Vodafone Mobile Broadband Review – 4G & 5G Mobile Broadband Alternative to Slow Broadband

In this article, we’ll review Vodafone’s Mobile Broadband deals. We take an in-depth look at the network’s data dongles, mobile WiFi deals and GigaCube deals.

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Vodafone April 2021 Offer

Latest Offer: Unlimited 5G for just £25/month

Vodafone’s best unlimited data offer ever is here! You can now grab their Unlimited 5G from Vodafone for just £25/month, on a 12-month plan.

The deal comes with great features such as 4G Calling and WiFi Calling as well as the best roaming deal in the UK. This special offer ends 27 April!

Vodafone has both 5G and 4G mobile broadband services allowing you to get connected to the internet on the go or at your home/office. The oldest network in the UK has the second most 4G coverage, as well as data speeds, being behind only EE.

Vodafone’s 5G service is a bit behind its competitors. You only get 5G in 57 cities and towns in the UK. However, the network’s 5G is also available in 193 destinations across Germany, Spain, Italy and Ireland. You can benefit from Vodafone’s Global Roaming and roam freely in 51 destinations. Choose a Vodafone plan with Global Roaming Plus and you can roam at no extra cost in 81 destinations.

At the time of writing, you can choose between multiple devices to get a 4G mobile broadband deal from Vodafone or alternatively you can opt for a data-only SIM. If you have 5G in your area, you can get a GigaCube deal. You can bundle these routers with 30-day to 12-month contracts (5G bundles are 30-day and 18-month contracts) or pay the cost of the device upfront and use Vodafone’s PAYG service.

Overall, Vodafone’s mobile broadband service is a good alternative to slow fixed broadband, and you might be better off with their 4G/5G routers.

Pro’s

  • Second fastest 4G network in the UK.
  • Best roaming options.
  • 5G available abroad.
  • Pay as you go alternative.
  • Plug and play, easy set ups.

Con’s

  • Pricier than most competitors.
  • Third fastest 5G speeds. Very limited 5G coverage in the UK at the moment.
  • Speed restrictions on some plans.
 

Table of Contents

Vodafone Mobile Broadband Plans

You are given a few different options if you’re looking to get a mobile broadband deal from Vodafone. If you want 5G coverage you can get a 5G GigaCube. As for 4G mobile broadband deals, there are multiple devices to choose from. If you already have a device or a tablet, you can just get a data-only SIM contract from the network.

5G Mobile Broadband Plans

You can choose between an 18-month or rolling 30-day contract to get a Vodafone 5G GigaCube. Regardless of your choice you’ll have to pay an upfront cost, but of course if you decide to go with a rolling 30-day contract you must pay the full cost of the device. Monthly payments are priced the same for both 18-month and 30-day deals, however if you pick a long term contract you’ll pay significantly less upfront. If you’re running your own business Vodafone can tailor a specific business SIM deal for you, so make sure to contact them.

The table below shows which deals are available with 5G GigaCube and how much you’ll end up paying upfront.

18-Month Contract
Unlimited Data£50 Upfront£50/Month
200GB£50 Upfront£40/Month
100GB£100 Upfront£30/Month
30-Day Contract
Unlimited Data£325£50/Month
200GB£325£40/Month
100GB£325£30/Month

Vodafone has 5G in 57 locations in the country and they also have it in 193 other locations across Germany, Spain, Italy and Ireland. Vodafone aims to build on their 5G coverage in the immediate future and eventually 5G will be countrywide, just like 4G is today.

Looking at OOKLA’s (speedtest.net) October 2020 network test results, we can see Vodafone ranking as the third fastest network in the UK with an average 5G download speed of 152Mbps. This means Vodafone is behind the likes of Three and O2, however, their current 5G speeds are faster than EE’s.

5G GigaCube

Vodafone’s 5G GigaCube is also known as Huawei H112-370. The 5Grouter can pick up Vodafone’s 5G and 4G signals. It supports more than 1Gbit data speeds, but at its current state the network’s 5G isn’t nearly that fast yet.

You can connect up to 64 Wi-Fi devices at the same time and the router supports the latest Wi-Fi 6 technology. For Wi-Fi you get both 2.4GHz and 5GHz. You also get two ethernet ports and two more external antenna ports for improving signal quality.

4G Mobile Broadband Plans

There’s more variety for 4G devices as you can choose between a 4G GigaCube, a data dongle and a Mobile WiFi router. Vodafone’s K5161 Dongle and R219 Mobile Wi-Fi Hotspot can be bundled with rolling 30-day or 12-month contracts. Meanwhile the 4G GigaCube comes with either a 30-day or an 18-month contract.

