Hughesnet vs. Exede Review – 2017

We compared HughesNet and Exede in price, speed, data, and customer satisfaction and declared an overall winner.

Best Overall
See Review
Second Best
See Review

Hughesnet vs. Exede Review – 2017

Product Recommended Rating
HughesNet Best Overall 4 / 5
Exede Second Best 3 / 5
Heads up exclamation Heads up exclamation

UPDATE

UPDATE

Hey, the information in this article is out of date, but don’t despair. The most recent information on HughesNet vs. Exede can be found in our 2017 Best Satellite Internet Providers article. It’s got everything you need to know about HughesNet, Exede, and satellite internet

Our pick: HughesNet

HughesNet and Exede took the first and second spots in the best satellite internet rankings for 2017, but we wanted to dig a little deeper into what truly makes the two satellite internet providers different.

We compared HughesNet and Exede in price, speed, data, and customer satisfaction and declared an overall winner. There are two big reasons we picked HughesNet over Exede: higher download speeds and better discounts.

HughesNet
If you need satellite internet, go with HughesNet. It offers more value than competitors.

The thing about satellite internet is…

If you have access to DSL or cable internet, do not get satellite internet. We’ve heard from customers who were disappointed by satellite internet because it’s not as fast as DSL or cable. We feel confident saying satellite internet will never be faster than DSL or cable. Satellite internet competes with other satellite internet providers and dial-up service—it doesn’t stand a chance against DSL or cable internet. If you want to find the best DSL, cable, or fiber internet service, see the “The Fastest Internet Providers of 2017.

HughesNet vs. Exede comparison

Here’s what we measure when we compare satellite internet providers.

HughesNetExede
Price
$49.99–$129.99/mo
Price
$49.99–$149.99/mo
Download speed
5–15 Mbps
Download speed
12–25 Mbps
Data cap
5–50 GB
Data cap
10–30 GB
Contract terms
Requires two-year agreement
Contract terms
Requires two-year agreement
Installation
Free standard installation
Installation
Free standard installation
Equipment leasing fee
$9/mo
Equipment leasing fee
$9/mo
Equipment purchase options
Yes
Equipment purchase options
No
Early termination fee
Yes
Early termination fee
Yes
Availability
Nationwide
Availability
Nationwide
View PlansView Plans

Pricing

HughesNet outdoes Exede with an attractive discount, but only if you can manage to get it.

HughesNet’s basic plan starts at $49.99 per month, but if you’re lucky, you can get it discounted to $29.99 per month. That’s almost half off the original price, but the $20-per-month discount is subject to availability. If you want to know if you can get it, you’ll need to enter your ZIP code. We’re bummed the discount isn’t available everywhere, because it beats paying the regular $49.99 per month price. Exede does have its own discount ($10 per month), but it’s subject to availability and doesn’t last long.

HughesNet’s discount is good for a full two years, but Exede’s discount expires after the first three months. Needless to say, that’s a huge difference—HughesNet’s $240 in savings ($20 x 12 months) compared to Exede’s $30 in savings ($10 x 3 months).

If you can’t get a discount, basic plans for HughesNet and Exede both start at $49.99 per month. However, premium plans for HughesNet cost less than Exede’s ($129 per month compared to $149 per month). Because plans and pricing are almost entirely determined by where you live, it can be hard to say which one’s cheaper. Still, more times than not, we found HughesNet’s prices at a lower rate.

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Tip: The contract lasts two years. Period.

Tip: The contract lasts two years. Period.

Both HughesNet and Exede require a two-year service agreement. That means if you’re moving in six months or selling your home next year, beware early termination and equipment fees. We’ve heard from plenty of customers who tried to cancel their service early, only to get stuck with fees.

Speed

HughesNetExede
Actual-to-advertised speed152%71%

Exede says it has faster download speeds than HughesNet, but the FCC doesn’t agree.

According to the FCC, HughesNet’s actual-to-advertised download speed is 152%.1 To compare, Exede’s actual-to-advertised download speed is 71%.1 That’s quite the difference, and it means most HughesNet customers are getting faster-than-advertised speeds as Exede customers experience the opposite. If you want higher-than-advertised speed, you’re more likely to get it with HughesNet. Exede, on the other hand, needs to improve on its actual download speed.

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Tip: The advertised speed is not the real speed

Tip: The advertised speed is not the real speed

When internet service providers (ISPs) advertise speed, they advertise the max speed. For example, if you see an advertisement for 5 Mbps download speed, it means the download speed is up to 5 Mbps. It’s misleading, but every ISP does it.

Data

HughesNetExede
Basic plan anytime data
5 GB
Basic plan anytime data
10 GB
Unlimited bonus data
Select plans
Unlimited bonus data
Select plans

Anytime data is the most important kind of data, and Exede offers more of it in its basic plan.

Anytime data is the data you use first, and like its name implies, you’re good to use it at any time. Once you use up the anytime data, you’re stuck with bonus data, which sounds nice, but it won’t do much for you. Speed is significantly throttled when you use bonus data, and it’s limited to off-peak hours (12–5 a.m. for Exede and 2–8 a.m. for HughesNet). For example, you won’t be able to watch Netflix with bonus data because the speed is so slow. You can still see simple webpages and check and send email, but you won’t be able to do much else.

Exede’s higher anytime data for its basic plan (10 GB compared to HughesNet’s 5 GB) and earlier hours for bonus data set it apart from HughesNet. Still, that’s not much of a difference. When it comes to data, Exede barely does better.  

Support

Exede and HughesNet both have lackluster customer support.

