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5G continues its national rollout, offering at . That’s a big deal for our and other connecting cellular airwaves. It could be a game-changer for home networking, too. With the that rival cable and fiber internet service providers — plus the added appeal of straightforward, consumer-friendly terms that ditch data caps, equipment fees and the like — 5G is shaping up as one of the most exciting things happening to residential internet in years.
That depends on whether is available at your address. 5G signals aren’t available everywhere, and even when they are. That said, and are the providers doing the most to expand the technology’s availability for home internet use. (Note: For now, is sticking with fiber and DSL to bring homes online.) Both providers offer dedicated 5G home internet plans that promise fast speeds and simple terms at an affordable rate. In some areas, you might even find that your home is serviceable by each of them, as CNET’s own .
Time will tell how much 5G stands to disrupt the ISP category. Let’s look at how Verizon 5G Home and T-Mobile Home Internet match up.
Verizon and T-Mobile 5G Home Internet Plans
Verizon 5G Home
Verizon 5G Home Plus
T-Mobile Home Internet
85-300Mbps download, 10Mbps upload
300-1,000Mbps download, 50Mbps upload
33-182Mbps download, 6-23Mbps upload
Monthly price (with Auto Pay)
$50 ($25 with qualifying Verizon Unlimited mobile plan)
$70 ($35 with qualifying Verizon Unlimited mobile plan)
$50 ($30 for eligible Magenta MAX mobile customers)
For as long as you remain a customer
How do Verizon and T-Mobile’s 5G plans and prices compare?
Are you tired of deciphering which broadband package to choose out of seemingly countless options? Wary of signing up for a long-term contract with penalties looming if you don’t fulfill it? Sick of sweating it out every month with a stingy data cap? No worries! Both Verizon and T-Mobile lean into providing a no-strings-attached broadband experience. Each offers simplified 5G home internet plans requiring no term agreement or data caps.
One small difference you’ll notice is there are two choices for Verizon: Verizon 5G Home and Verizon 5G Plus. Verizon 5G Home comes with a two-year price guarantee and lower download speeds, while Verizon 5G Plus locks in your price for three years, plus higher download speeds and additional perks (see the deals and promos section below).
So, which one is faster?
While 5G is capable of gigabit download speeds, don’t expect those top-end numbers from either provider’s home internet product. T-Mobile, for example, says on its site that customers can expect “average download speeds in excess of 100Mbps,” and typically experience ranges from 33-182Mbps. Why so relatively low? T-Mobile Home Internet relies on its growing 5G grid and its existing 4G LTE network to expedite its availability. So don’t expect a pure 5G experience.
“During congestion, Home Internet customers may notice speeds lower than other customers due to data prioritization,” reads the first sentence of . “Service may be slowed, suspended, terminated, or restricted for misuse, abnormal use, interference with our network or ability to provide quality service to other users.”
On the other hand, Verizon tells its subscribers to expect average download speeds of around 300Mbps. Verizon’s dependence on its Ultra Wideband 5G network (and lesser use of its “4G LTE backup”) is the main reason for the faster speeds. It uses low-band, midband and millimeter-wave technology to provide customers with speeds that could get as high as 1,000Mbps.
Where will you find the best value?
While a cursory glance at the chart above might lead you to believe that T-Mobile is the better buy — $50 a month vs. Verizon’s top plan at $70 a month — it’s essential to look at the cost per Mbps to understand the actual value better. Considering the average download speed of 100Mbps for that $50 a month fee, T-Mobile rings in at 50 cents per Mbps, . If you have a qualifying Magenta MAX mobile plan, you could trim that to $30 a month or 30 cents per Mbps.
Verizon, which averages 300Mbps, shaves that amount down to a cost per Mbps of just under 17 cents. Also, if you choose the Verizon 5G Plus plan, your monthly bill is $70 per month and that cost per Mbps goes up to just under 24 cents. But your additional perks might make up for it, depending on how you feel about the worth of a . Finally, customers with qualifying Verizon Unlimited mobile plans will get 50% off the monthly cost of either plan. Suppose you’re able to make use of that additional discount. In that case, it makes Verizon 5G Home — the Plus plan at just shy of 12 cents per Mbps and the regular plan at an even better 8 cents per Mbps — one of the most affordable out there, compared to any plans by competitors.
What about the fine print?
