Anyone Used a Cheap 5G Phone Tethering as Their Home Internet?

I currently live near a telstra 5g tower - my partner gets 900Mbps on her iphone 12max!

I am wanting to get mobile 5g broadband at home. Modems are around 600$. Where as I can get a cheap samsung a22 5g for $350, or a cheap xiaomi. There are also better deals with the mobile sim only plans vs the data only plans

Has anyone used a 5g mobile as their primary home wifi. Can it cope or am I better to get a dedicated mobile modem.

Im currently using a 4g optus huaewei E5577 and get around 40Mbps


  • +1

    What about upgrading your 4g modem to a B818?
    They can be picked up for under $150 and will provide a great increase in speed.
    Or second hand 5g are going ~$450

  • One thing to look out for is that if you use a 5G phone as your modem, it's constantly plugged which could kill the battery as it is constantly being trickle charged at 100%. Then coupled with using it as a hot spot, the phone will probably get really hot, and will most likely die faster than a dedicated modem built for this kind of work. Sure, you can turn the hotspot on and off, and plug and unplug each time you use it, but it is a hassle that can be saved by using a modem instead.

    • +2

      I don't know about 5G phones but none of my 3G or 4G phones ever got particularly warm by just acting as a hotspot. If it's that much of a problem just add an old OEM CPU heatsink & fan to the hottest spot on the back to cool it. Extra points for using a molex to USB-C adaptor to have the phone power its own cooler ;)

      As for the battery, if it's just a cheap phone to serve as a modem, you can root the device & install one of the apps that lets you tell the phone to stop charging at 97%.
      Alternatively, if root is too much hassle, $50 gets you a Chargie; a bluetooth device you pair with your phone that lets you set the maximum charge level to something <100%.

  • Yes I did this with an old tablet, just kept it plugged in.

    One problem is it won't have the same range as a router, so it might not give Wifi to the whole house.

    But it was fast enough for every day use, and cheaper than the silly overpriced mobile wifi plans and dedicated mobile wifi routers.

    Only used it because I had no wired connection though.

    • +4

      What old tablet had 5g?

      • Sorry I meant I've done this with 4g (or maybe even 3g?). Since OP is asking if it works and what the pitfalls are, obviously it helps to know that even with older tech this worked fine.

  • +3

    I think another potential issue is that most mobile phones perform wifi client isolation while tethering/hotspotting, so you don't get the ability to use the phone as a router for multiple devices on a network — rather, each device only sees the internet connection, and cannot communicate directly with any of the other devices also connected to the hotspot wifi.

  • +1

    I dropped ABB for Telstra 5G. Not a netflixer but a youtube junkie. Actually Mate nbn was great for youtube, much better than TPG.
    Only issue I have with Samsung now having me slowed down with a firmware upgrade on the S21u using bluetooth tethering. Very annoying having to hotspot when bluetooth worked so well before.
    If you have Apple multiple products the IP13 would be the wisest choice.
    I would always choose a phone over a stand alone modem just to have redundancy.
    I keep my battery between 20 and 80% if I can. Using magnetic adaptors on all phones.
    If you find a phone that uses the right bands (they call them NR) and hopefully a full speed bluetooth can be a rewarding experience.

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