T-Mobile might lag behind Verizon and AT&T when it comes to mobile subscribers, but the Magenta carrier is hoping to change things up regarding internet plans. The massive 5G network is a key part of those plans, especially if you want a mobile hotspot. No matter where you live, there’s a good chance you can tap into a T-Mobile internet plan. Here’s everything you need to know.
We’ll walk you through the types of internet plans that T-Mobile has to offer, as well as their best uses. After that, we can dip into a few competitors and some supported devices. Ready to see how the Un-Carrier stacks up? Let’s get to it.
T-Mobile internet at a glance
T-Mobile has existed in one form or another since 1994 when Deutsche Telekom purchased VoiceStream Wireless. However, it has not been part of the home internet race for nearly that long. In fact, the Un-Carrier only announced its plans to launch home internet with a pilot program in 2019. As such, it’s not easy to figure out how many subscribers rely on T-Mobile for internet, but the pilot program had reached 100,000 households by its full launch.
We could not hunt down T-Mobile Home Internet as an individual entity at the Better Business Bureau, which isn’t a surprise. It only exists as a service in the larger T-Mobile family, so we’ll have to rely on the carrier’s page for our information. The good news is that T-Mobile carries an A-plus rating from the BBB, even if it is not accredited. It has also addressed nearly 15,000 complaints in the last three years, with 5,000 of those coming in the last 12 months.
T-Mobile Home internet has not made its way across the entire United States just yet, which means a coverage map can be hard to find. Instead, you’ll have to give the Magenta network your phone number and home address to check your local availability. If you’re ready to see your options, check out this page.
What are your T-Mobile internet options?
|Mobile Hotspot (Pre-paid and Post-paid)||Home Internet|
|Price||$5 to $50 per month||$60 per month
$50 per month with autopay
|Speeds||Up to 50GB of 4G LTE / 5G data||Up to 5G speeds|
|T-Mobile plan requirement||Required for some features||Not required|
|Perks||None||Internet gateway included|
|Best use||High-speed internet on the go||5G-powered home Wi-Fi|
|Limitations||Reliance on hotspot device||Not supported in all locations|
The easiest way to take T-Mobile’s high-speed internet anywhere you go is with a hotspot plan. Whether you need to hook up a laptop or a Wi-Fi-only iPad, you should have no trouble with one of the Un-Carrier’s pre-paid or post-paid plans. There are a few plans to choose from, and it’s all about how much data you need. You can kick things off at just $5 per month or reach as high as $50 for the biggest pool of data.
Of course, you’ll only get 500MB of data for your $5 bill, so it may be a better fit if you’re only planning to connect a smartwatch. The next plan costs $10 per month and boosts up to 2GB of data. After that, each plan costs an additional $10 per month, and you get 5GB, 10GB, 30GB, or 50GB with each increase. The good news is that you’ll get the same access to 4G LTE and 5G speeds no matter which way you go. However, T-Mobile will drop you to just 128Kbps once you hit your monthly limit.
There’s no explicit mention of your video streaming quality, but T-Mobile does limit your speed to 1.5Mbps. You can also take your hotspot abroad in over 200 countries, though you’ll only see top speeds of 128Kbps.
If you’re considering a prepaid hotspot, T-Mobile keeps things extremely simple. All of the prices and data tiers are the same, from 500MB up to the 50GB plan. However, you may see your speeds drop during times of high congestion, and T-Mobile prepaid plans stream at 480p. On the bright side, you can tap into Data Maximizer, which limits your streaming quality to stretch your data further.
- Up to 50GB of 5G data per month
- Flexible prepaid or post-paid options
T-Mobile Home Internet
Home Internet is the new kid on the block, and it’s T-Mobile’s attempt at a fixed wireless internet plan. It spent two years in a pilot phase, so the Un-Carrier has generally smoothed over most of the kinks at this point. Fixed wireless internet generally works the same as a standard hotspot, just with your home in mind. You still pick up 4G LTE or 5G signal from one of T-Mobile’s towers, but you’ll need slightly different hardware to do so.
The good news with T-Mobile’s Home Internet is that there’s just one plan to choose. It costs $60 per month or $50 with an autopay discount, and you get all of the high-speed data you can use. There’s no throttling to be found, just like with T-Mobile’s Magenta plans for mobile.
T-Mobile Home Internet also skips out on fancy streaming perks, but the Wi-Fi 6 gateway is included in your monthly fee. You won’t have to worry about annual service contracts either, which is helpful in case you move to an area without T-Mobile support.
- Simple plan structure
- No extra fees or equipment rentals
What are the limitations of each plan?
T-Mobile is a solid option for mobile hotspot and fixed wireless internet, but it’s not perfect for everyone. There are always limitations to look out for, and they tend to vary from plan to plan. Here are a few things to keep in mind while you shop for your next internet provider.
The T-Mobile hotspot plans rely on a standalone device for signal, as pretty much all hotspots do. This means you should have no problems enjoying the Magenta network, just as long as you can keep your hotspot battery charged. You may also decide that it’s easier to cram extra devices onto a Home Internet network instead of a hotspot.
On the other hand, T-Mobile Home Internet falls into the same traps as most fixed wireless plans. It really only works well if you live in a clear area. You’ll have to set up a base station to capture T-Mobile’s signal and then relay it to your gateway. Unfortunately, objects such as trees, buildings, and even weather such as rain or snow can dampen the signal. Not to mention that Home Internet is not available in all parts of the United States yet. You’ll have to check on your local access before you can even consider signing up.
What is each T-Mobile internet plan best for?
Each T-Mobile internet plan serves its own purpose. After all, you probably aren’t trying to power a house with a hotspot, and you’re not going to take fixed wireless on the go.
