You can choose between three great companies, but your decision may come down to where you live.
The era of truly fast wireless internet is here. 5G technology has changed what we can do with cell phones. But these super-fast networks are also causing a stir in the home internet industry.
5G home internet allows for speeds up to 300 Mbps without requiring any cables or grid internet connection. There are currently three providers offering the service—T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless—and both are relatively affordable.
But 5G internet service is still very limited, so which internet service provider (ISP) you choose may come down to your location. Read on to learn more about the strengths, weaknesses, and availability of the three major 5G home internet companies.
- : Best availability
- : Best speeds
- : Only for AT&T customers
|T-Mobile 5G Home Internet
|Verizon 5G Home Internet with wireless plan
|AT&T Internet Air
What to look for with 5G home internet
Wireless 5G home internet is a brand new service to most people, so we’re going to go over some basic features that are important to look at when you're shopping around for an ISP.
- Low-band vs. millimeter wave: There are actually two types of 5G—low-band 5G and millimeter wave Low-band 5G uses the same cell phone towers as older 4G technology, which means it has a longer range but slower speeds. Meanwhile, millimeter wave 5G requires a new kind of 5G dedicated tower. These towers have a much shorter range, but they offer very fast data speeds.
- Equipment: It’s not just the network tower that matters. You also want to make sure you get a plan that comes with a high-quality 5G receiver/modem/router that can connect to all of your home devices. Wi-Fi 6 is the newest technology for wirelessly connecting devices, and you’ll definitely want this in your equipment.
- Price: Currently, all the wireless 5G home internet plans are basically the same price. But there are some bundles and perks that can sweeten the deal. Also, as more providers pop up and the technology advances, expect prices to begin deviating even more.
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For a long time, T-Mobile lagged at the back of the pack when it came to cell phone coverage and performance. But ever since its merger with Sprint in 2020, the carrier has made some major strides, especially in the 5G realm.
This cell phone carrier now has the largest 5G infrastructure in the country. It’s this powerful 5G network that powers the company’s new home internet service. Here’s everything you need to know.
T-Mobile 5G Home Internet plan and pricing
T-Mobile only offers one home internet plan currently. But don’t worry, it’s the only plan you’ll need. It comes with full 5G speeds, no data cap, and it only costs $50 a month.
|T-Mobile 5G Home Internet
At $50 a month, this T-Mobile home internet plan is actually a bit cheaper than many other home internet services that offer comparable speeds. And it’s the same price as the other wireless 5G home internet plans featured in this article.
5G is one of the coolest new internet technologies around. But it’s not your only option. If you want to learn more about the competition check out our roundup of the best ISPs.
T-Mobile 5G Home Internet equipment
One of the things that makes fixed wireless 5G home internet unique is the equipment. Rather than just tethering a computer (or other device) to a cellular network through a phone or dedicated hotspot device, fixed 5G uses a larger modem/router that can handle more connections and faster speeds.
T-Mobile’s fixed 5G router is a gray cylinder that’s about the size of a lamp or a flower vase and looks just as good sitting on your work desk, window sill, or side-table.
Image source: screenshot taken from T-Mobile's website
And did we mention that T-Mobile’s modem/router is free? Yes, you won’t have to pay anything to use the equipment, and right now the company is even offering free installation. Good looking out, T-Mobile.
T-Mobile 5G internet speeds
We talked a little bit about the two kinds of 5G networks above—low-band 5G and millimeter wave 5G. T-Mobile’s 5G network is almost totally low-band.
The biggest downside to choosing T-Mobile 5G home internet? While T-mobile’s network range is much larger (more on that in a moment), it’s speeds are not quite as impressive as we’d like them to be.et.
T-Mobile advertises its average fixed wireless internet 5G speeds as 72-245 Mbps. This is confirmed by independent data from OpenSignal’s most recent 5G User Experience Report, which shows that T-Mobile users on 5G see an average download speed of 87.5 Mbps.1
While 87.5 Mbps is a respectable speed that will let you stream HD video, play games, and doom scroll through a pandemic without a problem, it could be an issue for households with more than three or four devices going at once. And it simply can’t beat the speeds seen with Verizon’s millimeter wave network.
