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What Is 5G Home Internet? Here Is Everything You Need To Know

  • Best overall
    T-Mobile 5G Home Internet
    • Price: $60/mo.* ($40/mo. w/ Go5G Plus or Magenta MAX)
    • Speed: 72–245Mbps
    • Widest availability
    • Discount for T-Mobile wireless customers
    • Slower speeds than Verizon
  • Verizon 5G Home Internet
    • Price: $60/mo.* ($35/mo. w/ Verizon Unlimited Plus)
    • Speed: Up to 300Mbps
    • Fast speeds
    • Great price for Verizon wireless users
    • Lesser availability
  • AT&T Internet Air
    • Price: $55.00/mo.‡ ($35.00/mo. w/ qualifying AT&T wireless plan)
    • Speed: 75–225Mbps
    • Great alternative to DSL
    • Excellent service in non-fiber areas
    • Limited deals and promos
  • Starry 300
    • Price: $50/mo.§
    • Speed: Up to 300Mbps
    • Excellent speeds for cord-cutters
    • Low prices
    • Limited nationwide availability

5G is the latest wireless standard for cell phones, but it also makes up the backbone for an emerging type of Wi-Fi. Dubbed 5G home internet, it’s a fixed wireless setup that gets you internet service over a router that connects to outdoor radio towers and small cell transmitters.

This fast, cost-effective form of wireless internet is often pitched as a competitive alternative to cable. Available mostly in urban areas, a 5G home internet plan from Verizon, T-Mobile, AT&T, or Starry Internet gets you solid speeds at a bargain price (usually $50 a month or less). As an added plus, it almost always comes with unlimited data and doesn’t require a contract or fees for installation or equipment.

5G home internet gives you a lot of advantages—but also some technical limitations to keep in mind. Read on for our full breakdown of what 5G is, how it works, and why (or why not) you should get it.

Find out if you can get 5G

Eager to get plugged into 5G home internet? Run a search with your zip code below to see if it’s available in your area.

Is 5G home internet worth it?

5G home internet is worth it if you want a budget internet plan but you don’t necessarily need fast speeds. While 5G speeds are solid for most small to mid-sized households, the real selling point for this internet service is the fact that it’s cheap and comes with a lot of extra perks.

The upside: 5G home internet plans usually cost a flat fee of $50 a month and get you solid speeds to support a handful of computers, phones, and smart devices. On top of that, you also get lots of additional perks and promotions, including unlimited data and no fees for installation or equipment.

The downside: Most 5G home internet providers offer a limited number of plans to pick from—usually just one or two. 5G can’t deliver the multi-gig or symmetrical speeds of a fiber internet plan, and you may have to deal with fluctuating and inconsistent speeds. It’s not a dealbreaker, but it’s not ideal for activities like VR, hard-drive backups, and livestreaming.

Pro tip: Test your internet speeds

Unlike fiber or cable, 5G works over a wireless network. Your internet connection is likely only going to be as good as the cell service you get in your area. Take a speed test to monitor your connection regularly and get an idea of the speeds you get.

5G pros and cons

Pros:

  • Unlimited data
  • No annual contract
  • No fees for installation or equipment
  • Prepaid gift cards
  • Discounts when you bundle with a wireless plan

Cons:

  • Limited availability (mostly found in urban areas)
  • Greater chance of unstable connection
  • Limited speed options (no multi-gig or symmetrical-speeds plans)
  • Potentially worse performance in areas with poor cell service

What are the best 5G home internet plans?

Verizon, T-Mobile, and AT&T all have 5G home internet offerings. Verizon’s 5G plans boast of the fastest speeds, but the three providers are all fairly equal in terms of pricing and perks.

Whoever you go with, you get a plan that costs $50 or $55 a month, along with unlimited data and no contract requirement. You can get a discount on your bill when you bundle it with a wireless phone plan from the plan’s respective provider. T-Mobile and Verizon also offer generous promotions and perks to new customers.

Top 5G home internet plans

ProviderSpeedPriceView 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 Plans
AT&T Internet Air AT&T Internet Air75–225Mbps$55.00/mo. ($35.00/mo. w/ qualifying AT&T wireless plan)View Plans
Starry Internet Starry 300Up to 300Mbps$50/mo.§View Plans

How does 5G home internet work?

5G home internet works by transmitting data over a fixed wireless internet network to your home router from a nearby radio transmitter.

Unlike cable or fiber connections—which sends internet through wired home broadband infrastructure—5G runs over a wireless connection maintained by networks of radio towers. Cellular companies have rolled out 5G networks across the country over the past several years. But 5G home internet is mostly limited to urban areas because it uses the shorter-range frequencies of C-band and mmWave to deliver the fastest possible speeds.

Prior to 5G coming out a few years ago, radio and cellular frequencies typically weren’t used to support internet customers on a wide scale. But 5G represents a notable step forward for wireless networking. Since 5G harnesses previously underused frequency spectrums, that means it’s fast and reliable—although you may experience a less-consistent download speed since the signals are traveling through the air.

Pro tip: Learn the ins and outs of 4G vs. 5G

Take a look at our 4G vs. 5G guide to learn the difference between these two wireless standards.

Want to expand your mind even further? Step into the future with our explainer on 6G, a tech type that technically doesn’t exist yet.

Alternatives to 5G home internet

Fiber internet is the best alternative to 5G home internet. A basic fiber plan costs about the same as (or usually a little bit more than) 5G home internet plans, but you get a much faster connection, with better upload speeds and much more consistency.

You can also get cable internet if you don’t want 5G home internet. Although 5G home internet service is itself touted as a worthy alternative to cable, 5G still can’t quite beat cable in terms of gigabit speeds or all-around reliability.

However, cable internet service comes with a lot of extra baggage too—including fees for installation and equipment, data caps, and annual contracts. 5G goes much easier on the wallet.

Internet connection types

Connection typeDownload speedPricesSee providers
5G30–1,000Mbps$15.00–$70.00/mo.View 5G Providers
Fiber100–5,000Mbps$30.00–$250.00/mo.View Fiber Providers
Cable25–1,200Mbps$20.00–$115.00/mo.View Cable Providers
DSL1–100Mbps$39.99–$69.95View DSL Providers
Hotspots34–195Mbps on average$80.00–$400.00 (for hotspot), $10.00–$90.00/mo. (for data plan)View Hotspot Providers

Disclaimers

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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