Mobile phone SIM in 4G router

We live in a rural area and are looking for a way out of the constant slow broadband and terrible service from broadband providers. We’re thinking about getting a 4g router because we get good 4g here. We want unlimited data. I’m confused about the cost though. I’ve read a Which report which says that it will be much more expensive than broadband because providers impose strict data limits on tethering and charge swinging amounts for going over the limit. Presumably you buy a data-only SIM from them, and a 4g router comes with it. But I’ve seen unlocked routers on Amazon, and found other people saying that they use a mobile phone SIM in their 4g router with no trouble at all. In that case, how can a provider tell that you’re using the SIM as a wifi device rather than in a phone, and enforce data limits? Have I missed something?

Replies

  • tacpot12tacpot12 Forumite
    5.5K Posts
    Fifth Anniversary 1,000 Posts Name Dropper
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    Different networks can use different techniques, but one technique is to check the MAC address in the data. Each phone, laptop, and router has its own unique MAC address. If the phone network sees two or more MAC addresses in the data coming from the phone/router then it knows that the phone is tethering or that the sim is in a router. 

    The solution is to get a unlimited SIM that allows tethering, like GiffGaff for £25 month. This is quite competitive with  unlimited broadband deals. 
    The comments I post are my personal opinion. While I try to check everything is correct before posting, I can and do make mistakes, so always try to check official information sources before relying on my posts.
  • flashg67flashg67 Forumite
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    Check before you buy, but but most now allow all data to be used as tethered data. I'm about to do the same and have bought a used Huawei router. Best signal locally for me is Vodafone and Uswitch currently have Lebara (who use vodafone) unlimited data for £29.95, with 6 months half price. If 3 mobile is good reception, maybe worth looking at them.
  • KSIyerKSIyer Forumite
    8 Posts
    First Post
    Smarty (www.smarty.co.uk) based on THREE are doing a very good deal right now £15 for unlimited data, text & mins. Also, speed is not reduced after reaching/exceeding any data limits. You need to renew it automatically or manually each month for 12 months to enjoy that price. £180 over 12 months is very competitive especially if THREE reception is good in your area. Deal is available till Dec 1st & SIM needs to be activated by 15th Dec.
  • mohammed1111mohammed1111 Forumite
    114 Posts
    100 Posts Name Dropper
    £17 a month you can get three home broadband, which is 4g and the router is included. Pretty sure smarty will have a lower fair usage policy and will slow the data after a period of time 
  • tehonetehone Forumite
    614 Posts
    Part of the Furniture 500 Posts Name Dropper
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    £17 a month you can get three home broadband, which is 4g and the router is included. Pretty sure smarty will have a lower fair usage policy and will slow the data after a period of time 

    Smarty is owned by Three, it's their cheaper sub brand :)

    Smarty does not slow data, and its fair use policy seems very good
  • SupatrampSupatramp Forumite
    570 Posts
    Part of the Furniture 100 Posts
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    I've been using a 3 phone SIM in a router, in my caravan, for years, never had any issues with it.
    David.
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