In our full reviews, we’ve mentioned that HughesNet and Exede could both improve their customer support, and we still stand by that. Satellite internet providers seem to realize you have no other options for internet, so customer support doesn’t get the attention it deserves. For example, both HughesNet and Exede have offshore call centers handling incoming support calls.

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Tip: Where to find help

Tip: Where to find help

Both Exede and HughesNet have online chat, email, and telephone support. Each also has an online help center (though it’s probably not helpful if you can’t get online) and a surprisingly active online community.

The bottom line:

HughesNet

HughesNet delivers faster download speeds than advertised, and its current promotions are hard to beat. Exede is close behind HughesNet in pretty much everything else, but both services need to step up their customer service game.

Recommendation: HughesNet delivers faster speeds than Exede, and the Prime Plus’s 10 Mbps should provide just the right amount of speed for most users.

What do you think?

Do you agree with us picking HughesNet over Exede? Do you have a question this comparison didn’t answer? Leave us feedback in the comments below and we’ll respond. We want to hear from you!

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  • http://www.facebook.com/CheatingCannotBeTolerated moda

    Thanks for the info – appreciate your review. It looks as though both Exede and Hughesnet have changed their plans in the short time since this piece was written.
    For example – as far as I can see, the Freedom package is no longer available on Exede.
    And it appears that Hughes has replaced Max with Ultra, at 50GB for $89.99.
    As a personal note, when I changed my Exede account a while back from 12 Mbps to 25, I did not appreciate any noticeable difference at all. None.

    • http://www.reviews.org Scott T.

      You’re right! This was written last year. We’re working on updating this article. The information on the Best Satellite Internet for 2016 and Exede vs. HughesNe vs. dishNET is up to date. Be sure to check them out.

      Also, thanks for telling us about your experience with upgrading your speed with Exede. We’d be interested to hear more, and if you’ve contacted their support team for help.

      • http://www.facebook.com/CheatingCannotBeTolerated moda

        Thanks for taking the time to reply. Please know that my comment was not a criticism. I saw that this piece was written last year and understand completely that you can’t possibly know of all changes.
        I opted to change my service last night from the Essential 10 + Boost to the Liberty 12. I don’t notice any drop in speed, though I didn’t test before or after.
        I’m still tempted to switch to the Hughes Ultra, and should be able to easily as I’m almost 4 years into Exede, but the switch seems like such a hassle and I’m not up for such a thing right now.
        I have contacted them in the past and their customer service leaves a LOT to be desired. For example – After I switched to the Essential 10 plan, they sent me their WiFi Router. That should have been simple. It wasn’t. Their support people tried to tell me it was my computer. I told them I had tried it with 3 different laptops to no avail. It took much arguing and demanding on my part to get them to send me a new device. Tada! It worked fine.
        Thanks again.

        • http://www.reviews.org Scott T.

          If it’s any consolation, Consumer Reports says Exede has better customer service than HughesNet. So maybe you’re saving yourself from future headaches by staying with Exede.

          From what we’ve researched (and experienced), we think all satellite internet providers would be wise to improve their customer support.

          • http://www.facebook.com/CheatingCannotBeTolerated moda

            That is some consolation. Thanks

          • Hughes Rep

            Hughesnet has uptained and maintained an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau for delivering its promised prices AND speeds.

          • http://www.reviews.org Scott T.

            Actually, according to BBB’s website, the “factors that raised the rating” for HughesNet include:

            – Length of time business has been operating
            – Complaint volume filed with BBB for business of this size
            – Response to 2731 complaint(s) filed against business
            – Resolution of complaint(s) filed against business

            You can read more details on how ratings work with BBB here.

          • Marcia

            I just moved to a rural location and work from home…Exede is a joke to say the least. i am up to 175.00 a month and still my service goes out at least three times a day… Their tech support leave much to be desired, plan on spending at least one hour on the phone, most of which is hold time. I called to ask if i have a VOIP phone can i move it from my computer to their plan and the answer is always not sure or give it a try.. but you are locked into a contract whether it works or not.. Guess i was really spoiled with cable. the kids are mad as they can’t use the internet at all anymore..

  • mrtechguy

    Regarding Exede’s “Freedom Plan” they told me it’s not offered for me because of the “congested” area I’m in- northern Illinois. So 30GB/mo, that’s it! Satellite option is definitely NOT an option (for a family of 6 with teenagers!). I’d blow thru that in under a week easy.

    • http://www.reviews.org Scott T.

      Yeah, that doesn’t sound good. Is there any other type of internet available in your area (cable, DSL, etc.)?

  • Gabe1972

    Though this article says it was published/updated on 5/15/2017, some of the Hughesnet info is based on the previously available plans, which were changed mid March. The smallest plan available starts with 10GB Anytime Data, and the speeds are now advertised at 25Mbps down for all Gen5 plans.

    • http://www.reviews.org Scott T.

      You’ll notice we added an “important update” box at the top of the article on 5/5/17. We’re no longer updating this specific article, but the links in the update box should be current.

  • Vicky

    I’ve had Exede for 3 years. It was the best option at the time, started with the liberty 10 (if my memory serves me right). Then last year I decided to upgrade from 12 mbps to 25 mbps and 12 gb of data. It worked good I checked my speeds every so often. But, I checked them today with cleared browsers, 9 mbps on the ipad, 12 on the laptop. I called exede, they said, there sateliite is cluttered so they are not offering the 25 mbps package anymore, and they had just launched a new satellite in April, 2017. They also said it won’t be up and running until january 2018 to help with congestion. They offered me 10.00 a month discount for 6 months. I’m seriously considering Hughesnet, but it sounds like they aren’t much better. deep sigh.

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