AT&T Internet Air vs. T-Mobile Home Internet

Dave Schafer
Jan 24, 2024
Icon Time To Read8 min read

Move over, satellite—there’s a new kid on the block. 5G home internet promises to offer rural customers more options for high-speed internet. In fact, it’s often faster and more affordable than satellite. We even interviewed customers who have used 5G home internet through a hurricane to stay connected when it mattered most.

All major cell providers offer a 5G home internet service. In this article, we’ll be comparing AT&T Internet Air and T-Mobile 5G Home Internet to see which one deserves your hard-earned money. Let’s dive in.

Price w/ qualifying cell plan
Download speed
AT&T Internet Air$55.00/mo.$35.00/mo.Unlimited75—225Mbps
T-Mobile Home Internet$60.00/mo.$40.00—$50.00/mo.Unlimited72–245Mbps

AT&T Internet Air plans

Price w/ qualifying cell plan
Download speed
AT&T Internet Air$55.00/mo.$35.00/mo.Unlimited75—225Mbps

AT&T keeps things simple with a single Internet Air plan. For $55.00 per month, you get speeds between 75Mbps and 220Mbps and unlimited data. Equipment costs are included, so you don’t have to worry about anything extra getting tacked onto this price.

Even better, if you have a qualifying AT&T cell phone plan, you can take $20.00 off the price of Internet Air, making it just $35.00 per month. AT&T isn’t really clear which wireless plans are eligible, but other providers that offer this type of discount, like T-Mobile, usually restrict it to the current higher-tier plans. However, it’s clear that this is a fantastic value for AT&T customers.

As for the speed range, you can’t pay more for faster speed. Internet Air performance is dictated by the strength of the AT&T network in your area. Faster speeds require a more robust 5G network, while those falling back to LTE will see performance on the lower end. On average, though, these speeds should be plenty for single users or even small households.

T-Mobile Home Internet plans

Price w/ qualifying cell plan
Download speed
T-Mobile Home Internet$60.00/mo.$40.00—$50.00/mo.Unlimited72–245Mbps

Like AT&T, T-Mobile offers only a single 5G home internet plan. You’ll pay $60.00 per month for unlimited 5G or 4G LTE data (depending on what’s available in your area). The 5G speeds range from 72–245Mbps, which is very respectable—245Mbps puts T-Mobile in line with many cable plans, and unlimited data means you can use those speeds as much as you want.

T-Mobile also offers the option to reduce prices by $10.00 to $20.00 per month with a qualifying cell plan. Unlike AT&T, T-Mobile actually tells you which plans qualify: Go5G Next, Go5G Plus, and Magenta MAX get you a $20 discount; Go5G, Magenta, or Essentials phone plan gets you $10 off. These are T-Mobile’s best plans, but they’re also the priciest, so customers on a tight budget should definitely keep that in mind.

T-Mobile includes all the equipment you need at no additional cost, so there are no additional fees to factor into these prices—a welcome change from many other internet service providers (ISPs).

AT&T Internet Air vs. T-Mobile Home Internet: Performance

When it comes to performance, T-Mobile 5G Home currently beats out AT&T home internet by a hefty margin. Both services use 5G technology to connect, but T-Mobile’s more robust network means that customers can expect performance that’s nearly twice as fast as AT&T.

Now, it’s hard to make a blanket statement like that because we all know that cell signal strength can vary heavily from one area to another, even on the same network. There are likely spots where AT&T is significantly faster than T-Mobile. However, looking at the raw numbers and considering the fact that T-Mobile specifically uses average real-world speeds in its advertising, we have to give it the advantage.

That’s not to say Internet Air is slow—it should be plenty fast enough for HD streaming and video calls, for example. However, you may see slower downloads on large files, and performance may suffer in larger households due to the lower maximum speeds.

