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T-Mobile 5G Home Internet Offers Lots of Promise but Has Some Quirks

by Josh Kirschner on February 10, 2023
in Guides & Reviews, Computers and Software, Internet & Networking
Rating: 4 Stars four stars

Techlicious editors independently review products. To help support our mission, we may earn affiliate commissions from links contained on this page.

In the land of home internet, most consumers have little choice of a provider. Cable monopolies, whether legislated or market-driven, are common in most markets. According to a Consumer Reports survey, more than half of the respondents had a choice of two or fewer Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in their area. Given the lack of competition, it should not be surprising that these companies receive abysmal ratings for both service and value in the same Consumer Reports study. And while fiber technology options, such as Verizon FiOS and Google Fiber, fare better, fiber is only available to fewer than 20 percent of households.

That lack of consumer choice and satisfaction creates a huge opportunity for services like T-Mobile 5G Home Internet, which utilizes the same 5G cellular networks powering our smartphones to deliver broadband inside your home. Because T-Mobile 5G Home Internet is cellular based, there is no need to run wires to your house. And it should, eventually, be able to support consumers wherever the T-Mobile 5G cellular network covers, even in rural areas where cable isn’t available. However, because the cellular network needs to be able to support the additional internet traffic, T-Mobile is rolling out Home Internet gradually in parallel with those network upgrades, and you may not be able to sign up immediately in your area, even if your neighbor is already on it.

T-Mobile 5G Home Internet gateway on wood desk next to a keyboard with the Techlicious Editor's Choice logo in the lower right corner.

 + Pros

 – Cons

  • Affordable, simple pricing with no commitment
  • Easy setup, no wiring required
  • Fast speed
  • No port forwarding or other advanced router features
  • You may experience dropped connections, depending on your location


From a pricing perspective, T-Mobile 5G Home Internet is refreshingly simple, especially for anyone used to paying the absurd extra fees associated with most cable bills. Home Internet is $55 a month, or $50 a month if you choose the autopay option, with no extra fees or taxes. You won’t pay extra to rent or buy a T-Mobile gateway. And there is no annual contract, so you can cancel at any time if Home Internet isn’t working for you.

My testing

To determine how well T-Mobile is delivering on this promise, I tested it over a couple of months head-to-head against my Verizon FiOS service here in New York City. Before sending me a 5G gateway test unit for review, T-Mobile confirmed that 5G Home Internet was available in my location (meaning the cell towers near my address had the capacity to handle Home Internet), and I also confirmed it directly via T-Mobile’s availability checker.

Set up

Setup with the 5G gateway is dead simple. First, you download the T-Mobile Internet app, which will guide you through the proper placement of your router. Since 5G signals don’t travel well through walls, putting the router near a window facing your local cell tower is important for the best connection and speed. The app walks you through this with a nifty virtual reality experience using your phone’s camera. Then you plug in the router, let it boot up, and scan the QR code on the back with your phone to pair the router to the T-Mobile app. Now you’re fully set up and ready to pair all your devices to the T-Mobile WiFi network.

Two screenshots of the T-Mobile app. The screenshot on the left shows the view outside a window in New York City with the words turn right and an arrow indicating the direction. The screenshot on the right shows a slightly different view out the window with the words looks like a good spot. Ideal placement will be by a window.

The T-Mobile gateway has a built-in WiFi 6 router with your standard 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequency bands. Beyond changing your network name/password and your WPA encryption settings (which you likely won’t do) in the app, there’s nothing in the way of additional customization offered. If you need to enable port forwarding for gaming or other applications, there’s no way to do it through the device. And while it’s easy to hook up Eero or another mesh network using one of the T-Mobile gateway’s two ethernet ports, you can’t turn off the T-Mobile WiFi network to avoid conflicts with the mesh network WiFi (which I encountered in my setup). You’ll have to manage the conflict by ensuring some physical separation between the T-Mobile gateway and your mesh router. But for most home users, neither of these limitations should impact them.

