T-Mobile WFX tackles working-from-home with 5G WiFi router & new plans

T-Mobile has launched three new working-from-home products, figuring that even as vaccinations may be more commonplace, a return to the office is still a long way off for many US workers. T-Mobile WFX will encompass new unlimited 5G plans along with new home office internet plans, along with various voice and messaging services for business use.

The challenge, as T-Mobile sees it, is making sure that home internet connections not only have the bandwidth for work use, but that they can prioritize staff when they're working remotely. T-Mobile Home Office Internet is a dedicated 4G/5G router, which promises better traffic management along with more security.

The router itself is a simple silver cylinder, and is designed to be configured remotely and then shipped to employees. They just need to plug it in, wait for it to get online, and then connect their devices to it like laptops via WiFi. T-Mobile says it has "enterprise-grade protection" for data – though hasn't gone into more detail than that – and that the router will prioritize traffic to employee devices while filtering out non-business content.

When it launches, T-Mobile Home Office Internet should be available to more than 60 million households, the carrier says. The goal is to expand that to 90+ million by 2025. Lines will cost from $90 per month.

As for plans, Enterprise Unlimited will offer unlimited data, voice, and messaging, plus 10GB of high-speed tethered data. After that, you'll get 3G speeds for tethering for the rest of the month. Lines will cost as little as $37/mo, though you'll need at least 11 of them on your account.

Each will be offered with T-Mobile Collaborate, the third element of T-Mobile WFX: the plans will cost the same, but the service will need to be enabled individually. You'll also be able to enable it on T-Mobile Home Office Internet plans. Collaborate is designed to bridge contacting multiple remote workers in much the way that a PBX would in a traditional office, with video and voice conferencing support.

Cloud-based, it's integrated with Microsoft 365 and has an integrated AI assistant that T-Mobile says can take notes and then follow up on action items from meetings. It's powered by Dialpad, with T-Mobile Ventures – the carrier's investment arm – having made an equity investment in the company.

In short, employees will have a separate business number that they can use for work calls, which can be accessed for voice and messaging across any of the platforms and devices they're logged into. That'll support individual calls, as well as UberConference Business group video calls.

Enterprise Unlimited plans will be available from March 5, while T-Mobile Home Office Internet and T-Mobile Collaborate will be available from March 22.

[Updated to clarify how T-Mobile Collaborate can be enabled]