AT&T Internet Air vs. T-Mobile Home Internet: Data

Both providers offer unlimited data, which means that you can use your connection as much as you like. There’s no additional cost for this perk, which isn’t always the case with every provider. Best of all, it’s actually truly unlimited—some providers say they give you unlimited data but only allow for a certain amount at full speed while the rest is heavily slowed. You won’t find any of those shenanigans here.

It’s worth noting that this unlimited data does come with one caveat: Both providers may still slow or suspend service for misuse or abnormal use. Generally, ISPs consider abnormal use to be extremely large amounts of data used in a month, so if you consistently download dozens of terabytes of movies, you may see your data restricted. This is done primarily to prevent a few excessive users from impacting the network performance of everyone else—the vast majority of customers will never need to worry about this.

AT&T Internet Air vs. T-Mobile Home Internet: Price

AT&T Internet Air is slightly more affordable than T-Mobile Home Internet—you’ll save $5.00 per month going with T-Mobile. The two are close enough that we don’t think it’s worth switching solely for this reason, but if you’re on the fence, this could be the extra push you need to consider jumping ship.

The main exception to this rule is if you use a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) like Mint Mobile or Visible. These providers don’t offer home internet, so you’ll have more flexibility to choose the provider that works best in your area.

Since most people will likely go with the same provider they have for cell service, it’s worth noting that T-Mobile’s phone plans are often more expensive. For a single unlimited line, AT&T charges between $65.00 and $85.00 per month, while T-Mobile charges between $60.00 and $100.00 per month.

AT&T Internet Air vs. T-Mobile Home Internet: Equipment

Both AT&T and T-Mobile provide you with all the necessary equipment for no additional cost, which is something we love to see in an ISP. This is especially true in a world where providers like Starlink charge several hundred dollars (at minimum) for gear that’s required to use the service.

For both AT&T and T-Mobile, the only equipment you’ll need is the provider’s wireless gateway, which takes the 5G signal from cell towers and converts it into a Wi-Fi network for all your device connections to use. Either gateway will get the job done—there’s not a significant functional difference between the two. However, we must admit that the AT&T gateway looks much nicer with its sleek, minimal, and modern appearance.

AT&T Internet Air vs. T-Mobile Home Internet: Installation

Installation for these two providers couldn’t be more simple—all you have to do is set up the wireless gateway. AT&T Internet Air, in particular, specifically advertises that you can be up and running in less than 15 minutes. We interviewed T-Mobile 5G Home Internet customers about their self-installation experiences, and one specifically said, “I’d probably estimate about 30 minutes to unpack and have it up and running.”

So either way, both providers give easy-to-follow instructions, and setup is as easy as it can get.

Like satellite internet, 5G signals are wireless, so there’s never a need to worry about cables or other intrusive installation procedures. But unlike satellite, 5G home internet doesn’t require a dish or antenna to pick up the signal—the gateway uses the same technology your phone uses to receive cell service. This makes 5G possibly the least intrusive and easiest-to-install type of internet available.

According to interviews we’ve conducted, the trickiest thing about setting up 5G home providers like AT&T Internet Air and T-Mobile home internet is usually finding the best place for your gateway. Everyone we spoke to had to move their gateway at least once. One said, “I first tried downstairs to see if it really affected the performance, and decided that it worked better (had full reception bars) on the second floor near the window.”

T-Mobile itself recommends placing your gateway in a window facing your nearest cell tower whenever possible, and the interviewees backed up that advice. All found the best signal there. Knowing which of your windows faces your nearest cell tower is a bit tricky, since providers seem to offer little guidance on that, so just be ready to find out via process of elimination. Fortunately, even with that all considered, 5G home internet is still easier to set up than satellite internet.

AT&T Internet Air vs. T-Mobile Home Internet: Customer support

As large companies, both AT&T and T-Mobile offer plenty of options for contacting customer support if you need it. The support sites are easy to use and cover the most common questions and issues users face. If that doesn’t help, there are live chat and phone support options available, and you can always head to a local store if you need in-person support.

