T-Mobile Home Internet Review


Gregory Basham
Jan 24, 2024
bullet10 min read

The verdict on T-Mobile Home Internet

Fiber optics is the hottest, most sought-after internet connection out there due to its insane speeds, but as of right now, getting it out to rural areas isn’t usually an option. Fortunately, there are great options for those living off the beaten path, and T-Mobile is one of the most reliable 5G home internet services out there—no wires necessary.

In fact, $60 per month is all it takes to get T-Mobile’s fast home internet download speeds with no annual contract. T-Mobile 5G home internet doesn’t come with equipment fees, and you won’t have to wait for a technician to get started. Plus, if you already use T-Mobile for cellular, you’ll pay even less.

T-Mobile’s been at the forefront of 5G wireless connectivity ever since it became widely available. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that it’s now one of the leading providers of 5G home internet, bringing improved internet speeds to areas of the country that used to miss out on speedy W-Fi through one of the largest, fastest and most awarded 5G networks around.

T-Mobile Home Internet plans and prices

Satellite provider
Price
Speed
Data cap
Details
$40.00–$50.00/mo.*72–245MbpsUnlimited

*With qualifying phone plan.

T-Mobile offers high-speed 5G home internet for $40 to $60 per month, and T-Mobile reports that it covers more than 330 million people (98% Americans) to date. That pricing stands in line with competitors like Verizon and AT&T, while being cheaper per month than fiber optic services like Google Fiber (starting at $70 per month).

T-Mobile makes it affordable to have a steady and reliable 5G internet signal in your home. There are no restrictions to data usage and no long-term contracts, so it’s an accessible and practical home internet option.

If you’re already a T-Mobile cellular customer, you’ll get that reduced monthly rate at $40 or $50 per month depending on your plan. Other companies are offering similar incentives to their customer base, but T-Mobile’s coverage sets it apart.

How fast is T-Mobile 5G?

No 5G home internet service is as fast as fiber optic or in-ground wired connections. But T-Mobile 5G home internet consistently reaches internet speeds ranging from 72 to 245Mbps, on average.

T-Mobile’s also unique in that it advertises its average internet speeds, not theoretical speeds. It’s one thing for companies like Verizon to advertise 1,000Mbps, but most 5G home internet users aren’t going to experience speeds in that zone. T-Mobile sets realistic expectations and hits those marks.

Even third-party testers agree that T-Mobile’s average speeds are more consistent and leave their main competition in the dust. Network tester Ookla reported that in Q4 2023, T-Mobile’s 5G network, was nearly twice as fast as Verizon and AT&T’s networks. This new metric was a nearly 20Mbps improvement from earlier in the year.

But speed and efficiency depend on a number of factors, including signal strength, time of day, and even the weather. 5G isn’t immune to service outages, so be aware that if your mobile coverage is experiencing hiccups in your area, it will likely affect your home internet service as well.

However, as T-Mobile continues to expand its wireless network, you’ll continue to reap the rewards of its advancing coverage and ever-improving Wi-Fi speeds.

T-Mobile home internet coverage map

T-Mobile availability map

There are some areas of the country that don’t yet have strong 5G coverage. In those areas, you might receive a 4G LTE signal using T-Mobile’s other home internet plan, T-Mobile Lite. While not as fast as 5G, 4G LTE is still solid for online streaming and all your basic Wi-Fi. To figure out what “basic Wi-Fi” means for your lifestyle, check out our What Internet Speed Do I Need? guide.

Another plus side to T-Mobile 5G home internet is that, regardless of the speed of service, your cost to receive Wi-Fi at home won’t change. You’ll have the benefit of unlimited data, which means that you won’t be penalized no matter how much you use your home internet. Once you get your hardware, you can just set it and forget it.

T-Mobile 5G Home Internet installation

Another pro of T-Mobile 5G Home Internet is how easy it is to get set up at home. Rather than waiting on a technician, and paying extra fees for installation, T-Mobile simply mails a single piece of hardware called a Wireless Gateway Device to your home which acts as both a modem and a router. Once it arrives, the included instructions will guide you through the setup process.

