AT&T Review | High-Speed Internet at Competitive Pricing

Picking an Internet Service Provider (ISP) can be a difficult endeavor. Deciding which plan to go with, how much speed you will need, and comparing the different service providers in your area requires a lot of research. It is a trying process and nobody wants to do it. That’s why you are in luck, I’ve already done it for you! Below, you will find an att internet review with all of the information I’ve been able to gather on AT&T and the services that they provide so you don’t have to find out yourself if they are one of the reliable internet providers. Scroll onwards for information and recommendations in this AT&T Review.

AT&T Review

There are a few things that need to be mentioned in an AT&T Review about ISPs as a whole so you know what you are getting into. The first is that customer service is going to be a problem. Every ISP was scored on their customer service skills last year by the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) and, as a whole, they scored a 64 out of 100. 

That said, if AT&T is in your area then you are in luck; AT&T scored a 69 out of 100 which is above average and just 1 point under the leading scorer at 70. Still, a 69 out of 100 isn't anything to be proud of so just know that customer service will likely be an issue for you if any problems come up which is typical of a large company. They still beat out comparison as we wrote about it in this AT&T vs Spectrum guide.

The second thing that bears mentioning is data capping. Data Capping is when an ISP cripples, halts, or charges extra for your internet services after you have used an arbitrary amount of data. A lot of ISPs are using this tactic to get extra cash from their users and unfortunately, AT&T is no exception.

All is not lost however, AT&T is, at the very least, reasonable about their data caps. They have a data cap of 1 terabyte for each of their lower-end plans and no data cap at all for their highest-tier plan. 1 terabyte of data is a lot and most people won't even approach that much data usage in a month. I have never used an entire terabyte of data in a month and I am both an avid gamer and a consumer of a vast quantity of streaming content.

The final thing that needs mentioning is contracts. If at all possible you want to avoid being stuck in a contract, but that isn't always a choice that is available to you. If you absolutely must sign a contract to have your internet services provided then you must make sure you read and understand that contract before you sign it. Understand all of the ways that they are going to try and get extra money out of you and how to avoid them, if possible.

AT&T Wireless: What You Need to Know

AT&T is offering its fixed wireless internet service for certain rural areas that cannot get normal AT&T services to provide them an option for att wireless home internet. The max speed is 10 Mbps and it is delivered through satellite service.

AT&T’s wireless phone plans are another way that they provide internet services through their mobile network. One thing that should be mentioned about the AT&T Wireless data services is that they are the fastest in the industry.

Their downloads speed average out at 27.5 megabits per second which is nothing to sneeze at for internet on your phone. For comparison, their competitors average out around 2 to 4 megabits per second slower than the services that AT&T provide which is a point in their favor.

They also add discounts for many different groups of people like veterans and seniors which means, if you fall into one of those categories, then none of the downsides of AT&T I’m about to mention apply to you and AT&T is a great deal so you should take advantage of it.

Unfortunately, AT&T recently changed their plans and they have stopped offering a lot of the quality-of-life perks that they used to. This leaves their phone plans in a low state because, while they do offer the fastest speeds, they also charge heavily to gain access to those speeds and it currently isn’t very worth it.

Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon offer more data per month for less money on better or similar networks than AT&T can provide. Their competitors offer more data, admittedly at slightly lower speeds, for less money which means that at&t wireless plans aren’t very competitive currently.

If you are considering AT&T for your internet services then I recommend you stick with their services as an ISP rather than a phone company.

AT&T Wireless Unlimited Plans

Whether you are taking advantage of the discount deals from being a member of one of the groups that those apply to or you just have your heart set on sticking with at&t wireless internet plans for phone service then you should know that there are three unlimited plans available to you.

The first is their Unlimited Starter plan which can provide data to your at&t wireless internet device but at the cost of having very low data caps and your services may slow to a crawl if other AT&T users are using their data in the nearby area. 

