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AT&T vs. Spectrum

Find out how AT&T internet and bundled services measure up to Charter’s Spectrum. 

Is AT&T or Spectrum better for you?

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If your address is serviceable for AT&T and Spectrum, take a look at what each has to offer to determine which is the better provider for your home. Overall, AT&T fiber optic is a better deal than Spectrum. However, if AT&T DSL is available to you instead of AT&T fiber optic, your best bet is to go with Spectrum.  

AT&T

  • Available to more households
  • Cheaper internet 
  • Faster upload speeds 
  • Higher customer satisfaction

Spectrum

  • Available in more states (41 to 21)
  • Slightly faster max download speeds

AT&T vs. Spectrum ratings

We broke down the most important considerations when buying internet and ranked each internet provider based on these five factors. We considered promotional pricing, price increases, plan options, speeds, data caps, customer satisfaction ratings and more.

AT&T Fiber scored the highest overall except for affordability and number of plans (AT&T DSL has cheaper starting prices and more plan options). While Spectrum ranks well, it has a hard time competing against AT&T Fiber due to AT&T’s superior speeds and overall value.

Our methodology

We evaluate broadband providers in four categories: affordability, performance, value and customer satisfaction.

We evaluate broadband providers in four categories: affordability, performance, value and customer satisfaction. Each category contains multiple sub-factors, all of which are weighted differently to impact the provider’s overall score.

For each sub-factor, we score all providers on a continuous scale of one to five, relative to the industry as a whole. Because the average download speed in America is currently 180 Mbps, for example, we assigned all plans with download speeds between 100 and 299 Mbps a score between three and four. Xfinity’s 200 Mbps plan received a 3.50 score for download speed, while Spectrum’s 400 Mbps plan got a 4.16.

We only considered standardized data points in our scoring system. More abstract data like consistency of service and brand reputation is still part of our analysis, but we opted to let our writers address them in the context of each review.

See how we review internet providers

AT&T vs. Spectrum Internet service at a glance

AT&T fiber and DSL plans

Spectrum Internet plans

Which internet plan should you choose?

Best overall internet plans: AT&T Fiber 300 and AT&T Internet 500

When it comes to finding the best value for internet service, AT&T has Spectrum internet beat. AT&T’s fiber optic plans offer the lowest cost/Mbps plans available, making its 300 Mbps or 500 Mbps plan the best choice for most families.

If you’re looking for cheap internet plans in your area, AT&T and Spectrum both have plans starting at less than $50/mo. However, overall, AT&T beats Spectrum when it comes to cheap internet plans. Depending on your area, you can get up to 300 Mbps for $35/mo. with AT&T. That’s $15/mo. cheaper than the lowest price you will get with Spectrum and 100 Mbps faster.

Both AT&T and Spectrum offer Gig speed plans that reach download speeds of 940 Mbps with AT&T and up to 1,000 Mbps with Spectrum . The main difference between these two plans is that AT&T’s Gig speed plan offers upload speeds up to 940 Mbps and Spectrum’s Gig speed plan only offers upload speeds of up to 35 Mbps. AT&T is also $40/mo. less expensive.



AT&T vs. Spectrum contracts and installation

Contracts

AT&T: AT&T internet plans do not require a contract, however, if you select a plan with a term agreement, you will incur an early termination fee (up to $180) if your new service is canceled after the first 14 days of service. 

Spectrum: Spectrum Internet plans are offered month-to-month, allowing subscribers to cancel service at any time without penalty. Potential Spectrum customers can also take advantage of their $500 contract buyout from a previous provider.* Learn more about the fees you’ll see on your monthly bill with each provider. Spectrum, therefore, is a more reliable option if you want to enjoy internet service with no contracts.

Installation

AT&T: AT&T’s professional installation fee costs up to $99. However, you can get this fee waived if you opt for self-installation or if you bundle internet and TV services. 

Spectrum: Spectrum’s professional installation is $49.99. If you require professional installation, then you will save a little money going with Spectrum over AT&T. 


