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Fiber vs. 5G Home Internet: Which Is Better?

Superior speeds vs. unbeatable low prices—take your pick

Fiber internet is the best internet type, but 5G home internet is a solid contender. Fiber gets you the fastest speeds and most reliable service—and usually at a decent price. 5G home internet, by comparison, isn’t as fast nor nearly as reliable. However, it’s perfect for budget users because it comes at a bargain price and includes lots of extra perks with no extra fees.

Not sure which internet connection type to choose? Keep reading for a full breakdown of how these two connection types differ and which is best for your needs.

Find fast (or cheap) internet in your area

Run a search with your zip code below to see what kinds of internet options you have where you live. Perhaps there’s a fiber or 5G connection in your future!

Fiber vs. 5G home internet—At a glance

Connection typePricesSpeedsAvailabilityCustomer satisfaction ratings*View providers
Fiber$19.99–$300/mo.100–5,000MbpsLimited to cities and some rural areas3.9/5.0View Fiber Providers
5G home internet$50–$70/mo.30–1,000MbpsLimited to cities and metro areas3.9/5.0View 5G Home Internet Providers

Fiber internet has much faster speeds than 5G home internet, and many fiber plans can come at lower prices too. You can get symmetrical internet speeds on fiber, meaning your uploads are just as fast as your downloads—a technical capability that just isn’t available on 5G home internet.

You also have a better chance of finding fiber internet than 5G home internet in your area. Although both services have limited availability nationwide, fiber has been around longer, and it’s increasingly available in rural areas thanks to local cooperatives and municipal enterprises that have built up local fiber networks. 5G is still fairly new and is mostly limited to dense urban areas where 5G networks work more effectively.

Still, customers seem very happy with 5G home internet. According to our annual customer satisfaction survey, 5G home internet providers got better scores than fiber internet providers for price and customer service. 5G tied with fiber for overall satisfaction, a remarkable feat considering how new 5G is.

Looking for an easy way to test and track your internet speed?

Take our internet speed test or download our free speed test app to see how fast your fiber or 5G internet goes.

Download our free, easy-to-use speed test app for quick and reliable results.

Fiber in a nutshell: Extremely fast, mostly affordable, but not always available

How does fiber internet work?

Fiber internet uses fiber-optic cables buried under the ground to provide an internet connection.

Fiber-optic cable consists of bundled strands of glass. Inside those strands, photon signals bounce along at the speed of light (or something close to it). This type of cable isn’t vulnerable to electromagnetic interference like older technologies, and much of the cabling is newer than cable or DSL.

Fiber is fast, but not always easy to find

All of the technological advantages mentioned above make fiber the fastest, most reliable type of internet you can get. Simply put, you can’t do any better than fiber. It’s the preferred connection for gamers, influencers, and high-end remote workers, and it’s an excellent choice for large households too.

Still, building a fiber network from scratch is costly, so availability is limited nationwide. According to the Federal Communications Commission, just under 38% of the country has access to at least one fiber-optic internet provider.

Fiber prices are more than fair

On average, expect to pay about $65 per month for a decent fiber internet plan. That’s more expensive than 5G home internet, but it’s not too bad, and the higher price is well worth it because you’re getting top-tier service.

Most fiber internet plans come with unlimited data and free installation, and in some cases, you may get a break on the price of a gateway (modem and router) as well. So don’t worry about getting burned with extra fees on a fiber plan.

Fiber internet pros and cons

Pros:

  • Symmetrical speeds
  • Lots of plan and price options
  • Multi-gigabit speeds

Cons:

  • Limited nationwide availability

Best fiber internet plans

PlanSpeedPriceView on provider's site
Google Fiber Google Fiber 10001,000Mbps$70/mo.*View Plan
AT&T Internet 300300Mbps$55/mo.
Verizon Internet 500/500500Mbps$69.99/mo.
CenturyLink Fiber Gigabit940Mbps$75/mo.§
MetroNet Metronet 100Mbps Internet100Mbps$29.95/mo.View Plan

Looking for fast internet? 

If you want the fastest speeds possible, consult our Fastest Internet Providers guide to see which providers give you the most bang for your buck.

