Best 4G LTE Home Internet for Rural Areas

There's more than one way to get internet in the country. If you have cell phone service at your place, 4G LTE home internet can deliver faster speeds—and more data—than satellite.

  • Lowest price
    $40.00–$60.00/mo.*
    Limited availability
    View plans
  • Most flexible
    $99.99/mo.
    Unlimited data
    View plans
  • Easiest setup
    $94.99/mo.
    Good speeds
    View plans
  • Runner-up
    $99.99/mo.
    500 GB/mo.
    View plans

What is 4G LTE home internet?

4G home internet is high-speed internet delivered via cell phone towers and mobile networks, usually using 4G LTE. If you live in a rural area with good cell phone reception but limited internet service options, 4G internet might be a great solution for you.

For example, if your choice is between satellite internet, slow DSL service (5 Mbps or slower), and 4G home internet service, go with 4G home internet. 4G home internet offers more data and lower prices than satellite internet service and faster speeds than 5 Mbps, although the upfront equipment costs can be expensive.

4G home internet doesn’t require any cable or wired networks so it can be more accessible to folks who live in rural areas. The speeds can’t compare to cable or fiber networks, but 4G offers download speeds around 25 Mbps (on average) and much less latency than satellite internet. Plus, 4G home internet offers way more data than you can get with satellite internet.

Most 4G home internet companies are MVNOs (Mobile Virtual Network Operators), which are mobile carriers that offer budget-priced cell phone plans by buying leftover bandwidth from one of the big three mobile carriers: AT&T, Verizon, or T-Mobile. But instead of offering just cellular service, some MVNOs take it a step further and offer home internet service using cellular data.

Usually, the price for 4G home internet is more affordable than satellite internet plans (most 4G home internet plans cost about $100 per month), and 4G home internet almost always offers much more data than you can ever get from satellite. However, you’ll have to buy your equipment up front to get 4G home internet, which costs $200 or more. Also, some areas don’t get good reception without a signal booster or extender.

Data effective 9/24/20. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

*Verizon internet is $60/mo. alone or $40/mo. when bundled with a mobile plan, with auto-pay and paperless billing discount. Service currently available in select locations only.

4G LTE internet challenges

One thing we’ve noticed about 4G home internet companies is that they tend to be small and lean. Routers often go out of stock for a few months at a time. Waiting lists are common.

Also, 4G home internet providers have a limit on how many customers they can have in any given area. So, you might have to check with a few 4G LTE home internet companies to find one that’s currently accepting new customers in your area.

Best 4G LTE home internet providers

You can get 4G internet from dozens of companies across the country, and most offer service anywhere you can get a mobile phone signal. We’ve chosen to focus on Verizon, UbiFi, Ladybug Wireless, and Wahoo Internet

To get 4G home internet service, you’ll need a 4G home internet plan (sometimes called 4G LTE or cellular internet for home). You’ll also need a compatible modem/router (usually the one offered by the MVNO). You have to buy the equipment up front, which is perhaps the biggest downside to 4G home internet. It’s expensive to get set up, but it can give you much better service than you can get from other rural internet providers.

We’ve researched 4G service and even tested some to come up with a list of the best 4G home internet providers.

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ProviderPriceGet it
Verizon$40.00–$60.00/mo.*View plans
UbiFi$99.99/mo.View plans
Ladybug Wireless$94.99/mo.View plans
Wahoo 4G Internet$99.99/mo.View plans

Data effective 9/24/20. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

*Verizon internet is $60/mo. alone or $40/mo. when bundled with a mobile plan, with auto-pay and paperless billing discount. Service currently available in select locations only.

Thumbs Up Pros

  • Affordable price
  • Reliable network

Thumbs Down Cons

  • Limited availability
  • Fixed location only (cannot use while traveling)

Verizon LTE Home Internet

  • Price: $40.00-$60.00/mo.
  • Setup: $314.99 (router/modem with SIM card)
  • Contract: Yes
  • Guarantee/return policy: 30-day trial period, although all returns require a 15% restocking fee
  • Data: Unlimited

View plans

In July 2020, Verizon launched 4G LTE home internet service in several metro areas, with plans to expand service over the next few years. Verizon offers the best prices on 4G home internet—$40 per month when bundled with a Verizon phone plan or $60 per month on its own. You can self-install without tools or technical expertise, and you’ll get truly unlimited data at steady speeds that will support streaming or video conferencing.

The biggest drawback to Verizon 4G home internet is its limited availability. It’s available in parts of five states: Springfield, Missouri; Savannah, Georgia; and the Tri-Cities area in Tennessee, Virginia, and Kentucky, including the cities of Kingsport, Bristol, and Johnson City.

 

Data effective 9/24/20. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

*Verizon internet is $60/mo. alone or $40/mo. when bundled with a mobile plan, with auto-pay and paperless billing discount. Service currently available in select locations only.