T-Mobile 5G Home Internet availability
T-Mobile’s mobile 5G network is the largest in the United States right now. This means that T-Mobile also has the furthest reach as a fixed 5G ISP.
The list of available cities for T-Mobile internet is long. It ranges from Huntsville, Alabama to Maysville, Kentucky. From Jesup, Georgia to Hilo, Hawaii. From Laconia, New Hampshire to. . . you get the idea.
If you want to see if the service is available in your area, go to T-Mobile’s website. Or, you can get a better idea of T-Mobile’s 5G coverage by using the map below (just be sure to only click the “5G” box).
Is T-Mobile 5G home internet good?
T-Mobile’s fixed 5G home internet service is great for those who want relatively fast, affordable, and easy internet in metropolitan and suburban areas. It has the best coverage area of all the fixed 5G options on the market right now.
The big drawback for some customers will be the data speeds, which just aren’t as fast as those offered by the competition.
Verizon 5G Home Internet: Best speeds
We won’t bore you with an introduction to Verizon, which is already well known for its Fios internet and cell phone services. Instead, we’ll cut right to the chase—Verizon’s 5G home internet service is the best in the industry, if it’s available where you live.
It turns out, that’s a big if. Read on to learn more about where the service is available and what it’s like to have 300+ Mbps data speeds!
Verizon 5G home internet plans and pricing
Verizon’s fixed wireless 5G service is a one-size-fits-all sort of affair. But there are a couple of price tiers for its single plan, depending on whether you’re an existing Verizon mobile customer.
All plans that Verizon offers come with unlimited data at impressive speeds (more on that in a minute). It will cost you $25 a month for the 5G Home plan and $35 a month for the 5G Home Plus plan if you already have a Verizon mobile plan. Otherwise, you'll be able to purchase Verizon's $50 a month 5G Home Internet plan or $70 a month 5G Home Internet Plus plan.
|5G Home Internet with Mobile Plan Premium
|Up to 300 Mbps
|5G Home Internet Plus with Mobile Plan Premium
|Up to 1000 Mbps
|5G Home Internet
|Up to 300 Mbps
|5G Home Internet Plus
|Up to 1000 Mbps
Even if you’re not bundling your wireless phone service, Verizon’s price tag isn’t unreasonable for the service it’s offering. It’s on par—in both performance and price—with the fastest ISPs in the industry.
Fixed 5G home internet is here—or, at least it’s somewhere. But it’s definitely not everywhere. If you’re looking for internet that can reach you whether you live in the middle of the desert or high on a mountaintop, then satellite internet is probably your best bet. Here’s a review of our favorite satellite internet ISPs.
Verizon 5G home internet equipment
The actual equipment that makes Verizon’s 5G home internet possible is easy to set up and comes free with your plan. You’ll get an indoor and/or outdoor receiver and a modem/router combo.
A technician from Verizon (actually, probably from a subcontracted company called Asurion) will install the receiver and set up your modem/router for you. It takes just a couple of hours, and should be placed in the area of your home with the strongest 5G signal.
Image source: Verizon.com
Verizon 5G home internet speeds
All of the wireless providers are talking a big game when it comes to 5G. But if you want to see the true power of this new technology, then go with Verizon. It’s millimeter-wave 5G network is really fast. You can expect speeds up to 940 Mbps! That’s about as much as you’d get with a wired fiber-optic connection.
The key to this speed is a tight mesh of 5G towers. If the network is operational in your area, then you’ve probably seen the thick black monoliths. If you’re within the (short) range of these towers then, in the words of Ray Arnold from Jurassic park, “hold on to your butts,” because your data speeds could give you whiplash.
