Optimum Internet vs. T-Mobile 5G Home Internet

Optimum offers faster and more reliable speeds, but the data says that T-Mobile’s customers are more satisfied
Best for high speeds
Optimum
Optimum Internet
3.5 out of 5 stars
3.5
Starting from
$30
/mo
  • pro
    Superfast download speeds
  • pro
    Low prices
  • con
    Limited availability
Best availability
T-Mobile for Business
T-Mobile 5G Home Internet
4 out of 5 stars
4
Starting from
$60
/mo
  • pro
    Affordable pricing
  • pro
    Easy to install and use
  • con
    Speeds can be inconsistent
Easton Smith
Feb 14, 2024
Icon Time To Read7 min read

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Optimum is an old-school cable internet service provider that many people in the Northeast are familiar with. But T-Mobile has thrown its hat into the ring by offering 5G home internet. So, which is better? The answer depends on what you want.

Optimum offers a variety of relatively traditional plans with low prices and high speeds and decent internet service discounts when you add a mobile plan. It’s great for large families, gamers, work-from-homers, and others who need a lot of bandwidth. 

T-Mobile 5G Home Internet has just one plan that gives you decent speeds, and the service is very easy to set up, even in more rural areas where it's hard to get wired internet. Plus, the company has exceptional customer service (Optimum, not so much).

Read on for an in-depth comparison of these two internet service providers (ISP), including prices, plans, availability, and customer service.

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What is 5G home internet?

5G is the most advanced cellular network technology, offering faster and more reliable speeds than 4G or LTE. But it’s not just for cell phones. 5G home internet uses the same network towers to create a Wi-Fi network in your home that you can connect to with your computer, TV, Xbox, and other devices.

What to look for in a home internet plan

Before we dive into the side-by-side, here’s a quick primer on what to pay attention to when you’re picking an internet service.

  • Download speed: Figure out just how much you need before signing up.
  • Upload speed: Upload speeds are important for activities like video conferencing and gaming.
  • Price: Most people won’t need to spend more than $60 on high-speed internet if they compare prices.
  • Fees and contracts: Look for hidden installation or start-up
  • Reliability: Fiber and cable internet networks tend to have more consistent speeds than satellite or 5G networks.
  • Customer service: You can’t Google “how to fix my internet” if your internet is down, so you may have to rely on a customer service agent.

Now let’s move on to see just how Optimum and T-Mobile deliver on these features.

Optimum Internet vs. T-Mobile 5G Home Internet plans and pricing

Optimum offers a variety of affordable plans, but T-Mobile’s simplicity is appealing

Optimum’s approach to internet plans and pricing is standard. It offers a bunch of plans with different speeds and at different price points. T-Mobile takes more of a one-size-fits-all approach. It only offers one plan for all customers in every area.

Let’s look closer at each ISP’s offerings.

Optimum Internet plans

Optimum offers six different tiers for its internet service, from 300Mbps all the way up to 8Gbps. The plans range in price from a very reasonable $30 a month to an outrageous $280 a month.

There are no data caps on any of Optimum’s plans, so you don’t have to worry about blowing through all your data when binging the new Squid Games reality show. And all of its plans are contract-free, meaning you won’t be penalized for canceling.

Optimum's internet plan prices are discounted until January 7th, so now's the time to buy if you're interested in Optimum. And don't forget, you can get even more off your internet and a two-year price lock when you bundle with a mobile plan.

