three’s favour. The bundled 5G Hub supports download speeds of up to 2.33Gbits/sec and has two Gigabit Ethernet ports and 802.11ax Wi-Fi with 4×4 MIMO, so you have everything you need to handle higher speeds, should they come through.

Both coverage and performance have improved over the past year, according to RootMetrics. Three can now offer 5G services to more than 60% of the population in the UK’s major cities, and has the best combination of 5G coverage and performance of any network in the UK. While it now comes second to EE for median 5G download speeds at 165.7Mbits/sec to 174.1Mbits/sec, its top speeds are much higher, with the fastest 5% reaching an average 853.4Mbits/sec to EE’s 638.5Mbits/sec.

The monthly price shown will increase each April by the Consumer Price Index rate of inflation plus 3.9%.

Read our full Three broadband review

2. EE Smart 5G Hub: The best high-performance 5G broadband option

Price: From £45/mth | View deals at EE

EE Smart 5G Hub angled view

If you’re happy to pay more for your 5G broadband, EE offers a compelling mix of high-end hardware and impressive speeds. The brand has recently upgraded its Smart 5G Hub to a new model with a pair of Gigabit Ethernet ports, Wi-Fi 6 and support for up to 100 devices. EE claims average 5G speeds of 144.6Mbits/sec, which may be the faster option if you aren’t in a full-fibre area.

This doesn’t come cheap, with monthly fees starting at £45/mth for an 18-month contract with a 500GB monthly data cap, or £50/mth for unlimited data, both with £100 cost upfront. What’s more, a quick look at the small print reveals that the unlimited deal isn’t all that unlimited, since EE considers usage above 1,000GB to be non-personal and may apply traffic controls. Given that an hour of watching 4K streaming video on Netflix can use up to 7GB, while big game downloads could involve 100GB or more, 1,000GB isn’t all that generous a cap, however soft.

On the plus side, EE is well-equipped to promise you high levels of performance. The latest figures from RootMetrics still place the network top for overall 4G and 5G speeds and coverage, and while Three will sometimes provide faster connections in some locations, EE still has the best UK-wide median 5G download speed, at 174.1Mbits/sec. Even its slowest 5G download speeds, at around 15.4Mbits/sec, are faster than any other supplier – if your 5G connection is that poor then you might be better off sticking with a 4G service, though.

The monthly price shown will increase on 31 March 2024 by the Consumer Price Index rate of inflation plus 3.9%.

3. Vodafone GigaCube: Solid 5G mobile broadband

Price: From £40/mth | View deals at Vodafone

Vodafone’s 5G GigaCube router comes with a choice of two plans, available on either a rolling monthly contract or a 24-month plan. For £40/mth, you’ll get the 5G GigaCube router with 200GB of data, while unlimited data takes the cost up to £60/mth. Otherwise, the major difference is the upfront costs, which range from zero on the 24-month unlimited plan to £175 on both 30-day plans.

The TCL-produced GigaCube router is the star of the show, enabling up to 64 devices to connect simultaneously, with support for Wi-Fi 6 and 4×4 MIMO to ensure you can get a good connection around the home. The GigaCube also packs in a single Gigabit Ethernet port alongside a faster 2.5Gbit LAN/WAN port. And if you don’t have 5G in your area yet, you can get a 4G GigaCube router with a 4G SIM, with the monthly rates running from 200GB for £40/mth to 300GB for £50/mth.

Vodafone has slipped behind Three and EE when it comes to 5G performance, but it’s still very competitive in many locations across the UK. RootMetrics’ latest round of testing had Vodafone posting median 5G download speeds of over 100Mbits/sec in all 16 of the UK cities where it runs its metropolitan tests, with 5G availability improving in 11 of those and media download speeds up in ten.

The monthly price shown and all out-of-bundle charges will increase each April by the Consumer Price Index rate of inflation plus 3.9%.

4. EE 4G WiFi: The best 4G broadband on the move

Price: From £14/mth | View deals at EE

There are at least two good reasons to pick EE’s 4GEE bundles if you’re after mobile broadband on the go. For one, RootMetrics still rates EE as the number one UK network for 4G and 5G performance, with its UK-wide median download speed of 68.6Mbits/sec far in advance of the nearest competitor, Vodafone, at 34.5Mbits/sec. Second, coverage is excellent, and you shouldn’t find it hard to get a decent signal even in rural or coastal areas, although there will always be some remote spots or awkward places where it slips.

