With rising inflation, a lot of us are having to get creative to make ends meet. I remember when we looked at our expenses, we were shocked we were paying close to $150 a month for cable internet. It seemed like the cost kept getting higher and higher without any extra features. So I knew it was time to check out the alternatives, which led to me choosing the best fixed wireless internet.
Home internet, DSL, cellular, cable, satellite internet… Which one do you go for?
Let me break down what fixed wireless means:
- FIXED: The price never changes, it’s the same amount every month (no more going over data and being charged extra)
- WIRELESS: No cables! Traditional cable or DSL internet relies on cables being brought to your home, which requires a LOT of infrastructure and maintenance. There’s no need for that in the 2020s. Wireless providers can do this through cellular towers or satellite technology.
So, fixed wireless may be the perfect cost-saving option you need to survive this inflation.
So let’s get into the best fixed wireless internet options for 2022.
What are the Best Fixed Wireless Internet Providers?
Here’s a breakdown of some of the best fixed wireless internet providers.
Cellular Fixed Wireless Options:
With the launch of 5G networks around the world, many people are excited at the promise of lightning-fast download speeds and a seamless connection. But while mobile users might be drooling over the possibilities of using 5G to stream high-definition video on their phones or play intensive multiplayer games, one group is especially eager to get their hands on this new technology: internet users.
Why should 5G service be restricted to just our phones? Well, guess what, they’re not anymore. Here are some of the best fixed wireless providers.
1. T-Mobile 5G Home Internet Service
Best Value for Fixed Wireless
Imagine a world where high-speed internet is not only available everywhere, but also completely effortless. No more slow data rates or sluggish connections to deal with – just blazing fast, seamless access to all the information you could ever need. Well, that dream is now a reality, thanks to T-Mobile’s new 5G home internet service.
T Mobile Home Internet has expanded its fixed wireless technology, this innovative service gives you reliable internet at an affordable price.
Features of the T Mobile Fixed Wireless Internet:
Pricing: As advertised, it is only $50 a month with Autopay. If you don’t want to attach autopay, then you will pay about $55/month.
Right now, they are also promoting a 15-day money-back guarantee.
If you’re within the T-Mobile 5G Network, then this is a fantastic plan. Unfortunately, their coverage is still expanding and speeds may vary depending on how many people are using the system. With a money-back guarantee, it’s definitely worth trialing in your home.
2. Verizon Home Internet
Best Fixed Wireless to Pay for Early Termination Fees
Now Verizon 5G Home Internet has been part of the fixed internet game for a while. As many people can attest, they have an excellent 5G service. My husband who has Verizon always seems to have better service than I do. And now, they’re offering that service for the internet, so customers can expect the same reliable network they’ve already loved with their phone service.
Features of the Verizon Fixed Wireless Internet:
Pricing: The $25 a month can be misleading, as you need to have your mobile phone with them. Without it, the 5G Home plan is $50 with Autopay and $60 without Autopay; the 5G Home Plus is $70 with Autopay and $80 without Autopay.
If you either have a cable company that’s going to charge an early termination fee, or you’re a current Verizon Wireless mobile user, then choosing Verizon is a no-brainer.
3. AT&T Fixed Wireless Internet
Best Fixed Wireless for Rural Communities
If you’re in a rural community, you may be wondering what fixed wireless options are for you. Thanks to AT&T’s fixed wireless, there is an option for you. This option differs a bit from others on this list as AT&T will actually bring the antenna to you. They will install it, position it, and then let you start streaming up to 10 Mbps speeds.
Features of the AT&T Fixed Internet:
Pricing: Their prices start at $59.99/month for patients with a mobile plan. Stand-alone pricing starts at $69.99 and don’t forget about those overage charges.
If you live in a rural area, your options for internet are much more limited. This is definitely an affordable option to look into.
4. US Cellular 5G Home Internet
Best for Speed Tier Selection
US Cellular was among the fixed wireless providers with a 4G network, and now they’re updating its network to be all 5G. Many know them for their mobile service, but their internet service seems promising as well. They offer different tiers of speeds, but each will cost you more. When you exceed your limit, then the speed drops to 2G network.
Features of the US Cellular:
Pricing: As you can see below, the high-speed internet service offered depends on how much you want to pay per month. If you have a large household, you will need to pay more for internet access.
If you’re looking for a fixed wireless internet with access to higher download and upload speeds, then this may be a better option for you.
Broadband Fixed Wireless Options
You’ve already probably heard the term ‘broadband’ before, but just as a reminder, these companies deliver their fixed wireless services by placing strategic bases on radio towers throughout cities to deliver internet directly to your home or business. Losing all the maintenance upkeep of cables, these fixed wireless providers can bring their savings to you.
1. Starry Fixed Wireless Internet
Best Fixed Wireless Broadband Option
Now, you may not have heard of Starry, but it’s a great company that has set out to make fixed wireless internet affordable. As a broadband internet, it uses “active phased arrays” technology which brings millimeter waves to bring fast, efficient internet from the bases they have strategically placed throughout select locations.
Features of the Starry Internet:
Pricing: The most popular plan comes in at just $50 a month, which is very comparable to the other options on this list.
If you live in one of the major metro areas where Starry is offered, it’s a very reliable fixed wireless internet provider. Hopefully, we see it expand to other areas in the future.
Satellite Fixed WirelessOptions
Satellite internet is an internet connection given to us by satellites orbiting in space. They’ve been around for some time for television, but the internet is making its way through this format.
