If you’re running out of data every month on your current broadband plan, listen up: a wireless provider might solve your problems. Wireless internet plans deliver lots of data—many offer unlimited data—at reasonable prices. And, best of all, wireless internet is available in many rural areas where you can't get cable, fiber, or DSL internet.
Best Unlimited Wireless Internet Plans
*w/Autopay and qualfiying mobile plan.
Best LTE home internet options
If you’ve ever wished you could use your cell phone for home internet, LTE internet is the next best thing. LTE internet connects you online with wireless connections to cell phone towers.
You can get LTE home internet plans from cell phone carriers, like Verizon and T-Mobile, as well as smaller MVNOs (Mobile Virtual Network Operators). Typically, LTE home internet plans deliver ample data at a lower price than other rural options like satellite internet.
You can get LTE home internet service if you have good cell phone service at your home. If you live in an area without cellular service, you won’t get any type of LTE broadband service. Big name providers like Verizon and T-Mobile have limited service areas but are expanding rapidly and offering bundle discounts with cell phone plans. Smaller MVNOs offer nationwide service and often include the bonus of being portable, but they’re a little more expensive.
If you're interested in faster unlimited wireless internet service, check out the best 5G home internet providers.
Best LTE home internet plans with unlimited data
|T-Mobile Home Internet
|Verizon Home Internet
• No equipment cost
• No contract
• 90% availability
• Fixed location only
• Limited availability
• Primarily fixed location
• Nationwide availability
• AT&T network
• AT&T, T-Mobile, or Verizon network
• Nationwide availability
Data effective 4/28/2021. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change. *Prices listed are w/ Auto Pay + qualifying mobile plan.†30-Day Service Trial Included with purchase of Gateway. ‡Price listed is in addition to $199.00 one-time membership fee. §Sales taxes & regulatory fees included in monthly price for qualified accounts. Not available in all areas. ¶Price listed is in addition to $249 one-time membership fee.
For folks who already have T-Mobile or Verizon cellular service, getting internet from your mobile provider is a good option because they offer bundle discounts. Verizon LTE Home Internet is just $25 when bundled with a mobile phone plan. The only caveat is that these two providers don’t offer service in as wide an area as MVNO carriers like UbiFi.
UbiFi is a good pick for people who can’t get LTE internet service from T-Mobile or Verizon. UbiFi offers unlimited data and a solid 4G LTE modem/router that’s equipped with a few extra features. The UbiFi modem has four Ethernet ports, the capacity to connect up to 200 devices, and a built-in antenna that helps it perform well in rural areas.
Many travelers also use mobile hotspots while on the road. Check out our picks for best mobile hotspots.
Best fixed-wireless home internet plans
Data effective 4/28/2021. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change. *Other qualifying svc (min $29.99) req'd & combined bill. Includes 350 GB data/mo., overage charges apply. Ltd avail/areas in U.S.
Rise Broadband is our top pick because it offers unlimited data. Both these services are available in many rural areas where cable and fiber aren’t options and can provide steady service. Some fixed-wireless providers may also be available in areas where LTE home internet isn’t.
In some areas, Rise Broadband’s data-restricted plans may be the only ones available. These are a little cheaper but offer much less data (usually capped at about 250 GB per month). We recommend avoiding plans with a data cap since they often result in data overage fees or interruptions in work and school. You can find out more about fixed-wireless providers on our in-depth review.
Wireless home internet vs. cell phone home internet
By now you might be wondering how wireless internet is different from using your phone for home internet. After all, it’s all cellular data, right? Not quite. Wireless internet providers take cellular data and convert it into a steady home internet connection with lots of data—way more than you get on your phone plan.
Wireless internet is different from using your cell phone for home internet for the following reasons:
- Wireless internet offers much more data than mobile hotspotting.
- Wireless internet gives you a customizable and highly secure home Wi-Fi network.
Get more data
Mobile phone plans don’t offer enough high-speed data for a dedicated home internet connection. Mobile plans typically offer 10–30 GB of hotspot data in one month. Since most homes use over 300 GB of data per month, that just won’t cut it for most people.1
Many LTE home internet plans, on the other hand, can deliver unlimited full-speed data. Some have data caps around 350 GB or so, but we’ve picked out the best unlimited options for you.
Customize your home Wi-Fi network
With fixed-wireless or LTE home internet, you can create a secure, customizable home network that can connect to all your devices. You’ll have an encrypted network that’s compatible with VPNs.
With a home wireless plan, you can connect 20 devices or more to your private Wi-Fi network. Most wireless modems also offer several Ethernet ports for faster wired-connection speeds.
Wireless internet can deliver download speeds of 100 Mbps or more, but typical speeds are around 25 Mbps for most people. So, wireless isn’t as fast as fiber internet (which can reach download speeds of 2,000 Mbps), but wireless usually is as fast as a cell phone connection and gives you much more data than many other options in rural areas.
Your wireless internet speed will vary based on your proximity to cell phone towers, as well as the carrier you have service from. LTE home internet plans can deliver 3G, 4G, or even 5G speeds in some areas (although 5G is rare in the countryside). As 5G rolls out across the country, wireless speeds will increase everywhere—including in rural areas.
FAQ about wireless home internet
What are the best unlimited wireless internet plans for rural areas?
4G LTE home internet plans are some of the best unlimited wireless internet plans you can get in rural areas. Many 4G LTE service plans give you unlimited data at steady speeds of about 25 Mbps.
Verizon’s LTE Home Internet plan is one of the best home Wi-Fi deals. It’s $40 per month for people who are bundling internet service with a cell phone plan. For folks who aren’t using Verizon as their mobile carrier, it’s still only $60 per month. This gives you unlimited data at typical 4G LTE download speeds of about 25 Mbps. T-Mobile offers another hot deal at $60 for unlimited 5G home internet and down to $40 if you bundle with a qualified mobile plan.
Can I use a mobile phone connection for home internet?
You can use a mobile phone connection for home internet, but you won’t get much data. The hotspot feature on your mobile phone is usually capped at 10–30 GB of data per month. Some plans offer unlimited 2G or 3G speeds, and many offer unlimited 5G in areas where it’s available.
Instead of using a mobile phone for home internet, we recommend getting a 4G LTE home internet plan, which gives you the same cellular connection (no cable lines needed) with unlimited data.
What is wireless internet?
Wireless internet is an internet connection that doesn’t use satellites, cable, fiber, or phone lines. Wireless internet includes 4G LTE home internet plans from mobile carriers like Verizon and T-Mobile and fixed-wireless internet plans from providers like Rise Broadband.
Can I get wireless internet if I don’t have cable hookups?
Yes, wireless internet is often available to people without access to cable, fiber, or even landline phone networks.
Wireless data is ferried through the air from cell phone towers to your specially designed modem (for LTE service) or an outdoor antenna and indoor modem (for fixed-wireless service). With wireless internet, you can get a home Wi-Fi network for 20 or more devices.
1. Toledo, Rob, “REPORT: The Average Household’s Internet Data Usage Has Jumped 38x in 10 Years,” April 2020. Accessed March 25, 2021.