We can also speak from personal experience: The author has had T-Mobile cell service and AT&T internet service (fiber, not Internet Air) for several years and never had a bad customer service experience. That’s more than we can say about some other providers.  

AT&T Internet Air support options

  • Support site
  • Live chat is available in the bottom right corner of most pages on the AT&T website.
  • Phone support at 1-800-288-2020

T-Mobile Home Internet support options

  • Support site
  • Live chat is available in the bottom right corner of most pages on the T-Mobile website.
  • Phone support at 1-877-914-0035

AT&T Internet Air vs. T-Mobile Home Internet: Availability

Availability is probably the biggest difference between the AT&T and T-Mobile home internet options. T-Mobile is available more or less nationwide—there are relatively few areas where you won’t be able to get T-Mobile service to some degree, especially if you’re willing to fall back to 4G LTE service (slower, but more widely available).

AT&T Internet Air, on the other hand, still has very limited availability. It’s offered in about 20 cities around the country, and that’s it. Even worse, they’re all large metro areas, which means rural residents are entirely out of luck.

That said, this is just the first rollout of Internet Air—the company does have plans to expand in the future. We don’t know exactly when that will be yet, but as of right now, we’d say it’s a safe bet it’ll roll out to most of AT&T’s coverage area in the future, which will make this a more fair comparison.

It’s also worth noting that if rural availability is really important to you, satellite internet is most likely your best bet. 5G internet has come a long way, and 4G LTE services are even more widely available, but the fact remains that you can get satellite service in places where you just can’t get other types of internet. Our favorite satellite providers are Hughesnet and Viasat.

What about Verizon 5G Home Internet?

Verizon also offers 5G home internet service. Verizon is (potentially) a bit faster than the other options, although in real-world performance it seems to be about on par with T-Mobile. It’s also got similar availability. Its prices are a bit higher, though, so ultimately we still think T-Mobile is the best choice (unless you already have Verizon phone service).

The verdict: T-Mobile is the best option

We think T-Mobile is probably the best all-around 5G home internet option right now. It’s widely available, extremely affordable, and offers excellent performance. AT&T Internet Air isn’t a bad service by any means, but it’s hard to recommend when availability is so limited.

Ultimately, though, we’d probably just go with whatever provider you already have for cell service. The discounts for having an eligible service plan are really good, so unless you’re considering switching phone providers anyway, it’s probably not worth the hassle or extra cost—particularly when the differences between the various 5G home internet services are so small.


At, we base our analyses on in-depth research, which includes customer interviews, first-hand testing, results from our speed test tool, and proprietary internet provider data on speeds and pricing. We also dive deep to get all the hard-to-find information on plans, fees, and upcoming developments. We then gather this info in one place so you can find it easily. Finally, we use our satellite internet industry expertise to help you make the most informed decisions you can for your household. Thanks for reading! 

AT&T Internet Air vs. T-Mobile Home Internet FAQ

What’s the downside of T-Mobile internet?

The main downside of T-Mobile internet is limited maximum speeds. Although it’s fast, 5G home internet still can’t hold a candle to the fastest cable and fiber plans. If you truly need superfast internet speeds (think 500Mbps or more), 5G isn’t for you.

Is the AT&T network better than T-Mobile?

Generally, no. T-Mobile offers faster overall speeds and better performance. However, cell service can vary a lot from place to place, so it’s always worth checking out reviews and performance stats in your area before making a decision.

How fast is AT&T Internet Air?

AT&T Internet Air offers 5G speeds from 75—225Mbps.

Is T-Mobile Home Internet fast enough for streaming?

Yes, T-Mobile Home Internet is plenty fast enough for streaming. Even at the lower end of the service’s speed range, you should be fine streaming your favorite HD shows and movies.

Dave Schafer
Written by
Dave Schafer
Dave has written professionally for tech companies and consumer technology sites for nearly five years, with a special focus on TV and internet. He uses his industry expertise to help readers at get the most out of their services. No matter the project, he prefers his coffee black (the stronger, the better).