So I have been experimenting with T-Mobile’s 5G Home Internet since the price is right and recently they dropped it down to just $25/month. This is a big move against the competition and incredibly smart when it comes to pumping numbers quickly. For me, it was a chance to check it out finally without having to invest too much into it (in case it doesn’t work out for me).
My idea is that it would act as a backup for now, with the slight potential of replacing my cable connection running to the house (thanks to the savings it would bring). It would also act as a solution possibly while traveling as one powerful hotspot, but I haven’t quite tested that out just yet.
That being said, replacing my cable connection won’t be easy as I have a gigabit plan that is incredibly powerful and doesn’t go down that often. You won’t find this kind of speed with 5G just yet. That, and reliability just isn’t the same for some users (like myself). I still have a lot of testing to do when it comes to reliability for the long-run. For now, I can share what I have experienced thus far (mind you, I am a bit more complicated than your typical internet user).
I have also brought in one other user as well to results leading to this story (a friend of mine) that has also been using T-Mobile’s 5G Home Internet for around a month now. This allows me to see a little further than just my own house when it comes to performance.
Overall, in T-Mobile rich areas, T-Mobile’s 5G Home Internet offers a consistent connection as it would your phone or any other device. It really is just a huge hotspot with a built-in router and unlimited data. This is awesome option to have, so thank you T-Mobile for being there for your users.
My friend lives across the street from one of the company’s towers. He has been getting fantastic coverage this last month maintaining close to a 300Mbps connection (downstream). He hasn’t noticed any outages yet and seems to be quite happy with it. Although, he too won’t be replacing his main cable connection just yet (and I’ll get to this in the next section).
As for my own experience, things are a little different (thus far). They check your qualification for the plan by using your address. This is to make sure that you live in a 5G covered area and that it would be worth your time and money. My address qualified as it always does for T-Mobile and I walked away with the router to bring home and setup.
However, there is something odd about T-Mobile at in my part of the neighborhood. There is actually a tower in the shopping center across the street from my (small) neighborhood (it’s decently close by). This has been confirmed by T-Mobile reps via phone who thought it to be incredibly odd. Because, despite being so close to a tower, there is close to zero connectivity at the house (that part of the neighborhood in general). So once against, despite them thinking the address more-than-qualifies, it doesn’t really get anything. This is also despite living within a major city that claims to be completely covered in solid 5G coverage (I don’t live in the middle of nowhere or BFE).
Because of this, a 4G LTE access point was installed awhile ago that taps into the cable connection to provide signal to T-Mobile devices nearby. The company still hasn’t resolved anything in the area and has never offered to send a tech out to hunt down the problem. So there was no surprise when I hooked up the router and found that it wouldn’t find a connection to the network.
I wound up having to bring it up high as possible on the top floor and as close to a window as possible in the direction of the cell tower. Eventually, it finally got a connection and I was good to go. Sort of. It didn’t maintain the best connection so I would up eventually disconnecting it.
So this eliminates it as an option for ever replacing the cable connection for me as it isn’t nearly as reliable thanks to connectivity issues to the network. Something that just never improved with T-Mobile thus far and likely won’t until they send someone out to the neighborhood to diagnose what’s causing the odd blackhole of a spot in the neighborhood.
I had already mentioned that my friend was doing decently well with his connectivity and was getting an average of up to 300Mbps (downstream) with his account, He hasn’t been disappointed with his downstream as it is fast enough for what he needs it for throughout his home. However, this is also where it won’t replace his cable connection any time soon, which is also a another reason I wouldn’t replace mine with it.
The downstream is decent. I was getting upward to 253Mbps when it was able to see the network. This shows that T-Mobile has potential in my area but something odd is causing it to be blocked at lower levels and intermittent at higher levels. So there might be something unusual about the neighborhood. Regardless, if it was sustainable, 253Mbps isn’t bad at all for the average user. It just doesn’t compare to my gigabit plan through the cable company.
Where it really doesn’t compare, though, is the upstream bandwidth. My cable connection offers twice the speed on the upload side of things and even that is embarrassing compared to the direction some companies are headed. Companies like Google have been moving in offering 1Tbps or higher in both directions (down and up). Meanwhile, many cable providers and apparently 5G providers, are still stuck with offering slow upstream.
Getting 17-18Mbps just doesn’t cut it for me. I am not constantly riding my upstream limits, but I do at times when I am working as sometimes I need to move backup files or video content between locations. As press, we shoot a lot of HD/4K content that has to be sent to a server somewhere so our editing teams can work on it all. If I was getting 300Mbps both ways with a solid connection, I’d say my cable company would have something to worry about despite the downstream not being closer to the gigabit it has.
This is why Google Fiber (and similar options) has been dominating certain regions. Most of these other companies just can’t keep up with what fiber has to offer.
T-Mobile 5G Home Internet isn’t really a good option for enthusiasts, professionals that move a lot of data, or 4K gaming. As well as any other category that requires a lot of bandwidth.
It should only be considered as an option if:
- You already know you get fantastic T-Mobile signal throughout your home
- You don’t have a *lot* of devices connected to the internet
- You don’t see yourself moving large amounts of data back and forth
- You aren’t into competitive gaming with high resolutions/specs
- You aren’t depending on it for working from home with intense internet usage
Really, it is good for simple to intermediate home users who just need a simple connection to the internet throughout the home. If you think a simple hotspot you’d carry around in your pocket would be enough to feed you the internet you need in your daily activities, this would work for you as it is a hotspot taken to the next level.
As mentioned, I am a bit more complicated than your typical run of the mill internet user. We game hard at the house sometimes (when life allows for the free time). There are dozens of devices connected to the internet in various ways (including 2K/4K security cameras). There is plenty of media streaming happening every week (ie, Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, Disney+, Plex, etc). And there are plenty of large video files and other content that move in both directions. So T-Mobile 5G Home Internet does quite cut it for me. It would make for a good alternative connection when the other is bogged down (ie, too many IoT cloud devices), but only if it was able maintain a reliable connection to T-Mobile.
But if you fall into the previously mentioned bullet points, this would be a great alternative solution for home internet. There are so many consumers that could benefit from T-Mobile affordable plan. My would grandparents make for a perfect example.
For now, I am going to bring it with me to a few places when I get the chance to see how well it performs here or there in comparison to my own home. Maybe I will keep it if it works for travel or something, or maybe I will return it and come back at a later date once T-Mobile finally sends someone out to investigate the neighborhood and fix something. Clearly, I won’t keep paying for it if all I am doing is sitting on it waiting for the day that it offers a proper solution for my home. If my experience changes in the future, I will have to come back with a new story highlighting what’s improved.
Do you have an experience regarding T-Mobile Home Internet that you’d like to share? Feel free to use the comment section below.