Instead, the T-Mobile hotspot options are your perfect partner for life on the go. You can simply boot up your mobile hotspot device and get connected when you’re away from a reliable connection. It’s also not a bad idea to pick up a hotspot if you use an MVNO like Metro by T-Mobile for the bulk of your coverage. If you find that deprioritization is an issue, switching to a T-Mobile hotspot should get around that.
On the other hand, a T-Mobile Home Internet plan is great if you’re hoping to provide coverage throughout your home. The Wi-Fi 6 router packs plenty of punch, and there is no limit to where your data can take you. It’s a great option for areas where there aren’t many other ISPs to choose from, and it works especially well in open spaces. Once again, make sure to check your local availability before you sign up.
What are the alternatives to T-Mobile internet?
If you’ve made it to this point and you’re still not sure that a T-Mobile internet plan is right for you, fear not. The Un-Carrier isn’t your only port in this storm, and there are tons of great alternatives to try — especially when it comes to hotspot. We’ll dig into a few of your best bets for fixed wireless service while we’re at it.
Mobile hotspot alternatives
Hotspot lovers everywhere can rejoice at the sheer number of options there are to choose from. If you’re already a T-Mobile customer or a customer of a T-Mobile MVNO, it makes sense to stick with the Un-Carrier, but Verizon and AT&T are excellent in their own rights. You can try to save some money with an MVNO hotspot plan, too, but you’ll want to check out the data limits as well as prioritization rules.
After you pick a plan, it’s time to grab a hotspot to match. A few carriers have powerful 5G-ready options, while most budget-friendly picks stick to 4G LTE signal. You can use your phone as a hotspot on its own, but you’ll have to be careful to watch your battery life.
Here’s what you can expect from Verizon and AT&T:
AT&T: Right now, DataConnect is your best bet for an AT&T hotspot. You can choose from 25GB or 40GB and pay $50 or $75, respectively. Overages cost $10 for every 2GB of data used. However, you might be better off with one of AT&T’s prepaid hotspot plans instead. They top out at an impressive $55 for 100GB of data, or you can save some cash with 20GB for $25 per month.
Verizon: Big Red recently overhauled its hotspot plans with new names and plenty of data to go around. You can go from the Essentials plan, which costs $20 for 15GB of data all the way up to the Premium plan with 150GB of data for $80. If you opt for any one of the Plus, Pro, or Premium plans, you can tap into Verizon’s blistering 5G Ultra-Wideband, or stick to 5G Nationwide with the Essentials plan.
See our favorites: The best mobile hotspot plans
T-Mobile Home Internet alternatives
The fixed wireless setup remains about the same no matter where you look. You’ll need a base station and a gateway to grab a signal from your carrier and a router to blast it throughout your home. However, some of your best bets lie outside of the realm of traditional carriers.
If you can’t find reliable fixed wireless internet in your area, it might be time to turn an eye to the sky. Satellite internet is a viable alternative for some users, and in some cases, it’s the only coverage you can get. Starlink is a great pick for those who can sign up for it, even if Elon Musk’s service isn’t the most affordable around. It boasts a network of more than 1,400 satellites in a growing constellation that should one day number around 12,000. The main drawback is that setup costs $499 right now, and the going rate for service is another $99.
Here are a few good fixed wireless alternatives:
Rise Broadband: Rise is one of the more popular ISPs in the fixed wireless game, though it tops out at 50Mbps download speeds. It should meet most people’s needs quite well, and the base plans cost just $29 or $39 per month. You can also choose your data cap as needed, but most people stay under 100GB.
AT&T Fixed Wireless: Big Blue is again a competitor, offering 350GB of fixed wireless data for $59 per month. You should have no problem making the cap last throughout the month, though the 25Mbps download speeds and 1Mbps upload speeds are far from the fastest around. If you want to save some money, you can always bundle your fixed wireless service with DirecTV from AT&T.
See our favorites: The best internet providers in the US
If you just want to bid farewell to T-Mobile, we can help with that, too. Here’s our handy guide.
What devices support T-Mobile’s internet plans?
If you’ve finally chosen a T-Mobile internet plan, it’s time to grab a compatible device. We’ll tap into your mobile hotspot options first since they’re some of the more readily available. T-Mobile has just three to choose from right now, but the Inseego MiFi M2000 is the only way to go for high-end speeds. It’s T-Mobile’s only 5G hotspot, and it will run you $14 per month. On the bright side, you can save 50% on purchasing a new hotspot when you add a line.
If you’d rather just go for all-out savings, both the Franklin T9 and the Alcatel LinkZone 2 cost just $3.75 per month. The Franklin hotspot is by far the most limited, carrying just 256MB of memory compared to 2GB on the LinkZone 2 and 4GB on the MiFi M2000. The LinkZone 2 boasts an impressive 24 hours of battery life and support for up to 16 devices, while the Franklin can handle 15 devices but has about half of the battery capacity.
Over on T-Mobile’s Home Internet, it’s basically up to you to decide what router you want to use. The Un-Carrier offers its own Wi-Fi 6 router as part of your monthly fee, but you may decide that you prefer your current router instead. T-Mobile’s router offers a pair of Ethernet ports as well as a home telephone port, or you can grow your coverage with a mesh system. It looks essentially like a gray cylinder, so it should be easy to blend into your home decor.
Of course, if you stick with T-Mobile’s hardware, you’ll want to download the T-Mobile Internet app for full control. You can manage devices, set downtimes, and keep an eye on your connection status. If you choose to buy your own router, you may want to check out our favorite mesh systems as well as the best gaming routers to keep your speeds up.