T-Mobile is launching its 5G Home Internet service, promising cellular data coverage for 30+ million US households and the potential for cable- and DSL-beating speeds. Priced from $60 per month – with a few provisos – the carrier says that it expects average speeds of around 100 Mbps for most new customers.
The key is a new T-Mobile Home Internet Gateway, which is a 4G/5G modem and a WiFi router in one. It’s the same device that the carrier offered with its T-Mobile Home Office Internet package back in March, a cylindrical gadget that has dual-band WiFi 6 support, two ethernet ports, and a home phone port.
It’ll work with 5G networks and fall back onto 4G LTE networks for slower speeds but more consistent service. It’ll also support mesh networks, T-Mobile says, though it’s unclear how users will be able to take advantage of that to begin with. An LCD touchscreen on the top shows network strength and other information like how many devices are connected.
Setup should be even simpler than getting started with a new phone. Effectively you plug the router in, download an app on your phone, and follow the steps in that. Once that’s done, the expectation is that all eligible households will get a minimum of 50 Mbps downloads, and most will see 100+ Mbps, though that will of course depend on how heavily used the network is at any point in time.
There’s just one plan, which is $60 per month with AutoPay. There are no annual service contracts, and no equipment fees. Most important, arguably, is the fact that there are no data caps and no range of tariffs unlocking different download and upload speeds. T-Mobile says that you’ll basically get the maximum it can offer at your particular location.
Saying that, there’s some small print nonetheless. “Home Internet is not intended for unattended use, automatic data feeds, automated machine-to-machine connections, or uses that automatically consume unreasonable amounts of available network capacity,” T-Mobile warns. It’s also not designed to be moved between locations, so you can’t have a single 5G gateway and take it from, say, home to an AirBnB rental.
There’s an availability tool to find out if you’re among the locations where T-Mobile Home Internet is offered today. (It demands a phone number, but it looks like you can just make that up and check by address alone instead.) You don’t need to be a current T-Mobile subscriber, or have your smartphone or tablet voice/data service with the carrier either.