If you live in certain parts of Florida, Texas, or California then it is possible the only two Internet Service Providers (ISPs) that are available to you are Charter Spectrum and AT&T. That being the case, you probably want to know which one is the better deal and has the faster and most consistent speeds, right? Have no fear! I can help you with that and save you the effort of having to research these things to find out the best internet provider yourself. Check out the Spectrum vs ATT comparison below!
Spectrum vs ATT – Which Is a Better Option Better for You?
Deciding which ISP is a better option for you is going to take more than just comparing the speeds available and the prices and calling it a day. Ultimately, it is going to depend on several variables including how often you use your internet and what you are using it for. Both Spectrum and AT&T also offer bundles so it could be a good idea to check out which ones they are offering in your area and how that affects their speeds and pricing.
There are many other things to consider as well, like whether you are alright with signing a contract for your internet services or if you would prefer to go with a contract-less option. You might be a large consumer of data, in which case one option is certainly better than the other regarding you and your needs. If customer service is a concern for you then one option is superior. As you can see there are a lot of things to consider. Thankfully, I'm going to cover all of that below and save you some time.
AT&T vs. Spectrum Quick Comparison
Three main things should be considered with any ISP and they make an excellent guideline for a quick comparison for Spectrum vs ATT as ISPs. These qualifications are contracts, data caps, and customer service.
The first point of comparison between AT&T and Spectrum is the most important thing you should be considering between them which is the contract options. In almost all cases you want to avoid contracts if possible because once you sign one you are obligated to continue with that service for the contracted amount of time and there is no telling what life will throw at you. ISPs like to be sneaky and try to hide extra charges in the fine print which I have had the unfortunate experience of falling for before. Learn from my mistakes.
AT&T has no contract-less options which means no matter what you are going to have to sign up for their service for a certain matter of time. Spectrum, on the other hand, does not make you sign a contract which means you can terminate your service with them at any time for any reason without having to worry about paying a large cancellation fee. This is a clear win in Spectrum’s favor.
The second consideration is Data Capping. This is a major concern with any ISP because, to be honest, it is extremely controversial. AT&T places a data cap on their users for two of their lower-end plans and doesn’t remove them unless you pay for their most expensive plan. Spectrum doesn’t cap your data no matter which plan you’re on.
This seems like a hands-down win for Spectrum but I still wouldn’t call it a loss for AT&T because the data caps they place on their services are extremely generous. Most people won’t go through a 1 TB data limit in a month and if you are one of those people you are probably already paying for their most expensive service so it shouldn’t be a problem.
Customer service is always a concern with any ISP. They are notoriously bad and it is impossible to research customer service in the ISP industry without encountering hundreds of reports of truly despicable encounters with ISP customer service representatives. Unfortunately, that means even for the winner of this category, you are likely going to get poor service for any problems you might experience with their services.
In this case, AT&T is the clear winner for customer service. They scored 10 points higher in the American Customer Satisfaction Index’s report on ISP customer service than Spectrum did and they are ranked as number 2 in customer service for all ISPs.
With this information in mind, you can't outright declare a winner between the two so we'll have to go a little more in-depth to decide which is going to be better for any given individual.
AT&T vs. Spectrum Availability
Spectrum is available in a wide variety of places scattered all over the United States. They have coverage in over 44 different states and provide internet services to 102.7 million customers. Their primary operating locations are New York, Texas, and California.
AT&T offers its services in 22 different states which might immediately lead you to believe that Spectrum is the winner here, but AT&T delivers to a greater number of customers at 122.8 million people.
As far as availability is concerned, AT&T has a narrower operating zone but still wins based on the number of people that have access to their services.
AT&T vs. Spectrum Bundles
Both Spectrum and AT&T offer bundling services, but which one is better? They both offer services that include television and phone service so that is out as a deciding factor.
AT&T offers a much larger variety of plans for their services than Spectrum which is certainly a point in their favor. AT&T offers a total of 179 different service options as opposed to the 28 that are offered by Spectrum.
That covers quantity, but what about quality? Well, the factors I am going to consider are speeds and prices. Those are what most people will likely consider being the most important qualifications.