Optimum promotional deals

Plan
Price
Download speed
Connection type
Details
300 Mbps Internet$30/mo.*Up to 300 MbpsCable
500 Mbps Internet$50/mo.^Up to 500 MbpsCable
1 Gig Internet$55/mo.†Up to 940 MbpsCable
300 Mbps Fiber Internet$30/mo.^Up to 300 MbpsFiber
500 Mbps Fiber Internet$40/mo.††Up to 500 MbpsFiber
1 Gig Fiber Internet$55/mo.^^Up to 940 MbpsFiber
2 Gig Fiber Internet$85/mo.^†°Up to 2000 MbpsFiber
5 Gig Fiber Internet$80/mo.**Up to 5000 MbpsFiber
8 Gig Fiber Internet$265/mo.^††††Up to 8000 MbpsFiber
* For 1 yr. w/Auto Pay & Paperless Bill w/Unlimited Mobile plan. ($40/mo. without Unlimited Mobile plan.) Terms apply. Wired connection. WiFi speeds may vary. Not available in all areas.
For 1 yr. w/Auto Pay & Paperless Bill w/Unlimited Mobile plan. ($60/mo. without Unlimited Mobile plan.) Terms apply. Wired connection. WiFi speeds may vary. Not available in all areas.
For 1 yr. w/Auto Pay & Paperless Bill w/Unlimited Mobile plan. ($80/mo. without Unlimited Mobile plan.) Terms apply. Wired connection up to 940 Mbps. WiFi speeds may vary. Not available in all areas.
^ For 1 yr. w/Auto Pay & Paperless Bill w/Unlimited Mobile plan. ($40/mo. without Unlimited Mobile plan.) Terms apply. Wired connection. WiFi speeds may vary. Not available in all areas.
° For 1 yr. w/Auto Pay & Paperless Bill w/Unlimited Mobile plan. ($120/mo. without Unlimited Mobile plan.) Terms apply. Wired connection. WiFi speeds may vary. Not available in all areas.
** For 1 yr. w/Auto Pay & Paperless Bill w/Unlimited Mobile plan. ($180/mo. without Unlimited Mobile plan.) Terms apply. Wired connection. WiFi speeds may vary. Not available in all areas.
†† w/Auto Pay & Paperless Bill w/Mobile plan. ($280/mo. without Mobile plan.) Terms apply. Wired connection. WiFi speeds may vary. Not available in all areas.

Optimum offers some newcomer deals. Right now, you can pick up a free prepaid Visa card (worth $50 to $200) when you switch. That might not sound like much with the current inflation rate ($50 hardly gets you a footlong Subway sandwich these days), but Optimum’s prices are already among the cheapest in the industry.

Overall, we think that Optimum home internet plans make the most sense for:

  • Medium- to large-sized families that want a lot of bandwidth
  • Gamers, work-from-homers, and others who need reliable high-speeds
  • Small business owners and apartments with shared internet

T-Mobile 5G Home Internet plan

T-Mobile’s home internet service has just one plan at one price. $60 a month will get you unlimited data with speeds ranging from 33Mbps to 182Mbps.

Why that wide range of speeds? We’ll go into the technology behind more in a section below, but the short answer is that your speeds will vary depending on where you live and other factors, like network congestion.

T-Mobile 5G Home Internet deal

Plan
Price
Download speed
Data cap
Details
T-Mobile 5G Home Internet6072-245 MbpsUnlimited
Data as of 04/05/2023. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.

T-Mobile 5G Home Internet doesn’t require a contract and is very easy to install. In fact, one of the biggest benefits of the service is that you don’t need a professional to come and run wires from the network to your house. But there is a one-time “device connection charge” of $35. Bummer.

If you’re considering switching, T-Mobile also has plenty of enticing perks to throw your way. Those on T-Mobile’s Magenta Max cell phone plan can save $20 a month on home internet. Plus, new customers get a free SiriusXM subscription for six months and a $50 prepaid Mastercard when they switch from another provider.

In short, our takeaway is that T-Mobile 5G Home Internet’s one simple plan is great for:

  • Singles and couples who are moving into a new apartment
  • Small families that are on-the-go
  • Gadget-heads that want to adopt new technology early
  • Those who live in rural areas where traditional ISPs are lacking

Optimum Internet vs. T-Mobile 5G Home Internet speeds

Optimum offers higher and more consistent speeds, but T-Mobile’s mid-range speeds might be the best in town for some

Comparing T-Mobile 5G Home Internet’s speeds to Optimum’s internet speeds is like comparing apples to oranges, or turtles to hares. They really aren’t in the same category.

Optimum’s internet uses cable technology (and, in some cases, fiber technology) that can reach data speeds well over 1 gigabit a second. Because it’s locked into a wired network, this huge bandwidth is relatively safe from slowdowns and lag spikes.

T-Mobile 5G Home Internet is another story. Like Verizon 5G Home Internet, its network is run through cell phone towers. That means it’s more widely available, easier to install, and almost completely wireless. But it will never be as fast or reliable as cable internet.

Optimum’s plans also give you more upload speed (around 20Mbps on cable internet plans) than T-Mobile’s (which ranges from 6–23Mbps). That makes it better for gaming and Zooming into a work meeting.