Let’s revisit that idea of the no-strings-attached internet experience. Verizon and T-Mobile are eager to get customers to try their 5G home internet offerings, so no hidden fees or taxes are added to the monthly cost. We mentioned before that there’s no contract and no data cap. There’s also no additional equipment rental fee, installation, activation cost or other trap fees.
Verizon 5G Home coverage vs. T-Mobile Home coverage map
Neither provider offers a detailed coverage map specifically for its 5G home internet solution. Nor are they yet included in the Federal Communication Commission’s database of broadband providers. But taking into account the total list of cities they claim to cover and the total number of households, T-Mobile is pretty clearly in the lead here. Still, Verizon recently closed the gap when it .
While Verizon 5G Home Internet is across the country, in just over 600 cities nationwide. In contrast, Verizon’s service is available in parts of 900 cities but fewer homes.
To save your eyeballs (and our word count), we won’t list the 600-plus T-Mobile cities here, but you can peruse this if you’d like to scan them for yourself. Verizon has not yet made available a list of the 900 cities in which its 5G Home Internet service can be found, but you can use its .
What sort of deals and promos do Verizon and T-Mobile offer?
Still not convinced by the straightforward terms both T-Mobile and Verizon put forward? They’ll try to sway you with their promotional offers… though T-Mobile might have a slight edge here.
First, both T-Mobile and Verizon are so confident in their 5G home products that each offers to pay off any early termination fees for new customers who break their current ISP contract, up to $500.
T-Mobile offers new Home Internet customers a free one-year Paramount Plus subscription: That’s a decent value of $60 (). It also allows you to subscribe to live TV through Philo TV for $15 a month, which is $10 off the regular price. Finally, all home internet subscribers can take advantage of T-Mobile Tuesdays, the company’s weekly discount and perks program.
Verizon’s current offers are not as aggressive but do offer additional value. New Verizon 5G Home Plus customers will receive an eight-piece SimpliSafe Smart Home Security Bundle and Verizon Cloud Unlimited. Verizon 5G Home Plus subscribers can also get $300 off a Stream TV Soundbar.
How do Verizon and T-Mobile rank for customer satisfaction?
We refer to two of the top customer satisfaction surveys on our ISP reviews — and the — and they place Verizon at the top of their rankings. But those residential internet surveys are focused on , a service, not specifically the Verizon 5G Home Internet option. So, the verdict is unclear on the company’s 5G fixed wireless internet product.
On the other hand, T-Mobile Home Internet — which has only been on the market for a year — was included for the first time in the . It came out of the gates strong with a 71 out of 100, second only to Verizon Fios and well above the industry average of 64 points.
Anecdotally, and preferred it over his previous provider, .
Lastly, PCMag’s most recent tagged Verizon 5G Home Internet with the highest overall ratings among wireless providers, with an 8.1 score on a scale from 0 to 10. That’s well above the survey’s average ISP score of 6.9. T-Mobile Home Internet was not far behind with a 7.7 score. Both landed in the top 10 of all ISPs for overall customer satisfaction. Not too shabby, I’d say.
Too early to call?
T-Mobile and Verizon are still aggressively building out their 5G networks, so we’re much nearer the beginning of this story than the middle or end, especially as it relates to 5G fixed wireless internet overall.
Regarding these two providers, T-Mobile Home Internet has a slight edge in availability. Adding its 4G LTE network to 5G makes it a much more viable pick, particularly in rural and underserved areas of the country, where it’s a compelling alternative to options like or . But Verizon 5G Home Internet takes the lead in performance, featuring nearly triple the current download speeds of T-Mobile Home Internet. With the , which supports , Verizon seems poised to provide a higher upside in the immediate future in cities where the two overlap.
Verizon 5G Home Internet uses ultrawideband 5G technology to deliver max download speeds close to 1 gigabit and average download speeds of 300 megabits per second. That’s the fastest average download speed delivered by a major fixed wireless provider. What it sacrifices is coverage, as it’s currently available to about 30 million households nationwide. That said, the provider aims to continually increase that number to reach 50 million by 2025.
T-Mobile Home Internet is fairly new on the block: CNET and it descended upon the country . Yet, it’s got the widest reach of any fixed wireless internet provider. By utilizing its 4G LTE network and bestgooglethis the expanding 5G grid, T-Mobile has been able to aggressively expand its coverage map and offer its service to more households than Verizon’s 5G solution. While the average download speed sits around 100Mbps, that might be plenty of pep for some customers, especially those in rural areas where satellite and DSL might have previously been the best options.