You could upgrade to their Unlimited Extra which would increase your data cap to 50 gigabytes per month but a lot of users will use up that 50 gigabytes quickly and be left with crippled data speeds towards the end of the month which is exceedingly inconvenient.

Finally, they offer their highest-tier plan which they call their Unlimited Elite plan. The data cap is doubled again to a total of 100 gigabytes per month, unlikely to be used up entirely in a month except for the most voracious of data consumers, but it is a hefty negative against them that even their most expensive plan doesn't offer unlimited data usage.

Ultimately, the Unlimited plans that AT&T has to offer aren’t very competitive and you are better off using a different service if data is your main concern regarding your phone company.

AT&T Wireless Prepaid Plans

AT&T sign

Though it provides the benefit of not having to sign a contract, the prepaid plans offered by AT&T are much, much worse than the at&t unlimited plans. They offer 4 different options for their prepaid phone AT&T plans.

For the same price as their Unlimited Starter plan, you can get their 1GB DATA prepaid plan which caps your data after 1 gigabyte of usage! 1 gigabyte! At that limited amount of data, it doesn't matter that you get High Definition (HD) streaming capabilities instead of the Standard Definition (SD) that you get with the Unlimited plan.

The next step up is the 8GB DATA plan which costs as much as their most expensive Unlimited plan. They cap your data at 8 gigabytes, after which instead of throttling your speed they just stop all data service altogether. Otherwise, it also offers unlimited talk and text instead of the pay-per-use you get with the 1GB plan.

If paying more for less hasn’t warned you off by now then you could step up to the next tier at&t data plans which cost more than the most expensive Unlimited plan but provides unlimited data at a throttled speed. It is telling that it drops you down from HD streaming quality to SD with this plan.

If you plan to do a lot of streaming and the SD quality isn’t enough then you can make the jump up to their most expensive att prepaid internet plan which does bump you up to HD streaming and a 10-gigabyte mobile hotspot, but for 1.5 times the price of their Unlimited Elite Plan.

It just isn’t worth it to go with a prepaid plan from AT&T for your primary phone unless you aren’t planning to use that phone for more than a week, in which case it is worth it to avoid the contract needed for their Unlimited plans. For personal phone use I have always gone with prepaid plans and I can say that if I were going to switch to AT&T for my personal phone, I would go with their Unlimited plans even though I have to sign a contract.

Download Speeds

AT&T provides its internet services through two different mediums DSL and Fiber. They have three different plans available to pick from varying speeds. A DSL plan is available that is the slowest of their plans. A mid-tier fiber plan could be available for the same price as the low-tier DSL plan. Then there is their highest tier plan for their highest speed fiber.

The DSL plan is the one that is most available for everyone and has the most coverage across the United States. It provides up to 100 megabits per second but there is no telling if you will get that speed or lower until you get the plan. This is because different speeds are available to different locations.

If you get the whole 100 megabits per second then this is a great deal. Sadly, this plan does come with a data cap of 1 terabyte. As long as you are conscious about your data use near the end of the month it shouldn't be an issue.

For the same price as the DSL plan, you can get their lowest-tier fiber plan which provides a guaranteed 300 megabits per second. Unfortunately, this plan is not as widely available as their DSL plan. If it is available to you then this is a much better deal than the DSL plan and you should go with it. This plan also comes with a 1 terabyte data cap so you should make yourself aware of how much data you are using and plan accordingly. I can say from personal experience that it is always a terrible feeling to receive your bill for the month and realize you are being charged extra for going over your data cap.

Their final plan is their 1,000 megabits per second fiber plan which is their fastest speed available. It is a bit more expensive than other plans of its kind, but not by much and it may be worth it just so that you have access to AT&T’s customer service over one of their competitors.

Coverage and Speed Performance

AT&T is available in 22 states which makes it the 2nd largest DSL provider in the nation. Most of that coverage is in Florida, California, and Texas. If you live in or near one of those locations then AT&T likely provides DSL internet in that area. 

For fiber, they also offer their services in those areas for the most part which is good news for those locations because AT&T fiber is much faster than their DSL alternative for the same price you would pay for that service.