The 5G gateway has a small screen that can display your network connection quality, the number of devices connected (but not what they are), and text messages to whomever the prior owner of the phone number associated with the 5G SIM card was (easily ignored, but humorous). T-Mobile says this text feature is to allow them to send support messages directly to your router. Though, it seems like a very clunky way of providing support updates, and in the six months since I first set the router up, I haven’t received a single support message.

Speed & reliability

Once up and running, T-Mobile 5G Home Internet is very fast. I consistently measured download and upload speeds in the 100Mbps range. That should be more than enough capacity for the typical household, even with multiple people streaming and 4K content. The range of the built-in T-Mobile gateway WiFi router is roughly equivalent to what I experience with my current Verizon FiOS router. So, if you needed a mesh network before to reach across your home (as I do), you’ll need one with T-Mobile, too.

While speed was more than sufficient, I experienced some hiccups with network reliability; occasionally, my internet connection would cut out entirely for a minute or so. And, per Murphy’s Law, these drops always happened when I was on a work Zoom call or downloading a large file. I suspect the issue was related to constrained capacity on my local network tower. Conversations with T-Mobile suggested they also believed that to be the case. Unfortunately, that means there is no solution other than to deal with it while T-Mobile continues to upgrade its 5G network to handle Home Internet traffic. Your location may have fewer (or more) of these issues. Though, in the same Consumer Reports survey I mentioned earlier, T-Mobile 5G Home Internet is ranked very highly for performance, so I suspect these problems are rare. And, since T-Mobile 5G has no setup fee or contracts, you can try it out and see if it works well for you with little investment.

My recommendation

For anyone looking to replace their current ISP for reasons of cost, service, or otherwise, T-Mobile 5G Home Internet offers a compelling alternative. It’s easy to set up, provides quick internet access, and has a straightforward fee structure that requires no upfront or ongoing commitment. It may not be the best choice for gamers who need special configuration options, and the internet reliability has its quirks. Still, there’s a lot to like for most homeowners if it’s available in your area. Here's how to check if it's available in your location.

[Image credit: Techlicious, screenshots via Techlicious]

Josh Kirschner is the co-founder of Techlicious and has been covering consumer tech for more than a decade. Josh started his first company while still in college, a consumer electronics retailer focused on students. His writing has been featured in, NBC News, and Time.

Discussion loading

Speed TMobile v Verizon

From Michael on February 13, 2023 :: 8:36 am

I have used them both. And had the both same time. Before I do or if I will go into all the nuts and bolts and different settings and locations of the routers and blah blah blah on because I did careful careful studies with both of them. If you were getting 85 megs on your T-Mobile you were running very fast cuz it was very infrequently most were 60,-65 on fast days. Verizon wasn’t even close I would consistently run 275 to 85 and a really bad day I would do one and a quarter it ran rings around T-Mobile constantly and then T-Mobile was like sometimes they would throttle it back and if it was in peak moments depending on the proximity or the actual settings if I need whatever the case maybe it was slow to a crawl and I was hey why you guys venturing or swaddling that whatever the case may be running on about with T-Mobile they would hiccup over a hiccup Verizon Superior in every way in fact it wasn’t even close


Horrible experience

From Mark S on February 13, 2023 :: 2:23 pm

I tried it for a few months. Not only would I lose connection often, but speeds were all over the place. I normally was anywhere from 10-50 Mbps. Horrible and not what was promised. TMobile tech support was no help. Went back to Xfinity.


90 minutes later-still couldn’t get it downloaded!

From Meg Garrison on February 13, 2023 :: 9:38 pm

I have had t-mobile cell service for years and have been very satisfied. I was looking forward to getting rid of my comcast Wi-Fi and ordered t-mobile. I tried the “easy to set up” app! Nope - didn’t work! Moved it all over the house but no location would work.Googled troubleshooting and tried other suggestions!  Nope- none worked! Followed several YouTube instructions! Nope - no luck! 90 minutes And I gave up! Packed it up and sent it back! Then I had to set up my Comcast wi-fi back on all my devices!  The worst was my printer, which took me almost 1/2 hour!!