T-Mobile 5G step-by-step installation

Here’s a peek at the installation steps:

  1. Unbox your gateway device once it's mailed to your address.
  2. Plug the gateway into a power source in an area of your home where it will receive the strongest signal (T-Mobile recommends near a window for the best performance).
  3. Name and create a password for your new Wi-Fi network.
  4. Connect your devices.
  5. Enjoy 5G home internet with no data caps.

T-Mobile provides free, 2-day shipping, and the company says you can be up and running within 15 minutes of your hardware arriving, although customers we’ve interviewed have said the service took them 30 minutes from opening the box to surfing the internet. Self-installation can be a two-edged sword in some cases, but from all the data, it looks like T-Mobile streamlined the process for its users.

tmobile living room graphic

T-Mobile even offers a gateway placement assistant to ensure a great Wi-Fi connection.

When you sign up for T-Mobile 5G Home Internet, you don’t have to commit to Wi-Fi at only one address. So long as you continue to pay your monthly fee, you can take your gateway device with you when you change addresses. You’ll get internet without waiting for a technician or hard line cables so long as there’s T-Mobile 5G coverage in the area.
That’s just another reason why setting up a 5G home internet connection with T-Mobile is great for people who live far away from cities, in-line wired internet options, and fiber optic networks.

While T-Mobile 5G Home Internet works anywhere their network is available, we don’t recommend using it when you’re traveling, as it’s against the terms of service. However, if you’re on the road frequently, like in an RV, T-Mobile does have high-data cap options through mobile and hotspot devices. Read our T-Mobile RV Internet guide for more information.

T-Mobile customer service

As a national brand serving millions of Americans, T-Mobile has a team of customer service representatives ready to help answer your questions. If a major problem comes up, It’s always nice to know you can get in touch with an expert over the phone.

To discuss billing or service issues you can contact T-Mobile Customer Care using either the T-Mobile Home Internet app or by calling general customer service at +1-800-937-8997. T-Mobile customer service is available 24/7.

If you need more specific help with home internet service, check out these phone numbers to see who you should call to get help the fastest:

T-Mobile Home Internet Sales Support: +1-866-948-1524

T-Mobile Home Internet Tech Support: +1-888-417-4632

T-Mobile vs. the competition

T-Mobile Home InternetStarts at $40.00–$50.00/mo.*● Unlimited data
● Fast speeds
● Wide availability
AT&T Internet AirStarts at $35.00/mo.*● Unlimited data
● Affordable pricing
● Simple setup
Verizon 5G Home InternetStarts at $35.00/mo.*● Unlimited data
● Excellent pricing for Verizon customers
● Two plans to choose from
HughesnetStarts at $49.99/mo.● Nationwide availability
● No up-front equipment costs
StarlinkStarts at $120.00/mo.● Faster than other satellite providers
● Unlimited data

*Starting prices when bundled with a qualified mobile service plan.

Other big names in mobile service provide home internet too. Like T-Mobile, Verizon 5G and AT&T Internet Air offer no contracts and no equipment fees, but both providers have smaller 5G network coverage.

Satellite providers are nice alternatives to 5G, especially for rural areas that are out of reach of the higher speeds of a 5G network. Local fixed Wi-Fi providers like Rise Broadband are worth looking into as well, but ultimately, we feel T-Mobile is the best overall.

T-Mobile vs. Verizon Home Internet

Provider
Price
Data
Download speed
Get it
$40.00–$50.00/mo.Unlimited72–245Mbps average
$35.00–$80.00/mo.UnlimitedUp to 1,000Mbps

While Verizon is a great option, its advertised download speed of 1,000Mbps isn’t a realistic expectation for most customers, especially in areas where Verizon’s 5G coverage lacks in comparison to T-Mobile’s. Verizon’s $35-per-month offer for pre-existing customers is also extremely attractive, coming in even cheaper than T-Mobile’s same offer, but you’ll still be paying for a smaller network.

