Viasat vs. T-Mobile Home Internet

  • pro
    $69.99–$299.99/mo.
  • pro
    25–100Mbps
  • pro
    Unlimited data (60–500GB high-speed)
  • pro
    $40–$50/mo.*
  • pro
    72–245Mbps
  • pro
    Unlimited data

*With qualifying phone plan.


Dave Schafer
Jan 26, 2024
bullet7 min read

Viasat has been a staple of rural internet for years. Thanks to its use of satellites, it doesn’t require any cables or other infrastructure and is available to 99% of the U.S. However, satellite internet has some issues. Namely, it can be expensive and a little slow.

5G home internet providers like T-Mobile, Verizon and AT&T offer a compelling alternative. As 5G coverage spreads, these services are reaching more rural areas, and they offer stiff competition, with faster speeds, unlimited data, and very low prices.

How do Viasat and T-Mobile Home Internet compare? In this article, we’ll run through all the details and find out exactly which one is right for you.

Viasat vs. T-Mobile Home Internet availability

ViasatT-Mobile Home Internet
● Nationwide availability ● Nationwide availability, although some areas will have 4G instead of 5G

Viasat availability

Viasat brings essentially nationwide availability to the table. There might be a handful of spots where you can’t get it, but generally, if you have a clear view of the sky, you should be able to get Viasat service. This is satellite internet’s greatest strength, and no other type of internet service has been able to match it (yet).

T-Mobile Home Internet availability

T-Mobile might not be quite as widely available as Viasat, but it comes surprisingly close. T-Mobile’s 5G network is now very extensive. You can check your area on the interactive coverage map. Additionally, areas without 5G coverage will fall back to 4G LTE. That means there are very few spots that won’t be able to get T-Mobile service.

The main catch with cellular service is that you need to be relatively close to a tower to get consistent coverage. Remote spots, like deep in a forest, may not get a strong signal (or any at all) due to lack of infrastructure. Satellite doesn’t suffer from this problem.

Overall recommendation

It’s almost impossible to beat satellite internet’s availability. We have to give the nod to Viasat. It’s just more likely to be available in remote spots than T-Mobile, which requires cell towers. That said, T-Mobile gets surprisingly close, so unless you’re really off the grid, there’s a good chance you’ll get coverage.

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Viasat vs. T-Mobile Home Internet reliability

ViasatT-Mobile Home Internet
● Speeds are somewhat inconsistent from one area to another ● Speeds heavily dependent on cell coverage

Viasat reliability

Satellite internet is inherently one of the least reliable internet technologies available. Satellite is prone to weather interference, high latency, and Viasat speeds also tend to vary a lot from location to location in our testing.

None of this is to say we think the service is unreliable. You should just know what you’re getting into with satellite.

T-Mobile Home Internet reliability

T-Mobile Home Internet is basically a permanent hotspot in your house, so its reliability is dependent on T-Mobile’s local network and how many T-Mobile customers are in your area. In general, it should be more consistent than satellite providers like Viasat, but expect speeds to vary from one area to another.

There’s also the consideration of network priority. T-Mobile doesn’t just have home internet customers—it has to provide service to its mobile users on the same network. For this reason, the Home Internet fine print mentions that speeds may be reduced to better distribute bandwidth. If the mobile usage is high, Home Internet customers might see slower speeds.

Overall recommendation

We think T-Mobile will likely be more reliable. It should be less prone to weather interference, and that alone will make a big difference for many. However, it’ll really depend on where you live and your proximity to T-Mobile towers.

Viasat vs. T-Mobile Home Internet prices and plans

ViasatT-Mobile Home Internet
● $69.99–$299.99/mo.
● 25–100Mbps
● Unlimited data (60–500GB high-speed)
● $12.99 monthly equipment fee
● $40—$50/mo.*
● 72–245Mbps
● Unlimited data
● Equipment included in price

*With qualifying phone plan.

Viasat prices and plans

There’s no two ways around it: Viasat is expensive. Although there are a handful of lower-priced plans, the speed and, perhaps more importantly, high-speed data allotments are a little too low to really compete with T-Mobile.

Plans vary somewhat by region, but generally start at $69.99 per month and range up to $299.99 per month. At the lower end, you might get just 25Mbps speeds and 60GB of high-speed data—not much to work with. At the highest end, speeds can hit 100Mbps with 500GB of high-speed data. Many of the plans come with a discounted rate for the first three months.

