After a long pilot period, T-Mobile is making its 5G home internet service a reality. The company made the announcement on a livestream this morning, teased as its next Uncarrier move. The company says that 30 million homes are now eligible for the service.
The 5G home internet service costs $60 per month, or $65 without autopay, which is $10 more per month than when the pilot program was introduced. The service comes with no data caps, hardware rental fees, or annual contracts, and customers self-install their own equipment. T-Mobile says the average customer will experience speeds of 100 Mbps. But there’s an important caveat: home internet customers are subject to data slowdowns during times of network congestion, which could be a serious deterrent for some customers who live in dense areas.
T-Mobile’s talk of 5G home internet dates back to 2019, when the company was making its case to the FCC why it should be allowed to acquire Sprint. It claimed that gaining access to Sprint’s network would be a necessary step in offering high-speed in-home wireless internet. According to the company, this would allow T-Mobile to offer an alternative to the dominant ISPs, and bring faster internet to underserved rural areas.
Before the ink was dry on the deal, T-Mobile started piloting the service over its existing LTE network. It started small, as an invitation-only deal for 50,000 households. As of last month, the pilot included 100,000 households, and T-Mobile said it would aim to offer the service to 7 to 8 million households within the next five years.
Testing a pilot program in select cities is one thing; opening up that service to 5G customers across the country is another. T-Mobile is certainly confident that its network can handle it, and with good reason — that spectrum it acquired from Sprint has given it a leg up, especially compared to Verizon and AT&T. Maybe when it’s done fulfilling this promise from its Sprint acquisition talks, it can work on its promise to help Dish become that fourth wireless carrier that we’ve been missing.