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T-Mobile's 5G internet service is finally here, and it has ditched traditional pricing tables for a single, streamlined plan with no price hikes, yearly contracts, or equipment fees — for $50 per month. Understandably, that's making a lot of web-savvy seniors very happy.
But is T-Mobile's new internet service too good to be true? I will say one thing: If you're looking for a speed demon in your router, T-Mobile isn't quite there yet. Other senior-friendly internet providers we've reviewed offer faster services, with Xfinity's internet plans topping the charts with head-spinning 2 GB speeds.
That said, T-Mobile does have a lot to offer besides an internet plan you can understand without a legal team. At the top of that list is its great price tag, which will resonate strongly with older adults who are sick of paying big internet bills for spotty service.1 But before you give your current internet provider the heave-ho, you'll want to know a few more things about T-Mobile's 5G home plans.
What I really love about T-Mobile's approach to home internet is how easy it is to understand. I'm not saying it's the ideal plan for everyone; I'm saying that, with many internet providers, just trying to figure out the plan is a headache. We'll get into all the details below.
With T-Mobile's 5G service, you get unlimited data for $50 per month with no data caps. There are no equipment rental fees or cancellation fees either, if you decide this isn't the service for you.
There is a trade-off for that straightforward simplicity, however. T-Mobile's 5G internet isn't lightning-quick at this point in time. This will probably change, but currently, T-Mobile guarantees download speeds between 35 and 115 Mbps.
While 35-115 Mbps is a good deal faster than, say, an entry-level HughesNet satellite plan — and more than covers moderate browsing, emailing, and (standard-definition) streaming needs — T-Mobile can't hit the heavy-duty speeds of some of our top-rated internet providers for seniors.
Did You Know: You don't need blazing-fast downloads to do everything. According to Netflix, you don't need much more than 5 Mbps to stream your favorite movies and series in HD.2 That's only 4 Mbps more than you need to send emails.
For example, for about the same price as T-Mobile's fixed $50 plan, you could be cruising the internet with AT&T's Internet 1000 plan, which gives you super-fast downloads up to 940 Mbps. (Check out our AT&T Internet review for the whole story on that.) CenturyLink Gigabit Fiber Internet is another prime contender for older Americans who are still going full steam on the web, even if it's a little more pricey at $65 per month.
The silver lining here for any T-Mobile holdouts is that T-Mobile has the best mobile 5G cell phone coverage in the nation to date. T-Mobile 5G internet is growing. In a few years' time, you can probably expect some killer coverage and, with that coverage, much higher speeds.
T-Mobile delivers their service via their own “5G Gateway” device that uses the latest Wi-Fi 6 technology. Wi-Fi 6 is a huge advance over previous generations of Wi-Fi technology, with double the channel width and much faster connections — fast enough, in fact, to stream 8K videos!
That Gateway device — which looks a little like a first-generation Amazon Alexa — serves as your router and should be able to cover your entire house. That means you won't need to worry about rigging up access points in the den or bedroom when you want to connect, which will be a big relief for anyone who's ever gone through that hassle.
After setting up your 5G Gateway, you just download the T-Mobile app and connect. The T-Mobile app, available for iPhones and Android devices, is your command center. It will show you signal strength and speeds. If you've got grandkids around regularly, you can even set up “grandparental” controls to limit screen time.
Senior tip: While T-Mobile's internet app doesn't have a content filter to limit the websites and apps the little ones are allowed to visit, it does let you set the days and times they can go online.
T-Mobile isn't running any senior discounts at the moment. However, the fixed $50 monthly fee with no data caps feels like it's been designed as an alternative to expensive plans that have more fine print than actual senior-friendly perks. Just keep in mind that the $50 price offer is only good if you “autopay.” Without autopay, your bill will run $55 per month.
Autopaying is one way to save with T-Mobile, but that isn't the only way. With T-Mobile, you don't have to pay the monthly equipment rental fees you would with, say, AT&T. Those fees add up. Because there are no contracts, you won't get ambushed by any extra cancellation fees either.
So, again, this is a plan whose value is baked in. You won't necessarily see a coupon. That isn't to say that T-Mobile doesn't run discounts from time to time, especially around Cyber Monday. If any specials do surface, you'll find them here first, so check back often.