4G GigaCube & Plans

Vodafone’s 4G GigaCube gives you fast mobile broadband through their 4G network at a fixed monthly price, either on a 30-day or 18-month contract. The router gets you instant internet access without the need of an engineer to set it up. You can connect up to 20 Wi-Fi devices to the 4G GigaCube. The device is also known as Huawei B528 and it has dual band (2.4GHz and 5GHz) support.

The 4G GigaCube is bundled with data allowances ranging from 100GB to 300GB a month. The router is portable, meaning you can take your 4G connection with you to anywhere covered by Vodafone’s 4G network. The device also has an ethernet port, so you can connect one of your devices via a network cable.

18-Month Contract
300GB£0 Upfront£50/Month
200GB£0 Upfront£40/Month
100GB£0 Upfront£30/Month
30-Day Contract
300GB
£100£50/Month
200GB£100£40/Month
100GB£100£30/Month

R219 Mobile Wi-Fi Hotspot

This is Vodafone’s portable and powerful Mobile Wi-Fi router, which gives you access to their 4G network. You can use it anywhere where Vodafone’s 4G is available. The R129 Mobile Hotspot can connect up to 10 Wi-Fi devices at a time, and you can get up to 150Mbps download speeds, but Vodafone’s average 4G download speeds are around 22.4Mbps. 22Mpbs isn’t bad though, especially if you’re the only one who is using the hotspot. It’s even enough to stream 4K content on Netflix or YouTube.

The device is pocket sized and it doesn’t need to be plugged in to a power source. The ideal way to charge this router is using the micro-USB cable with the charger provided in the box.

At the moment, you can get this device on a rolling 30-day contract or a 12-month contract. There are two unlimited data options for this router, however, the regular unlimited data plan only gets you a maximum of 10Mbps download speed. You can also use this router on PAYG, but your data will only be valid for 90 days and then it will expire.

12-Month Contract
Unlimited Data Max£0 Upfront£33/Month
Unlimited Data Regular
(Max 10Mbps)
£0 Upfront£28/Month
24GB Data£0 Upfront£22/Month
6GB Data£0 Upfront£17/Month
2GB Data£20 Upfront£11/Month
30-Day Contract
Unlimited Data Max£35 Upfront£37/Month
Unlimited Data Regular
(Max 10Mbps)
£35 Upfront£32/Month
24GB Data£35 Upfront£26/Month
6GB Data£35 Upfront£21/Month
2GB Data£35 Upfront£15/Month

K5161 Dongle

This USB dongle will get you online using Vodafone’s 4G network, but you’ll have to plug it into a compatible device with a USB port. This small device connects your PC (be it a laptop or desktop) to the internet using Vodafone’s mobile network and keeps you connected pretty much anywhere in the UK. You can also add a memory card to get extra space.

You can get a K5161 Dongle for £45 with 15GB data on pay as you go. Alternatively you can bundle it with a 30-day or a 12-month contract.

12-Month Contract
Unlimited Data Max£0 Upfront£33/Month
Unlimited Data Regular
(Max 10Mbps)
£0 Upfront£28/Month
24GB Data£0 Upfront£22/Month
6GB Data£0 Upfront£17/Month
2GB Data£20 Upfront£11/Month
30-Day Contract
Unlimited Data Max£30 Upfront£37/Month
Unlimited Data Regular
(Max 10Mbps)
£30 Upfront£32/Month
24GB Data£30 Upfront£26/Month
6GB Data£30 Upfront£21/Month

Given how there’s only a £5 upfront cost difference between the dongle and the mobile Wi-Fi hotspot, we strongly recommend going with the hotspot. The dongle will provide reliable internet connection to the device it’s connected to, but they are usually too weak to distribute internet to multiple devices at the same time. Meanwhile Vodafone’s WiFi hotspot will work on its own and you can connect up to 10 devices at a time without a fuss. All plans offer the same benefits, and they are priced the same.

Data-Only SIMs

You can also get a data-only SIM from Vodafone, if you already own a compatible device like a tablet or a supported Wi-Fi hotspot.

Since you’re not signing up for a device there are no upfront payments either. You’ll be getting the same benefits, including roaming for free in 51 destinations worldwide (81 destinations with the Unlimited Max plan).

12-Month Contract
Unlimited Data Max£0 Upfront£33/Month
Unlimited Data Regular
(Max 10Mbps)
£0 Upfront£28/Month
24GB Data£0 Upfront£22/Month
6GB Data£0 Upfront£17/Month
2GB Data£0 Upfront£11/Month
30-Day Contract
Unlimited Data Max£0 Upfront£37/Month
Unlimited Data Regular
(Max 10Mbps)
£0 Upfront£32/Month
24GB Data£0 Upfront£26/Month
6GB Data£0 Upfront£21/Month
2GB Data£0 Upfront£15/Month

Network Coverage & Data Speeds

4G Coverage

Vodafone’s 4G network coverage now reaches over 99% of the population. The network’s landmass coverage is ranked as the second best, closely following EE. Open Signal’s October 2020 speed tests state that Vodafone’s average download speed is around 22.4Mbps and upload speed at 8.5Mbps. In terms of 4G data speeds the carrier is competing with Three very closely, however Vodafone’s coverage is significantly superior.

