An Honest 2-Year Review of T-Mobile 5G Home Internet (2024)

Josh Smith




An Honest 2-Year Review of T-Mobile 5G Home Internet (2)

This article contains affilliate links for brand(s) I personally use and love.

You’re here because you’re looking for a decent internet provider at a decent price – while you’re at it, read my review on prepaid wireless provider Mint Mobile, who offers solid wireless plans starting at just $15 a month.

T-Mobile is hands-down the easiest home internet provider I’ve ever dealt with when it comes to billing and the “fine print” most carriers tack on. The price is the price, the billing is consistent, they let you know well ahead of time of any changes, there’s no data cap, and no contract.

The flexibility of being able to place the device anywhere in your home that gets great service is nice, but if service isn’t great in your area then you’re limited as to where in your home the gateway can go.

The price was unbeatable, however…

“Better than nothing” is how I’d rate the actual service in my experience. It was an upgrade from the provider I came from – but just barely, and this may be because the best signal I could get in my home was only three bars.

Why I tried T-Mobile 5G Home Internet

When I made the jump to T-Mobile, I was a little unsure how well it would work. But I could no longer take my then-current provider, CenturyLink. CenturyLink was consistently inconsistent in its billing, meaning I was on the phone with them almost every time I received a bill despite the $55 “Price for life” I was paying. And to make it worse, my CenturyLink modem required an hourly reboot, and I was working at home using VPN. So I got to restart the modem, wait for it to boot back up, and then reconnect to VPN when the internet cut out about once an hour. There had to be a better option, right?

Not really. When my wife and I bought our first home in the Phoenix metro, I jumped at the chance to get a different provider, but we only had one other choice, Cox – who advised they would need to run a line across the street and needed a permit to do that, and it could take 2–3 months. It was like we live in some remote area and not a 300,000-person suburb of the 5th-largest city in the US.

I was working at home and couldn’t wait that long. Desperate, I scoured the internet for alternatives. The alternatives were satellite internet (yes, that satellite – Starlink was not yet a thing), and T-Mobile. There clearly was only one choice to be made, so I called The Uncarrier.

The (lack of) fine print

One of the biggest appeals for T-Mobile 5G Home Internet was not only the price ($50 for me, until the autopay discount using a credit card went away, and it became $55; it’s still $50 if you use a debit card, and it’s $30 with auto pay for T-Mobile wireless customers on specific plans). It was also the lack of chain-jerking that so many other carriers nickel-and-dime their customers on: No contract, and no data cap (no throttling either, but the network does deprioritize Home Internet for mobile customers).

As an aside, I love prepaid wireless carrier Mint Mobile for the same reason – they provide low-cost wireless plans (as low as $15/month) with no contract and straightforward pricing. I’ve had Mint Mobile as my wireless carrier for over 5 years now and highly recommend for those whose highest priority is low cost – you can check out their plans here.

The Order Process

The ordering process was a little annoying at the time because they had such high demand as the 5G gateways were just being released (this was in 2021), so I had to call instead of ordering online. Then, the sales rep pretty much said I’d have a hard time with a 5G gateway because 5G wasn’t in my area yet.

Uh, sir, from what I know, a mobile device automatically picks up the next lowest band… but whatever. I knew the supply of 5G devices was low so I was fine to start with the old 4G gateway – I was really desperate to get away from CenturyLink (who, yes, tried to sell me additional things as I told them all the reasons I was canceling).

The gateway shipped with its own phone number, which makes sense since it’s a mobile device, but wasn’t readily apparent at the time. And they didn’t tell me it would, so the first time I called for service I was surprised to know that my actual phone number was not the one associated with the account.