This is the first thing you need to check if you're considering switching to T-Mobile. Even if you're already signed up for a T-Mobile 55+ Unlimited cell phone plan, that doesn't mean you get T-Mobile's internet service where you live. This is still a rollout, so while your friends down the street might have T-Mobile internet already, you might not be able to get it just yet.
FYI: 5G networks are often touted for their speed, but they also offer considerably more bandwidth, which means not only faster connections but more simultaneously connected devices.
The good news is that it's easy to find out if you're eligible for T-Mobile internet. Just head on over to the T-Mobile website and enter your home address. They'll tell you in a jiffy if there's coverage in your area.
On the hunt for a senior phone plan to go with your home internet? You're in luck! T-Mobile offers an internet and phone bundle. Add any T-Mobile 55+ package to your T-Mobile Home Internet plan to knock $10 per month off your internet bill. T-Mobile's 55+ plans start at $40 per month for one line or $55 per month for two lines. All three of T-Mobile's senior phone plans come with unlimited talk, text, and data, along with lots of other great perks. If you're interested in learning more about T-Mobile cell phone plans for seniors, head to our T-Mobile review.
T-Mobile's no-nonsense internet service isn't a one-stop entertainment shop. You're basically paying for an internet connection. So, if daily entertainment for you means surfing hundreds of TV channels, you might want to take a look at Spectrum's internet plans. Spectrum's Double Play Select — their basic internet and television bundle — costs $89.98 per month. That gives you over 125 channels (with some HD options) and a 200 Mbps internet connection. In other words, you get higher speeds for multiple connections (e.g., for app-obsessed grandkids) and a lot to watch.
Quick tip: If you are in the market for a new internet provider but need a little help understanding what to look for, check out our 2022 internet buyer's guide for seniors. It's got links to useful reviews and plenty of other resources for seniors — from food delivery guides to advice on how to speed up your internet connection.
I've mentioned AT&T already, but their Select Internet and TV bundle is well worth looking at if you like variety. For the same price as the Spectrum bundle ($89.98 on the nose), you get not only 65 channels, but also access to on-demand shows and movies with 500 hours of DVR cloud storage (in case you want to record and watch later).
The downside to both of these plans is that the freedom to surf so many channels comes with price hikes after the first year, contracts to sign, and equipment rental fees.
Pro Tip: T-Mobile's Gateway device isn't like a traditional broadband router. For the best household coverage, you'll need to find a place in the house with a strong T-Mobile signal — usually on an upper floor and near a window with an electricity outlet nearby.
If you don't need hundreds of channels, and your idea of a perfect Saturday night is popcorn and Netflix, signing up for a T-Mobile plan makes more sense, especially if you aren't a heavy internet user. For $60 and change — a standard-definition Netflix subscription will run you about $10 per month — you're good to go.
T-Mobile takes all the surprises out of your internet bill. There are no equipment fees ($10 per month with other providers), installation fees (another $99 saved), or cancellation fees. Most importantly, your bill won't go up after a year. If you ever ended up paying $80 per month for an internet plan you thought would cost you $60, T-Mobile's flat $50 fee will be a breath of fresh air.
There are a few sticking points, at least for the time being. T-Mobile's 5G internet service is a fresh launch, so coverage isn't optimal yet and speeds are still lagging. While that will likely change in the near future, speed may be tough to compromise on for some of us.
Bottom line? If you can't live without a fast internet connection, I'd say wait a few months for those T-Mobile internet speeds to take wing. Otherwise, if it's just a question of ditching your 100-plus TV channels for a basic internet plan and a Netflix subscription, T-Mobile will cut down your monthly internet bill substantially.
T-Mobile’s internet service isn’t available everywhere yet, not even everywhere T-Mobile has cell phone coverage. To find out if T-Mobile internet is available in your area, check their website.
Yes, T-Mobile offers an internet and mobile bundle. When you sign up for any of T-Mobile’s 55+ Unlimited phone plans, you’ll get $10 of your internet bill per month.
No, T-Mobile is one of the few internet providers without any equipment rental fees.
No, your bill won’t change. You’ll continue paying $50 per month.
Yes, T-Mobile’s 5G internet plans have no data caps.
At the moment, T-Mobile advertises download speeds ranging from 35 to 115 Mbps (megabits per second) and upload speeds between 6 and 23 Mbps.