Your mileage may vary

From Grid Leak Bias on February 13, 2023 :: 10:26 pm

I signed up for this in July or August and wad really pretty happy with it to. I regularly got over 100 Gbs but more consistently 30 to 50 down and 10 up, a big improvement over my former brand A"DSL”. Did the whole cut the cord thing and streamed happily for months until the holidays arrived. Suddenly around Christmas lots of buffering or just unwatchable, as well as a couple of multihour outages where I could ping the tower gateway but nothing beyond it.  I set up a periodic and graphed the results every 15 min and it was clear that the signal to/from the tower was fine and that throttling was occuring heavily during peak usage hours. 100+ almost solidly from 11 pm to 8 Am, then dropping to 10 during the day and loe single digits during prime time. After a month of this I gave up and went to fiber, where I can get a reliable 300 Mb up/down 24 by 7 for just 10% more than TMobile. And the lack of even basic configurability was a pain as well. No control of DHCP to my devices, no external IPv4 address, no port forwarding, etc.
When the performance was decent I was willing to live with that - I han made my home LAN too complicated anyway. But failure to deliver even close to the nominal bandwidth consistently and the fact that the were not monitoring and remediating that was a deal.breaker for me. The basic technology worked ok. Maybe I’ll give it another shot in a year if my fiber rate gets jacked up.


Poor internet

From Louise on February 13, 2023 :: 11:05 pm

I got T mobile internet after my xfinity bill was raised. Even though I was told that I would have fast 5g conectivity i had terrible internet. According to Tmobile I am in a good signal area. It sucked. After 3 months I had to go back to cable. What a bunch of wasted time and terrible service. T mobile has awful customer service and give bs excuses why things do not work.


Pros and Cons

From Mrs.Telida Burke on February 14, 2023 :: 3:00 pm

I feel the same way over here in Georgia!!!


T-Mobile home internet worked great for me.

From Bryce p on February 13, 2023 :: 11:31 pm

I have T-Mobile 5G home internet. The setup was really easy I’m in a a 5g uc (ultra capacity) area. My pixel 7pro on cellular uc gets up to 700mbs download & about 30-45mbs upload. My T-Mobile modem gateway consistently got 300-600mbs download on 3 bars & 450-700mbs on 4 bars of uc 5g. The upload was usually around 30-45mbs. I never could get 5 bars on my gateway in my home ,but I’m sure if I could it would be a bit higher. This was a much better option for me over Xfinity I was paying Xfinity $130+ a month for 300x10mbs w/unlimited data cap. That Xfinity service was overpriced & went down at least 3-5 times a month sometimes for over a day because of a outage in my area. So for $50 a month I get essentially 2.5x the speed of Xfinity with unlimited data included. It’s a no brainier if you live in a 5g uc area that isn’t at maximum capacity.


No good

From James Riendeau on February 14, 2023 :: 12:45 am

Constantly buffered my speed was less than half of everyone else.I was told they didn’t have an antenna close enough fact was I had 2 one I could see from my house I was told they needed to be upgraded to 5 g and it still didn’t fix the problem I switched equipment I always showed excellent condition but no speed could barely connect to 1 device without it dropping connection switched internet to Xfinity got perfect connection no problems


T-Mobile home internet

From Rob moss on February 14, 2023 :: 1:48 am

I am so happy that T-Mobile home internet is in my area now I got rid of my Xfinity Internet and I am so happy with T-Mobile very fast speeds


T-Mobile rural

From Nicholas Bourgeois on February 14, 2023 :: 4:39 am

It works for me in a location they said had no access. My phone works here. So, I decided to give it a try. I had to give them an old address just to sign up since my current address wasn’t allowed. Connection is slow. 50mbs tops. But, even at that speed it beats the competition out here. Closest comparable deal would be twice that price with a stiff data cap. I can game or stream to one device no problem. Haven’t tried multiple devices at once. Cable is not an option out here. So, all in all I’m satisfied with the service.


