The ZTE Velocity USB Modem (MF861) is AT&T's latest USB cellular modem, released in April 2017.
This USB modem is a 'plug and play' solution for those looking for AT&T based cellular internet connections for a single device (i.e. laptop).
ZTE Restrictions In the United States:
ZTE is a Chinese company that produces a variety of electronics, including consumer cellular devices as well as network equipment that can potentially be used by cellular carriers and other internet service providers.
Beginning in 2018, the US government restricted the sale and support of ZTE products in the US due to security concerns. Then, in November 2022, the US government stopped certifying any ZTE products (along with products from Huawei and other China-based companies) for use in the US. This effectively means that ZTE cannot legally sell new products in the US anymore.
Existing ZTE products, like the ones listed here on MIRC, are still FCC certified and legal to utilize. The FCC does have the authority to revoke existing licenses for this gear, but we think that is unlikely to happen. Those using existing ZTE devices can continue to utilize them as normal.
- Model Number: ZTE MF861
- # of Connected Devices: 1
- Control Panel and Default Password: N/A
- USB Tethering Support: Yes, to one device, like a laptop
- Supported Networks and Bands:
AT&T LTE Bands: 2, 4, 5, 12, 29, 30
- LTE-Advanced Carrier Aggregation: 1st generation
- MIMO Support: 2x2 internal only
- LTE Performance Category: Cat 6
- Wi-Fi connectivity: 802.11 a/b/g/n
- Cellular Antenna Ports: None
- Other Ports: USB male
- Wi-Fi Technology / Frequencies: None
- Claimed Battery Life: None - no battery
- Can Be Powered Without a Battery: Yes
- Dimensions: 3.82'' x 1.30'' x 0.63'' / 3.18 oz
- SIM Card Type: Nano SIM
- Retail Price: $119.99
Review & Testing Status
We are not currently testing this unit. This device may be good for those who need to connect a single device, primarily a laptop but most RVers and boaters would be better served with a mobile hotspot device.
Alternatives to Consider
For other popular mobile hotspots on the market - here are our featured options:
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Mobile hotspot devices are small, self-contained units that receive a cellular data signal and transform it into an internet connection. They are a cellular modem and router combined. Most can create their own personal Wi-Fi network.
They are typically designed with a specific cellular carrier in mind and require a suitable cellular data plan of their own to operate. You might see them called Jetpacks (Verizon's term for them) or MiFi (Inseego's name for them).
Here's a quick video going over the features of a hotspot, and what makes one better than another:
The guides below have been hand-picked to help further your education about selecting mobile hotspots and best utilizing them in your mobile internet setup.