We looked at the plans, prices, and performance data to determine which internet provider is better for different kinds of users.
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.
Spectrum Internet pros and cons
T-Mobile 5G Home Internet pros and cons
Spectrum Internet vs. T-Mobile 5G Home Internet plans and prices
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. On the other hand, we’ve got T-Mobile, which uses an unconventional internet technology and has just one plan.
Let’s start by talking about Spectrum.
Spectrum Internet plans
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®||$49.99/mo. for 12 mos.*||Up to 300 Mbps||Unlimited||View Plan|
|Spectrum Internet Ultra||$69.99/mo.†||Up to 500 Mbps||Unlimited||View plans|
|Spectrum Internet® Gig||$89.99/mo. for 12 mos.†||Up to 1000 Mbps||Unlimited||View Plan|
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.
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’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 fee: $59.99
- Self-installation fee: $24.99
- WiFi Pod install: $49.99
- 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
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 $50 a month, has no data cap, and it gets you speeds around 72–245Mbps.
|$50 Home Internet plan||$50/mo.‡||72-245 Mbps||Unlimited||View Plans|
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).
Spectrum Internet vs. T-Mobile 5G Home Internet speeds
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.
|Spectrum Internet®||30-1000 Mbps^||4-35 Mbps||See Plans|
|T-Mobile 5G Home Internet||72–245Mbps||15–31Mbps||See Plans|
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
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.
You can see all of the states where Spectrum is available in the map below. The only major blind spots 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.
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.
You can see a full list of all the internet providers that operate in your area by using this nifty zip code tool.
Spectrum Internet vs. T-Mobile 5G Home Internet customer service
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.
2023 ACSI score
|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–$90 a month. Meanwhile, T-Mobile has just one plan that costs $50.
- 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’s speeds range from 72–245Mbps. 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.
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.