Verizon 5G home internet availability
Verizon 5G’s biggest asset is also its curse. Millimeter wave 5G towers have a tiny range, which means that Verizon has to build a lot of infrastructure before its network is up and running. This means that the company’s fixed wireless 5G internet service is only available in 33 cities.
So far, these are the cities that support the service:
- Arlington, TX
- Anaheim, CA
- Atlanta, GA
- Charlotte, NC
- Chicago, IL
- Cincinnati, OH
- Cleveland, OH
- Dallas, TX
- Denver, CO
- Detroit, MI
- Hartford, TX
- Houston, TX
- Indianapolis, IN
- Kansas City, KS
- Las Vegas, NV
- Los Angeles, CA
- Louisville, KY
- Memphis, TN
- Miami, FL
- Milwaukee, WI
- Minneapolis, MN
- Omaha, NE
- Phoenix, AZ
- Riverside, CA
- Sacramento, CA
- Salt Lake City, UT
- San Antonio, TX
- San Diego, CA
- San Francisco, CA
- San Jose, CA
- Louis, MO
- Paul, MN
- Tampa, FL
AT&T Internet Air: Only for AT&T customers
AT&T recently dipped their toes into the 5G home internet pond and we can't say we're terribly impressed thus far. The max download speed you'll see with AT&T Air is 140 Mbps, which can still get the job done for households of 3-4 internet users. You won't see the potentially blazing-fast speeds you can get with Verizon 5G or T-Mobile 5G, but AT&T Air can certainly work well for folks who don't have heavy internet requirements.
Currently the sticker price for AT&T Air is $55 a month, but at the time of writing this, you can get $20 a month off your bill. If you can nail down that discounted price, then AT&T Air becomes much easier to recommend, but you have to live in an area with AT&T Air coverage to qualify for the deal. If you can't get the deal, then you'll honestly get better value with AT&T or T-Mobile's 5G home internet services.
AT&T Air availability
AT&T doesn't make signing up for their 5G home internet service particularly easy. You have to call AT&T to directly or be an active AT&T customer to see if Internet Air is even available in your neighborhood. When we tried to check if we could sign up, we just got rerouted to a login prompt.
Recap: Which 5G Home Internet Company Is Right for You?
- T-Mobile Home Internet: T-Mobile has the best availability of all the 5G internet providers, covering over 30 million households. It’s data speeds are respectable (at around 100 Mbps), but they’re slower than the competition’s.
- Verizon 5G Home Internet: Verizon is the true powerhouse in the 5G home internet market. With its millimeter wave technology, the company gives you speeds of 300+ Mbps. But it’s only available in a few cities right now.
- AT&T Internet Air: AT&T 5G home internet doesn't have quite the same firepower as T-Mobile or Verizon, but if you can get a discounted rate, it can end up being an awesome value pick.
That’s all we’ve got to say about 5G home internet, for now. The infrastructure and technology are still pretty new, so we expect a lot of developments in the future. Check back for updates, and shoot us a comment down below if you’ve got a question!
In order to properly review 5G home internet services, we follow a consistent methodology. Our team routinely assesses the performance of our own ISPs and whatever ISPs we can realistically test. Additionally, we reach out to residents in other areas to test 5G home internet options that don't work in our neck of the woods.
We also leverage an extensive dataset made up of speed test results from across the nation, to gain a comprehensive understanding of typical 5G home internet performance.
When users perform speed tests on our website for 5G home internet, we record the results and provide averages based on what 5G service provider they used and the result they got. Over time, we've accumulated a substantial database containing millions of data points, offering valuable insights into the download and upload speeds of various 5G home internet providers.
To provide a holistic assessment of 5G home internet, we also consult user feedback and reviews from platforms such as the Better Business Bureau, JD Power, Consumer Affairs, and community discussions on Reddit or Quora to gather anecdotal insights and experiences related to 5G home internet.
In summary, our methodology for reviewing 5G home internet services integrates our proprietary data and hands-on experiences with insights from diverse research sources, ensuring a well-rounded evaluation.