Spectrum Internet vs. T-Mobile 5G Home Internet

We looked at the plans, prices, and performance data to determine which internet provider is better for different kinds of users.

Prices
$19.99-$89.99
Download Speeds
30-1000 Mbps
Data Cap
Unlimited
Technology type:
Mostly fiber
Prices
$60-$60
Download Speeds
245-245 Mbps
Data Cap
Unlimited
Technology type:
Fixed 5G
Easton Smith
Apr 22, 2024
Icon Time To Read6 min read

Spectrum is an old-school internet service provider that offers reliable and fast internet service for moderate prices. But T-Mobile is trying to disrupt this classic model by introducing a home internet service that uses high-speed 5G cell phone networks.

For most customers Spectrum’s wired internet service is a decent deal. It can deliver plenty of bandwidth for large families, serious gamers, and those who work from home. However, some customers who live in harder-to-service areas or who want the flexibility of wireless service may want to opt for T-Mobile’s 5G Home Internet service.

We’ll go over everything you need to know about both providers here, including the plans, prices, availability, and customer service reputation.

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Spectrum Internet vs. T-Mobile 5G Home Internet plans and prices

Spectrum offers a good variety of high-speed options, while T-Mobile keeps things simple with one $60 plan.

Spectrum and T-Mobile operate on very different models. In the more traditional camp, we have Spectrum, which offers a variety of plans with different prices and speeds to choose from. Spectrum customers, like Sakia Anwar from New York, enjoy the company's prices and service. "They’re very affordable, and if I’m having an issue, they’re very good about troubleshooting," Anwar told Reviews.org. 

On the other hand, we have T-Mobile, which uses unconventional internet technology and has just one plan.

Let’s start by talking about Spectrum.

Spectrum Internet plans

pro
Pros
pro Decent download speeds
pro Easy, no-fee installation
pro No contracts
con
Cons
con Not as fast as wired internet
con Less reliable than wired internet

Spectrum’s mostly-fiber internet network offers three high-speed plans, ranging from 300Mbps all the way up to 1,000Mbps. Here’s a quick look at the details of all three plans.

Spectrum Internet deals
Plan
Price
Download speed
Data cap
Details
Spectrum Internet® $49.99/mo. for 12 mos.*Up to 300 MbpsUnlimited
Spectrum Internet Ultra$69.99/mo.Up to 500 MbpsUnlimited
Spectrum Internet® Gig$79.99/mo. for 24 mos.Up to 1000 MbpsUnlimited
* For 12 months when bundled. Limited time offer; subject to change; valid to qualified residential customers who have not subscribed to any services within the previous 30 days and who have no outstanding obligation to Charter.
For 24 months when bundled. Limited time offer; subject to change; valid to qualified residential customers who have not subscribed to any services within the previous 30 days and who have no outstanding obligation to Charter.
For 24 months when bundled. Limited time offer; subject to change; valid to qualified residential customers who have not subscribed to any services within the previous 30 days and who have no outstanding obligation to Charter.

To put these plans into context, 300Mbps is very fast internet. It’s plenty of speed for streaming video on multiple devices, serious gaming, and working from home. Most small- to medium-sized families will be fine with this level of internet.

If you want more, you can go up to the 500 or 1,000Mbps plans. With those top-tier speeds, you can easily stream 4K videos on your TV while you download big files and play the COD game on your PS5.

Want to figure out how much internet speed you really need?
Info Box

We’ve got everything you need to know in one place. Check out our article about internet speeds to see just how many Mbps you need for everyday activities like browsing and Zooming into a work meeting.

Spectrum Internet fees

Spectrum’s plans don’t require any contracts, which is great. They also don’t have any data caps. But, there are some fees you should be aware of before you sign up.

  • Professional installation: $65
  • Self-installation kit and activation fee: $30
  • Additional Wi-Fi pods: $3/month each
  • Internet Gig equipment upgrade fee: $19.99

To make a long story short, Spectrum’s internet is perfect for: large families, serious gamers, work-from-homers, and everyone else who needs very fast and very reliable home internet.

