Mobile launches invite-only home internet pilot in rural areas

Alonzo Simpson
March 22, 2019

T-Mobile is launching a pilot home broadband service to a small group of its wireless subscribers ahead of its merger with Sprint to form the "New T-Mobile". The carrier has announced an invitation-only pilot of its new home internet service, which will support as many as 50,000 homes this year.

T-Mobile's obsession with consuming Sprint is aimed largely at expanding the carrier's access to spectrum for the coming 5G battle, but its home internet service isn't even fake 5G like Verizon's.

T-Mobile's plan is to offer this service in rural and other underserved areas of the US that don't already have reliable access to broadband service.

T-Mobile CEO John Legere said his company plans to "take the fight to Big Cable on behalf of consumers and offer real choice, competition and savings to Americans nationwide".

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The pilot is meant to demonstrate one of the key promises T-Mobile is making to government officials as it seeks approval to purchase Sprint. For one, we're not talking 5G, yet - this will start as an LTE-only affair, with speeds hovering around 50 Mbps and "no data cap".

T-Mobile stresses that the 50,000 home rollout is just a tiny fraction of the United States market. T-Mobile's initiative is quite admirable considering that nearly half or American households have no competitive choice for high-speed in-home broadband with speeds of 100Mbps, and in rural areas, more than three quarters have no high-speed service or only one option at their disposal. The program will be limited to current T-Mobile customers, and there's no way to request access. You'll spend $50 per month to buy into this experiment (with Auto Pay enrollment, that is), which would ordinarily get you home internet speeds at least twice as fast in some markets. The company claims its service will be offered at an aggressively low price, with no annual service contracts or installation charges, but actual numbers are decidedly lacking at this point.

The home service will cost $50 per month with AutoPay or $55 without. Moreover, the carrier claims that if the merger with Sprint is approved, it will be able to cover more than half of USA household with 5G broadband service by 2024 possibly at the same price. We also asked T-Mobile for more details on where the pilot areas are located and whether customers can request the service if they don't receive invitations.

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