If you’re not a cellular customer of either company, and you go with T-Mobile, chances are you’ll end up paying up to $30 less per month with better coverage than you would for Verizon. And, T-Mobile’s larger network coverage means faster internet speeds on average across the country, especially in more rural areas where we feel the accessibility of 5G for home internet is an advantage.

For more details on these 5G  providers, check out our T-Mobile vs. Verizon Home Internet breakdown.

T-Mobile Home Internet vs. Rise Broadband

Provider
Price
Data
Download speed
Get it
$40.00–$50.00/mo.Unlimited72–245Mbps average
$39.99/mo.UnlimitedUp to 50Mbps

Another direct competitor to T-Mobile in the home internet space is Rise Broadband, the largest indie fixed wireless provider. While Rise Broadband may offer a better monthly rate for standalone internet and many of the same subscription perks as T-Mobile and Verizon, the smaller company has less network coverage. You see, fixed wireless ISPs use towers similar to 5G providers to transmit internet to homes in rural locations, but they aren’t as widespread as 5G network towers, so availability could be more limited.

We recommend T-Mobile over other competitors simply because it offers the best 5G coverage available. After all, for better wireless internet, you need a service that has the widest range to ensure the fastest internet speeds and best performance possible in any given area.

What is 5G Anyway?

5G, the newest generation of cellular service, is short for the fifth generation of wireless cellular communications. A 5G wireless connection is made between a cell tower and your cell phone, enabling communication through radio waves. While downloading a movie on 4G might’ve once taken about seven minutes, with 5G, it happens in fewer than ten seconds.

Due to the strength and speed of 5G technology, the same cell towers that link your smartphone to a 5G network are able to connect to the home internet gateway devices we mentioned earlier. PBS writes that larger bandwidths and higher frequencies allows 5G to handle more devices, making it powerful enough to provide Wi-Fi for all the technology in your home. Previous generations, like 3G, simply couldn’t handle that.

Cellular companies like T-Mobile are building cell towers across the country faster than they could construct in-ground fiber optic or cable networks. That’s why 5G home internet is a great solution for rural areas. The radio waves transmitted by 5G don’t need a wired connection and can be received over longer distances. Because 5G has that larger bandwidth and handles both low and high frequency transmissions, you’ll still get quality internet.

Satellite Internet is another option, but it can get expensive fast, and radio waves are obstructed much less easily than satellite waves, especially if you live near a 5G cell tower. Although satellite internet is a promising technology, the extensive 5G coverage of a network like T-Mobile is more reliable and, considering the potential cost savings, an excellent choice.

In fact, 5G home internet is a good option even if you’re not in the rural areas that benefit most. Customers we’ve interviewed have used them as an internet backup solution when their cable provider went out during a hurricane, for example. And due to how simple it is to get started, people who only require temporary internet, or may not want to invest in cable Wi-Fi, will appreciate the simplicity of 5G home internet.

What about 4G and 4G LTE?

We mentioned earlier that if T-Mobile home internet can’t give you 5G speeds in a certain area, then it’ll use 4G LTE and 4G. This is called T-Mobile Lite. 4G and 4G LTE are weaker cellular speeds, and just like a weaker signal for your smartphone, this might mean slower at-home Wi-Fi. That being said, 4G and 4G LTE are still capable of accomplishing most of your general Wi-Fi needs.

All 5G home internet service has the potential to drop to 4G and 4G LTE based on your area’s coverage and several other factors. Bad weather can cause weakening signals, too, as radio waves are disrupted when they bounce across the affected area.

How does satellite internet compare to 5G?

Satellite provider
Monthly price
Speed
Data cap
HughesNetHughesnet
$49.99–$79.99/mo.50-100MbpsUnlimited
StarlinkStarlink
$90.00–$5,000.00/mo.25–220MbpsUnlimited
ViasatViasat
$69.99–$299.99/mo.**25–100MbpsPlans starting at 60GB/month.
5G provider
Monthly price
Speed
Data cap
T-Mobile 5G Home InternetT-Mobile
$40.00-$50.00/mo.72–245MbpsUnlimited
VerizonVerizon
$35.00-$80.00/mo.25–100MbpsUnlimited
ATTAT&T
$35.00-$55.00/mo.40–140Mbps.Unlimited

If you’re in an area that hasn’t yet been reached by T-Mobile or another 5G service provider, another route to consider is satellite internet. With wider coverage than 5G, satellites can bring Wi-Fi into your home pretty much anywhere in the United States (and around the world).

