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EarthLink vs. T-Mobile vs. WOW! Internet plan comparison


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Researched by
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Reviewed by
Updated 2/7/23

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EarthLink brand
Staff rating
3.7
Customer rating
4.2
(5)

  • Plans starting at $59.95
  • Download speeds up to 100 Mbps
T-Mobile brand
Staff rating
3.7
Customer rating
4.2
(110)

  • Plans starting at $50.00
  • Download speeds up to 182 Mbps
WOW! brand
Staff rating
4.0
Customer rating
3.9
(12)

  • Plans starting at $9.99
  • Download speeds up to 1200 Mbps
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EarthLink brand
Staff rating
3.7

Pay more for a better customer experience with EarthLink

EarthLink is an interesting provider. Instead of serving internet through its own infrastructure, it partners with other internet providers to repackage their service, acting as a go-between. This means higher prices, but a reputation for great customer service might make EarthLink worth it.

What we like

  • Wide availability
  • Strong customer service
  • No price hikes
What we dislike

  • High prices
  • Widely differing plans based on area
Savings tip: EarthLink often has sign-up promotions for first-time customers. Call to ask a rep about current deals and discounts.
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T-Mobile brand
Staff rating
3.7

Inexpensive high-speed internet with no contracts

T-Mobile provides an inexpensive 5G internet plan with no contract and decent speed, but not a lot of choices or professional installation.

What we like

  • One low price
  • No commitment
  • Relatively fast
What we dislike

  • Not widely available
  • No professional installation available
  • Inconsistent speeds
Savings tip: T-Mobile often has sign-up promotions for first-time customers. Call to ask a rep about current deals and discounts.
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WOW! brand
Staff rating
4.0

Wow! Internet earns its name

Fast, inexpensive internet with great customer service, equipment, and installation? Wow is right. This internet company is a solid choice for most people. But if you’re a heavy streamer, its cable and fiber networks might not be beefy enough in all locations.

What we like

  • Low costs
  • Optional contracts
  • Award-winning customer service
What we dislike

  • Limited upload speed
  • Not ideal for online gaming
  • Availability in only 9 states
Savings tip: WOW! often has sign-up promotions for first-time customers. Call to ask a rep about current deals and discounts.
Check deals
EarthLink brand
Value
4.0
Above-average prices, but they’re more constant than other providers

There’s no getting around it: EarthLink prices are almost always higher than the competition. Depending on the area, the difference can be as little as a few dollars per month, but it’s still there. That said, there are actually legitimate reasons for this.

First, EarthLink doesn’t actually have its own internet infrastructure. Instead, it partners with other local DSL and fiber internet providers, like AT&T and Frontier, and uses their infrastructure. This costs EarthLink money, and some of this naturally gets passed down to customers. In return, you’re promised a better customer experience.

The other reason is that EarthLink skips the usual promotional pricing most ISPs advertise. For example, when AT&T or Spectrum quote you a price, it’s often for an introductory period of 12 or 24 months, after which that price may increase (sometimes dramatically). EarthLink doesn’t do this, which is a plus in our book. This also means EarthLink may end up slightly less expensive if you intend to keep it for a couple of years.

Pricing details vary by location. Visit
EarthLink's website
or call 1-833-804-4930 to speak with a rep.
See pricing
T-Mobile brand
Value
4.0
One plan, one very low price

T-Mobile 5G Home Internet comes in one download speed (182 Mbps), which is fast enough for a lot of people but slower than most cable plans (up to 1 Gbps) and fiber plans (up to 5 Gbps). The good news? T-Mobile’s plan includes unlimited data, but there may be slowdowns when the network is congested. It’ll cost you $50, which is $0.50 per Mbps, and about right for 5G plans. However, overall, 5G internet is super cheap compared to other kinds of broadband internet. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) benchmarks similar broadband plans at $105.67/month, (1) which comes out to more than a dollar per Mbps!