Basically, Optimum is the best ISP for those who need consistently high speeds for things like HD streaming on multiple devices, serious gaming, video conferencing, and running a business. But T-Mobile’s greater flexibility and wireless connectivity make it ideal for those who live in rural areas.

Optimum Internet vs. T-Mobile 5G Home Internet availability

T-Mobile’s nationwide availability map puts Optimum to shame

T-Mobile boasts that its 5G home internet is available to more than 30 million households. That’s a lot, especially when you compare it to Optimum, which is only available in a handful of states in New England.

Here’s a look at a map with Optimum’s availability. There’s not as much blue as you’d like to see, especially if you live in the South or the West.

A map showing Optimum internet availability in Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania

T-Mobile’s map looks a lot different. You can get on T-Mobile 5G Home Internet pretty much anywhere that the company has 4G LTE network towers. Use our interactive coverage map to see just how things look in your area.

T-Mobile internet coverage map

There’s no contest here. If you live in an area with both services, lucky you. But for many, T-Mobile 5G Home Internet might be the only option between the two because Optimum isn’t even around. Love the one you got, amiright?

Optimum vs. T-Mobile customer service

In general, T-Mobile makes customers much happier than Optimum

Let’s be honest: no one wants to deal with their internet’s customer service department. It’s never a pleasant way to kill an afternoon. But sometimes it must be done. So, which company will be better at helping out in a pinch?

In the latest American Customer Satisfaction Index report on the internet service industry, Optimum scored just 59 (out of 100), while T-Mobile scored 71 (out of 100). That makes T-Mobile second overall (just behind Verizon Fios) and Optimum second to last.

Furthermore, T-Mobile ranked the highest in customer satisfaction with its Wi-Fi equipment, and Optimum came in ninth.

T-Mobile’s 5G Home Internet Wi-Fi Gateway

A product image of the T-Mobile 5G Home Internet gateway router

Image Source: T-Mobile

Usually, we don’t read too deeply into these reports, but this one is pretty cut and dry: T-Mobile has better customer service than Optimum. That doesn’t mean its internet will be better for your lifestyle, but it is encouraging for those who are interested in trying out a new technology like 5G home internet.

Recap: Which is better for you?

Methodology

Here’s a quick recap of the most important points to help you decide.

  • Plans and prices: Optimum offers a wide variety of plans, including holiday discount prices from $30 a month all the way up to $280 a month and a two-year price lock when you bundle with a mobile plan. T-Mobile has only one internet plan for $60 a month. Neither company had contracts, and both offer nice introductory perks.
  • Speeds: Optimum’s cable internet speeds are much faster than T-Mobile’s. At the low end, Optimum will get you around 200–300Mbps. Meanwhile, T-Mobile's internet maxes out at about 245 Mbps. Plus, Optimum’s speeds are more consistent.
  • Availability: Because T-Mobile operates on a mobile network, its range is much, much better than Optimum’s. It’s available all over the country, including in many rural areas. Optimum’s availability is limited to just a few states in the Northeast.
  • Our Takeaway: If you have a big family or you want to optimize your entertainment center for streaming the big game, Optimum is the way to go. If you prefer the flexibility and ease of totally wireless internet or you live in a rural area, then T-Mobile is probably best.

Still haven’t made up your mind about which provider is better for you? We've got the lowdown on Google Fiber vs. T-Mobile, Optimum Internet vs. Google Fiber, and Optimum Internet vs. Verizon Home Internet.

We like to give our readers a little peek into the kitchen to see how our tasty reviews are made. So here’s the rundown on our methodology.

We began by looking at every scrap of information we could find about T-Mobile 5G Home Internet and Optimum internet. We read customer reviews, looked at all the plans, compared the performance numbers, and even asked our friends if they had good or bad experiences with the companies.

Then we narrowed down what we think are the most important features in home internet (speed, price, and availability), and we compared the two providers in those categories. We hope that you’ve found our review helpful!

Easton Smith
Written by
Easton Smith
Easton has worked as a freelance writer and researcher for several years, reviewing health, lifestyle, and technology products. He has probably read more Terms of Use contracts than any human alive. When he’s not sitting in front of a computer, Easton spends his time camping, climbing, and volunteering with humanitarian aid organizations.

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