T-Mobile Home Internet prices and plans

T-Mobile offers just one plan, with three prices:

  • $40–$50 per month for customers who bundle with a cellular plan.

Bundling your mobile plan with home internet can lead to pretty substantial savings, but even at the full $60 per month, T-Mobile Home Internet is a really good deal.

All of these plans include the wireless gateway (the only equipment you need) at no additional charge, which is nice.

Overall recommendation

T-Mobile is absolutely the better value here. The undiscounted T-Mobile plan is faster and offers unlimited data for less than even the cheapest Viasat option. No contest here. Plus, the simplicity of a single plan is kind of refreshing—it can sometimes be a chore to sort through all the options some providers offer.

Viasat vs. T-Mobile Home Internet data

ViasatT-Mobile Home Internet
● Unlimited data (60–500GB high-speed)● Unlimited high-speed data

Viasat data

Viasat technically offers unlimited data, but there’s a catch—only a portion is at full speed. Once that monthly allotment has been used, you can continue to use the service with no limits, but speeds will be reduced.

These high-speed limits range from 60GB per month to 500GB per month. We’d consider 60GB to be a bit too low for a primary home internet connection, unless you only use the internet for light daily tasks like email. If you do any streaming, you’ll likely eat through that allowance quickly.

Unfortunately, the higher limits are very expensive. The 500GB plans will cost you $299.99 per month, which is a lot of money for internet service.

T-Mobile Home Internet data

T-Mobile is basically the complete opposite of Viasat when it comes to data. You get unlimited high-speed data, with no caps or throttling based on usage. Not much more to say here!

Overall recommendation

T-Mobile definitely wins when it comes to data. While you can get a decent data allotment with Viasat, it’ll cost you, whereas T-Mobile is totally unlimited at a much lower price.

Viasat vs. T-Mobile Home Internet equipment

ViasatT-Mobile Home Internet
● $12.99/mo.
● $299.99 to purchase outright
● Included in monthly package price

Viasat equipment

Viasat equipment includes a satellite dish and wireless gateway. You can either lease the equipment on a month-to-month basis ($12.99 per month) or purchase it outright for a flat fee ($299.99). If you think you’ll be with Viasat for an extended period, purchasing might make sense. You’ll break even in about two years.

T-Mobile Home Internet equipment

T-Mobile’s equipment consists of a simple wireless gateway. It essentially acts like a big hotspot, grabbing the 5G cell signal and converting it into a Wi-Fi network for your devices to connect to. The gateway is included in the cost of service, which is a nice touch.

Overall recommendation

We have to give the nod to T-Mobile here, if only because there’s no extra cost for the equipment. Both providers give you what you need to get the job done.

Viasat vs. T-Mobile Home Internet installation

ViasatT-Mobile Home Internet
● No installation fee
● Professional install only
● No installation fee
● Self-install only

Viasat installation

picture of Viasat satellite on roof

Viasat makes the installation process pretty easy, which is good, since there’s a satellite dish involved. This dish may need to be mounted on your roof or somewhere else high in order to get a clear view of the sky, so having a pro handle it is nice.

There’s no self-install option with Viasat, but the installation process is offered at no additional charge, which is great.  

T-Mobile Home Internet installation

T-Mobile gateway in window

T-Mobile’s installation process is extremely easy. There are no cables involved, and also no satellite dishes. You just need to set up the wireless gateway. T-Mobile says the process should take about 15 minutes, but in customer interviews, we find it’s closer to 30 minutes. Still, not bad! Reviews say you may need to play with the positioning of the gateway to find the strongest signal.

Overall recommendation

T-Mobile gets the win again, if only because you don’t need to wait for a pro to show up and do the installation. Overall, though, both providers are pretty good in this regard.

Viasat vs. T-Mobile Home Internet customer service

ViasatT-Mobile Home Internet
● Live chat
● Telephone support
● Email support
● Support articles
● Live chat
● Telephone support
● Online FAQ
● Support articles

Viasat customer service

Viasat customer support offers 24/7 phone, chat, and email options, so you can choose the method of communication you’re most comfortable with. Viasat also has a decent support site with answers to common questions. It’s not going to win any awards, but it gets the job done. We really appreciate the 24/7 support options—these can be critical for users who rely on their connection for work or school.