Thumbs Up Pros

  • Portable (take it with you anywhere)
  • Good for streaming (unlimited data included)
  • Contract-free

Thumbs Down Cons

  • Expensive set up costs
  • Limited access to tech support

UbiFi 4G LTE Home Internet

  • Price: $99.99/mo.
  • Setup: $314.99 (router/modem with SIM card)
  • Contract: No
  • Guarantee/return policy: 30-day trial period, although all returns require a 15% restocking fee
  • Data: “Unlimited” with “fair use” provisions

View plans

You can get UbiFi in many rural parts of the 48 contiguous states. Download speeds vary based on how close you are to the cell phone towers but generally hover around 12 to 25 Mbps. UbiFi also offers minimal latency and can be used for moderate online gaming. And since it offers unlimited data, UbiFi is a better choice than satellite internet for many rural residents.

UbiFi 4G unlimited home internet is competitively priced at $99.99 per month, but getting it set up is rather expensive. You have to buy a modem/router (MoFi SIM4 Gateway) to start service, which is $314.99. Plus, it can be hard to get tech support since UbiFi has limited customer service hours (Monday to Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. CST, and Saturday, 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. CST).

But UbiFi does offer a 30-day service trial, which is a key benefit with 4G service providers since speeds vary based on your proximity to the nearest AT&T cell tower. If you have to return your equipment, you’ll be charged a 15% restocking fee but the rest is refundable.

Thumbs Up Pros

  • Portability (take it with you anywhere)
  • Largest mobile network (AT&T and T-Mobile)
  • Excellent customer service

Thumbs Down Cons

  • Expensive setup (requires modem purchase)

Ladybug Wireless 4G home internet

  • Price: $94.99/mo.
  • Setup: $429.98 (includes first month of service and router/modem with SIM card)
  • Contract: No
  • Guarantee/return policy: 7-day full money-back guarantee
  • Integrated 3G/4G modem with built-in router maximizes signals in rural areas
  • Data: 400 GB/mo.

View plans

Ladybug Wireless got our vote for the easiest setup. Ladybug Wireless is an MVNO that offers 4G LTE home internet service to rural areas. Like other 4G services, you’ll have to buy the modem/router upfront, but Ladybug’s sign-up package (which is $429.98) does include the first 30 days of service. The company also offers a full 100% refund, which is more generous than any other 4G home internet providers, and there’s no contract required for service.

Unlike Verizon’s 4G service (which is tied to your location), Ladybug Wireless is portable so you can take it with you while traveling or in an RV. This can be helpful for folks who travel frequently or who have cabins or vacation homes they visit throughout the year. As long as you are in an area with mobile coverage, your Ladybug Wireless connection will work. Like many other 4G service providers, Ladybug Wireless requires customers to keep data usage within a moderate range—under 400 GB per month.

Thumbs Up Pros

  • Affordable modem cost
  • No contract
  • Portable service

Thumbs Down Cons

  • Expensive set up costs
  • Non-refundable registration fee of $49.99

Wahoo Internet

  • Price: $99.99/mo.
  • Setup: $199.99 + $49.99 (router/modem and registration fee)
  • Contract: No
  • Guarantee/return policy: 14-day cancelation policy; registration fee is non-refundable
  • Data: 500 GB/mo.

View plans

Wahoo Internet is a 4G LTE home internet provider offering residential service to rural customers located all over the US. Service is on a month-to-month basis (which means no contracts), and it’s portable so you can take your service with you in an RV or boat (although you’ll need to be in range of the right cell towers to get service)

At first glance, Wahoo’s equipment costs ($199.99 for a modem) seem to beat the competition. But the modem doesn’t have a built-in router, so you’ll also need to get a router if you want to broadcast Wi-Fi throughout your home.

Wahoo Internet offers 500 GB of data per month, which is similar to other 4G LTE providers. Most people won’t ever go over 500 GB, but if you have a big family and there’s a lot of HD streaming and gaming going on, you might reach the maximum and get a warning email. If you use over 900 GB per month, your service will be shut off. This is common among most 4G LTE providers—you get a lot of data, but if you overuse it, you will get kicked off the plan.

What you need to get 4G LTE internet

To get 4G home internet service, you’ll need a 4G home internet plan (sometimes called 4G LTE or cellular internet for home). You’ll also need a compatible modem/router (usually the one offered by the MVNO).

You have to buy the equipment up front, which is perhaps the biggest downside to 4G home internet. It’s expensive to get set up, but it can give you much better service than you can get from other rural internet providers.

BYOD 4G internet plans

Most 4G LTE internet plans require that you use their modem/router setup they send to you. But that’s not the only way to go. If you’re up to the task of selecting your own modem/router and doing all the setup, a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) 4G home internet plan could work for you. These plans send you a SIM card. You won’t necessarily save on monthly plan prices, but you might get your equipment cheaper. Or you could go big and get a more powerful modem/router setup than the one that’s provided by 4G LTE providers.