You can check out our Vodafone Review to learn more about the network. Alternatively, you can read our comparisons between Vodafone vs EE and Vodafone vs Three and find out which network is more suitable for you.

Vodafone's Network Coverage

5G Coverage

Vodafone’s 5G is improving at a decent pace, especially abroad. However, in the UK, the network has the least amount of locations covered with 5G being available in 57 locations. You can get online by using Vodafone’s 5G in 193 other locations across Germany, Spain, Italy and Ireland.

OOKLA’s (speedtest.net) October 2020 network test results rank Vodafone as the third fastest 5G network in the UK, with average 5G download speeds of 152Mpbs. This puts Vodafone behind the likes of Three and O2, but their 5G service is still faster than EE.

We especially recommend having a look at our Three Review when it comes to 5G. The network combines competitive prices with the fastest 5G in the UK at no extra cost. You can also check out our Best 5G SIMs in the UK guide to find the right network for you, provided you’re looking for a SIM deal.

Alternative Mobile Broadband Plans

Three Mobile Broadband & Three Home Broadband

Three’s 4G data speeds are on par with Vodafone, but their 4G coverage isn’t as wide. However, Three mobile broadband deals also get you more benefits and they come at a cheaper price point. The carrier lets you choose between their 4G+ MiFi or Huawei B311 router bundled with a data plan. If you already own a tablet (or buy one from Three) with a SIM slot you may use a Three Data SIM anywhere in the UK and in 71 worldwide destinations. You can also get a free data SIM with no credit checks that comes with 200MB, which renews every month.

Three’s 5G Home Broadband service is only available in selected destinations, but if you can get it we strongly recommend it. The network’s mobile broadband routers are super easy to set up. Just plug it in the power and you’ll be connected in about a minute.

EE Mobile Broadband

You can get connected to the internet on the go or at your home with EE’s 4G and 5G routers. Considering how EE is the best 4G network in the UK, we strongly recommend checking out their 4G mobile broadband deals. We especially suggest checking out the 4GEE WiFi Mini 2020; it’s a pocket sized mini Wi-Fi hotspot and it’s quite powerful for its size.

As for 5G, EE may not be the fastest network, but they have the most 5G coverage in the UK with 125 locations and counting. You can get a 5GEE Home Router which also comes with an external antenna, or a 5GEE WiFi Router. They’re both decent deals, allowing you to connect to the internet via EE’s 5G mobile network. These devices can also get 4G signals so you’ll be covered either way. You can learn more about EE’s network coverage by reading our EE Review.

O2 Mobile Broadband

The network offers both 5G and 4G mobile broadband deals. You can bundle these devices with pay monthly plans or get a data SIM and use it on pay as you go. O2 has 4G WiFi Hotspots and dongles, but overall customer experience in the past hasn’t been that good. However, in the recent months O2 has improved their network coverage immensely, and they now have over 90% 4G landmass coverage, and in terms of 5G, the network’s service is live in 100 cities and towns.

You can connect your devices to 5G over Wi-Fi with O2’s Huawei 5G Pocket Hotspot Pro and get download speeds of up to 1.65 Gbps. O2’s 5G device also lets you charge your devices on the go, with built-in USB or wireless charging.

Make sure to read our O2 Review to learn more about the network operator. You can also check out our Vodafone vs O2 comparison to see which network is better for you.

Half Cooked’s Overall Breakdown

Vodafone’s 4G coverage is quite strong and the network also offers 5G in 57 cities and towns in the UK, and another 193 cities and towns across the EU. Their prices are a bit expensive, but for the service and benefits you get we think it’s worth it. You get a variety of devices and plans to choose from, and alternatively you can get online by using Vodafone’s network on pay as you go.

Half Cooked’s overall rating for Vodafone Mobile Broadband: 4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

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Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know if Vodafone has 5G in my area?

You can always use Vodafone’s coverage map to see if 5G is available in your location.

Is Vodafone’s 4G coverage good?

Yes, Vodafone has the second most 4G coverage in the UK, following closely behind EE.

Can I use 4G with Vodafone 5G GigaCube?

Yes, you can. 5G GigaCube also picks up Vodafone’s 4G signals.

Can I use 5G with Vodafone 4G GigaCube?

Unfortunately, 4G GigaCube doesn’t support 5G.

Can I share my WiFi hotspots with others?

Yes, you can. Vodafone’s WiFi hotspots and routers allow multiple devices to be connected at the same time.

Does Vodafone sell data only SIMs?

Yes, you can get a data-only SIM from Vodafone for your existing devices.