Very happy.

From John / FrenchCamp,Ca on February 14, 2023 :: 7:38 am

Have had Tmobil home-5g for almost a year.  Almost always 70 with 100 at other times. I Would like to suggest something that may help others first trying out tmobil home 5g. I downloaded a generic phone ap (wifi signal strength) from playstore and using the wi-fi on my phone, I moved my box all over our 5,ooo sq ft home.  Windows and outer walls were about 35 to 40.  But my downstairs bedroom closet (8 ft from the outer wall) was 70 at that time. Rechecked the house 3 times. So I mounted a little wire basket beside my suits and ran 100 ft cables to 2 wifi extenders using the 2 ports on the t-mobil unit.  When it may crash once every month or two, I just unplug the tmobil box for a couple of minutes and all is back to normal.  Have tried att, verizon and direct tv. (All 3 were total continual nightmares with the size of our home.)  Very Happy with Tmobil.  Retired on fixed income, and very much appreciate the price, value, speed and most definitely -tmobils superior customer service.  Awesome!


Worst Home Internet Ever

From LarryR on February 14, 2023 :: 9:49 am

I’ve had T-Mobile for all of 1 1/2 years. And although I have no complaints for T-Mobile cell phone service., the Home Internet Service is by far the worst I have ever had. On any given day at any given time T-Mobile Home internet is as bad if not worst that “Dial Up” internet service. It buffer constantly., it completely go off for extended periods of time., some times it will go off at 6:00pm and not come back on until the next day for instance. I have a smart home and as a result of this kind of outage my home goes dumb..

I inquired to T-Mobile about their internet service or should I say lack of service. Their explanation was that their practice is to cater to the cell phone mobile service first and direct the remainder of their data service to Home Internet which means disruptions or some of their customers being kicked off of their home internet towers altogether until there is not to many people using their cell phones.. Frankly I happen to think that is a bad business practice., after all the monthly service fee is still being paid on time by the customer.. the only reason I have not changed providers again is because the only other providers are just as bad or worst believe it or not…


From Great to Terrible

From Nick on March 18, 2023 :: 10:10 pm

I like everyone else loved T-Mobile till February of 2023.  For us it is DSL or T-mobile. When we first received it downloads were around 200 uploads around 20 -30. It was so nice being in the the 21st century finally. NO DSL. Yes we had to reboot the gateway maybe once a week but I could live with that.
Then February 2023 came a week outage, had to get new box, ever since then mornings are great evenings are not good for streaming 10 download on a good night, bad night 0.45 yes 0.45.
They standard line is engineers are working on it.
Praying Elon gets Starlink up and going, will cost twice as much for a monthly service, but will be worth it for reliability, if it works.


Originally solid, now UNrelieable

From Dane Tee on February 14, 2023 :: 1:14 pm

We started T-mobile 5g home internet in June 2022. We are in a very strong (ultra?) 5g signal area. Speeds were RELIABLY >15 Mbs until October-ish. Gradually became unreliable. Now, 2/2023, it slows to <1 Mbs almost every day (i.e. useless).
Cycling power for a “fresh start” may bring speeds >75 Mbs for a while (hours). Slowdowns don’t seem related to time of day, weather, or poor signal (we get 4-5 bars on base unit and our pc’s) and the unit is in a cool place (60deg). Ready to go shopping! I believe they have network mgmt. software issues.



From tommhan on February 14, 2023 :: 1:25 pm

I use the tmobile internet and already had a signal booster which helps a lot and almost always have 4 or 5 bars.  Off and on will have a glitch in service but it is mostly good.  Without booster 2 bars.


Dropped connections

From Bennett on February 14, 2023 :: 1:33 pm

I am a customer and I can confirm that the connection from the router to your devices frequently drops. It’s only for a split second and is not a problem for the most part. But my work laptop connects via a secure VPN, and that momentary drop is enough to disconnect my VPN connection. I have to plug my laptop to the router via a LAN cable, the old-fashioned way.


