A few posts back we noted that T-Mobile Home Internet might be an option for “high speed” internet for some in Northampton. It does not appear to be widely available, however. We tried entering a number of street addresses in Northampton but mostly no result was found since it must match a street name where the service exists. But it is an option on Bear Hill in Florence. One of us who lives in this neighborhood made the switch from Comcast. The promise is you pay $50/month forever, but you must sign up for autopay. The payment must be made with an ATM card to get the full discount. With discounts, that’s $32 less a month than the Comcast plan we have, which is enough money to make it was worth the hassle of switching. You need to give T-Mobile a bunch of information and then wait a few days to get a gateway. You are urged to put it near a window on an upper floor. If you file for it, you can get a credit card with $50 value on it, but it takes a month or two to receive it.
Unpacked, the gateway looks like this:
Your connection is wireless, so you won’t need the coaxial cable provided by Comcast. If you want though you can still pay for cable TV channels through Comcast, but there’s no point in paying for Internet through Comcast. You are encouraged to move the unit around. The app you install will show the relative signal strength. In our attempts at moving it, we couldn’t get past “good”. The app lets you create a mobile network and set a password for the network. Any devices connected to the old network need to be told to use the new network. This can be a pain, particularly if you need to connect a remote printer.
But what about upload and download speeds? Before disconnecting from Comcast we did one last internet speed test: 91.3 mbps download, 11.98 mbps upload. That’s pretty pathetic because the plan is for up to 200 mbps. As is typical with Comcast, we rarely got close to the bandwidth we were paying for. A T-Mobile speed test was better: 493.30 mbps download, 14.85 mbps upload.
There seems to be a bit longer lag connecting to a site with T-Mobile compared with Comcast.
There were some problems getting the system to work reliably. With reboots of the gateway I had to manually connect to the new network again from my devices. Sometimes I could not get onto YouTube for a while. It was a bit annoying, but part of the learning process.
Saving $32 more/month though means saving an additional $384/year. That’s real money.
If you are using T-Mobile Home Internet, please leave a comment on your experience with it and what street are you on.