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Spectrum vs. AT&T Internet



Best for flexibility

Price: $44.99–$104.99/mo.

(3.82 /5)

Best for customer satisfaction

Price: $40–$90/mo

(4.09 /5)

The bottom line

Spectrum is a well-priced, contract-free option if you don’t want to be tied down for a year or more.

On the other hand, AT&T has a better customer service reputation. But its speeds can be a mixed bag if you don’t have access to that big-city fiber internet.

Spectrum vs. AT&T: pros and cons

Spectrum

Pros

  • No contract
  • No data caps

Cons

  • $5/mo. for Wi-Fi router

AT&T

Pros

  • High customer satisfaction rating
  • Included modem/router

Cons

  • Limited fiber availability

Deals and promotions

Spectrum contract buyout

If you’re ready to get away from your current internet provider, Spectrum will buy out your old contract up to $500 when you sign up for a Triple Play plan (or Double Play if one of the three TV, internet, or phone services aren’t available in your area).

How are Spectrum and AT&T different?

The broad strokes look about the same.

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SpectrumAT&T
Type of serviceCableDSL, Fiber
Price$44.99–$104.99/mo. for 12 mos.$40–$90/mo. for 12 mos.
Download speeds100 Mbps–940 Mbps5 Mbps–1,000 Mbps
Data capUnlimited1 TB–Unlimited
ContractNone1 yr.
Installation fee$49.99 one-time charge$99 one-time charge
Customer satisfaction3.82/54.09/5
View Spectrum plansView AT&T plans

Data effective 10/1/19. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

With its cable internet network, Spectrum offers 100 Mbps download speeds in most areas. That’s an excellent standard for most homes, and in a few areas, you can even snag those hot gig speeds.

AT&T has two internet services—AT&T Internet and AT&T Fiber. AT&T Internet is a DSL hybrid, and depending on where you live, it might not scratch Spectrum’s 100 Mbps download speeds. But in large cities, you’ll likely have access to fiber-powered gig speeds instead.

It might require a phone call or two to confirm which provider is the speed demon in your area. If AT&T’s speeds are slower than Spectrum’s, you may want to pass on AT&T’s customer service reputation for speeds that get you where you want to go.

You’ve got options.

Spectrum and AT&T are the primary providers in a bunch of towns. But you might have a third or fourth option you didn’t realize. Put in your ZIP code below, and we’ll list out your area’s providers.

Please enter a valid zip code.

Spectrum vs. AT&T internet prices and plan

Spectrum prices and plans

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PackagesMax. download speedData capPriceMore info
Spectrum Internet100 MbpsUnlimited$44.99/mo. for 12 mos.View plans
Spectrum Internet Ultra400 MbpsUnlimited$69.99/mo. for 12 mos.View plans
Spectrum Internet GIG940 MbpsUnlimited$104.99/mo. for 12 mos.View plans

Data effective 10/1/19. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

You don’t have to sweat slow plans with Spectrum. The base plan downloads at 100 Mbps, which is a smooth speed most of the time—even if you’ve got some smart-home devices set up.

In some areas, Spectrum has started rolling out 400 Mbps and 940 Mbps plans. If you’re into Spectrum’s contract-free plans, you even might like these over AT&T’s offerings.

It’ll be super to not get hit with extra fees when you decide to take that cross-country job offer, right?

Spectrum by any other name . . 

Here’s as good a place as any to tell you more about Spectrum’s history.

Spectrum is the brand name Charter Communications gave its internet and TV services after it purchased Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks. But getting all three networks on the same page took some doing.

Some customers were left with growing pains when their plans and pricing changed. Those shifts are part of the reason Spectrum’s customer satisfaction reviews have been low. As a new customer, you might not notice a thing.

AT&T Internet and AT&T Fiber pricing and plans

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PackagesMax. download speedData capPrice*More info
Internet Basic 55 Mbps1 TB$40/mo. for first 12 mos.View plans
Internet 10–10010–100 Mbps1 TB$50/mo. for first 12 mos.View plans
Internet 300300 Mbps1 TB$70/mo. for first 12 mos.View plans
Internet 1,0001,000 MbpsUnlimited$90/mo. for first 12 mos.View plans

Data effective 10/1/19. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
*with a 1-year agreement.

AT&T Internet DSL-hybrid speeds run from 5 Mbps to 100 Mbps. That’s about as big a difference as a crack in the sidewalk compared to the Grand Canyon.

It’s nice that Internet 10 through Internet 100 plans have the same prices. AT&T sets the plans in this range by the fastest speeds available in every area.

It just really sucks if that plan is the sub-broadband Internet 10. And don’t waste your money on the Internet Basic 5. You deserve so much better than that.

But if you’re a gig-speed hound living in a fiber-wired city, you’re in for a treat. AT&T’s Internet 1,000 plan is faster than Spectrum Internet GIG. And it comes with a waived installation fee—probably as a “thank you” for going big rather than going home.