Excellent service

From Rafael Gomez on February 14, 2023 :: 8:05 pm

I had with t mobile internet for 6 months now speed 300 Mbps excellent for everything.


Slow in the evening

From Mike on February 14, 2023 :: 9:59 pm

I’ve found it to be great overall, easily getting 200-300Mbps during the day and late and night. It does seem to suffer from deprioritization however. In the evening I will still get ~200Mbps on my T-Mobile phone, but TMHI will be down under 50Mbps.


Location, location, location is key

From Dewain Terwilliger on February 15, 2023 :: 10:22 am

I was so glad to finally drop the Spectrum monopoly! Only now is spectrum offering a competitive price. I hope they go the way of the 8track! T-moble has brought competition to the game. Remember At&T? They are still trying to catch up. Yes T-Moble has quirks, so did NASA. This is new stuff. Thank God for the space race! Talking bandwidth. Started out at 30-50, now 150- 300 and counting!


Waiting for my turn

From Lisa Gaetano on February 15, 2023 :: 10:36 pm

I’m not using anyone right now but what I have in my cell phone witcg is straight talk and it literally sucks. Everyone advertising Home5GB for$50 sounds great but everyone around me 2 to 3 houses in either direction has it but keeps telling me to sign up and they’ll let me know when they get it in my area. Which if it off towers why would it work next door and across the street and not here? Either way don’t care for an explanation just am waiting FOR MY TURN PLEASE. GETTING IMPATIENT HERE. ALTHOUGH ITS NOT LIKE I CAN THREATEN TO DO ANYTHING REAL BIG ABOUT IT. SO PATIENCE GIRL. PATIENCE. PLEASE KEEP ME AND MY OTHERS NON—Neighbors IN MIND PLEASE. UNTIL THEN ILL BE WORKING ON PRACTICING THAT VALUABLE ASSET.


From matt on February 16, 2023 :: 8:50 am

Never use T-Mobile for you service. I have been a long time Tmobile customer for Cell phone service like a decade and home internet for 3 years and have had at least 3 years of both services in this area. Starting around beginning of 2022 my service went from 25-30mbps to around 2-3mbps for 99% of the time. I have oddly enough noticed that the service is fine 25-30mbps between 4-6am which is quite useless for me. The T-Mobile techs and I have narrowed it down to network congestion and taking on new customers AND DEPRIORITIZING AND THROTTLING something that T-Mobile always claimed they never did. I have been getting some partial bill credits for the past 6 months or so while I wait on the only option Starlink. Today I called try to enquire bout some more bill credit and low and behold T-Mobile won’t give me any more credits and that he stated that T-Mobile doesn’t have deprioritize and or throttle, I told him that came out of the upper tech department’s mouth and he just kept arguing.    I like to tell everyone to not use T-Mobile as they don’t care about long time customers only new customers for their shareholders. T-Mobile sure has gone downhill and I’ll be switching when my phones are paid off for cell and starlink comes for home internet.


Worked Fine Until it Didn't - Then Told it would be Four Days for a Fix

From Tom S on February 16, 2023 :: 3:09 pm

Got TMobile internet in October of last year. It worked absolutely fine until this morning. After 3 calls and 30 minutes on hold, the technician told me they’d been having nationwide problems with the router I had, that I would have to return it, and they would get a replacement to me in four days. No credit for any of the lost service or inconvenience.
I work remotely, so going without internet for four days is not an option. Never expected any company to rival Comcast for poor service.


Obviously it's going to depend

From David on February 21, 2023 :: 10:33 am

Obviously it’s going to depend on your location and use. I’ve had one for a week with no issues. Stream 4k on 2 TVs and have multiple other devices attached. Can’t tell the difference between the Tmobile and my normal AT&T fiber optic so far. So you’d have to simply get it and try one at your location to see of it works for you. That’s the only certain way to find out.


