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T-Mobile’s 5G home internet service sounds almost too good to be true

Published Apr 7th, 2021 5:33PM EDT
T-Mobile 5G Home Internet
Image: T-Mobile

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T-Mobile on Wednesday announced various plans included in the Un-carrier’s next move: “5G for all.”

The mobile operator plans to facilitate 5G access by providing a free 5G device to any subscriber trading in an old phone. On top of that, T-Mobile is ready to upgrade 5G users to unlimited plans that included unlimited 5G access. Finally, T-Mobile launched its 5G home internet service to bring faster broadband to millions of customers, including subscribers in rural America. The latter sounds almost too good to be true, offering users a bunch of exciting perks. There are, however, a couple of caveats to consider before going this route.

The new 5G home internet service should cover some 30 million homes, 10 million of which are in rural areas. The service will offer customers top speeds of up to 100Mbps, with average speeds sitting at around 50Mbps. This isn’t exactly the fast 5G gigabit experience you’d experience on phones in places where the fast type of 5G connectivity is available. However, it could still be an excellent upgrade for households that do not have access to a better alternative.

T-Mobile tried a pilot of this program that covered 50,000 homes initially and later expanded to 100,000 households.

The 5G home internet service will be priced at $60 per month with AutoPay or $65 without. T-Mobile says there are no added taxes or fees, no equipment fees, no contracts, and “no surprises or exploding bills.”

T-Mobile will ship customers the 4G/5G gateway above to their homes, which they can install and activate themselves. The carrier says you’ll be online in minutes by following a few simple steps that involve downloading an app. A video showing the setup process is available at this link.

The first issue with the 5G home internet service offer is that it might not be 5G for all people. If there’s no 5G coverage in sight, then the equipment will drop to T-Mobiles 4G network, as you might have guessed from the fact that the hardware is described as a 4G/5G gateway. The good news is that the setup process will let customers check coverage before ordering the plan.

The second potential problem with the service is that users might experience slowdowns during times of network congestion. That might not be a problem in some places, but if you live in a more crowded area, internet speed over that 5G home internet plan might drop during busy times.

T-Mobile’s plan to serve up to 30 million homes is certainly bold, and it’s in line with the promises the operator made during the Sprint acquisition process. T-Mobile said it needed Sprint’s network to help it deploy exactly this particular type of home internet service.

But Wednesday’s announcements could also work against T-Mobile’s ambitious project. The carrier is looking to bring more subscribers to 5G, and it’s throwing in free Samsung Galaxy A32 5G phone to anyone bringing in an old phone in good working condition and getting on a postpaid offer. iPhone owners also have access to a separate trade-in program for the 5G-ready iPhone 12. On top of that, T-Mobile’s “Great Unlimited Trade-Up” will offer postpaid subscribers unlimited plans that include unlimited 5G data. Existing postpaid customers who are on a limited data plan can get upgraded to unlimited for free.

Both of these promos start on April 18th and last all year long, meaning that T-Mobile could see a massive influx of 5G mobile devices on its network with unlimited data access. This could lead to increased network congestion times for some customers opting for the 5G home internet service. Mileage may vary, and you’ll just have to try the service out to see how it behaves in real-life conditions — this is where you can get started.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.