5G in a nutshell: Super cheap, moderately fast, but kinda unpredictable

How does 5G home internet work?

5G home internet uses the 5G network towers of a cellular company to give you internet over a fixed wireless connection.

Radio transmitters and “small cell” nodes peppered around a neighborhood, and one inside your home, allow a 5G router to pick up the signals to give you Wi-Fi. 5G networks use previously underutilized radio waves, giving your internet a ton of capacity to carry data.

Low prices and ample perks make 5G ideal for budget users

The biggest plus with 5G home internet is that it’s cheap. Whether you’re getting a plan from Verizon, T-Mobile, AT&T, or Starry, in most cases, you’re only going to have to pay $50 a month—and you can get better pricing when you bundle with select phone plans.

Most plans offer unlimited data and don’t require an annual contract or paying extra for installation or equipment. On top of all that, Verizon and T-Mobile often run promotions for new customers that provide discounts, free streaming trials, and other goodies.

5G loses points for unreliability

We’ve had multiple staffers at HighSpeedInternet.com try out 5G home internet, with mixed results. One team member had to bail on Verizon 5G Home Internet because of recurring outages and restarts. But another team member loves his T-Mobile 5G Home Internet setup and gets plenty of bandwidth to support gaming, streaming, and remote work in his two-person household.

5G home internet is still a relatively new service. The news so far is that it delivers solid Wi-Fi speeds on the whole but can end up bogged down by technical issues and recurring slowdowns in areas with poor cell service. A lot of factors can play a role in slowing down the signal, including network congestion, geographic landmarks, and even inclement weather.

5G home internet pros and cons

Pros:

  • Flat monthly rate with no extra fees
  • Lots of promotions and bonuses for new customers
  • Solid speeds

Cons:

  • Limited nationwide availability
  • Slowdowns and outages on some connections

Best 5G home internet plans

PlanSpeedPriceView on provider's site
Verizon 5G Home InternetUp to 300Mbps$60/mo.* ($35/mo. w/ Verizon Unlimited Plus)
T-Mobile Home Internet T-Mobile 5G Home Internet72–245Mbps$60/mo. ($40/mo. w/ Go5G Plus or Magenta MAX)View Plan
AT&T Internet Air AT&T Internet Air75–225Mbps$55.00/mo.§ ($35.00/mo. with qualifying wireless plan)View Plan
Starry InternetStarry 300Up to 300Mbps$50/mo.

Our verdict: Get fiber if you need top-quality Wi-Fi, but choose 5G to save cash

Fiber really is the way to go. No matter how way you look at it, fiber beats out 5G home internet (and every other type of internet). Fiber is faster, more reliable, and not too expensive.

That said, if you’re really looking for a budget bargain, then go for 5G home internet. You can get some sweet deals on 5G, and you don’t have to worry about data caps or extra fees either. Also, a lot of places in the United States have 5G home internet access where fiber isn’t available.

If that’s your situation, we recommend giving 5G home internet a go before signing up for a costly cable internet plan.

FAQ

Is 5G home internet faster than fiber?

No, 5G home internet is not faster than fiber. Fiber can reach speeds up to 5,000Mbps, while 5G home internet can reach max speeds of 300–1,000Mbps (depending on the provider and plan). Fiber also has symmetrical speeds, so its uploads are just as fast as downloads.

Will 5G home internet replace fiber-to-the-home internet?

No, it’s very unlikely that 5G home internet will replace fiber-to-the-home internet. Despite the hype around 5G, fiber remains the go-to connection type for extremely fast and reliable internet. It has a much larger capacity to carry data and is less prone to technical malfunctions or slowdowns.

Disclaimer

Author -

Peter Holslin has more than a decade of experience working as a writer and freelance journalist. He graduated with a BA in liberal arts and journalism from New York City’s The New School University in 2008 and went on to contribute to publications like Rolling Stone, VICE, BuzzFeed, and countless others. At HighSpeedInternet.com, he focuses on covering 5G, nerding out about frequency bands and virtual RAN, and producing reviews on emerging services like 5G home internet. He also writes about internet providers and packages, hotspots, VPNs, and Wi-Fi troubleshooting.

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