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It's increasingly clear that 5G home internet is the next big thing in internet service — and, right now, T-Mobile appears to be leading the pack. Most people may only know T-Mobile as a wireless provider for cell phones and smartphones. But T-Mobile is no longer mobile-only. The company now offers T-Mobile 5G home internet plans, too. Using a “Wi-Fi Gateway” that acts like a super-powered hotspot, T-Mobile can blanket your home with the same speedy connection that it gives your smartphone.
T-Mobile home internet isn't available everywhere yet. But if you're in a market that T-Mobile serves, you might be able to get the ultimate internet plan for “cord-cutters”: an all-wireless internet service that uses the same 5G standard as cutting-edge smartphones. Let's take a look at T-Mobile home internet plans and prices. We'll also discuss how 5G home internet works, where T-Mobile is available right now, and why 5G might be faster than the internet plan you already have.
How much is 5G home internet from T-Mobile? T-Mobile home internet costs $60 per month, with no long-term contracts. This is T-Mobile's only home internet plan, and it includes T-Mobile's Wi-Fi Gateway device.
You may notice that T-Mobile advertises rates of $50 per month for its home internet plans. By using T-Mobile’s auto-pay system, you qualify for a $10-per-month rebate on your $60-per-month bill.
How much 5G home internet will cost is still something of an open question, because most of T-Mobile's internet service provider competitors haven't launched 5G home services nationwide yet. However, T-Mobile's prices look pretty great right now, so it's hard to imagine that emerging 5G competition from Verizon and AT&T will beat T-Mobile by much.
T-Mobile's home internet service is a little different from other types of internet service. Usually, when we talk about internet service, the focus is on connection types. Phone lines used to be the standard, and DSL internet connections still use them. Modern broadband typically uses cable infrastructure, while ultra-fast fiber networks like Verizon Fios use fiber-optic cables.
However, 5G home internet services, like T-Mobile home internet, don't use any of these.
Instead, T-Mobile's home internet service relies on wireless connections, much like your smartphone would on a mobile network from T-Mobile, Verizon, AT&T, or one of their competitors.
Specifically, T-Mobile internet uses 5G connections. 5G has been the subject of some strange theories, but the boring truth is that it's just a wireless standard: Companies like T-Mobile and Verizon routinely get together and agree on standards for wireless networks (you can imagine the confusion if they didn't — after all, not everyone has the same phone plan!). “5G” is just the latest and greatest of these standards.
Each big version of wireless standards has been better and faster than the last. With this fifth generation — that's what “5G” stands for, by the way — the standards are so fast that mobile networks may be useful options for home internet connections. That's why T-Mobile and some competitors (including Verizon and AT&T) are beginning to use their mobile networks to serve home internet customers.
Since this is a wireless network, T-Mobile doesn't have to run cables to every house it serves. Instead, it just mails customers its Wi-Fi Gateway, which essentially works like a glorified mobile hotspot. This device connects to T-Mobile's wireless network and distributes the connection to a home network, just like a modem and router does for one of the more traditional internet connection types.
Technically, all of this makes T-Mobile internet a “fixed wireless” internet service. It's important to note, though, that 5G home internet is a lot more impressive than past fixed wireless options. Fixed wireless used to be the last resort for rural internet customers who couldn't access cable or fiber options; now, the 5G version of the same concept may be a top choice for some consumers, even in urban areas that already have great broadband options.
The arrival of 5G home internet is pretty exciting stuff, but let's not get ahead of ourselves. Not everyone lives within the range of T-Mobile's 5G network. Plus, not everyone who does is eligible for T-Mobile home internet (yet). Why is that?
T-Mobile's network is pretty impressive, but the company is also busy with all of its existing smartphone customers. Just as with any other type of connection, too much traffic could slow things down. Because of this, T-Mobile has been careful about rolling out its new home internet service, only adding as many customers as it can support with high-speed internet connections. For now, their home internet is only available in select markets.
T-Mobile is even limiting how many customers it can add in each market. This means that just because you’re within the service range of T-Mobile's 5G network doesn’t guarantee that you’ll be able to sign up for their home internet. The only way to find out for sure is to check with T-Mobile. To do that, use the tool on the company's 5G internet page or just give them a call.
T-Mobile 5G home internet service offers a minimum download speed of 25 Mbps. While that's not overwhelming, T-Mobile says that most subscribers see average download speeds that are more than four times that fast (100 Mbps and up). Upload speeds range between 6 and 23 Mbps.
And things are getting faster. As T-Mobile expands their network, they should be able to support faster speeds for more users. One of the exciting things about 5G home internet is that the 5G standard could allow for speeds north of 1,000 Mbps (1 Gbps, or “gigabit” speed) — in other words, as fast or even faster than the speediest options currently available from fiber and cable providers. While some of the best 5G home internet options boast speeds this high, it's not the norm for most customers just yet.
For now, some customers may wonder: Why is T-Mobile internet so slow? While T-Mobile's 5G plan is typically pretty fast, they’re still subject to the same kinds of traffic issues as other connection types. During high-traffic times on the network, connections may slow down.
Still, 100 Mbps is pretty typical on the network, and that's pretty fast. 100 Mbps is more than enough speed for streaming Netflix and other on-demand streaming services, and it should handle 4K UHD streaming or livestreaming TV pretty well, too.
You can read more about our experience with T-Mobile 5G home internet speeds — including the results of our speed tests — in our soon-to-be-published T-Mobile home internet review.
Having a truly wireless home internet plan is arguably the ultimate “cord-cutting” move, and the fact that T-Mobile home internet has no contracts or commitments makes it even sweeter.
T-Mobile clearly has cord-cutting in mind as they market their 5G plan: The company has partnered with YouTube TV to offer discounted streaming TV. YouTube TV is a cable alternative that includes dozens of live network TV channels, all streaming over the web.
T-Mobile's 5G network is also fast enough to handle other streaming services, including big names like Netflix and HBO Max. The one outlier, however, is the live TV streaming service Hulu + Live TV: For the time being, it won't work on T-Mobile's network. T-Mobile and Hulu are currently ironing this out, so it's unlikely to be a long-term issue, but it's something that cord-cutting Hulu fans should keep in mind before they switch.