As far as speed is concerned AT&T is the winner based on their max speed with bundles being over twice as fast as Spectrum provides. Spectrum provides a max download speed of 400 Mbps with their highest speed bundles. AT&T, on the other hand, offers several bundles at 1,000 Mbps that include both television channels and phone service.
For pricing, Spectrum wins based on the fact that their most expensive plans are slightly less expensive than the ones provided by AT&T.
Overall, I would say that AT&T takes the cake here based on the speed available with their bundles and the sheer quantity of options available for different prices and combinations of services. You are likely to find something perfect for your situation in AT&T's list of bundles whereas Spectrum's bundles are more general.
U-Verse TV U-Family + AT&T Internet 100
This plan comes with a download speed of 100 Mbps while also including AT&T’s U-Verse TV service. The U-Verse television service and the 100 Mbps download speed DSL connection cost the same amount per month so by bundling them together you are effectively cutting the price of one in half. The television portion of this bundle comes with over 180 channels.
This bundle is only available via a contract that lasts 12 months and it does come with several fees. Unfortunately, this means that if you want to cancel your service early it will cost you a hefty early cancellation fee. Much like with AT&Ts normal internet services you can either rent equipment from them or bring your own. If you don't provide your own equipment then you will have to rent from them for a small fee.
If you purchase this bundle now, at the time of the writing of this article, there are some deals on offer. You can get the usually pricey installation fee waived entirely by purchasing online. If you sign up for automatic pay AT&T is offering $5 a month off of your bill. They are also offering 3 premium channels completely free for the first three months of your service. All of these are available to new customers with AT&T.
Spectrum Triple Play Select
Spectrum offers three choices for their “Triple Play” services which all include Internet, television, and phone services. This particular bundle is the cheapest option. It provides a download speed of 100 Mbps, over 125 television channels, and unlimited calling via phone service.
In truth, the bundle isn't much of a deal at all. To get each of these services separately from Spectrum would cost you approximately the same amount of money per month that you are paying with the bundle. The difference in prices is down to a couple of cents.
Bundle or no bundle, you are getting the same service for the same price anyway. It is pretty telling that Spectrum has marketed their bundle as some kind of a great deal and the only way to know that it isn't a discount at all would be to check the prices of each service individually. They also make that process somewhat difficult by hiding the individual services on their site and constantly redirecting you to their bundle services. Very shady.
AT&T vs. Spectrum Internet Costs
The cost of internet services for your ISP is an important consideration and one that should weigh heavily since that is their primary purpose. There is a clear winner here.
Spectrum makes it very difficult to find pricing for all of their internet-only options which is a negative point against them, I actually couldn’t find any but the first one on their website and had to look elsewhere for information on their other internet-only plans. Spectrum offers three different plans for internet-only that range from 100 Mbps to 940 Mbps. Most internet service providers offer up to at least 1,000 Mbps so this is another mark against them.
Their pricing for their 100 Mbps internet option is competitive but it just gets worse for their higher tier options. For their 400 megabit option, they charge more than AT&T does for their most expensive option. Their most expensive and fastest option isn't even as fast as most other ISPs and is vastly overpriced.
AT&T's internet options are much more reasonable than Spectrum's. Their DSL and fiber plans cost the same amount and it is fairly low. You get more speed out of the fiber option but it isn't always available depending on the area you live in. Their DSL option can go up to 100 Mbps for less than Spectrum charges and if fiber is available you can upgrade to 300 Mbps at no extra cost. Their highest speeds are available to anyone that their fiber option is available to and it costs less than the mid-tier option from Spectrum.
AT&T is the clear winner here, Spectrum doesn’t even compare.
AT&T vs. Spectrum Internet Speeds
Much like AT&T, Spectrum offers three different tiers of internet speeds. Disregarding the prices attached to each tier of speed they are fairly comparable.
Both services start at 100 Mbps at their lowest tier which is where most of the big-name ISPs start for their cheapest internet service options.
For mid-tier options, AT&T offers a 300 Mbps option with their lowest tier fiber plan whereas Spectrum offers a 400 megabit per second plan as their mid-tier option. This would go in Spectrum's favor if not for the price. I have experience working with both 400 Mbps and 300 Mbps internet speeds and while the extra 100 Mbps is nice I don’t consider it a big enough difference to be worth the added cost.
