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T-Mobile vs. EarthLink: Which Internet Provider Is Best for You?

Comparing two of the most widely available internet providers in the nation.

  • Best prices
    • Customer rating: 4.1*
    • Price: $50.00/mo.
    • Speed: 72–245Mbps
    • Internet type: 5G Home
    • Data cap: Unlimited
    • Contract: None
  • Most options
    • Customer rating: 3.3*
    • Price: $49.95–$189.95/mo.
    • Speed: 10–5,000Mbps
    • Internet type: Fiber, DSL, Fixed wireless
    • Data cap: Unlimited (fiber and DSL); 50–150GB (fixed wireless)
    • Contract: 1 year

Compare T-Mobile and EarthLink head to head

Both T-Mobile and EarthLink have extensive nationwide coverage and offer 4G/5G home internet for those in rural areas that lack internet infrastructure. T-Mobile offers the best value on a wireless internet plan and is free from data caps and long-term contracts. EarthLink has more plan options, as well as a wide range of fiber and DSL plans for many areas.

Pros and cons: T-Mobile vs. EarthLink


  • No data caps
  • No contracts
  • Lower cost


  • Limited 5G coverage
  • No wired plans



  • Great customer service
  • Many plan options


  • Higher monthly cost
  • Contracts for some plans
  • Data caps

Want to know if T-Mobile or EarthLink are in your area? Take a look by typing in your zip code below.

Plans and pricing: T-Mobile vs. EarthLink

T-Mobile is simple, straightforward, and affordable. EarthLink plans are generally a bit more expensive, but it offers more options for you to choose the plan that best suits your internet needs. EarthLink also offers wired connections in many areas, which can provide much higher speed than wireless home internet.

T-Mobile plans and pricing

PackagePrice*SpeedOrder online
T-Mobile 5G Home Internet $50.00/mo.72–245MbpsView Plan

T-Mobile’s 5G Home Internet plan is one of the best wireless home internet plans you’ll find. You get good value in terms of speed versus cost, along with unlimited data for no extra charge. That’s something that very few wireless providers can match.

T-Mobile puts a lot of emphasis on its very fast 5G network, but 5G is not available across its entire coverage area, especially in more rural areas where wireless connections are often the only option. This is why there’s such a large range in T-Mobile’s speed estimates. Those in more urban areas are more likely to get the 5G speeds at the high end of that range, but these areas are also more likely to have access to faster wired connections like cable and fiber.

EarthLink plans and pricing

PackagePrice*SpeedOrder online
EarthLink LTE Home 50 GB- 150 GB $64.95.–$149.95/mo.Up to 100MbpsView Plan
EarthLink 10-80 Mbps Internet (DSL) $49.95–$69.95/mo.10–80MbpsView Plan
Fiber 500 $79.95/mo.500MbpsView Plan
Fiber 1 Gig $89.95/mo.1,000MbpsView Plan
Fiber 5 Gig $189.95/mo.5,000MbpsView Plan

Similar to T-Mobile, EarthLink also offers wireless internet through its EarthLink LTE Home plans. The two big differences are that EarthLink’s network does not yet reach 5G speeds and that EarthLink plans have data caps. Although it offers several different versions of the EarthLink LTE Home plan, they differ according to how much data you’re paying for. Since T-Mobile offers unlimited data at a lower price, it’s pretty hard in this case to argue the value in paying a higher monthly fee for additional data.

While EarthLink can’t offer 5G speeds, it arguably offers something much better: fiber. EarthLink’s fiber plans are where you get the most value for your money with this provider. Fiber is the fastest, most reliable way to connect to the internet and even the most basic fiber plans are still way ahead of where 5G internet is right now.

EarthLink’s fiber plans are considerably more expensive than T-Mobile’s 5G plan, but you get a lot of bang for your buck. Importantly, most of EarthLink’s fiber plans are cheaper than its 150GB wireless plan, while giving you a much better internet experience. Although not everywhere in EarthLink’s coverage area has access to fiber, it’s the clear choice if you have that option at your address.

Deals and promotions: T-Mobile vs. EarthLink

T-Mobile Home Internet


Order T-Mobile 5G Home Internet and get a rebate for a $50 Prepaid MasterCard.

Get the Deal



Earthlink’s fiber plans include unlimited data without an extra fee.

Get the Deal

Want to know if T-Mobile or EarthLink are in your area? Take a look by typing in your zip code below.

Extra fees: T-Mobile vs. EarthLink

Equipment FeeInstallation FeeOther Fees
EarthLink$9.95/mo. to rent
$74.95 to purchase
$79.95 professional installationUp to $200.00 early termination fees

There’s a pretty stark difference between T-Mobile and EarthLink when it comes to fees—namely that T-Mobile doesn’t have them. Equipment is included with your monthly bill, so you don’t pay any additional fees. You also don’t have to purchase any of your equipment; it’s all part of the package.

EarthLink’s fees are actually pretty reasonable when compared to many other internet providers, but it just highlights how big of a deal it is that T-Mobile doesn’t try to nickel-and-dime you to death like everyone else. At HighSpeedInternet, we really like it when providers have clear, simple pricing that doesn’t surprise you when you get your first bill and we hope that more of them follow T-Mobile’s lead in this one, as it’s the clear winner.

