T-Mobile One vs. home internet. Which is better?


    Ok. So first of all, let me tell you that I'm frugal.


    Right now I have the T-Mobile Simple Choice 2gb plan on 4 lines for just over $110/mo plus I pay for Spectrum ELP home internet for $25/mo, for a grand total of $135/mo including all taxes and fees. This works fairly well for us… But...


    I see that the T-Mobile One plan is $140/mo for 4 lines including all taxes and fees, which is only $5 more per month than what I'm paying now if I decided to ditch my home internet in favor for unlimited high speed cellular data.


    However,I see a few dilemas. In favor of sticking with what I've got, the T-Mobile One plan is being advertised as "a limited time only" and it is stipulated in the fine print "prices subject to change." The price also used to be $40/line per month for 4 lines, which is $20 more per month than now. It could revert back to that or even increase more than that in the future. Also, if I make the switch there's no going back. From what I understand, T-Mobile no longer offers their Simple Choice plan. And Spectrum no longer offers their ELP plan either. So if I switch now thinking I'll only be spending $5 more per month ($135 vs. $140) for telephones and internet in reality I could end up  stuck spending $25 more per month ($135 vs. $160) or perhaps even more.


    In favor for switching to T-Mobil One, Spectrum is trying to get rid of their ELP plan and has been raising it by $5/mo every year. So in another year it will be $30/mo, and I'll be paying the same for it and the Simple Choice plan as I could for the T-Mobile One plan. And even if T-Mobile One ends up being a bit more expensive anyway, it also includes perks like free Netflix, is faster than the Spectrum ELP plan and we wouldn't have to try to save data away from home so as to not use up the 2 gigabytes.


    The question is, should I make the jump by ditching Spectrum and switching to T-Mobile One, or should I stay with what I've got with the Simple Choice 2gb plan? What are the chances T-Mobile One rates will increase and by how much and when? Are there any other pros/cons to all of this that you see?

      All replies

      • smplyunprdctble

        T-Mobile (nor any cellular provider) really wants to be your home internet solution.  Some people have janky setups to use it because it "works for them".  I guess it's a question whether or not "works" is part of your price.


        I'll give you a handful of reasons why you probably "shouldn't" use T-Mobile as your home internet solution.

        • You have limited bandwidth -- T-Mobile throttles you after 50ish GB of data.
        • T-Mobile, by default, will lower streaming to 480p.  This looks "fine" on mobile devices, but, if you stream to a TV, you're going to want the higher streams
          • Higher streams means less you can watch
        • You have no internet if you're not home (for a lot of people, this isn't an issue, but if you have a home security system, it is)
        • You have to remember to turn on hotspot if you need to use it on a home device (e.g. Roku or the like)
          • This is especially important with newer things like Amazon Echo or Google Home or Apple Whateverthey'recallingit


        To talk about your other concerns...

        • T-Mobile (nor any other cellular company) has been known to just raise rates "just because".  If you have a $40/mo plan, it stays unless you change your plan
          • This does have one exception when T-Mobile "standardized" old plans a few years back.  Most people changed by no more than a dollar.  It's unknown if they'll ever do this again.
        • The "limited time offer" means they're offering it now.  If you switch later and want to go back, it may not be available to go back to, depending on plans offered then.


        I'm never going to tell someone "no" if they want a janky setup.  But, you REALLY need to know ALL data habits on ALL lines before you can make a decision as to whether or not getting rid of your home internet is a good thing.

        3 of 3 people found this helpful
          • mr_l84

            "you REALLY need to know ALL data habits on ALL lines before you can make a decision"


            So as for average data use on all lines now per month is:

            Line 1: 0gb (prefers flip phone, hates texting and refuses to use a tablet or computer.)

            Line 2: between 1.5gb to 2.0gb

            Line 3: between 1.5gb to 2.0gb

            Line 4: between 2.5gb to 3.0gb

            (and remember with Simple Choice it's 2gb of 4G LTE speeds followed by 2G speeds unlimited. So one of us i getting as much as a gigabyte at 2G speeds.)


            As far as how much we use at home, I'm not sure. I'll have to see if Spectrum says in their monthly bill. I'll see if I can figure that out and report back. Three of us do have a tablet besides our smart phone. We also stream from time to time. (But not on Netflix) I have streamed 480p onto our 40" television and it doesn't look too bad. (I still have a 30" 480i CRT but couldn't figure out how to connect it to the web, so we got the 40" flat screen.)

              • smplyunprdctble

                Yeah - with "data habits", I meant also with your Spectrum habits.


                Also, look at whether or not you're getting a bundle deal with Spectrum.  If you have both TV and internet through them, they're probably giving you a "bundle price" on one or both of the items.  If you drop one, the price of the other goes up.