The Setup Process

The setup process was nearly effortless – the 4G device (and the 5G device I had, kind of, but more on that later) had a battery on board so I simply walked around my house with it until I found the spot with the best signal, plugged it in, and then plugged it into my existing additional router. Just like that, I was online. If you don’t have a separate router from your ISP’s, this is the point where you’d get the network name and password from the device and connect from your phone, laptop, etc. Also, the T-Mobile internet app will now actually guide you to the best spot in your home if you allow location access, because it will pull the location of the closest tower to your location.

The network and device experience

I don’t recall now what the download speeds were on the 4G gateway from T-Mobile – I want to say it was around 100–200 Mbps. Upload speed was I believe around 30. This is a good time to talk about the upgrade to 5G and the current situation on that. The sales rep had assured me they’d let me know when 5G devices became available – they didn’t. After about a year, I simply called and asked, and they sent me one – the Nokia “trash can” silver cylinder. Swapped the sim card from the 4G device to the new one, returned the old device, done. This would also be the process when I had the Nokia device replaced (more than once).

An aside about the Nokia device – I mentioned earlier that it came with a battery onboard, which was appealing from a home security perspective for someone running a Ring system or similar – if a burglar cuts your power, you’re still connected. But then without explanation, T-Mobile issued a firmware update that disabled the battery.

An Honest 2-Year Review of T-Mobile 5G Home Internet (3)

A mock-up of T-Mobile’s 5G Home Internet gateway by Nokia. Credit: T-Mobile.

Advanced network settings were nearly absent on the Home Internet app, and even when logging into the gateway via internet browser proved to have limitations.

About the network performance… the download speed using the 5G gateway was surprisngly fast – often up to 400 Mbps – when the speeds were good. I don’t recall an exact number on the ping, but it was pretty high and probably unsuitable for gaming, which I don’t do.

I could only ever get three bars of service anywhere in my home despite living in a massively large metro area (Phoenix) – and the highly volatile speeds I received (at the other end was often a download speed of 50 Mbps) was due, I believe, in part due to this. It was also due, as heavily documented on T-mobile forums and Reddit, to T-Mobile deprioritizing its Home Internet customers in favor of Mobile customers.

You’re here because you’re looking for a decent internet provider at a decent price – while you’re at it, read my review on prepaid wireless provider Mint Mobile, who offers solid wireless plans starting at just $15 a month.

About the VPN / work-from-home experience…

A quick note about trying to use VPN for work (think Cisco AnyConnect or similar) on T-Mobile 5G Home Internet: don’t bother. I got mine to connect, but just barely, and the speed when connected to VPN was horrible. But when connected to the same VPN away from my home, there was no problem. And my work’s IT insisted it was my ISP’s fault, and T-Mobile insisted it was my work’s fault. Just… don’t bother. If you work from home using a major VPN application, keep looking.

The reason I canceled T-Mobile 5G Home Internet

First, The VPN problem was only exacerbated by the fact that my internet connection started out reasonably fast, and got slower as the day went on. I wound up changing jobs, and the new employer doesn’t use VPN much as they use other security protocols, so the problem was somewhat better in that regard because I wasn’t dealing with the slow T-Mobile x VPN issue.

However, the new employer wants cameras on in every meeting – and there are lots of meetings.

My manager made the comment multiple times across a period of several months that “it’s like your video and audio get progressively worse as the day goes on, every day.” One particular week that she made such a remark, other coworkers also commented:

“Are you using AOL or what?”

“You look like an 8-bit video game character!”

This all after I was on my third Nokia “trashcan” cylinder, each a replacement for the same reason. T-Mobile has had at least 3 variants of its 5G gateway at this point, each made by a different manufacturer as if they’re searching for some secret sauce – but they didn’t seem interested in swapping mine out for a different model. And even if they had, the VPN problem would have persisted (again, per T-mobile forums and Reddit).

All these comments from coworkers in the same week were the final straw – I called Cox, went through their delays (during which they laid brand new line, which equals consistently high speeds), kept T-Mobile long enough for the Cox install to complete, and canceled T-Mobile.

