Should you consider getting home internet service from your mobile carrier?

Photo (c) Nickbeer – Getty Images

You can use Verizon, AT&T, or T-Mobile for your cell phone service, but would you consider using them to provide your home Internet connection?

A growing number of consumers have taken this step and telecommunications companies are intensifying competition. They urge consumers to cut the cable cord and access the Internet over the air.

With inflation being a major concern for millions of consumers, more and more people are considering wireless Internet access at home at a lower monthly cost than cable.

The Wall Street Journal recently reported that T-Mobile, Verizon and US Inc. had signed up 2.2 million wireless internet customers by the end of June, using excess capacity in their 5G wireless networks. Customers connect to the Internet by connecting to cell towers, just as they do for cell phone service.

Instead of having to install a wired connection, which usually incurs installation costs, the customer simply connects to a wireless modem. So how does it work ?

Consumer reviews

Loretta, from St. Petersburg, Florida, seems pretty happy with the internet service she gets from T-Mobile.

“My phone broke three days after I bought it,” Loretta wrote in a Consumer Affairs Review. It was amazing how customer service handled the situation. I am extremely satisfied with the service from T-Mobile. I have T-Mobile cell phones and wireless internet and everything they say they do.

But just like with phone connectivity, distance to a cell tower can mean the difference between good and bad service. Dennis, of Spokane, Washington, installed T-Mobile’s wireless Internet service in his family’s vacation home and was not happy with the results.

“Their home wireless internet took us back 15 years as we watched for five minutes and then waited five minutes for it to upload more videos,” Dennis tell us. “It was correct maybe 30% of the time, because it all depended on the number of active users.”

Of all the cellular service providers, T-Mobile is perhaps the one that has pushed home internet the most. T-Mobile CEO Mike Sievert said the company is capturing new internet customers in suburban areas as well as underserved rural markets.

Cable companies fight back

As cellphone providers move into the home internet business, cable companies losing business to these new competitors are fighting fire with fire. Comcast, for example, now offers wireless cell phone service.

Comcast’s Xfinity now offers its Internet customers an offer on mobile phone service. Customers with two lines can get cell phone service for $30 per month per line.

Xfinity launched its mobile service in 2017 and now has over 4.5 million customers. Instead of building cellular townspeople, it’s a mobile virtual network operator (or MVNO) that leases bandwidth from one of the major providers.

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