HughesNet isn’t the only satellite internet provider around: Viasat and Starlink both provide some stiff competition. Additionally, 5G home internet from providers like T-Mobile and Verizon is starting to become a major competitor. Let’s see how each compares.
To put it simply, HughesNet is more affordable than Viasat, whereas Viasat offers (potentially) faster speeds.
Viasat’s maximum speeds and data caps are nearly double what HughesNet offers, but you also pay nearly double to get them. Top-tier Viasat plans run around $300 per month, which is a lot to pay for internet.
Starlink has generated a lot of buzz for good reason: It offers the flexibility and freedom of satellite internet, but it can give you faster speeds than most other wireless providers and much more data to go along with it. That covers the two biggest issues that plague most satellite providers, so Starlink has an advantage right off the bat.
Unfortunately, Starlink isn’t perfect. The service is pricey, especially the hardware. While HughesNet and Viasat bundle the hardware into your monthly prices, Starlink requires a large payment on hardware up front—you can’t even split it out into your monthly service fees. And when we say large, we mean large: The equipment is either $599 or $2,500, depending on the plan you choose.
Additionally, despite the fact that it’s satellite (and should therefore be available nationwide), Starlink is notoriously hard to get. Waitlists are long, and some plans aren’t available in all areas. This kind of defeats the purpose of satellite internet, in our eyes.
Now, all that said, Starlink is still an excellent service. However, it’s not the immediate win that it might appear to be on paper. Definitely weigh your options here.
5G home internet is a more recent development in wireless, and it’s super promising. It uses the same 5G signals that provide internet to your phone.
Several providers offer 5G home internet: The two biggest are T-Mobile and Verizon. They both offer similar speeds (generally a few hundred Mbps, although this depends on your area) and unlimited data. They also have similar prices: Around $30 per month for customers with qualifying cell plans. For that reason, we recommend going with whatever provider you already have for cell service.
Compared to HughesNet, 5G home internet offers much better performance at a much better price. However, it’s not as widely available as satellite. There are still a lot of spots that can’t get 5G, whereas HughesNet and other satellite providers are available nearly anywhere.