T-Mobile 5G Home Internet plans

pro
Pros
pro Great range of high-speed plans to choose from
pro No fees or contracts
pro Good availability
con
Cons
con Higher prices than T-Mobile
con Required installation fee

T-Mobile’s home internet is different from Spectrum’s. Instead of using a series of cable and fiber-optic wires to bring you high-speed internet, this service uses cell phone towers.

As you probably know, T-Mobile is one of the largest cell phone service providers in the U.S. The company has put its large cellular network into service for home internet. All you need is a receiver in your home and you can connect wirelessly.

In terms of plans, T-Mobile has just one option. It costs $60 a month, has no data cap, and it gets you speeds around 72–245Mbps.

T-Mobile 5G Home Internet deals
Plan
Price
Download speed
Data cap
Details
T-Mobile 5G Home Internet$60/mo.^72-245 MbpsUnlimited
^ w/ Auto Pay. Regulatory fees included in monthly price for qualified accounts. See full terms.

The specific speeds you get with T-Mobile Home Internet will vary, depending on where you live and how congested the network is at any given time (we’ll talk more about that below). So, if you need extremely reliable high-speeds, you might want to opt for a wired internet service instead.

But what T-Mobile does offer is simplicity and flexibility. You only have to think about one plan, there’s no contract or service fees, and the equipment rental is totally free. You can even bring your T-Mobile internet service with you when you move, as long as your new address is in the service area (which is huge).

Is 5G internet better than cable?

Depending on how you use your internet and your current provider options, a 5G connection can be better than cable internet, but that's not always the case. For users with few internet options, 5G Internet can often get you cheaper prices and faster speeds; however, reliability can vary.

Steve Abbott, a T-Mobile customer from Mission Viejo, California, told Reviews.org that switching from a DSL provider to T-Mobile 5G "took us from low-quality streaming on a single TV to being able to stream two different shows in two different rooms with high definition."

At the same time, 5G internet isn't always the answer to slow internet problems. Jordan Rivera, a former T-Mobile 5G Home Internet customer in Las Vegas, Nevada, had trouble gaming on T-Mobile's 5G network: "I would die before knowing anything hit me. I mostly play single-player games now, ha."

Are there other 5G home internet options?
Light Bulb

There are other cellular companies jumping into the 5G home internet scene, like Verizon. We’ve gone ahead and written up a head-to-head comparison review for those who want to learn more. 

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

Spectrum’s fiber-rich network offers faster and more reliable internet speeds than T-Mobile’s 5G service.

If it’s just raw speed that you’re concerned about, then Spectrum is the clear winner. Its lowest tier plan is faster than T-Mobile’s maximum speeds. It’s even the runner-up in our lineup of the fastest internet service providers. There’s really no comparison.

But context is important. Spectrum customers on the 300Mbps plan won’t always see speeds that fast. It might be more like 150Mbps a lot of the time. You should always opt for more speed than you need to compensate.

The same goes for T-Mobile. A lot of your experience will depend on your proximity to a cell phone tower, the congestion of the network, and other factors, like your computer and equipment.

Another thing to consider when evaluating internet performance is upload speed, which is different from download speed. Upload speeds dictate how fast information gets from your device to the provider, and it’s important for activities like gaming, video conferencing, and uploading large files.

T-Mobile 5G Home Internet vs. Spectrum Internet upload speeds
Provider
Download speeds
Upload speeds
Learn more
Spectrum Internet®30-1000 Mbps°4-35 Mbps
T-Mobile 5G Home Internet72–245Mbps15–31Mbps
Data as of 04/05/2023. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
° Limited time offer; subject to change; valid to qualified residential customers who have not subscribed to any services within the previous 30 days and who have no outstanding obligation to Charter.

When it comes to upload speeds, Spectrum and T-Mobile 5G Home Internet offer essentially the same level of service.

