Are you seeking the top SIM cards to use as a hotspot, i.e., share Internet connectivity to devices nearby? Both hotspot devices (“portable routers”) and hotspots shared from smartphones, tablets, and laptops require SIM cards. They provide access to a cellular network and the ability to call, text, use mobile data, and so much more. Due to the need to have reliable connectivity on the go, users often opt for pay-as-you-go SIMs or prepaid SIM cards. However, if the mobile provider covers an entire country or has great roaming, postpaid ones can be suitable. Now, let’s dig into our list of the best SIM cards for a hotspot.
Three UK is our leading carrier for the SIM cards used for a hotspot. Not only do they cover 99.8% of the country with 3G and 4G but have steadily expanded their 5G network. They excel at offering unlimited mobile data in the United Kingdom and over 71 locations across the globe for only £28 a month. You also get limitless texts and minutes without a contract. If you commit to a yearly plan, you only have to pay £23 a month. The real value is in the 2-year plan at £11 monthly. You can also buy mobile devices at discounted prices and pay monthly rather than full price upfront.
2. iD Mobile
You’ll quickly realize why iD Mobile is the runner-up on our list of the most popular hotspot SIM cards. It is an MVNO (mobile virtual network operator) that uses Three UK’s network. They also sell mobile phones monthly with a small upfront cost but are best at offering SIM-only plans. The best one in terms of price only costs £16 for limitless data, text, and minutes but on a 2-year plan. They often run double data on monthly plans, such as offering 60 GB instead of 30 GB alongside unlimited SMSes and calls for £10.
3. Mint Mobile
Mint Mobile gained popularity as a T-Mobile MVNO whose owner is the actor Ryan Reynolds. They distinguish themselves by offering a discounted price for the first three months and then gradually increasing prices. For $30 monthly you get unlimited everything and 3G, 4G, and 5G coverage. The downside is that only the first 35 GB are in 5G and 4G LTE and you must sign up for 3 months upfront. Knowing the prices in the country can go over $80 monthly for the same deal, the cost remains far below what T-Mobile and Verizon ask.
Tello is an American mobile carrier that tops our list of hotspot SIM card providers for the United States. You always know where you stand. They offer a constant user plan for $29/month that includes unmetered data, calling, and texting, including limitless international minutes to over 60 countries. The value goes down if you go to metered data. You can only get 1 GB of mobile data on a hotspot alongside free talk and text for $10/month. Upgrading to $19 monthly only gets you 5 GB while $24 nets 10 GB per month. The catch is that only the first 25 GB are on 5G and 4G LTE.
Verizon owns Visible Wireless but offers better discounts on data needed for hotspots. The price of their Visible Plus plan for prepaid SIM cards is often matching Mint’s ($30/month) but can go up to $45 monthly if you require 5G network access. The upside is that you don’t require such an upfront commitment and that the limit is 50 GB of data before you experience network slowdown. You also get international calling to 30+ countries worldwide at regular rates. Plus, you can use the data in Canada and Mexico.
Going to the UK lets us visit O2. It can get boring at the top since this mobile network provider also offers 4G and 5G unlimited data, texting, and calls, but for £32/monthly. You can go down to 50 GB of data while retaining calling and texting and only pay £30. If you decide to go for a yearly plan, you get unlimited everything for £32. Plus, you get 25 GB of roaming data and 3 months of Apple Music, and 6 months of a supported service subscription. Two-year plans reduce the cost even more drastically, to £30 for all unlimited and other roaming and subscription service perks.
Staying in the United Kingdom with SIM roaming across Europe, we have giffgaff and its 4G and 5G LTE network. They stand out for offering no-contract free SIMs and promising not to change prices in 2022. Getting 100 GB of mobile data alongside unmetered texts and minutes will cost you £16, but the roaming is limited to 5 GB in European Union. While the roaming limit stays the same, you can get unlimited data, SMSes, and calls for £35. The “Always On” add-on will add more roaming data in roaming (we’ve seen 20 GB to 80 GB in 4G).
Lebara Mobile is present in several countries. These include Switzerland, Spain, Australia, the UK, Netherlands, France, Denmark, Saudi Arabia, and Germany. We don’t have time and space to analyze each market, but you’ll surely find high mobile data plans or unlimited ones, especially where they dominate, e.g., the UK and Switzerland. We’ve noticed prices for unlimited top-speed mobile data stay between £25 and £30. You can get a discount if you don’t mind the speed decreasing after a certain limit.
9. US Mobile
Although US Mobile seems like the best choice for the United States because they offer a 10-day free trial and only ask for $20 for unlimited data, texting, and calling, there’s a catch. You only get the aforementioned price when ordering multiple lines and in special conditions. Otherwise, the Unlimited Basic plan costs $35 per line and gives you 30 GB of 5G data without including hotspots. You must pay $45 monthly per line to get 100 GB top-speed 5G data, 50 GB hotspot, and 10 GB international data.
Despite being one of the leaders and offering a superfast Ultra Wideband 5G network across the United States, Verizon’s plan prices are too high. While it’s unlimited, their 5G Play More plan (there are 3 similar ones) only offers 25 GB of 5G hotspot mobile data, then goes down in speed while remaining unlimited. True, they bundle unlimited talking and texts, and it all applies to Mexico and Canada. However, paying $80 or more to also get service subscriptions such as Disney+, ESPN+, Apple Music, and Hulu isn’t everyone’s cup of tea.