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Cellular Home Internet: Who Has It and What It Could Mean for You

Access a reliable internet connection at home is vital for most households, but the United States still faces a Numeric fraction. A growing number of cellular service providers are responding to this need by introducing home internet plans.

Cellular Internet uses a router or access point to connect to a carrier’s cellular network, just like your mobile phone. The speed you receive depends on your proximity to a network tower, network congestion, the number of connected devices you have, and other factors. Most of the time, these speeds will be much slower than what a faster fiber or cable connection could achieve – but if your location doesn’t have these alternatives, a cellular internet setup might be just what you need.

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Since many major telecommunications companies offer these plans – and 5G technology promises to make some of them even better — Let’s see how they compare in terms of price, speed and other aspects.

A display showing Verizon's services

Verizon continues to expand its home cellular internet services.

Screenshot by Eli Blumenthal/CNET

Verizon LTE Home Internet

Verizon LTE is for households that don’t have access to the provider’s other home internet services, such as Verizon Fios. You’ll connect to Verizon’s 4G LTE network, with download speeds of 25 to 50 megabits per second and upload speeds of up to 4 Mbps. That’s about on par with DSL speeds and fast enough for basic web use, HD streaming, and light online gaming. Like the rest of Verizon’s home internet offerings, Verizon LTE has no data caps.

The price of Verizon’s LTE service depends on whether you already have cellular service with Verizon. If you have eligible Verizon mobile plans (and sign up for autopay and paperless billing), LTE Home Internet service will cost you $25 per month. That can go up to $50 a month if you don’t have an existing Verizon mobile plan, which puts Verizon LTE on par with what cable Internet providers charge for the service. If such providers are available in your area, chances are they can give you a faster connection for the price than Verizon’s LTE network.

Verizon LTE is available in nearly 200 markets in 48 states, but you’ll need to check with Verizon to see if coverage is available at your location.

Verizon 5G Home Internet

Home Verizon 5G is the company’s newest home internet offering, and it promises a dramatic boost in speed thanks to Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband technology. After starting in 2021, Verizon 5G Home has expanded to over 900 markets so far. Verizon announced that its The 5G Home service is already available for more than 30 million households and aims to reach 50 million by 2025.

As for speeds, 5G Home downloads top out at 1 Gbps, or 1,000 Mbps, with average speeds around 300 Mbps. Downloads remain more modest, reaching 50 Mbps. 5G Home costs $50 per month (with a two-year price guarantee), or $70 per month for 5G Home Plus, which comes with a three-year price guarantee and additional benefits. Customers can get 50% off either tier if they subscribe to select 5G mobile plans. No annual contract is required, all equipment is included in the monthly price and no data caps exist.

A T-Mobile Home Internet Gateway sits on a windowsill

T-Mobile’s Home Internet Gateway doubles as a modem and router, though you can also plug into an existing router or mesh network.

Rick Broida/CNET

T-Mobile Home Internet

T-Mobile Home Internet touts simplicity as a benefit of its home broadband service. For $50 a month with AutoPay, you get access to the fastest cellular speeds available at your address. Speeds vary by location, but most customers see download speeds ranging from 33-182 Mbps and upload speeds around 6-23 Mbps.

One of the best things about the service is that everything is included in the price. Your Wi-Fi equipment comes with no rental fees, no data caps or annual service contract, and you don’t need to choose a plan.

T-Mobile has expanded aggressively to serve more rural communities, and its home internet service is accessible to more than 40 million homes using the company’s 5G and 4G LTE networks. All told, the service is still fairly new, and T-Mobile aims to continue its expansion in different ways. specific to CNET Eli Blumenthal tried T-Mobile Home Internet for himself. The company even encourages such trials with its Worry-free Test Drive program, which gives customers 15 days to try it out without penalty.

AT&T fixed wireless

Although some routers and access points can access AT&T’s cellular network to translate the signal into a Wi-Fi network you can connect to, AT&T doesn’t currently offer dedicated 5G home internet like Verizon and T-Mobile – at least not yet. An AT&T spokesperson told us, “We are exploring ways in which our fixed wireless services can fill pockets as a capture product for our copper footprint and hard-to-reach areas for some customers, but fiber remains our goal”.

That said, in addition to these fiber and DSL internet plans, AT&T offers fixed wireless internet service to rural communities. You set it up by mounting an antenna outside your home with a clear view of the sky. It will connect over-the-air with an AT&T hotspot somewhere near you and direct the signal to your router, allowing you to receive download speeds of around 10 Mbps, with upload speeds of around 1 Mbps .

There are a few limitations to consider with AT&T’s fixed wireless service. First, know that AT&T limits data to 350 GB per month. That’s unlike T-Mobile Home Internet and Verizon 5G Home, which offer unlimited data. Such a data cap could also prove tight for some, as OpenVault reports that the average US household uses more than 586 GB per month. The company will charge $10 for every 50GB of data you use over the cap, up to $200 in additional charges.

US cell

If you live within US Cellular coverage area, you can sign up for fixed wireless service with hardware that connects your router to the nearest cell tower to bring your home network online. The provider offers two high-speed internet packages starting at $50 per month. One (unlimited plan everywhere) offers a 25 GB data limit, and the other (unlimited plan even better) offers unlimited data. With download speeds ranging from 25 to 100 Mbps, it offers faster offerings than AT&T’s fixed wireless offering.

Additionally, US Cellular does not charge data overage charges. That said, the company may throttle your connection to speeds of around 2 Mbps once you’ve exhausted your data allowance. This means that your network speed could drop in the middle of your billing cycle if your web activity consumes too much bandwidth.

Optimize your cellular Internet connection

Whichever carrier you choose, the location of your router can be crucial in optimizing speeds. An old The CNET writer found out when he tested T-Mobile Home Internet. You want to place it in an open area away from obstructions like bookcases, furniture, and walls. If you have a multi-story home, you can also purchase Wi-Fi extenders. These boost the signal in slower areas of your home.

It is also important to consider your regular Internet use. Comprehension how much speed you should pay and the amount of data you need allows you to choose the most suitable plan and avoid additional charges.


Not all news on the site expresses the point of view of the site, but we transmit this news automatically and translate it through programmatic technology on the site and not from a human editor.
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