Even better, if you’re already a T-Mobile customer with a qualifying Magenta plan, your rate is $25/month. If max download speeds of 100 Mbps works for you, T-Mobile 5G Home Internet is a pretty sweet deal, especially if you’re already a customer. But if you’re looking for more plan options, you won’t find them here.

Pricing details vary by location. Visit
T-Mobile's website
or call 1-833-922-2124 to speak with a rep.
See pricing
WOW! brand
Value
4.0
Great value, whether you sign a contract or not

WOW! offers 100 Mbps to 5 Gbps plans at a great price, whether or not you sign up for an optional one- or two-year contract. If you don’t mind signing a contract, WOW!’s plans will cost you about 25% of the national benchmark for a similar plan (1). After that, prices transition to month-to-month rates, which are $10 to $15 higher but still well below the benchmark.

To get WOW!’s advertised prices, you need to sign up for both autopay and paperless billing (a $5 monthly savings) and commit to a two-year contract. If you’re not sure whether you want to be chained to WOW! for that long, don’t worry too much about it. If you duck out early, you’ll pay only $15 for each month left on your contract—which isn’t much more than you’d pay if you skip the contract from the start. (2)

There are data caps of either 1.5 TB or 3 TB, depending on your plan. These are pretty high, but if you’re a heavy user, you could be charged up to $50 extra every month and have your speed throttled.

Pricing details vary by location. Visit
WOW!'s website
or call 1-844-727-4910 to speak with a rep.
See pricing
EarthLink brand
Performance
4.0
Generally solid performance and fast speeds, but wide variation from place to place

EarthLink's performance is tough to rate. Because it is essentially reselling other providers’ services, the speed and reliability are highly dependent on which partners it uses in a given area.

That said, performance is generally good, and there are a wide range of high-speed internet plans available in most areas, so you can get exactly how much you need—up to 5 gigs in some places. Much of the service is fiber, which means performance is reliably consistent. Best of all, every plan has unlimited data, so whatever speed you opt for, you can use it without worry.

Available speeds vary by location. Call 1-833-804-4930 to speak with a EarthLink rep or
go to its website.
T-Mobile brand
Performance
3.0
Faster than advertised, but awkwardly unpredictable

As with any fixed wireless internet provider, speeds fluctuate widely and can be affected by weather, terrain, peak hours, and more. That means you’ll rarely get a steady 100 Mbps. T-Mobile says you’ll likely see anywhere from 33 to 182 Mbps for download and 8 to 25 Mbps for upload. (2) But we think T-Mobile should toot its horn a little louder. Independent research shows speeds average out to around 119 Mbps for download and 16 Mbps for upload—both of which leave other wireless ISPs in the dust. (3)

Generally, 5G internet isn’t as fast as cable internet (up to 1,000 Mbps, or 1 Gbps) or fiber (up to 5 Gbps). But for most people, it’ll feel pretty zippy. Unfortunately, if you’re using your connection for gaming, the inconsistency could cause unpredictable, frustrating lags.

Available speeds vary by location. Call 1-833-922-2124 to speak with a T-Mobile rep or
go to its website.
WOW! brand
Performance
4.0
Cable and fiber networks deliver fast, reliable download speeds

The majority of WOW!’s network is cable and fiber, though some customers in Alabama still have legacy DSL service. WOW!'s speeds top out at 5 gigs, but for most households, 250 Mbps is plenty fast. We generally don't recommend more than 1 gigs.

WOW's cable plans have upload speeds that cap out at 50 Mbps, but its fiber plans are symmetrical. That means you can upload as fast as you can download. Most people will be fine with 50 Mbps upload speeds, but if you upload a lot of photos or videos, WOW! fiber could save you some headaches.

Available speeds vary by location. Call 1-844-727-4910 to speak with a WOW! rep or
go to its website.
EarthLink brand
Equipment and Installation
2.5
Reasonable prices, but wide variation from place to place (again)

This is another category that’s tough to rate. Since EarthLink partners with other internet service providers (ISPs) to provide service, it doesn’t actually issue its own equipment. Instead, you’ll get equipment from whichever partner EarthLink uses in your area. The good news is that EarthLink does set the fees, and they’re reasonable: $9.95 per month.