ISPs rarely deliver on the speeds they promise but that isn’t something you will have to worry about with AT&T. They are pretty good about delivering on the speeds they claim you are paying for and in 2018 they even delivered more than they said they would. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) gave them a score of 108.9% in their report “Measuring Broadband Across America.”

Unfortunately, the FCC isn’t fool-proof and it is certainly possible that they didn’t measure the speeds in your area or the plan that is best suited to you. Nobody is perfect and the FCC is no different.

That said, AT&T also scores highly on most sites which rank ISPs on their ability to deliver the speeds they claim to based on region. AT&T was ranked second in the western parts of the north-east of the United States and they scored third in the southern parts of the midwest.

It is good to know that AT&T delivers on their promises at the very least and should hopefully provide some small comfort if they are the only ISP available in your area or if they are your preferred option.

internet speed graphic

Customer Service

AT&T scored 5 points above average in customer service last year and was the number 2 ranked ISP for their customer service. It still wasn’t very high at a 69 out of 100 but it was better than most other ISPs which is a point in their favor.

Kindness goes a long way toward getting the service you need when it comes to working with ISP customer service. ISP customer service is known to be extremely bad and knowing that can often influence how you are feeling when you know you have to call them to get something taken care of. Keeping a level head and monitoring the tone of your voice is likely to keep a customer service representative happy and a happy representative is a helpful representative.

This isn't to say that you should let them walk all over you but choosing not to raise your voice and keeping on topic can help to make your interaction go smoothly. Customer Service representatives don't have a lot of power and they receive a lot of calls from angry customers making demands for solutions that they can't provide. 

People working in customer service department

Not being one of those customers automatically improves their disposition and encourages them to make an extra effort to keep you happy.

Once I adopted this mentality for my customer service interactions I noticed an extreme increase in the quality of help I received from all customer service representatives, not just the ones from AT&T. I can confidently say that I have never had a poor interaction with a representative from AT&T and that is likely due in large part to maintaining civil conversation and keeping my demands reasonable.

Special Features

AT&T offers several bundling plans so that you can get at&t wireless home phone and internet services. As an option for businesses, you can get at&t small business internet which offers speeds up to 1 Gbps.

Through March 31, 2020, if you bundle ATT internet service with their DirectTV television package and sign the respective 24-month and 12-month contracts, AT&T is offering $250 in VISA reward cards. This deal has limited availability based on your location and other factors but, if you call them, they will be glad to tell you more about the deal and if you are eligible for it. 

Pros

  • Some of the great things about AT&T as an ISP include their ability to provide very high-speed internet for competitive pricing, their wide availability, and their above-average customer service.
  • AT&T offers 1 Gbps as their max speed and it is an excellent option for high-speed internet. It matches what all of the big-name competitors are selling except for Verizon FiOS who offers 2 Gbps. The pricing is a little bit more expensive, but that is somewhat mitigated by how widely available they are.
  • Being available in almost half of the country is nothing to ridicule. They are one of the largest internet providers in the nation and that is because they provide better service than most other ISPs.
  • Their customer service is ranked number 2 out of all others. That is a fantastic ranking in any other industry. Your service from AT&T won’t be a shining paragon of perfect customer service, but it will certainly be better than almost all other ISPs out there.

Cons

  • There are several cons to working with AT&T as an ISP but I believe that the pros outweigh the cons. If AT&T is the only available ISP in your area or one of the very few options, then rest assured that you are in good hands.
  • The primary negative aspect of working with AT&T as an ISP is their lack of contract-less options. Nobody wants to sign a contract for their internet services and AT&T just doesn’t care. That is highly unfortunate.
  • Another negative aspect is the data capping they apply to their lower-end options. That said, they are extremely lenient data caps. Most people wouldn't surpass 1 TB of data over a month-long period and those that do would probably already be paying for their unlimited option anyway. I wouldn't go so far as to say that it is alright, but if you're going to cap data this is probably a good example to follow.

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