T-Mobile has announced a new plan for its 5G home internet service, which will not require applicants to undergo a credit check. The prepaid service will carry T-Mobile’s Metro branding and customers can sign up for it at Metro retail locations. This brings a prepaid option to T-Mobile’s $50 per month service, which has no data caps or contracts, which could appeal to users who don’t have great internet options available from traditional ISPs.
It’s good to see T-Mobile offering an option that doesn’t require credit approval (especially given the state of credit reporting in the US). However, there are a few key pitfalls worth noting when looking at the service. With the postpaid non-Metro plan, T-Mobile’s router is included in the price of $50 per month (with autopay), but with the Metro option, you have to pay $99 upfront for it. You must also have “one or more voice lines” to sign up, which is not a requirement for the postpaid option.
There are also a few other asterisks shared between the Metro and non-Metro versions of T-Mobile’s 5G home internet. The biggest is that you have to live at an eligible address, which not everyone will. You may also see slower internet speeds if T-Mobile’s network gets busy, and you’ll have to pay an extra $5 per month if you don’t want to use autopay.
In terms of internet speeds, equipment and price, Metro customers will get the same experience as T-Mobile’s postpaid 5G home internet customers, according to an email to The edge by T-Mobile spokesperson Elizabeth Seelinger.
T-Mobile’s 5G home internet certainly has its detractors. The Comcast CEO has mocked it, though it’s easy to think of some ulterior motives. It also didn’t work great for me when I tried it out for a month, although it’s entirely possible that others have had better luck with it than I did – indeed, many commenters praised it.
In my review, I suggested people try it out to see if it works for them, since T-Mobile won’t let you sign a contract or pay an activation fee. Both things are true for the Metro version, too, but the $100 cost for the gateway locked to T-Mobile’s network makes it much less of a “try it” transaction. That makes it difficult for me to fully praise T-Mobile for this new offering; I’d hate for someone to switch to it, find out it’s not working well for them, and then get a little confused.
Still, at the end of the day, I’m glad to see traditional ISPs getting some competition, even if it’s from companies that are dominant in another highly consolidated market. And it’s good to see T-Mobile offering an option for those who can’t pass a credit check or don’t want to go through that process — I wish there weren’t so many asterisks.
Update, March 10, 6:55 PM ET: Added comment from T-Mobile confirming that Metro and postpaid customers should get the same internet speeds.