T-Mobile Home Internet customer service

T-Mobile also offers several customer service options. These include 24/7 phone support, live chart, and in-ap support using the T-Mobile Home Internet app. Since T-Mobile is such a popular provider, there are also quite a few community forums and support groups online, such as the T-Mobile subreddit. These can be a good option for advice and answers to less-common questions.

Overall recommendation

We’ll call this one a tie. Both providers offer similar support options, including 24/7 availability. There’s not really a particular area that makes us lean one way or another—both are very solid in this department.

Viasat vs. T-Mobile Home Internet customer reviews

We gather reviews from our annual survey on rural internet service providers and evaluate people’s overall satisfaction. Here are reviews that showcase the overall range of consensus from their users.

Viasat customer reviews

Happy reviewSatisfied reviewUnhappy review
“We live 5,000 feet in the mountains where service is not happening with other providers. Viasat's coverage area fits our internet needs nicely.”“Mostly reliable service and acceptable price. Customer service is not bad. They might provide higher speed for more competitive prices”“When it’s raining or is windy, our internet is either slow or there’s no internet for a while. I wish they could do something about it and not let the weather interact with the internet.”

The general consensus on Viasat seems to be that the service is solid and customers are generally happy with everything except for speed. On one hand, this makes sense, since it’s satellite internet—speed is going to be the weak point, for sure. However, it does seem a lot of users don’t quite understand what to expect from satellite internet.

T-Mobile Home Internet customer reviews

Happy reviewSatisfied reviewUnhappy review
“My experience with T-Mobile is amazing, I've never experienced any bad things. I believe it's the best ever.”“My experience with T-Mobile is amazing, I've never experienced any bad things. I believe it's the best ever.”“The internet was performing as advertised at the beginning, but as time has gone on, the service has become worse.”

T-Mobile customers seem pretty happy overall—especially rural customers who have previously only had satellite internet or DSL as options. We’ve seen a few complaints about performance, but they don’t seem consistent (usually performance issues crop up only in oversaturated T-Mobile customer areas), and everyone seems to love the price. In fact, we’ve interviewed customers that use T-Mobile as a backup internet option due to the relatively low cost.

Viasat vs. T-Mobile Home Internet: Can 5G compete with satellite internet?

The short answer to that question is a resounding yes. While satellite providers like Viasat still get the edge on availability, 5G home internet (like T-Mobile) wins in nearly every other category. Compared to Viasat, T-Mobile is faster, offers more data, and is far more affordable. Viasat will still work well if you’re in a really remote area, but we highly recommend checking out 5G options in your area before signing up.

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Methodology

At SatelliteInternet.com, we base our analyses on thorough research, including customer interviews, first-hand testing, results from our speed test tool, our annual customer satisfaction survey, and proprietary internet provider data on speeds and pricing. We also dive deep to get all the details on plans, fees, and future developments. We then bring this info together in one place so you can find it easily. Finally, we use our satellite internet industry expertise to help you make the best decisions you can for your household. As always, thanks for reading!

Viasat vs. T-Mobile Home Internet FAQ

Is home internet from T-Mobile good?

Yes! T-Mobile Home Internet is a very solid option, especially for rural customers. It’s got fast speeds, unlimited data, and a low price—just $60 per month (or less, with a bundled T-Mobile cell plan). We especially like it as an alternative to satellite internet in areas without much infrastructure.

What equipment is needed for 5G home internet?

Just a wireless gateway. This device will act a little like a hotspot for your home, grabbing the 5G cell signal from local towers and converting it into a Wi-Fi network for your home.

Is 5G home internet good for streaming?

Yes, 5G home internet should be plenty fast for streaming, even in HD. Most of these plans also have unlimited data, so you can stream as much as you like.

Is Viasat fast enough for Netflix?

Yes, Viasat is fast enough for Netflix (or your other favorite streaming service). However, some areas may struggle with streaming in HD—we’ve seen some complaints about this from customers. You’ll also need to be mindful of your high-speed data allowance, since video streaming can eat through data very quickly.

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 HighSpeedInternet.com get the most out of their services. No matter the project, he prefers his coffee black (the stronger, the better).