                My case with Xfinity -- I had TV and Internet through them.  They kept raising my TV rates, so I finally said "to heck with this" -- what was roughly $100 for TV and internet became $80 for just internet, when the bundle price showed internet as $60.  My total cost didn't go down by the amount I anticipated.


                If your only internet-connected devices in your home are your phones and tablets, you might be able to get away with using your phones as your internet (each person's tablet can be hotspotted to their phone).  When you add in a Roku, it gets a little janky, but doable.  When you add PCs and/or smart speakers, it gets downright difficult.  And, when you add home security or home automation, it's impossible.


                I don't think the decision is so much frugalness, rather, "how do I use my internets?  And, will my TV rates go up if I drop internet?"


                If you do a case study on me [single person], I can't do it because I have Nest Cams, Google Home devices, and Smart Locks.  One of those three NEEDS an internet connection while I'm not home to be effective.  If you ignore that, I don't have Cable TV service.  My television viewing habits comprise of media I have locally (DVDs, BluRays), Netflix, and my antenna [I need to find a better antenna so I can get NBC... wait, is anything good on NBC anymore?].  My Netflix usage is probably less than 50 hours a month, so I might have been a candidate for such an option.


                If you do a case study on my sister, she streams Netflix a lot.  Probably more than 50 hours a month (50 hours is the estimated amount of streaming for 50GB).  But, she has 4 lines [my sister, her husband, and her two kids].  They could probably janky it up between the four of them with their TV, but it would be a nightmare she doesn't want to deal with and spending the few extra dollars is worth not having that.

                1 of 1 people found this helpful
                  • mr_l84

                    No, no bundle. So no cable or home phone to contend with.


                    No home security either. Just phones and tablets. Although you could consider my tablet a laptop, it's the smaller Surface 3 "tablet that can replace your laptop." But it's the only one like that. And in reality, my wife streams much more on her iPad than anything I do with my Surface.


                    I couldn't figure out how much internet we use  from Spectrum though. I guess I'd have to get a different router that could tell me those numbers.


                    Speaking of videos, a lot of what we watch could be downloaded at coffee shops and other "mooching" points.


                    I was thinking of disconnecting the home router for a week and see how much we really use. Of course it would be limited to 2G after 2gb of data, so I don't know if it would be a fair comparison.




                    Also no Roku or such. We connect our phones or tablets to the TV if we want it on the big screen.

                    • mr_l84

                      I also forgot to mention that Spectrum's ELP plan isn't exactly high speed internet. I noticed that I can do things much more quickly tethering off my phone with a 4G LTE connection than with home's wifi. It's good enough to be able to stream up to 720p on one device sometimes. But as soon as you hook up more than one device to the router the speed bogs down. And sometimes we have to chose 480p or lower just to get a video that doesn't stop and spool all the time. And when someone else decides to download an app, an update package or other large file, streaming becomes impossible on any device. Not that this happens all the time, and usually only one of us is streaming at a time anyway.

                • tmo_mike_c

                  Looks like you've got some awesome help from one of our amazing Pillars here. I'd just like to reiterate that using our mobile data service to supplement landline internet isn't recommended. As for the multiple devices on the router, it's not uncommon for the data performance to differ vs when only one device is connected. The speeds each connected device gets can fluctuate depending on what they are doing as well.

                  1 of 1 people found this helpful
                  • tmo_chris

                    Just checking in here to see how things are going. I know you said you were going to check your Spectrum usage but if they are anything like Xfinity like i have, it will not be on the bill. There may be a special site you need to visit to see that actual usage.


                    Another thing to note in addition to the fair usage threshold (slowed speeds after 50 GB) that smplyunprdctble mentioned is that the default tethering speeds when using your phone as a hotspot, while unlimited, are regulated to 3G speeds (up to 512 kbps) unless you add a $15 One Plus feature to your line that will give you 20GB of high-speed tethering. On your current plan, the speeds are not limited for those first 2 GB of data you use. So imagine what it is like when you try to use your phone to connect to your TV to stream after it is reached the 2GB. That is what it will be like all the time on the T-Mobile One plan when using your phone as a hotspot unless you add that feature I mentioned.

                    1 of 1 people found this helpful
                    • mr_l84

                      Re: T-Mobile One vs. home internet. Which is better?

                      Thanks for all your help! I guess I will continue to use Spectrum for now. I just hate how they secretly up the premiums without any advanced notice, even if it's a little bit. I autopay everyone, and so it's like they just sneak a higher price in there from time to time just to see if I notice or not. I'd prefer a notice saying, "next month (or in 3 months or so) we are increasing our prices to such and such." With T-Mobile I have never had this problem, except once when my wife called a friend in Guatemala and didn't tell me, but that wasn't T-Mobile's fault. If Spectrum continues to do this I might drop them and find someone or something else. I don't mind going back to not having internet if I have to. And I love T-Mobile, with or without internet!