AT&T’s first 5G device was a Netgear hotspot, but since that time — and a brief Netgear device in 2020 — it’s been fairly quiet on new portable data offerings. That seems set to change on Friday as the nation’s third-largest carrier is adding two new Netgear offerings to its lineup.
Called the Nighthawk M6 and Nighthawk M6 Pro, both devices are available online and capable of connecting to AT&T’s higher-frequency millimeter-wave and midband C-band 5G networks (what the carrier calls “5G Plus”) as well as its lower-band 5G offering. The two hotspots each feature a touchscreen (2.4 inches on the M6, 2.8 inches on the M6 Pro), removable batteries, an Ethernet port and the ability to broadcast Wi-Fi 6 connections to up to 32 devices.
The regular M6 will retail for $310 while the M6 Pro will run $460. Beyond the larger display, the pricier hotspot will support 2.5Gbps Ethernet connections and the ability to broadcast in Wi-Fi 6E (the regular M6 can only broadcast in Wi-Fi 6).
AT&T touts that these devices can “allow users to use a 5G connection as their primary Internet and deliver multi-gigabit speeds to their home or on the go,” though the carrier isn’t making it easy with its plans.
Available only to postpaid customers, AT&T’s hotspot plans are pricey and limited. A 25GB-per-month plan runs $50, while 40GB is $75. Exceeding your data allotment will run you an extra $10 per every 2GB, an incredibly costly proposition for frequent travelers or those thinking about using this as a home internet solution and streaming videos or participating in video calls.
Those hotspot plans are not only bad relative to its rivals — T-Mobile offers a 5G Inseego hotspot with 100GB of monthly data for $50 per month while Verizon has a variety of hotspot plans that not only deliver better value in data ($40 per month gets you 50GB, $60 gets you 100GB) but will slow down speeds as opposed to charging you overage fees — but even compared to some of AT&T’s own prepaid offerings.
AT&T has prepaid hotspot options that are significantly more reasonable, with 100GB of data available for $55 per month. Unfortunately for those looking for a 5G hotspot, the carrier tells CNET that these new Netgear devices will not work with those better, prepaid plans.