AT&T maxes out at 1,000 Mbps for their most expensive internet option. Unfortunately, Spectrum can’t quite make it to a full gigabit internet speed. They fall short at 940 Mbps which is another mark against them. They are a very successful ISP that can’t even match the speeds of their top-most competitors. Most ISPs offer an option for 1,000 Mbps right now including their competitor in this article, AT&T.
AT&T vs. Spectrum Data Caps
Data capping is one of the most controversial things ISPs do. They are completely shameless about it and almost every ISP uses it to gouge their customers for extra cash. In this case, Spectrum is the superior ISP with absolutely no data capping at all.
AT&T does cap data for their lower end internet service options. For their DSL internet services, the data cap is 1 TB of data per month, after which they will charge you extra for every 50 GBs over your monthly limit up to a certain point. For their low tier fiber option, the cap is the same.
While these data caps are extremely lenient, they just can’t beat the unlimited data of Spectrum. All ISPs should consider following Spectrum’s example in this regard and my hat is off to Spectrum for not greedily reaching into their customer’s pockets for more after they’ve already been paid for their service.
AT&T vs. Spectrum Cheapest Internet Plans
Spectrum and AT&T both offer what is essentially the same deal for their cheapest internet service option. Both offer up to 100 Mbps download speeds for their cheapest option and both offer them at the same price. AT&T offers its services through DSL whereas Spectrum's services are cable-based.
With this consideration in mind, I would say that there is no certain winner based solely on this internet option, but that is not all there is to consider. Unfortunately, AT&T does not offer a guaranteed 100 Mbps, they offer "Up to" that amount. You don't necessarily get that much speed and it will vary based on your location.
So, with that in mind. This section will go to Spectrum for their more consistent speeds for the price.
AT&T Internet (DSL)
AT&T is the second-largest provider of DSL internet in the country. Their DSL plans are all the same in pricing because, even though they are separated into 5 different plans, they are one plan that provides anywhere from 5 to 100 Mbps for download speed that varies based on your location.
They provide this service in 22 different states across the United States to over 120 million people. The varying speeds can be a point of contention because no matter what speed you are getting you are paying the same prices which means the lower your speed is the less competitive the pricing is.
AT&T fiber is provided to over 25 million people in their zone of operation and they are offered at competitive prices. AT&T, when compared to other ISPs, is a bit more expensive but not many can compete with their coverage. They are the third-largest provider of fiber internet services in the nation.
AT&T vs. Spectrum Fastest Internet Plans
The fastest internet plan offered by Spectrum is its 940 megabit plan for a truly massive cost when compared to their competitors, especially considering most other ISPs offer 60 megabits more per second speed-wise. This is likely due to the method they use for delivering their internet services. Spectrum uses coaxial-fiber hybrid cables to deliver their internet services whereas most other high-speed providers of internet service use fiber which is a much faster method.
AT&T offers a higher speed of 1,000 Mbps and they offer it for a cheaper price as well. This makes AT&T the clear winner for this section.
AT&T vs. Spectrum TV Service
Spectrum doesn’t offer as many channel options as AT&T does for the same prices.
Spectrum offers 3 television only services. TV Select comes with over 125 channels to view. TV Silver comes with 175 or more channels. TV Gold comes with over 200 channels.
In comparison, AT&T offers 7 different options. Their basic options for their three different television services all start at a slightly higher price but also offer more channels. The basic package from their U-Family service offers more channels than the TV Silver package from Spectrum. The rest of the options that aren’t basic packages offer more channels than Spectrum’s most expensive package, so there isn’t much competition here.
AT&T has better television service.
AT&T vs. Spectrum Customer Satisfaction
When the ACSI conducted their report on ISP customer service they found that Spectrum was 3 points below average, whereas AT&T scored 7 points above average. AT&T is ranked second, just behind Verizon FiOS, for customer service and Spectrum is ranked at 9th. That said, I’ve never had a poor customer service interaction with either ISP.
AT&T Internet vs Spectrum Recap
More Options, Higher Speeds
5 – 1,000 Mbps
100 – 940 Mbps
1 TB - Unlimited
Cheap Internet Plans
100 Mbps Guaranteed
Fast Internet Plans
More Options, More Channels
Few Options, Less Channels