Verizon, T-Mobile and My Personal Attempt to Replace Cable Internet With 5G

Over the past few weeks, I ditched my Spectrum cable home internet and television services and embraced the future: 5G. The overhyped next generation of wireless has been labeled a solution to plenty of problems, but one of its early successes has been providing competition to the likes of Comcast Xfinity, Charter Spectrum, Altice’s Optimum, AT&T and Verizon Fios. 

Through several weeks of my trying out T-Mobile’s and Verizon’s respective $50-per-month solutions, both showed plenty of promise for eventually replacing my home broadband. But neither proved reliable enough to keep today, so for now, I’m switching back to a more focused home internet provider. 

Here is what I’ve learned. 

How Verizon and T-Mobile Compare 

The Verizon 5G Home Internet box on a table

The Verizon 5G Home Internet box. 


Eli Blumenthal/CNET

Although neither carrier officially offers 5G home internet services in my building, both providers have particularly strong 5G coverage in my area of New York City. 

On Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband network I can often find download speeds greater than 200Mbps (and sometimes over 300Mbps), an impressive connection that can easily handle all the gaming, streaming and working needs of myself and my two roommates. 

Uploads, at least in the early days of my use, were around 20Mbps, or on par with my Spectrum cable connection. 

Read more: Everything You Need to Know About Verizon 5G Home and T-Mobile Home Internet

T-Mobile, which has its 5G Ultra Capacity available where I live, has lately hit similar download speeds in my area — something that has become a more recent development and gives me confidence that the carrier is still actively working on bolstering its network even in areas where it has already deployed plenty of 5G. 

The T-Mobile connection also has been more responsive, often offering lower latency and higher upload speeds regularly over 40Mbps. That is double what Verizon’s 5G and my 400Mbps Spectrum plan were offering. 

Both carriers charge $50 for their 5G home internet offerings and those prices include taxes, fees and a modem/router in the monthly cost. Neither have data caps and both offer discounts on monthly service if you also have certain wireless plans. T-Mobile lowers the price to $30 per month if you have its priciest Magenta Max plan. Verizon drops the pricing to $25 per month if you have its Play More, Do More or Get More plans.

Compared to traditional broadband options, this could quickly add up to serious monthly savings even without the wireless bundle discounts. 

Setting up either is also incredibly simple: Take the modem/router device out of the box, place it near a window and plug it in. No visits from a technician are required. 

T-Mobile’s modems have screens on them so you can immediately see if the area where you placed your device has strong coverage without going into any apps. Verizon’s box is more minimalist and instead relies on an LED light. If it’s white you’re good, if it’s red you need to move it to a new location in your home. 

Personally, I

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