EE’s 4G WiFi Mini router is also pretty useful, with 802.11ac Wi-Fi and a 2,150mAh battery that should last up to 12 days. It measures less than 10cm across and weighs only 85g. EE has also adjusted its range of plans since our last review, starting with a £14/mth plan with 5GB of data, then moving up through the £17/mth 25GB and £40/mth 125GB plans, to the unlimited data option at £50/mth. There are no upfront costs on any of these plans.

EE also offers a Smart 4G Hub home router with its own £30/mth 100GB and £50/mth unlimited plans. These offer a solid alternative to standard fibre broadband packages if you have a good 4G signal, although the £150 upfront cost on the unlimited deal might be difficult to swallow.  There’s stiffer competition here from Three, but EE’s faster 4G connection speeds might help make up for the higher pricing.

The monthly price shown will increase on 31 March 2024 by the Consumer Price Index rate of inflation plus 3.9%.

How to choose the best mobile broadband service for you

What is mobile broadband?

Until fairly recently, mobile broadband meant buying a pocket-sized router that worked with a 4G SIM to create a mobile wireless hotspot, which could be used to hook up your laptops, tablets and handheld games consoles to the internet while you were away from home.

Increasingly, though, we’re seeing fully featured designs that do everything you’d expect of a conventional ADSL or fibre router – only using a mobile connection, rather than a fixed line. So far, the limited speeds of 4G services have put such devices in a bit of a niche, but the advent of 5G changes that. When you can get up to 500Mbits/sec just by slotting in a SIM card, why wait for a supplier to bring a full fibre connection to your home?

How much data will I get?

Typically, 4G and 5G mobile services have a data allowance or usage cap, which may be somewhere between 50GB and 300GB. That will be fine for work, browsing and music streaming, but if you spend a lot of time watching streaming services or downloading PC and console games, then you need to look for an unlimited package. These are now more widely available than they were, although they do come with a price premium and, in some cases, a longer contract.

What is the router like?

Take a good look at the router you’re getting with your package. The 4G and 5G home routers now have more features than they used to, with some including two or more Gigabit Ethernet ports and 802.11ax Wi-Fi. However, 4G services might come with a less well-equipped router, while routers designed primarily for mobile use might focus more on the compact size and battery life than the connectivity options.

Can I get decent coverage?


Ofcom’s latest study into UK mobile and broadband connectivity reports that 95% of all UK premises should have access to broadband through a fixed wireless access service, including satellite and mobile broadband.

However, most of these services will be based on a 4G signal, and the fastest 4G+ or LTE-A services, with speeds of over 40Mbits/sec, still tend to be available only in larger towns and cities. What’s more, just getting a decent 4G signal in your neighbourhood is no guarantee that a provider will offer fixed wireless access services in your area. Even if they do, it pays to check the coverage and compare predicted speeds for your location before you sign any contracts.


Although 5G coverage is improving, it remains fairly patchy. EE has the largest 5G network, now in reach of more than 60% of the UK population and stretching across over 1,000 UK locations. That doesn’t only include major towns and cities, but 500 rural and semi-rural areas. The other major networks are also catching up. Three also now claims to cover over 60% of the UK population across over 600 locations, and the proposed merger with Vodafone should see the merged network stretching even further.

Just remember that not everyone within a 5G area will be able to get a solid 5G signal, and that getting a signal on your phone outdoors doesn’t necessarily mean 5G broadband services will be available in your area, or that you’ll get a consistent, high-speed signal in your home.

How we test mobile broadband

We base our mobile broadband reviews on research conducted specifically for our own annual Mobile Network Awards, and on customer service, coverage and performance research from Ofcom and RootMetrics.

Our Mobile Network Awards survey asks nearly 4,400 UK readers about their satisfaction levels with their current provider, and how well their 4G or 5G connection holds up while watching video, browsing the internet and streaming. We also ask for more detail on their experience of 5G services, to discover any benefits or issues that readers are experiencing.

Meanwhile, Ofcom’s Comparing Customer Service: Mobile, Landline and Home Broadband report provides a detailed indication of customer satisfaction with service, value and support for each UK network, including data on how many complaints are made and how they’re handled.

Finally, RootMetrics runs in-depth performance tests across the length and breadth of the UK to capture figures for performance and coverage – including more specific 4G and 5G performance tests in 16 of the UK’s largest towns and cities. The results are updated twice a year.

We take all these results into account before coming to a conclusion about the best services in terms of performance, reliability and overall value for money.

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