Ten bucks a month, which is a typical cost for modem/router rentals, may not seem like much. However, this small amount can easily add up to hundreds of dollars over time.
What’s more, this could also far exceed what it would cost to buy your own equipment. This is one example of how you could literally save hundreds by skipping your internet service provider’s equipment fees.
Now, not all ISPs allow you to bring your own equipment. There are some that do require you to use company modems or routers. That said, many ISPs do give customers a bring your own (BYO) option.
If you just need a standard modem, for instance, there are many decent options available under a hundred bucks.
Below, you’ll find a rundown of what’s common with some of the popular internet service providers when it comes to equipment fees and rental options.
ISPs Requiring Equipment Rental
Let’s break down this list of popular internet service providers into two main groups. The first list presented is the one with companies that do not currently allow customers to use their own equipment, which includes three ISPs:
• AT&T: With AT&T, there’s a $10 per month router/modem gateway rental fee. It’s mandatory, so it can’t be skipped.
• Frontier: Frontier has a $10 per month router fee that’s included in the company’s advertised monthly rate. Since the fee isn’t separate, it can’t be skipped if you have your own router.
• T-Mobile: T-Mobile is another ISP that has no equipment fee, but they’ll give what you need free of charge. This is an example of when it would make more sense to use what the provider is offering since there’s no extra charge for doing so.
ISPs Allowing You to Skip Equipment Fees
Now, let’s focus on the ISPs that do give customers the option to use their own equipment and skip the rental fees. Just be aware that some of these providers do have specific requirements with the type of equipment you can use.
• CenturyLink: With CenturyLink, the fee for the modem/router gateway device is $15 per month. However, you can bring your own equipment and skip this fee, but it must be on the company’s list of approved devices.
• Charter Spectrum: With Charter Spectrum, the modem is provided free of charge and the router rental fee is $5 per month. It can be skipped if you use a supported model.
• Comcast Xfinity: If you’re an Xfinity customer, the combo router/modem device rental fee is $14 per month. This fee can be skipped, however, as long as you have a DOCSIS 3.1 model and use a supported device.
• Cox: Cox will rent you a Panoramic Wi-Fi gateway – a router/modem combo device – for $12 per month. This fee can be skipped as long as you purchase a similar device from the company’s list of approved/supported modems and gateways.
• Mediacom: With Mediacom, there’s a $12 modem rental fee each month and a $10 fee for renting the mesh router. Both of these fees can be skipped if you use approved hardware.
• Windstream: Windstream’s equipment rental fees fall within the $6-10 range. This fee can be skipped as long as you use equipment that meets the company’s hardware requirements.
• WideOpenWest: The company that likes to go by WOW charges a $14 per month modem rental fee and a $10 monthly mesh router rental fee. Both fees can be skipped if you use a WOW-approved modem.
Note: There are some providers that can’t easily fit into either category. These are discussed separately below.
Google Fiber doesn’t easily fit into either category. There’s no equipment fee with this provider. However, you do get a modem and a mesh router along with two optional extenders at no extra cost to you. Optimum and Suddenlink falls somewhere in between in that cable customers can skip the equipment fees but fiber customers don’t have this option.
With Rise Broadband, the fee for the router can be skipped if you use your own, but the modem fee cannot be skipped. If you go with Verizon, equipment fees apply with Fios, DSL, and LTE plans, but not with the 5G plan. The fees can be skipped with the Fios and DSL plans, but not with the LTE one.
Equipment rental can also be worth considering if an ISP has newer equipment that will perform better, especially if you prefer equipment better designed for gaming or multiple-device use. Ultimately, consider what you will likely be saving; and factor in whether or not you can afford similar equipment that will still allow you to do what you want to do online.