T-Mobile recently announced a massive expansion of its $50/month home wireless ISP service, saying that it’ll now serve anyone with any form of T-Mobile coverage, as long as they’re willing to put up with a 100GB/month data cap.
“Our unlimited service will continue to be our flagship plan, but in areas where we can’t offer unlimited Home Internet, Home Internet Lite lets us say ‘yes’ to more people,” the company says.
That includes people with only low-band 5G, or even only 4G LTE service from T-Mobile. It isn’t restricting sign-ups based on the type of coverage.
The data cap is much lower than median home broadband usage in the US right now, which is 368GB(Opens in a new window), according to Comcast. T-Mobile agrees this is a niche product, but says there’s a need.
“For the one in four broadband users who use less than 100GB/month and for those in rural or underserved areas, stuck with satellite or DSL – or no option at all – this plan offers a reliable, often more affordable option,” the company said in a statement.
That would make T-Mobile a more affordable alternative to Starlink, which currently costs $599 for the equipment plus $110/month for unlimited service. T-Mobile’s equipment is included with its monthly service fee.
After 100GB, speeds plummet to 128kbps, but T-Mobile also told us additional data buckets would be available. The company did not give details.
On our ISP-focused Readers’ Choice 2022 survey, T-Mobile Home Internet got a higher overall satisfaction score than every traditional cable or DSL connection except one, as well as the ISP industry’s highest score for value. Readers said they’d recommend the service more than any cable or DSL setup.
Home Internet Lite subscribers would receive the same home gateway unit and go into the same billing system as unlimited plan subscribers, so if the unlimited plan then becomes available in their neighborhood, upgrading is just basically pressing a button on T-Mobile’s end.
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Can You Take It With You?
Although T-Mobile is selling this as a fixed system, it looks like it may also be a solution for people looking for a hotspot they can take to a vacation house and then home again.
T-Mobile’s existing Home Internet system, which offers truly unlimited data for $50/month, relies on the company assessing that it has enough excess capacity on each individual cell sector. That’s why you’re not supposed to move it around.
But Home Internet Lite doesn’t do that sort of verification. It works anywhere T-Mobile does, so you may be able to use it anywhere T-Mobile works, even if T-Mobile tells you not to. (It’s not clear whether they’ll cut people off for moving around; we’ll have to find out over time.)
Home Internet Lite launches on Aug. 16. The option to subscribe will pop up if you try to sign up for T-Mobile’s home service at tmobile.com/isp and you aren’t eligible for the unlimited plan.
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