However, there are drawbacks to speed and caps on monthly data usage. Satellite internet is much slower than 5G, rarely exceeding 25Mbps, which is why we do suggest testing the 5G option first, even for those rural users who might benefit from satellite internet’s extensive coverage. Satellite internet also requires the installation of a dish and the service fees attached to that, meaning it can become costly fast.

Some satellite internet memberships also have monthly caps on data usage. For home internet, we suggest considering a service with no data limits in place. Having great internet in the home is more important than ever these days, and we think you should avoid a service that caps your usage or charges you extra for exceeding a monthly allotment. 

The verdict: Should you get T-Mobile Home Internet?

With T-Mobile’s continuously expanding coverage and successful history in the wireless space, its 5G home internet is a great option for people who don’t have access to cables or fiber optics. The company does its best to offer an affordable service, especially to its pre-existing wireless customers, and has made sure to stack up against competitors like Verizon by offering similar perks.

T-Mobile has invested time and resources into bringing its 5G service into more households previously starving for faster internet. For the people in those areas that want an accessible, cost-efficient, and simple to install internet service, we believe T-Mobile 5G Home Internet is the market’s best in class.

Methodology

For this article, we dug through T-Mobile’s terms and conditions for monthly pricing, how to order a gateway device, and how to get in touch with customer service. We did the same for T-Mobile’s competitors, analyzing the differences and similarities between 5G home internet providers as well as satellite internet providers based on what incentives and fees each company was advertising.

We also pulled our own proprietary data, like speed test info, and interviewed actual T-Mobile customers to get their personal testing experience. We also rely on cutting-edge sources in the industry, like PBS and the Worcester Polytechnic Institute to support our own knowledge and first-hand experience so we can help you make a well informed decision.

T-Mobile 5G Home Internet Review FAQ

What if I have Verizon Wireless but I’m interested in T-Mobile Home Internet?

Although there are fantastic cost savings attached to purchasing Verizon 5G Home Internet if you’re already using its cell service, we still think you should weigh your options based on where you live. By choosing T-Mobile, you won’t get the cost savings of $25/month for using Verizon 5G, but you’ll be joining a network with much wider coverage, likely providing faster internet where you live.

It’s important to note that leaving Verizon for T-Mobile will mean leaving behind some cell plan perks, but if you switch to T-Mobile home internet, you may find incentives to change your cell phone provider to T-Mobile too. That might mean more cost savings than you originally expected, as well as faster home internet.

Should I get 5G Home Internet if I live in an urban area?

5G home internet is best suited for people who live far away from fiber optic networks and in-ground cables. It’s still slower and less reliable than hard-wired connections, so we do recommend fiber internet as the fastest option if available. It’s true that the closer you are to 5G users and 5G towers, the faster your 5G internet will be, but the more people sharing your cell tower’s network, the slower your internet is likely to perform.

If cost is a concern, 5G home internet may be a great, affordable option. You won’t hit the same speeds as you would with hardline service, but you will get the best 5G home Wi-Fi the market has to offer. Also, on the off chance you’re in a stretch of a city that’s blacked-out, or if you’re someone renting a home that wants to avoid damaging their rental by installing in-line Wi-Fi, a 5G gateway device is a nice option to have.

How’s 5G Home Internet for online gaming?

While we do love 5G home internet for web use, streaming, and downloading, when it comes to high bandwidth gaming, inline internet connections offer higher speeds and are always preferred. You should be able to download digital games to your PC or home console, but you’ll likely run into issues playing fast-paced multiplayer games.

5G home internet has far more latency issues compared to hard-line internet, and even though 5G’s latency issues are more manageable than satellite internet’s, neither meets the needs of high-performance gaming just yet. Check our guide on internet speeds and online gaming for more details.