Companies like Infinite LTE Data and Spark Services are the BYOD type of 4G internet providers—they don’t provide any equipment. Instead, they send you a SIM card that you can insert into your device—whether it’s a mobile hotspot device, a mobile phone, or a router/modem. Of course, the disadvantage to getting BYOD 4G internet service is that there’s no tech support available for setup. If you can’t figure it out on your own, you could be out the price of your equipment and a month’s worth of service.

Our verdict: Get 4G LTE if you use a lot of data.

4G LTE home internet is a good alternative to satellite internet for households that use a lot of data. If you live in an area with mobile phone service, we recommend looking into 4G home internet. Although it can potentially save you money on data overage charges,you still need to be prepared for expensive setup costs. Verizon’s 4G home internet service is the best deal of the lot—you can add it to an existing cell phone plan for as little as $40 per month. If it’s available in your area, it’s a win-win.

But if you live in a remote area without mobile phone service, 4G internet just won’t work. Your best bet is satellite internet in that case, which reaches areas without cell phone service. And although we know satellite internet can be a bit slow and stingy with data, next-generation satellite internet is just around the corner. SpaceX’s Starlink satellite internet and Amazon’s Project Kuiper should cheer things up a lot in the country.

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4G LTE internet FAQ

What is 4G home internet?

4G home internet is an internet connection delivered with 4G LTE (or cell phone) data. It isn’t the same as a mobile hotspot or a cell phone plan because it’s designed to be used as a dedicated internet connection for an entire household. You can get 4G home internet with 400 GB or more of data per month.

Where is Verizon 4G LTE home internet available?

Verizon LTE home internet is currently available in parts of Missouri, Georgia, Tennessee, Virginia, and Kentucky.

Is 4G wireless internet the same as a hotspot?

No, 4G wireless internet is not the same as a hotspot, even though it also operates using cell phone data. A mobile hotspot device is a portable modem and router with small data plans, designed to be used occasionally when the need for Wi-Fi away from home arises. Mobile hotspot devices are good for weekend RV trips and business travel. But if you try to use them as a dedicated home internet connection, you’ll have to pay a lot for data. 4G home internet plans give you 400 GB or more of data each month and can connect up to 20 devices.

Where is 4G LTE internet available?

If you live in a rural area and you can get cell phone reception, you can probably get 4G LTE home wireless internet service at your home. 4G LTE internet service connects your home devices to the internet using nearby cell phone towers. And 4G LTE can be the easiest home internet installation you’ll find anywhere (although it will cost you).

How much does 4G home internet cost?

You can get a 4G home internet plan for around $100 per month. Some prices are as low as $89.99 and some go up to $110.00 per month. Although data amounts vary, most offer 400 GB or more per month. Since the average US household uses about 344 GB per month in 2020, 400 GB should be plenty for most folks.

Is 4G home internet any good?

Yes, 4G home internet is a good option for folks who live in rural areas and don’t have access to cable or fiber internet. If you have cable or fiber available in your area, or high-speed DSL, we’d recommend checking those options out first because they may be faster and less expensive. But if you’re comparing 4G home internet with satellite internet, 4G internet gives you much more data each month than any satellite plan, making it a good choice for people who live in rural areas.

Are 4G home internet and fixed-wireless internet the same thing?

No, 4G home internet is not the same as fixed-wireless internet. Both rely on mobile phone towers for data at least partially, but fixed-wireless also uses radio waves. With fixed-wireless internet, you need a radio antenna attached to your house, which sends and receives signals from the nearest cell phone tower via radio waves. With 4G a home internet, you are getting a straight shot of cell phone data without other technologies mixed in. 4G home internet doesn’t require an antenna; you just need a modem that can send and receive 4G LTE data.

Is 4G internet a good option for rural areas?

Yes, 4G home internet is a good choice for rural areas that aren’t wired for cable, fiber, or DSL internet. You can get a lot of data and a steady connection that works for streaming, video conferencing, and even gaming. The caveat is that you have to have cell phone reception at your home or you won’t be able to get 4G home internet.

Is 4G home internet as fast as regular broadband?

A 4G home internet connection offers download speeds averaging 25 Mbps, although providers will not be able to give you a set speed because your speed will be affected by your proximity to cell phone towers and geological features. Actual download speeds range from 10 Mbps to 60 Mbps. A good 4G internet provider will ascertain whether you need a booster or extender to get a good signal in your area.

Can I use 4G LTE home internet in my RV?

Yes, some 4G home internet providers are portable and can travel with you in an RV. As long as you’re staying in an area with cell phone service, you can use Ladybug Wireless, Wahoo, or UbiFi anywhere. Verizon’s 4G LTE home internet plan is not portable (it’s tied to your home address).

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