It’s a similar story for installation—your service will be installed and set up by a rep from the partner company, not EarthLink itself. The installation fee is $79.95, which isn’t the highest we’ve seen. That said, we’d rather see installation included in the price, particularly since EarthLink’s overall prices tend to be on the high side. Self-install is available only in some service areas.

Equipment and installation options can vary widely depending on
EarthLink plans
available in your area.
View plans
T-Mobile brand
Equipment and installation
4.0
You’ll need an app for that

T-Mobile uses a 5G gateway (included at no additional cost) to turn cell signal into Wi-Fi for your home. It’s strong enough to send signal about 30 feet away, depending on how many walls are in the way. It’s compatible with most mesh network extenders. Plus, you can create up to four separate networks, so you can create one for Airbnb guests or your least favorite roommate.

According to T-Mobile, installation should take around 15 minutes—if you have an Android or iOS phone and can download the T-Mobile internet app. If that doesn’t work out, you can call T-Mobile customer service and someone will help you get set up. If you don’t get cell signal or a landline at home, though, you’re going to have a rough day.

Equipment and installation options can vary widely depending on
T-Mobile plans
available in your area.
View plans
WOW! brand
Equipment and installation
3.5
Competitive Wi-Fi gear and installation

WOW! includes a free modem for your first year ($14/month after that), and fiber plans come with a free Wi-Fi router too. If you have cable service, you can rent a Whole Home Wi-Fi system, which includes a coveted eero base and one extender for $9.99. Additional extenders are $5.99 each, but most households won’t need more than one because eero’s that good. eero comes with an app you can use to manage your network, and you can add security services for an additional cost (under $10/month) if you want ad-blocking, malware protection, or parental controls.

A free self-startup kit is available to most new customers, but if you prefer professional installation, it’ll cost you $75. The good news is that with professional installation, WOW! waives its $10 activation fee, so it’s really just $65 more to have a technician’s help.

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Equipment and installation options can vary widely depending on
WOW! plans
available in your area.
View plans
EarthLink brand
Customer Experience
4.5
EarthLink provides a surprisingly great experience from an ISP.

Customer service is where EarthLink really shines. The company claims to prioritize customer service and experience, and users seem to agree. The company actually ranks first in some user-driven surveys of internet satisfaction, beating out providers like AT&T and Verizon despite the higher prices.

From a practical standpoint, it seems that EarthLink representatives are friendlier, more helpful, and more knowledgeable than those we’ve dealt with at other companies. However, we've seen reports that some customers don't get the Earthlink customer experience. In some places, customer service is handled by the end provider instead.

Visit EarthLink's website
or call 1-833-804-4930 for more information on contracts and money-back guarantees.
Go to provider
T-Mobile brand
Customer experience
4.0
Award-winning customer service, but a lackluster guarantee

T-Mobile is fairly new to providing home internet, but it has a solid track record of providing great service to its mobile customers. Both contract and non-contract customers see the best service in the industry, according to J.D. Power. (4)

We don’t like T-Mobile’s short 15-day money-back guarantee, which doesn’t give you much time for a test drive. (We much prefer Starry’s 30-day guarantee.) Even worse, your countdown starts when T-Mobile ships your 5G Gateway, not when it arrives. If there are any shipping delays or it takes you a day or two to get set up, you’ll run out of testing time fast.

