Skip to main content

Five things to consider before you sign up for T-Mobile Home Internet

Five things to consider before you sign up for T-Mobile Home Internet

/

It’s not quite the same as plugging in a traditional broadband router

Share this story

If you buy something from a Verge link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

T-Mobile’s 5G home internet may sound like a tempting alternative to Big Cable.
T-Mobile’s 5G home internet may sound like a tempting alternative to Big Cable.
Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

After a long early life in a pilot program, T-Mobile’s 5G home internet service has finally arrived. The bar for decent, reasonably priced internet service in the US is embarrassingly low, so T-Mobile’s terms might sound like a dream: $60 per month, no contract, no installation appointment, no equipment rental fees, and no data caps. It’s a service that’s very much in its early days, and reviews so far note some inconsistencies in performance among other quirks. 

Even taking all this into consideration, it may still sound well worth the potential risks if you’re shelling out close to twice that to Big Cable every month. But before you drop-kick your Comcast router into the river, there are a few things to be aware of if you’re thinking about switching.

Eligibility

First, and most obviously, is that you may not be eligible for the service. Home Internet isn’t offered everywhere that has T-Mobile cellular phone service; the company is introducing it as local network capacity allows. And even where it’s offered, you might not necessarily be able to get it. To make sure that it can handle the added demands of home internet users, T-Mobile may limit the number of signups they’ll allow in your neighborhood or condo building, for example.

Take a look at PCMag’s map for an easy visual of the areas where home internet is currently offered, but for the most precise information, you’ll of course want to check your home address with T-Mobile.

Setup

Setting up wireless internet isn’t quite the plug-and-play experience you get with traditional wired service. You’ll be looking for the best spot in your home to place the Internet Gateway, as T-Mobile calls it. Signal strength may vary from room to room, and even within the same room you might find better signal near a particular window. An accompanying app takes you through the setup steps and lets you self-evaluate your tech comfort level at the beginning to provide an appropriate amount of guidance through the process.

unlike traditional broadband, you might find a different spot in your home gives better service

Reviewers and early testers have noticed that signal strength can also vary throughout the day, so keep an eye on your internet speeds. Be prepared to try moving the Gateway to other locations if you’re not getting performance you’re happy with when you need it — unlike traditional broadband, you might find that a different spot in your home gives you better service.

Slowdowns

Home internet service is subject to the same “data prioritization” policies as most of the company’s cellular data plans, meaning customers might see their speeds temporarily drop during busy times for the network. On some plans, this is applied only after a certain data threshold is met, but that’s not the case for Home Internet — users are always subject to this kind of slowdown. 

customers might see their speeds temporarily drop during busy times

That sounds like a dealbreaker, but T-Mobile executives that I spoke to said that customers are “unlikely” to experience this thanks to how the company is expanding the service. They say that Home Internet is only offered in places with adequate network capacity, and that signups in a particular area or building may be capped to avoid congestion. That’s reassuring but still something to take into account as a potential drawback if you need guaranteed speeds at all times.

Hulu + Live TV isn’t supported right now

Tucked away in Home Internet’s fine print is a statement that it’s “not compatible with some live TV streaming services.” T-Mobile clarified this for us, saying that while YouTube TV and Netflix will work, Hulu’s live TV service doesn’t work right now due to a technical requirement. The company says it’s working with Hulu to resolve the problem. If Hulu is your main source for live TV, then it’s a good idea to wait until that’s squared away.

You can’t take it with you

It might sound appealing to take your internet with you when you stay somewhere else, like a vacation home, but that’s not allowed according to the service’s terms. T-Mobile says that’s to make sure that the service is being used in areas with adequate network capacity. Similarly, you can’t take the SIM card out of your modem and pop it in your phone when you leave the house. T-Mobile’s not going to let you quit your cellphone plan that easily.

Today’s Storystream

Feed refreshed Two hours ago Striking out

A
Youtube
Andrew WebsterTwo hours ago
Look at this Thing.

At its Tudum event today, Netflix showed off a new clip from the Tim Burton series Wednesday, which focused on a very important character: the sentient hand known as Thing. The full series starts streaming on November 23rd.


A
The Verge
Andrew Webster4:28 PM UTC
Get ready for some Netflix news.

At 1PM ET today Netflix is streaming its second annual Tudum event, where you can expect to hear news about and see trailers from its biggest franchises, including The Witcher and Bridgerton. I’ll be covering the event live alongside my colleague Charles Pulliam-Moore, and you can also watch along at the link below. There will be lots of expected names during the stream, but I have my fingers crossed for a new season of Hemlock Grove.


J
Twitter
Jay PetersSep 23
Twitch’s creators SVP is leaving the company.

Constance Knight, Twitch’s senior vice president of global creators, is leaving for a new opportunity, according to Bloomberg’s Cecilia D’Anastasio. Knight shared her departure with staff on the same day Twitch announced impending cuts to how much its biggest streamers will earn from subscriptions.


T
Twitter
Tom WarrenSep 23
Has the Windows 11 2022 Update made your gaming PC stutter?

Nvidia GPU owners have been complaining of stuttering and poor frame rates with the latest Windows 11 update, but thankfully there’s a fix. Nvidia has identified an issue with its GeForce Experience overlay and the Windows 11 2022 Update (22H2). A fix is available in beta from Nvidia’s website.


A
External Link
If you’re using crash detection on the iPhone 14, invest in a really good phone mount.

Motorcycle owner Douglas Sonders has a cautionary tale in Jalopnik today about the iPhone 14’s new crash detection feature. He was riding his LiveWire One motorcycle down the West Side Highway at about 60 mph when he hit a bump, causing his iPhone 14 Pro Max to fly off its handlebar mount. Soon after, his girlfriend and parents received text messages that he had been in a horrible accident, causing several hours of panic. The phone even called the police, all because it fell off the handlebars. All thanks to crash detection.

Riding a motorcycle is very dangerous, and the last thing anyone needs is to think their loved one was in a horrible crash when they weren’t. This is obviously an edge case, but it makes me wonder what other sort of false positives we see as more phones adopt this technology.


A
External Link
Ford is running out of its own Blue Oval badges.

Running out of semiconductors is one thing, but running out of your own iconic nameplates is just downright brutal. The Wall Street Journal reports badge and nameplate shortages are impacting the automaker's popular F-series pickup lineup, delaying deliveries and causing general chaos.

Some executives are even proposing a 3D printing workaround, but they didn’t feel like the substitutes would clear the bar. All in all, it's been a dreadful summer of supply chain setbacks for Ford, leading the company to reorganize its org chart to bring some sort of relief.


E
TikTok
Spain’s Transports Urbans de Sabadell has La Bussí.

Once again, the US has fallen behind in transportation — call it the Bussí gap. A hole in our infrastructure, if you will.


J
External Link
Jay PetersSep 23
Doing more with less (extravagant holiday parties).

Sundar Pichai addressed employees’ questions about Google’s spending changes at an all-hands this week, according to CNBC.

“Maybe you were planning on hiring six more people but maybe you are going to have to do with four and how are you going to make that happen?” Pichai sent a memo to workers in July about a hiring slowdown.

In the all-hands, Google’s head of finance also asked staff to try not to go “over the top” for holiday parties.


E
External Link
Insiders made the most money off of Helium’s “People’s Network.”

Remember Helium, which was touted by The New York Times in an article entitled “Maybe There’s a Use for Crypto After All?” Not only was the company misleading people about who used it — Salesforce and Lime weren’t using it, despite what Helium said on its site — Helium disproportionately enriched insiders, Forbes reports.