T-Mobile US Inc. on April 7 unveiled its home internet service with 5G features for new and existing customers.
Speaking at a virtual company event, T-Mobile President and CEO Mike Sievert said the company's 5G-powered fixed broadband offering is now available to over 30 million households nationwide, with roughly a third of those in small towns and underserved areas. The service costs $60 per month and provides average speeds of over 100 Mbps with no data caps, T-Mobile said.
"From the beginning of the digital age, connectivity for rural America has been an afterthought," Sievert said at the event.
The announcement follows T-Mobile's home internet service pilot that launched in 2019 and was at first only available to select groups of existing customers in rural and underserved communities. At $50 per month with speeds up to 50 Mbps, the service had expanded to nearly 600 U.S. cities and towns as of November 2020.
With its speeds and price range, T-Mobile's home internet offering is considered a direct competitor to cable broadband. T-Mobile ended 2020 with 100,000 subscribers in its home internet pilot and aims to have 500,000 subscribers by the end of 2021. By 2025, the company is hoping to have 7 million to 8 million home internet subscribers.
T-Mobile has repeatedly promised 5G-based home internet service as one of the benefits of its merger with Sprint. The company has also touted the wide swath of 2.5 GHz mid-band spectrum it acquired from the Sprint merger as key to its success in the 5G wireless race.
Mid-band spectrum is seen as important for 5G networks because it balances speed and range, providing broader coverage than high-band spectrum and faster speeds than low-band spectrum.
Other announcements from the April 7 event include: Starting April 18 and lasting all year, everyone in the U.S. can trade in any mobile phone in exchange for a free 5G smartphone; and anyone on a limited 5G data plan with AT&T Inc. and Verizon Communications Inc. can upgrade to T-Mobile's unlimited 5G service for the same price or less than their current plans.
The company also pledged to hire 7,500 new employees in rural areas over the coming years and provide $25 million in grants for community development projects.
Apple Inc. loyalists have much to look forward to, as well.
Between April 18 and May 1, T-Mobile customers can get a free iPhone 12 model with the trade-in of any iPhone 11; receive half off the iPhone 12 in exchange for older iPhone models ranging from the iPhone 7 to iPhone 10; and get half off the iPhone 12 mini when trading in any older iPhone. Customers' trade-in phones must be paid off and in working condition, T-Mobile said.
"Today's uncarrier move has literally been years in the making," Sievert said April 7.