Customer ratings: T-Mobile vs. EarthLink

Overall RatingReliability RatingCustomer Service RatingSpeed RatingPrice Rating

T-Mobile blew the competition away in our annual customer satisfaction survey, getting the highest customer satisfaction ranking overall by a decent margin. T-Mobile has been putting a lot of effort into their move to being a wireless internet provider, and that effort seems to be paying off for their customers.

EarthLink came in last among nationwide providers in our survey, which is a big shift from previous years. This dramatic underperformance is particularly bad for EarthLink, who has traditionally set itself apart from the competition with its focus on customer service.

Internet types: T-Mobile vs. EarthLink

ProviderInternet typeOrder online
T-Mobile5G HomeView Plans
EarthLink4G LTE Home, DSL, fiberView Plans

T-Mobile provides internet service using 5G, which is one of the newest and fastest wireless internet technologies. 5G is cellular technology, though the higher speeds available with 5G makes it a great way to deliver wireless home internet in addition to cellular phones. It’s important to note, however, that to reach into less densely populated areas, 5G providers make use of multiple bands of radio frequencies to maximize the number of households they can reach. This accounts for the wide range of advertised speeds you get with 5G Home internet. This also means customers in more remote areas will get speeds toward the lower end of that advertised range.

EarthLink uses multiple technologies to deliver internet to customers across its network. Wireless internet reaches into areas that don’t have the infrastructure for wired connections, but it has severe limitations and restrictions, especially monthly data caps. DSL is also slow, but has the lowest prices. Fiber plans are the fastest and most reliable, and they usually offer the best value for the monthly cost.

Data caps: T-Mobile vs. EarthLink

ProviderData CapOrder online
T-MobileNoneView Plans
EarthLink50–150GBView Plans

T-Mobile doesn’t have data caps, and we think that’s great. Satellite and wireless internet providers often struggle to manage traffic on their networks without imposing harsh data limits, but T-Mobile is showing that it can be done.

EarthLink wireless plans all come with data caps, and upgrading to a higher limit can more than double your monthly bill. EarthLink’s DSL and fiber plans, on the other hand, don’t have data caps, so we’d suggest looking at them first.

Contracts: T-Mobile vs. EarthLink

ProvidersContract lengthOrder online
T-MobileNoneView Plans
EarthLinkNone (wireless);
1 year (DSL and fiber)
View Plans

T-Mobile doesn’t make you sign a long-term contract, and, once again, we think that this is how it should be done. Providers that know that they’re providing excellent service don’t need to threaten their customers to keep them around.

EarthLink requires a 12-month contract for all its fiber and DSL plans. Its wireless plans, fortunately, are contract free. Unfortunately, EarthLink’s fiber plans are also its best plans, so it would be nice to see EarthLink take the plunge and eliminate contracts across the board.

Installation: T-Mobile vs. EarthLink

ProvidersInstallation optionsOrder online
T-MobileSelf-installationView Plans
EarthLink$79.95 professional installationView Plans

T-Mobile’s equipment is designed to be easy to set up, so it doesn’t offer professional installation. It also provides an app to walk you through the process, so even those who aren’t technically proficient shouldn’t need one.

EarthLink has a pretty reasonable installation fee when compared, once again, to most internet providers. It’s pretty hard to compete with free, though.

Availability: T-Mobile vs. EarthLink

Both T-Mobile and EarthLink have absolutely massive nationwide coverage, but your actual experience can still differ dramatically within those coverage areas. T-Mobile speeds will trend toward the lower end of its advertised range for those in rural areas on the edge of its network. EarthLink offers different plans and different connections depending on your area, so before you start making decisions about plans and providers, it’s a good idea to check what plans are actually available in your area first.

To see if T-Mobile or EarthLink is in your area, enter your zip code below.

Final call: T-Mobile vs. EarthLink

When it comes to wireless internet, T-Mobile is the clear winner. It’s cheap. It’s fast. And it doesn’t have any hidden fees or unnecessary restrictions. There’s very little we’d want it to change about its current offerings other than expanding its network and bringing those 5G speeds to the areas that really need them.

Although EarthLink’s wireless plans are nothing to write home about, we’d still suggest going with EarthLink if it offers fiber plans in your area. Fiber is miles ahead of 5G in terms of speed and reliability and if anything, that gap is only getting wider.


Our editorial team bases our analyses on customer input from our annual customer satisfaction survey, results from our speed test tool, and proprietary internet provider data on speeds and pricing. To strengthen our research, we look closely at provider contracts to get hard-to-find information on price hikes, data caps, and extra fees, and we keep tabs on the latest news reports and online reviews. When applicable, we also rely on our personal experiences testing these services.

Author -

Peter Christiansen writes about satellite internet, rural connectivity, livestreaming, and parental controls for Peter holds a PhD in communication from the University of Utah and has been working in tech for over 15 years as a computer programmer, game developer, filmmaker, and writer. His writing has been praised by outlets like Wired, Digital Humanities Now, and the New Statesman.

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