So, long story short: Spectrum’s wired internet service is best for those who want to prioritize performance above all else. But those who are just using the internet for casual streaming and browsing will be fine with T-Mobile 5G.

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

Both Spectrum and T-mobile offer internet service in the majority of U.S., but T-Mobile is easier to install in some hard-to-reach areas.

There are plenty of internet service providers, like Optimum and Verizon Fios, that are available in only a select few states. Then there are companies like Spectrum and T-Mobile, which are basically nationwide.

There’s a lot of overlap in the coverage areas of T-Mobile 5G Home Internet and Spectrum. However, it’s worth noting that T-Mobile’s service is a lot easier to set up in areas that aren’t already serviced by existing internet infrastructure. You can just install the wireless transmitter in your house without worrying about (or paying for) professional installation.

The only major blind spots for Spectrum Internet are Utah, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Iowa, Hawaii, North Dakota, and South Dakota.

Meanwhile, T-Mobile’s coverage map looks a lot like the coverage map for the company’s mobile service. You can expect to see T-Mobile 5G Home Internet service pretty much everywhere the company has 5G mobile coverage.

You can see a full list of all the internet providers that operate in your area by using this nifty zip code tool.

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Spectrum Internet vs. T-Mobile 5G Home Internet customer service

T-Mobile is making some ripples in the industry by offering impressive customer service. Spectrum, not so much.

Internet service providers aren’t really known for their stellar customer service skills. It’s incredible how hard it can be to just get on the phone with a real human being when you’re having a problem. But T-Mobile is doing something right in this department.

T-Mobile actually comes in at the top of the American Customer Satisfaction Index’s rankings for non-fiber internet service providers. It still only scores 73 out of 100, but that’s a start. Meanwhile, Spectrum places 8th with a score of 64.

T-Mobile 5G Home Internet vs. Spectrum Internet 2023 ACSI scores
Company
2023 ACSI score
T-Mobile73
Spectrum (Charter Communications)64

We’d love to see improvement from both companies on the customer service front (but especially Spectrum). In the meantime, here’s how you can get in touch if you’re experiencing issues.

T-Mobile 5G Home Internet customer service:

  • Call 1-844-486-1761
  • Or use the T-Mobile Home Internet app

Spectrum Internet customer service:

  • Call 1-833-949-0036
  • Or visit www.spectrum.net/support

Recap: Which is better for you?

We can’t say which internet company is right for you. You have to decide that for yourself, but we can leave you with a concise recap to help you make up your mind.

  • Plans and prices: Spectrum offers three different plans with prices from $50–$80 a month. Meanwhile, T-Mobile has just one plan that costs $60.
  • Speeds: Spectrum’s wired internet service is definitely faster than T-Mobile’s. You can get reliable internet speeds from 300–1,000Mbps. Meanwhile, T-Mobile offers speeds of 245Mbps. Both companies have respectable upload speeds, making them fine options for gamers and work-from-homers.
  • Availability: Both Spectrum and T-Mobile 5G Home Internet are available in most U.S. states.
  • Our takeaway: Spectrum is the best internet provider for most customers who want fast, reliable internet and don’t mind an installation fee. For those who want a little more flexibility or live in a place where it’s hard to install wired internet, T-Mobile 5G is an affordable and relatively fast alternative.

What makes this comparison review legit?

We strive to make every review as accurate, helpful, and up-to-date as possible. That’s why we always begin our writing process with an in-depth research phase.

For this review, we looked at every plan from both Spectrum and T-Mobile 5G Home Internet. We compared prices, speeds, fees, policies, availability, and other factors. We used data from third party reviewers, like the American Customer Satisfaction Index, as well as our own data from internet speed tests, to evaluate ISPs performance.

In the end, we tried to make recommendations for a variety of different kinds of users. We hope that you found our analysis relevant and useful. Please let us know if you have any feedback by clicking the Contact Us button below.

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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