MiFi: Taking internet to the next level

Ari Howard

Aug 30, 2023 — 3 min read

MiFi is like your own personal router, allowing you to stay connected wherever you are. Learn about what it is and how to use it.

What is MiFi?

MiFi is a small portable router that acts as a mobile hotspot for any of your devices (cellphone, computer, tablet, etc.). MiFi devices use 4G or 5G networks to connect to the internet. Instead of copper or fiber cabling like regular internet service, the device connects to a fixed wireless tower to bring you a portable internet connection.

Benefits and limitations of MiFi

The benefit of this device is that no matter where you are, you will always be able to connect to Wi-Fi instead of relying on cellular data. You can also use multiple devices with MiFi.

On the downside, internet speed with MiFi depends on the strength of your cellular data signal. Also, the more devices connected to a MiFi hotspot, the slower the speed.

Where did the term MiFi come from?

MiFi is not the official word for a mobile hotspot device — it’s simply the brand name for Novatel’s pocket router. However, just as “Band-Aid” is the everyday word for an adhesive bandage, MiFi has become the everyday word for a portable hotspot device. 

MiFi can refer to either “mobile Wi-Fi” or “my Wi-Fi,” depending on who you ask. Both references explain the use of this type of device. 

What is the difference between Wi-Fi and MiFi? 

MiFi is a type of device, whereas Wi-Fi is a type of technology. You use a MiFi device to access the internet (through Wi-Fi) when you are on the go. 

Who is MiFi a good fit for?

  • Travelers: If you frequently travel internationally or are frequently in areas without Wi-Fi access, then you would likely benefit from a MiFi device.
  • Multiple device owners: If you require several of your devices (phone, computer, iPad) to be able to connect to the internet when you are away from home, then you should consider purchasing a MiFi device.
  • Heavy internet users: If you are a heavy internet user outside of your home and do not have an unlimited cellular data plan, then you should consider purchasing a MiFi device.
  • Phone owners with poor battery life: If you are looking to preserve your phone’s battery life, then consider investing in a MiFi device as cellular data sucks up more battery life than MiFi. 

How much does MiFi cost?

We broke down the MiFi data plans’ starting costs and data ranges from AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon. We also included an example of a device cost if you were to purchase a MiFi device from the provider instead of paying for it monthly.

Below we break down each provider’s data plans and provide a link to one of their devices. Keep in mind that there are multiple devices to choose from so you’ll have some options when it comes to paying monthly or purchasing a device.

AT&T MiFi data plans

AT&T offers four different data plans with the option to add additional data to each plan at $10 for 5GB.

Monthly data plans

  • 20GB: $25/mo. (when you pay 12 months in advance)
  • 15GB/30 days: $35/mo.
  • 50GB/30 days: $55/mo.
  • 100GB/30 days: $90/mo.


Nighthawk M6 Pro Mobile Hotspot: $12.78/mo. or $459.99

T-Mobile MiFi data plans

Those with a T-Mobile plan automatically have access to unlimited 3G speeds for their mobile hotspot device. Add data to your plan to gain access to 5G speeds. Additionally, T-Mobile customers can get 50% off the Inseego 5G MiFi M2000 device when they add a line.

Monthly data plans

  • 2GB: $10/mo. 
  • 5GB: $20/mo.
  • 10GB: $30/mo.
  • 30 GB: $40/mo.
  • 50GB: $50/mo. 


Inseego MiFi XPro 5G: $11/mo. (for 24 months) or $264 

Verizon MiFi data plans

Verizon offers both monthly and prepaid data plans. If you know you will need access to mobile hotspots frequently, then choose one of the monthly plans. Otherwise, go with one of Verizon’s prepaid plans. The prepaid plans are attractive for lighter internet users because they do not require you to pay monthly for data. 

Monthly data plans

  • 15GB: $20/mo.
  • 50GB: $40/mo.
  • 100GB: $60/mo.
  • 150GB: $80/mo.

Prepaid plans

  • 6GB: $35 
  • 16GB: $45
  • 30 GB: $65 


Verizon Orbic Speed Mobile Hotspot: $2.22/mo. (for 36 months) or $79.99

The bottom line

If you’re looking for the cheapest monthly cost for a MiFi device, then the Verizon Orbic Speed Mobile Hotspot is a good choice. If you want a MiFi device with the fastest Wi-Fi technology, then go for the Netgear Nighthawk M6 Pro. 


What is a MiFi device?

A MiFi device is a small portable device that acts as your own personal internet hotspot for your devices. It relies on 4G or 5G networks to bring you internet wherever you are.

MiFi uses 4G or 5G networks to bring you on-the-go internet for your devices. It connects to nearby cell towers to bring you your internet connection. 

The full retail prices of MiFi are expensive, but if you opt to buy one through your 4G or 5G provider, then you can instead pay a monthly fee. Keep in mind you’ll also need to pay for a data plan when using a MiFi device, so take that cost into account when deciding if it’s right for you.  

We value your feedback

Was this page helpful?

We value your feedback

We’re glad! Tell us what helped most on this page.

We value your feedback

Was this page helpful?

Thanks for your feedback!

Your insight helps, and we’ll do our best to improve your experience.

Ari Howard

Written by:

Ari Howard

Associate Writer, Broadband & Wireless Content

Ari Howard is a staff writer Healthline and spent two years as a writer on the Allconnect team. She specialized in broadband news and studies, particularly relating to internet access, digital safety, broadband-… Read more

Shannon Ullman

Edited by:

Shannon Ullman

Editor, Broadband Content

Read bio