The cancellation process

I have to say, T-Mobile 5G Home Internet was by far the easiest cancellation experience I’ve ever had. I called to cancel; the rep asked me why, and I explained I already started with another carrier and provided a quick overview of my problems. His response was, and I quote, “We respect your decision; let’s get that cancellation started.” No placing on long holds or transferring to supervisors. No employer-forced attempt to upsell to someone who is done; he simply canceled it.

The only negative to the cancellation experience were that I received no evidence of the cancellation at the time I made my call (I called back and asked, and was advised my account was closing automatically at the end of my billing period, which I wasn’t thrilled with vs an immediate cancel and pro-rated refund, but that’s okay I guess).

I received a cancellation email at the end of my billing period, and the email indicated a return label was attached. This was my preferred return method as I have a UPS store really close to my house, but there was in fact no return label attached, so I simply went to the nearest T-Mobile store (across the street from the UPS, actually – I just didn’t want to wait in line at the store).

The equipment return in the store was super easy; again, the rep didn’t ask questions or try to talk me into staying – he just confirmed my service was already canceled, printed me a return confirmation, and I was on my way.

This was much better a process than the above-detailed cancellation of CenturyLink and some other providers I’ve used, and is in line with T-Mobile’s reputation for being straight-up on billing and account stuff.

T-Mobile offers straight-forward home internet service for a low price. Speeds can be fast, especially for the price, but for me the speeds were really volatile. This may have been due to having only 3 bars in my home, and because T-Mobile prioritizes cell phone users during network congestion. Work VPN is simply incompatible in most cases with T-Mobile 5G Home Internet, even across their different devices according to users online.

The plan itself was a huge attraction at only $50 (as a non-T-Mobile wireless customer; only $30 if you already use T-Mobile for wireless) with no data cap and no contract.

I ultimately canceled T-Mobile 5G Home Internet because my speeds would get slower as the day progressed, requiring a restart of the gateway each day only halfway through my workday, with this issue happening across 3 separate gateway devices.

I mentioned earlier that there are two price-points for the same T-Mobile 5G Home Internet; $30 for existing T-Mobile wireless customers, or $50 for customers who use T-Mobile home internet only (both of these prices reflect a $5 auto-pay discount).

You may. Be wondering why if I trusted T-Mobile for my home internet, why I didn’t use them for mobile as well and take advantage of that extra $20 discount.

The reason is simple: As a Mint Mobile customer who started out paying only $15 per month for my wireless (and I now get free unlimited data every month, thanks to Mint Mobile’s referral program), I was saving so much on wireless service that it offset the $20 discount an then some.

Learn more about Mint Mobile by clicking the links below:

An Honest 2-Year Review of T-Mobile 5G Home Internet (2024)


What is the downside of T-Mobile internet? ›

Cons. Top internet speed is less than 300 Mbps. Slower speeds when the T-Mobile network is crowded. Monthly price is the same regardless of your speed.

Why is my T-Mobile Internet terrible? ›

Slow Internet: On your T-Mobile account, check that you haven't used all of your high-speed data bucket. Refer to Data speeds for more information. If you used 50 GB of data this bill cycle, you're subject to lower network prioritization during times of local congestion.

Is T-Mobile internet fast enough for streaming? ›

T-Mobile 5G Home Internet and Home Internet Plus customers receive consistent speeds of at least 25 Mbps and see typical download speeds between 72 – 245 Mbps, which is great speed for streaming video, surfing the web, working from home and most types of online gaming.

How can I make my T-Mobile home internet stronger? ›

If the signal on the gateway is strong, try moving it to a more central location to increase Wi-Fi coverage within the home. If the gateway needs to be in a specific spot to receive a strong connection, adding a mesh network or Wi-Fi extender may help.