Visit T-Mobile's website
or call 1-833-922-2124 for more information on contracts and money-back guarantees.
Go to provider
WOW! brand
Customer experience
4.5
Award-winning customer service, even in areas under new management

WOW! provides an award-winning customer experience, ranking fourth-highest in J.D. Power’s ISP Satisfaction list in the North Central US region in 2022. (3)

We should note that in 2021 WOW! sold a couple regions of its business (Evansville, IN and Chicago) to Astound broadband, so customers may see some changes in their service. That said, Astound ranks fifth on P.C. Mag's Readers' Choice awards, so you're probably in good hands. (4)

Visit WOW!'s website
or call 1-844-727-4910 for more information on contracts and money-back guarantees.
Go to provider
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Made up your mind?
Find out what providers are available near you.
EarthLink
4.2
(5)
5 Star
40%
4 Star
40%
3 Star
20%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
M
Marstonfrom Brooklyn , NY
EarthLink Customer for 4+ years
Reviewed on: 4-4-2023
Earthlink is good internet, but not better than anyone else. I haven't had problems, but I don't expect to have problems.
J
Jerryfrom Elkin, NC
EarthLink Customer for 8+ years
Reviewed on: 3-14-2023
Earthlink has been pretty good for what I use it for. It's a little expensive but not bad
J
J.J.from Dominguez, CA
EarthLink Customer for 1+ years
Reviewed on: 8-29-2022
been an ok provider so far. nothing outstanding, nothing to complain about.
V
Veronica from Macon, GA
EarthLink Customer for Less than a year
Reviewed on: 8-29-2022
Fast internet service, cloud storage
T-Mobile
4.2
(110)
5 Star
43%
4 Star
41%
3 Star
14%
2 Star
1%
1 Star
1%
J
Jordanfrom Atlanta, GA
T-Mobile Customer for 1+ years
Reviewed on: 6-17-2022
For the price I’m paying, I would say my internet is fairly good and is fast and reliant.
C
Ceciliafrom Hoboken, NJ
T-Mobile Customer for Less than a year
Reviewed on: 6-17-2022
Have been with tmobile 20+ years with cell service
T
Theresafrom Austin, TX
T-Mobile Customer for Less than a year
Reviewed on: 6-17-2022
Was previously with Sprint. Not too familiar with T mobile
J
Joefrom Hewitt, NJ
T-Mobile Customer for Less than a year
Reviewed on: 6-17-2022
it is a seamless experience
WOW!
3.9
(12)
5 Star
33%
4 Star
33%
3 Star
25%
2 Star
9%
1 Star
0%
A
Annfrom Sterling Heights , MI
WOW! Customer for 4+ years
Reviewed on: 6-22-2022
Nothing is good. The internet is too slow. It sucks.
R
Rickfrom Canton, MI
WOW! Customer for 8+ years
Reviewed on: 6-22-2022
WOW started off fine for years. In recent years there service has gone down hill. There are more interuptions and slower speeds.
M
Mercedesfrom Knoxville, TN
WOW! Customer for 4+ years
Reviewed on: 6-22-2022
I think that wow is a great internet service company, they get the job done and are always there when you need them. I think that they could improve by offering more services to the public
A
Angelfrom Leslie, MI
WOW! Customer for 4+ years
Reviewed on: 6-17-2022
I THINK IT IS TOO EXPENSIVE FOR BASIC PHONE AND INTERNET
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Endnotes and sources
Endnotes and sources
1. “2022 Urban Rate Survey – Fixed Broadband Service,” FCC. Accessed 12 December 2022.2. “Policies, Open Internet,” T-Mobile. Accessed 12 December 2022.3. “USA 5G Experience Report October 2021,” Opensignal. Accessed 12 December 2022.4. "Wireless Customer Care Satisfaction Declines as Staff Turnover Rises, J.D. Power Finds,” J.D. Power. Accessed 12 December 2022.
Endnotes and sources
1. “2022 Urban Rate Survey – Fixed Broadband Service,” FCC. Accessed 21 June 2022.2. "WOW! Internet - Terms of Service," Wide Open West. Accessed 12 October 20223. "Price of Residential Internet Drives Customer Choice, J.D. Power Finds," J. D. Power. Accessed 7 December 2022.4. “Readers’ Choice 2022: Your Favorite ISPs for Any Type of Broadband,” PCMag. Accessed 7 December 2022.