Overview of 5G Companies
As the next step in wireless telecommunication technologies, 5G is quickly becoming a race to the top among some of the largest ISPs in the United States. While many consumers are focused on the fast mobile internet speeds promised with 5G technology, the possibilities in home internet are equally enticing. Below, we’ll take a closer look at the different options available with both 5G wireless and 5G home internet, as well as the companies that offer these options to consumers.
5G Home Internet vs. 5G Wireless
Due to the increased speeds, wider coverage areas, and lower latency, 5G offers a more optimal solution for both home internet and mobile wireless plans. While 4G LTE-wired home internet plans do exist, they are not all that common. Conversely, 5G stands as the future of both wireless and home internet.
Why? Because it already has a much greater coverage area than fiber cable internet, which, despite high speeds, has struggled to reach most Americans. This is due to its complex and expensive infrastructure requirements. Alternatively, most 5G providers intend to cover all 50 states (plus Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico) by 2023. This means that consumers in most cities, suburbs, and rural areas will soon have access to stable, fixed-home 5G internet, as well as high-speed mobile 5G plans.
The primary differences between 5G home internet and 5G wireless are the ways in which they are implemented. Much like wired cable or fiber internet, 5G home internet is simply a fixed signal that provides internet to a single location (like a house or apartment). Alternatively, 5G wireless refers to various plans for mobile devices that provide 5G internet on the go.
Why Choose 5G Home Internet?
In theory, you could simply use a 5G wireless plan with no data caps as a hotspot for your home internet. This means you could save on the costs of getting a fixed-home internet connection. After all, 5G promises speeds that are up to 10x faster than 4G and substantially faster than most traditional home internet options — including cable, satellite and even fiber. As an added bonus, 5G networks are equipped to have much lower latency than previous wireless internet technology, making it a great choice for gamers and streamers.
So, what’s the incentive to pick 5G home internet over a standard 5G wireless plan? First, a 5G wireless plan requires you to purchase an expensive 5G-ready mobile device. As of now, there are not that many 5G-ready devices on the market, and many of them have inflated price tags. Thus, if you want to benefit from 5G technology without spending a fortune up front, 5G home internet might be the better option.
Second, 5G home internet doesn’t require you to replace your existing devices just to enjoy faster home internet with a Wi-Fi network. This is because 5G providers can now create internet for a particular location wirelessly. The most common method is called fixed wireless access, which essentially uses the nearest 5G station to connect to a fixed wireless terminal on your property, creating a 5G Wi-Fi network for your entire home. So, while a 5G wireless plan can be taken with you wherever you go, a 5G home internet plan can share the speeds, reliability, and low latency of 5G with all of your devices.
Pros and Cons of 5G
Up to 10x faster than 4G
A potential replacement to slower home internet options in rural areas (fixed wireless, satellite, etc.)
Less network congestion than 4G
More affordable than existing home internet options with comparable speeds
- 5G home internet is limited to select cities and regions (as of mid-2021)
- Requires expensive mobile devices for 5G wireless plans
- Rural consumers will not see the full benefits of 5G for a few years
- There are relatively few 5G plans to choose from
As you can see, both 5G wireless and 5G home internet have some substantial advantages. The speeds are faster, the coverage area is larger, the congestion is less of a problem, and the prices are competitive. That said, the relatively slow rollout of 5G — particularly when it comes to 5G home internet — may frustrate some consumers. Additionally, the cost of 5G mobile devices is a major concern for millions of people who may not be ready to upgrade their current phone or tablet.
5G Providers (as of 2021)
Now that you know the differences between 5G home internet and 5G wireless (as well as the pros and cons of 5G technology in general), it’s time to look at some of the different ISPs who are currently providing 5G wireless, 5G home internet, or both to consumers across the country.
|5G Provider||Average Speed||Coverage||*Price (Mobile)||Price (Home Internet)|
|T-Mobile||71.3 Mbps||~287 million people (50 states + Puerto Rico)||$25-$85 per month (per line)||$50 per month (with AutoPay)|
|AT&T||54.9 Mbps||~230 million people (50 states + Puerto Rico)||$35-$50 per month (per line)||N/A|
|Verizon||47.7 Mbps||~230 million people (50 states)||$30-$90 per month (per line)||$50 or $70 per month (save $20 with an existing Verizon wireless plan)|
*Prices vary based on the carrier, number of lines and additional plan features.
Thus far, T-Mobile has jumped right out of the gates, getting a head start on building the largest and fastest 5G network in the country. As of 2021, T-Mobile offers 5G coverage in all 50 states — with relatively sparse dead zones. By the end of 2023, T-Mobile has plans to provide 5G coverage to more than 90 percent of the U.S. population.
While new and existing customers will need to acquire 5G-ready devices to enjoy 5G wireless with T-Mobile, they won’t have to shop around for new plans. All of T-Mobile’s existing mobile plans include 5G access. Additionally, T-Mobile offers at-home 5G internet with its High-Speed Internet Gateway device and a compatible home internet plan.
With one of the largest 4G mobile networks in the country, AT&T’s 5G network helps ensure that most Americans have access to some form of AT&T Wireless or AT&T Internet. However, AT&T’s 5G network still lags behind T-Mobile. Nonetheless, AT&T intends to increase the size of its 5G network in the next few years to compete with other carriers.
Like T-Mobile, AT&T will automatically grant 5G access to existing and new customers within its 5G network. As of 2021, AT&T offers three plans that are compatible with 5G: Unlimited Starter, Unlimited Extra and Unlimited Elite. In addition to standard 5G, AT&T also offers 5G+ in 38 major states and counting. 5G+ grants even faster speeds and more reliable connectivity. While 5G+ will likely entice many customers in need of a fast mobile plan, AT&T does not offer any form of 5G home internet. However, this will likely change in the near future.
The Verizon 5G network already reaches more than 230 million Americans — with this number expected to grow substantially in the next few years. Though Verizon’s 5G has thus far underperformed when it comes to speed (as illustrated in the table above), it does offer 5G Ultra Wideband in select locations, which provides better speeds than standard 5G. Additionally, Verizon has developed a substantial coverage area in underrepresented parts of the United States, particularly in the rural Midwest and Pacific Northwest.
While most of Verizon’s existing wireless plans are compatible with 5G, Verizon is also rolling out 5G home internet in cities across the country. Availability is location-dependent, but the mere existence of 5G home internet plans from Verizon and T-Mobile gives both carriers a leg up on the competition.