Product Overview: Wireless Internet Router & Data Plans by AT&T (Cellular Data Plans & Router)

ZTE in the News: ZTE has been in the news a lot lately thanks to the sanctions the company has been negotiating with the US government. At one point, it seemed as if ZTE would be forced out of business.

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In November 2017, AT&T quietly retired the Home Base cellular home router (read our review) and replaced it with the substantially updated AT&T Wireless Internet router.

This is now the official companion device for the AT&T Wireless Home Phone & Internet plans.

This updated device still takes a cellular signal and provides a local Wi-Fi hotspot, as well as offering a standard phone jack to provide "land line" style phone service over cellular.

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The new device can only be activated on AT&T Wireless Home Phone & Internet plans.

These plans appeal to some nomads thanks to comparatively high data caps on the available plans.

AT&T Wireless Internet Router Specifications

  • Model: MF279
  • # of Connected Devices: 20 via Wi-Fi (10 per band) / More Via Ethernet
  • Control Panel and Default Password:
    Control Panel: http://att.wirelessinternet/ or
    Default Password: “attadmin”
  • USB Tethering Support: N/A
  • Supported Networks and Bands:
    LTE Bands: 2,4,5,12/17,29,30
    4G: HSPA+ 850/1900/2100MHz
    3G: UMTS
  • LTE-Advanced Carrier Aggregation: No
  • MIMO Support: 2x2
  • LTE Performance Category: Category 16
    (Max Theoretical Speed: Unknown since it's unclear if all the modems features are active in this unit)
  • Cellular Antenna Ports: 2 x SMA
  • Other Ports: 1x Gigabit Ethernet (1000Mbps), 1x Analog Phone Jack
  • Wi-Fi Technology / Frequencies: 2.4GHz 802.11n and 5GHz 802.11ac
  • Claimed Battery Life: (Primarily for short-term backup) 2.5 hours use, 1+ days standby
  • Can Be Powered Without a  Battery: Unknown
  • Dimensions:  5.4 x 5.43 x 1.18"
  • SIM Card Type: Nano SIM
  • Retail Price:  $199.99

Standalone Wireless Phone & Internet Plans

Pricing for currently available Home & Internet Plans is based on capped usage:

  • 50GB for $40/month (+$20/voice) =$60+ taxes
  • 100GB for $80/month (+$20/voice) =$100+ taxes
Plan Details
  • Domestic Roaming: Their network does have an off-carrier roaming area, and AT&T has a domestic data roaming limits of 400MB of data per month. If you exceed that, they may shut down your data access until you are back on one of their towers.
  • International: This plan does not include any international roaming.
  • Mobile Hotspot Use: All data is for mobile hotspot use.
  • Data Roll Over: There is no data rollover for unused data with this plan - you lose it if you don't use it.
  • Network Management:
    • (Retired) Rural plans are always subject to Network Management. Being designed for 'rural users' it is expected the towers used won't be overloaded. So, you're stuck being network managed.
    • Current Wireless Internet (50GB/100GB) may or may not be subject to Network Management. There is no language re: this practice on the Wireless Internet FAQ/TOS pages, and the reps we have talked to believe that the plans may not be subject to Network Management since there is no wording to designate such.
  • Overage Charges:
    • For the 50/100GB Wireless Internet plans, if you exceed your data cap, overages are charged at $25 for 10GB, or you can elect to be automatically throttled to 128 kbps to avoid overages.
    • For the (retired) 250GB/500GB Rural Wireless Internet plans, if you exceed your data cap, overages are charged at $10/10GB.
  • Streaming: Unlike AT&T Mobile Share Advantage plans, these plans do not include any free video streaming on DirecTV Now.
    • Stream Saver (reduction to 480p) is on by default on these plans, but can be turned off.

To take advantage of this plan, you need to purchase an AT&T Wireless Internet Router.

Some History...

While the above prices for large, completely hotspottable data buckets are worthy, in early 2017, some customers had access to even more (and cheaper) data, based on zip code - called the 'Rural Plan'.

In mid-February of 2017, AT&T began offering even more data on its Wireless Home & Internet Plan in select "rural" markets for a limited time... and by 'more', we mean A LOT more:

  • 250GB for $60/month (+$20/voice) = $80+ taxes
  • 500GB for $100/month (+20/voice) = $120+ taxes

The catch: the 250GB/500GB 'Rural' plans were only available for customers with billing addresses in certain areas (some zip codes in Missouri, Kansas, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Western PA, and Upstate New York).

Some RVers with other addresses had been able to activate the plan by finding the right representative, but results were mixed.

Reportedly, these 250GB/500GB plans are no longer available to anyone - and we warn folks who locked these plans in not to make any changes on them - or risk having the plan removed.

Once you had a line active, it will work anywhere that AT&T has coverage.

With all of these plans (10GB/50GB/100GB/250GB/500GB options), you are forced to pay an extra $20 in service charges for a home phone number with unlimited talk. There is not an option to drop the voice line. Unlike cellular smartphone plans, texting is not included.

Review Status: We reviewed the original Home Base unit, however, we do not intend to obtain this new unit for testing.

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Specs Sheet

Purchasing Options

AT&T Wireless Internet Router & Plans Ratings
  • Overall Ratings

Quick Take

A unique device and capped data plan combo designed for rural customers, this is an option for those looking to take a "home like" phone and internet experience on the road.

Comments Rating 4 (1 review)

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