Spectrum vs. AT&T internet fees and extra charges

Spectrum internet fees and extra charges

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FeesAmountMore info
Installation$44.99Learn more
Router rental$5/mo.Learn more
Wi-Fi activation fee$9.99Learn more

Data effective 10/1/19. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Spectrum’s fees aren’t worth fretting over. The one-time installation fee is smaller than a lot of providers, and your subscription includes a modem rental for no extra charge.
You might consider investing in a router instead of renting one from Spectrum. It’s a handy way to avoid router rental fees and Spectrum’s unnecessary Wi-Fi activation fee. The budget-friendly TP-Link Archer AC1750 pays for itself in a little over a year.

AT&T internet fees and extra charges

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FeesAmountMore info
Installation$99Learn more
Data allowance overage$10 for 50 GB moreLearn more

Data effective 10/1/19. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

AT&T’s installation fee is ugly. You can skip the installation fee when you bundle with a TV service, but that’s not a cost-effective option unless you’re already planning on putting in some hard hours lounging in front of the TV.
On the plus side, your Wi-Fi gateway with a modem and router comes included in your service.
And you probably don’t have to worry about the data allowance overage charge. The 1 TB data cap AT&T enforces won’t be a problem for the average internet user.
To go over the 1 TB limit, you’d have to spend 11 hours a day streaming HD videos for a whole month. Remember to turn off Netflix when you fall asleep, and you’ll be fine.

Installation

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ProviderSpectrumAT&T
Installation fee$49.99$99
Type of installationProfessionalProfessional
Schedule an installationSchedule an installation

In our 2019 survey, less than 25% of Spectrum and AT&T customers self-installed their internet. Both providers promote professional installation, although their self-installation kits appear to be free.

If you’re a die-hard DIYer, ask for a self-install kit when you’re signing up. It might be an option in your area, but the service rep probably won’t bring it up if you don’t.

Spectrum vs. AT&T internet customer satisfaction

Overall Customer Rating
(3.82 /5)

Overall Customer Rating
(3.59 /5)

AT&T placed second for overall satisfaction in our recent customer survey. Spectrum landed in tenth—the lowest of all the providers we included.

The main culprit for Spectrum’s low scores could be the changes Time Warner Cable and Bright House Network customers experienced over the past few years. Spectrum had a hard time smoothing things over, especially in the monthly bill category.

But Spectrum’s scores for installation and modem satisfaction seemed to go off without a hitch. As a new customer knowing what you’re signing up for with your bill, you won’t face many of the problems customers did during Spectrum’s launch.

Bundling with TV

Spectrum offers three TV services you can bundle with internet—Select, Silver, and Gold. Tack on phone service, and you’ve got yourself a Triple Play. That’s the best way to save money with Spectrum, provided you use all the services.

Recommended Spectrum bundles

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PackageMax. download speedChannel countIntroductory priceMore info
Select Triple Play100 Mbps175+$99.97/mo. for 12 mos.See plan
Silver Triple Play100 Mbps200+$119.97/mo. for 12 mos.See plan
Gold Triple Play100 Mbps225+$139.97/mo. for 12 mos.See plan

Data effective 10/1/19. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

AT&T has more TV packages than it knows what to do with. You can bundle internet with its satellite TV service, DIRECTV, or pair up your fiber internet with the streaming service AT&T TV. The old AT&T U-verse plans are on their way out, but you might still be able to snag one in your area.

What is AT&T TV?

AT&T TV is a new streaming live TV service available in select areas when you purchase fiber internet. It’s slightly different from AT&T TV NOW, which is a streaming TV service you can sign up for without AT&T fiber internet.

Recommended AT&T bundles

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PackageMax. download speedChannel countIntroductory priceMore info
DIRECTV CHOICE™ All Included + Internet 100 + Phone Unlimited100 Mbps185+$119.98/mo. for first 12 mos.See plan
DIRECTV XTRA All Included + Internet 100 + Phone Unlimited100 Mbps235+$129.98/mo. for first 12 mos.See plan
DIRECTV PREMIER™ All Included + Internet 100 + Phone Unlimited100 Mbps330+$184.98/mo. for first 12 mos.See plan

Data effective 10/1/19. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

AT&T TV is a new service, and the jury is still out on whether it’s the preferable way to watch TV. But Spectrum and DIRECTV have been duking it out for years, and you can read more about how they compare in our article on Spectrum vs. DIRECTV.

Double-check your choices

Not sure Spectrum or AT&T is right for you? No worries. Enter your ZIP code below, and we’ll help you find what other providers offer service in your area.

Please enter a valid zip code.

Final take

Spectrum isn’t as bad as its Time Warner Cable and Bright House Network customers might lead you to believe. Its download speeds are fast, and it comes without data caps or a contract—which is perfect if you hate being under your provider’s thumb.

But AT&T has the stronger offering if you can get its fiber internet. Its included Wi-Fi gateway will save you a lot in the long run, and you’re unlikely to go over the 1 TB data cap.

AT&T is the right choice if you want the last time you worry about your internet to be the day you sign up for it.

About the Author

Rachel has spent the past two years at CableTV.com writing articles that demystify hidden fees, DVRs, sound systems, and more. She makes door-to-door DISH and DIRECTV salespeople uncomfortable with her in-depth questions—but if that’s what it takes to get you the best TV experience, she’s happy to do it. In addition to writing for CableTV.com, Rachel’s work has been featured on Today.com, TechGuySmartBuy.com, HowtoWatch.com, and SatelliteInternet.com.

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