From tawney on February 21, 2023 :: 11:41 am

We live in a rural/semi rural area and had 6 Mpps dsl. It was that or HughesNet. In Oct. T-mobile made their home internet lite available. We still had a data cap but finally had actual broadband. At the end of Dec. they changed it to their regular home internet so the price went down and the data cap disappeared. At that time our service also went from Bands 41 and 66 to 71 and 66 and we had lots of signal dropping necessitating gateway resets. Then the band was switched back to 41 and there is seldom a problem.  We mostly get between 80 and 130 Mbps downloads. That may seem awful to many of you, but for us it is wonderful.


finally broadband

From tawney on February 21, 2023 :: 11:48 am

We live in a rural/semi rural area and had 6 Mpps dsl. It was that or HughesNet. In Oct. T-mobile made their home internet lite available. We still had a data cap but finally had actual broadband. At the end of Dec. they changed it to their regular home internet so the price went down and the data cap disappeared. At that time our service also went from Bands 41 and 66 to 71 and 66 and we had lots of signal dropping necessitating gateway resets. Then the band was switched back to 41 and there is seldom a problem.  We mostly get between 80 and 130 Mbps downloads. That may seem awful to many of you, but for us it is wonderful.


Varied results

From Alex on February 25, 2023 :: 7:53 pm

I tried T-Mobile internet at a vacation home in a rural area. Even though I could get 5g reception with 3 bars, the highest speed was 40mbs with constant drops. Gave up on that. Took the router to my home in the SF suburbs. 4-5 bars of service, download speeds of 400-800, upload at a steady 75 mbs. Needless to say, goodbye Comcast!


Drop Out

From Gregg on March 04, 2023 :: 8:41 am

The Good: T Mobile speed is very impressive. There pricing is fair. The install is very easy. 

The Bad: The Router/Modem drops the connection about every 2-3 hours for 3-5 minutes before it comes back on line. When I called the T Mobile store they acknowledged that this has been a issue. So I’m going to exchange it today.


TMobile Sucks

From Tmobile sucks on March 08, 2023 :: 11:44 pm

I had the pink company for 6 months and speed was pathetic around 15MB. I switched to VERIZON and love it 150MB. I am turning RED.

Sorry I want to love the underdog but too much pride and too little speed for TMO. Stop spending money on saying you are the BEST when you are not.

Gone are the times when Mr. Legere was driving the ship. Get off before it goes down completely.

my reccomendation as former TMO cheer leader is to go to VERIZON home internet.


Interested in purchasing a T

From Regina on March 10, 2023 :: 5:26 pm

Interested in purchasing a T Mobile 5G but I’m not sure if it is feasible for my location i don’t know where the cell tower is located.


Do the availability check linked in the article

From Josh Kirschner on March 13, 2023 :: 10:17 am

Hi Regina,

If you do the availability checker linked to in the article, it will let you know if T-Mobile is available at your address. Since there is no contract and no upfront fees other than the monthly fee, you can try it out for a month and see how it goes. If it doesn’t work the way you want, just return it.




From Mary Jane Anderson on April 29, 2023 :: 5:28 pm

After many month of fighting with Xfinity I witched to TMobil and love it. It is better then Xfinity. No problems at all. The right for me.


17 months and STILL HAPPY!

From Mike1954 on May 05, 2023 :: 11:45 am

I’m in Northridge, California and tried out T-Mobile 5G Home Internet as soon as it became available in my neighborhood in December 2021. 17 months later, I’m STILL getting FAST-RELIABLE service and using the ORIGINAL silver cylinder Nokia gateway that came with it. My house is only 1500 sq ft. and the built in WiFi reaches my 3rd TV at the far end of the house. I QUIT Spectrum internet in Dec ‘21, and FINALLY quit their cable TV service 4 months ago. NOW a satisfied streamer. Packaged with my two T Mobile lines, my monthly internet dropped from $50 to $40/mo.


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