Who has the best home Wi-Fi service? ›

Compare the Top Internet Providers
ProviderForbes Home RatingBest For
AT&T Internet4.5Best Overall
T-Mobile Home Internet4.3Best Pricing
Comcast Xfinity4.3Best Plan Selection
Verizon Fios4.2Best Value
6 more rows
May 15, 2024

Does the weather affect T-Mobile Internet? ›

Many factors affect the speed and performance customers experience, including the programs or services running on the device, proximity to a cell site, the capacity of the cell site, weather, the surrounding terrain, use inside a building or moving vehicle, radio frequency interference, how many other customers are ...

Why is my 5G home internet so slow? ›

If your router is placed too far from your devices, or if there are obstructions like walls, metal objects, or electronics between your router and your devices, the 5G signal will be weakened, reducing speed and reliability.

Why does T-Mobile Internet speed fluctuate so much? ›

So your T-Mobile 5G Home Internet speeds likely fluctuate throughout the day due to network congestion and other factors. As for T-Mobile phone plans and hotspots, average speeds usually fall between 61 Mbps and 171 Mbps.

Why does T-Mobile Internet go down at night? ›

Network congestion and throttling are the most common reasons for internet slowdowns in the latter part of the day. There is an internet rush hour that usually runs from about 7-11 pm on weekdays. This can interfere with your use of the internet for streaming, movies, and more.

How many devices can'T-Mobile home internet handle? ›

Is there a limit on the number of devices that can be connected to a T-Mobile Home Internet gateway? If so, how many? According to the Nokia gateway manual, up to 64 clients (devices) per SSID, and there are 12 SSIDs, for a total of 768 devices.

Can I watch Netflix with T-Mobile Home internet? ›

It's no problem. After you opt-in to Netflix ON US, you'll be prompted to create a Netflix account if you do not have one. This links to your T-Mobile account. T-Mobile will then pay your Netflix Standard with ads subscription.

What is the average speed of T-Mobile Home internet? ›

T-Mobile Home Internet customers see typical download speeds between 33-182 Mbps and typical upload speeds between 6-23 Mbps. Keep in mind that speeds can vary depending on location, time of day, signal strength and availability, and other factors.

Why is my T-Mobile internet so bad? ›

Your T-Mobile 5G Home Internet may be slow if the incoming internet signal isn't strong enough. You can see your gateway's signal strength using the meter on the gateway's LCD screen or within the T-Mobile Internet app. Good internet gateway placement is crucial with 5G internet services like T-Mobile's.

How can I upgrade my T-Mobile Home internet? ›

Select Account on the bottom navigation bar. Select Manage my plan. In the 'Manage my plan' screen, you can compare your current plan with other available plans. To change your plan, choose Select plan under the desired plan to continue.

How to improve 5G home internet? ›

Keep the Gateway away from other Wi-Fi devices, 2.4GHz computer peripherals, wireless household appliances (including baby monitors, Bluetooth devices, cordless phones, fluorescent lights, microwave ovens, refrigerators, and other industrial equipment) to prevent signal interference or loss.

What is the benefit of T-Mobile Home internet? ›

T-Mobile Home Internet offers download speeds between 72 and 245 Gbps and upload speeds of 15 to 31 Mbps. Since it's a wireless connection, download speeds will be lower than cable and fiber offerings, however, its upload speeds are comparable to cable connections.

Does T-Mobile slow down your internet speed? ›

T-Mobile does not throttle home internet speeds. However, they may de-prioritize your data during congestion if you have an unlimited data plan. This means that your data speeds may be slower than other customers with lower data caps plans. You can check your data speeds using the T-Mobile Speed Test app.

How many devices can connect to T-Mobile home internet? ›

How many devices can I connect to my T-Mobile home internet? T-Mobile's internet gateway can connect up to 64 devices to your T-Mobile home internet connection.

Is Mobile internet better than Wi-Fi? ›

Speed & reliability

That said, WiFi may be a stronger choice when staying put, whether at home or at work, while mobile data can offer continuous connection while you're on-the-go. with the potential for slightly slower speeds that vary over longer distances.

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