T-Mobile is rolling out home internet service with an invitation-only trial starting today. It hopes to connect 50,000 homes in rural and underserved areas through the LTE program this year.
The pilot, which is for existing customers, will reach areas where T-Mobile expects to offer connection speeds of around 50 Mbps. The $50/month service has no data caps, annual contracts, equipment costs or hidden fees. Those who sign up will receive a router T-Mobile says is easy to set up, and they’ll have support from a customer service team.
The pilot is a precursor to T-Mobile’s grander home internet plans. If the merger with Sprint is approved, it aims to switch on 5G home internet service in more than half of US zip codes by 2024, offering download speeds of more than 100 Mbps. The planned network will be able to support home internet in 9.5 million households by that time — those goals could sweeten the merger for the FCC, which is seeking to close the broadband gap.
Almost half of US residents have “no competitive choice” for home broadband at speeds of 100 Mbps, T-Mobile says. The rural broadbandproblem has also been well documented, with millions of Americansunable to access high-speed internet. Meanwhile, some T-Mobile rivals are also moving into the home internet market. Verizon (owner of Engadget’s parent company, Verizon Media) is taking a different strategy, having opened up 5G service in select parts of some cities.