1. Starlink Fixed Wireless Internet
Best Fixed Wireless Satellite Option
Let’s be honest. When we hear “satellite” internet, often weather interruptions and slower speeds come to mind. But when you add Elon Musk to the equation, our opinions seem to change real fast. That’s because SpaceX’s Starlink has innovated special satellite internet technology that has a lower orbit closer to Earth, where they can launch new satellites themselves as needed. This brings internet to locations of the Earth that weren’t possible before, with speeds never seen by other satellite companies (gamers and other high-data users can use the service too).
Features of the StarLink Satellite Internet:
Pricing: Unfortunately, this is not as affordable as many other options. It’s a $600 equipment fee start-up and runs at $110/month, with no contract. But for a rural location that doesn’t have many options, this is reasonable.
If you live in a remote location with limited access to the internet and need to gain high speeds and lower latency, then Starlink is likely your best option.
Here’s a nice side by side comparison of the discussed internet providers so you can make a good decision on the best option for you:
|Type||Cost Per Month||ETF Coverage||Equipment Fee||Annual Contract|
What is Fixed Wireless Internet?
As discussed above, fixed wireless internet utilizes radio towers or satellites to send and receive data. The best part about fixed wireless is that it’s affordable and the speeds are beginning to become as fast as other internet connections like cable or DSL. Internet providers are now offering lower rates thanks to advancing technology.
Advantages of Fixed Wireless Internet
Here are the main advantages of fixed wireless:
- Fixed Monthly Cost: One of the best things about fixed wireless is that you know exactly how much you’re going to pay each month, and it’s typically affordable pricing. Instead of your monthly bill going up and down every month depending on how much data you use, all speeds and data usage are billed the same.
- Reliable Connection: Fixed wireless is also often a reliable connection. Since it uses radio towers to transmit data, there are no cables that can be damaged or disrupted. This means you’re less likely to experience any downtime due to infrastructure problems.
- Easy Installation: Another great thing about fixed wireless internet is that it’s very easy to install. Remember when a cable guy had to come during a six-hour window to drill a hole in your house? Say goodbye to those days.
Disadvantages of Fixed Wireless Internet
There are a few disadvantages of fixed wireless internet that you should be aware of:
- Line of Sight: One of the biggest drawbacks of fixed wireless internet is that it requires a line of sight between the antenna and the modem. This means that trees, buildings, or other obstacles can block the signal and cause problems with your connection or affect your internet speed.
- Weather: Another thing to keep in mind is that weather can also affect your fixed wireless internet connection. Heavy rain, snow, or even just clouds can disrupt the signal and cause your connection to be unreliable.
- Limited Availability: One final disadvantage of fixed wireless internet is that it’s not available in all areas. Rural areas may not have access to this type of internet connection.
Things to Consider When Searching For Fixed Wireless Internet Providers
There are a lot of factors that go into the decision on which of the internet service providers is best for you. Be sure to compare internet providers using the following factors:
Not all providers have equal coverage, so make sure to check if your area is covered by the provider you’re considering. Most of them rely on local towers to operate, so input your address to discover if you’re in a prime location. Rural areas notoriously have the hardest time finding coverage in their areas.
Also, something to note is that fixed wireless networks may also have a max capacity of users for a specific location, so it may be first come first serve.
Just because a provider has good coverage doesn’t mean they offer fast speeds. Make sure to check the advertised speeds of the providers in your area to see which one can give you the best bang for your buck. When looking at speeds, make sure to look at both the upload speeds and download speeds. Some may stream videos very easily, but then be very slow to upload a program (like gaming).
3. Data Caps
A lot of providers will throttle your speeds after you hit a certain data limit, so if you’re a heavy user, make sure to find a provider that doesn’t have data caps.
In our house, we have four TVs that all are streaming at a given time. Now add in tablets and phones, we hit those data caps quickly. You can find out with your current provider how much data you currently use a month to have an idea of how much you need.
4. Equipment Costs
There’s always some type of equipment needed to gain access to the internet, even fixed wireless. Make sure to check if equipment fees apply. Many fixed wireless companies now have a router that they supply for free, and it’s just a few plug-ins to set up. Satellites tend to be much more costly equipment.
If you cancel your service at any time, always remember to return this equipment to avoid a fee.
5. Service Contracts
Many of the fixed wirless options above do not require an annual contract that you’re tied into. This is great because it means you can trial it and then cancel if it doesn’t work for you.
Something to also keep in mind is that the ‘fixed’ cost may still increase with time and inflation. Many providers offer “locked-in” rates for a specific amount of time.
6. Customer Support
Lastly, customer support is important for those times when you’re experiencing variable internet speed or an outage. Great customer support is always best to have during those situations.
Some of the companies above offer live, personal interaction with a human instead of dealing with bots. This is great if your fixed wireless goes out.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How do I figure out who offers fixed wireless internet in my area?
It’s best to start by checking the websites of the providers that offer fixed wireless internet in your area. They’ll have maps that show you their coverage areas, and will typically have you enter your address so that you can be sure they service your location.
What’s the difference between fixed wireless internet providers and other cable alternatives?
There are a lot of different ways to get internet streaming to your home or business. Here’s the difference:
- DSL Internet Service: This is a type of internet that uses your home’s existing telephone line. The speeds can be slower than other types of internet, but it’s widely available.
- Cable Internet Service: Cable internet comes through the same coaxial cable as your TV service. It’s usually fast, but can be expensive.
- Fiber Internet Service: Fiber optic cables are the newest technology and offer the fastest speeds. Unfortunately, not all areas have access to fiber internet yet.
- Satellite Internet Service: Satellite internet is beamed from a satellite in space directly to your home. This type of service can be expensive and has high latency, which means there’s a delay between when you send data and when it’s received.
- Fixed Wireless Internet Service: Any type of internet that offers a set price with a wireless (broadband, cellular, or satellite) connection.