AT&T Fiber vs. Spectrum bundles

AT&T and Spectrum offer bundle packages with varying combinations of internet, TV and home phone services. Overall, Spectrum offers cheaper bundle options and a higher channel count but AT&T offers faster internet speeds. Here are the lowest-priced bundles from each provider:

AT&T vs. Spectrum TV service

AT&T does not directly offer any TV service but you can choose to bundle DIRECTV STREAM or DIRECTV to any AT&T internet plan. Just keep in mind your AT&T and DIRECTV bill will be separate. 

Spectrum, however, does offer TV service customers can bundle with their internet plan for $5/mo. off. If you are looking for the highest channel count, then bundling with Spectrum may be a better option for you. Spectrum also offers the lowest starting prices for TV service.

  • DIRECTV STREAM package options: Four
  • Channel range: 65+ to 140+
  • Starting price range: $99.99 to $139.99/mo.*
  • DVR service: Included
  • DVR recordings: No limit
  • DVR equipment cost: One device free, then starting at $7/mo. each*
  • Contract: Two years
  • Main TV package options: Three
  • Channel range: 125 to 200+
  • Starting price range: $44.99 to $94.99/mo.*
  • DVR service: Starting at $4.99/mo.*
  • DVR recordings: Up to two shows at once
  • DVR equipment cost: Starting at $8.99/mo. each*
  • Contract: None

Use our Spectrum channel guide and DIRECTV STREAM channel guide to find the channel and plan you need.

The bottom line: Spectrum offers better TV service, but AT&T is the better choice overall 

We recommend bundling AT&T internet with DIRECTV as they offer more options overall with three AT&T Fiber speed tiers and numerous package options from both DIRECTV and DIRECTV STREAM. AT&T’s starting price is slightly higher, but its fast fiber optic internet speeds make the extra cost worth the expense. If your address is only eligible for AT&T DSL, however, look to Spectrum for more internet options and faster speeds.

Spectrum bundles feature at most three internet speed tiers and three TV package options in most areas. If you care more about channel count than internet speeds, Spectrum is the better choice for bundling.


AT&T vs. Spectrum customer satisfaction

Customer satisfaction is another category where AT&T consistently outshines Spectrum. Here are their most recent American Customer Satisfaction Index and 2020 Consumer Reports scores based on a scale from 1-100, for both internet and TV services. Overall, AT&T scored slightly higher for customer satisfaction than Spectrum.


AT&T and Spectrum coverage areas

Much of AT&T’s internet coverage spans 21 states, with service primarily in the southern states, areas of the Midwest and select areas of California and Nevada. Spectrum availability includes select areas of 41 states, making it the second-largest cable internet provider in the U.S. Top service areas for each provider include:

AT&T coverage

Spectrum coverage


AT&T vs. Spectrum recap

Go with AT&T unless channel count is most important to you:

When it comes to internet service, AT&T fiber internet is a better deal than Spectrum internet for both pricing and speeds. Spectrum, however, is a slightly more affordable option when bundling internet and TV service. Spectrum has slightly more affordable bundling options because its TV service is more affordable than AT&T’s.

An additional bonus with Spectrum TV is that Spectrum offers a higher channel count than AT&T. We would still recommend AT&T, however, for bundling because you get faster speeds with AT&T and would only pay a few dollars more each month than you would with Spectrum.


AT&T vs. Spectrum FAQs

Is AT&T or Spectrum Internet faster?

In areas where Spectrum internet and AT&T’s DSL internet are available, Spectrum internet is typically faster. However, AT&T Fiber, where available, has faster internet than Spectrum in most areas.

No, NFL SUNDAY TICKET is only available with DIRECTV. You can get the next season of NFL SUNDAY TICKET included with your order when ordering the CHOICE package or above.

AT&T offers significantly faster upload speeds than Spectrum. With AT&T fiber, you receive symmetrical upload/download speeds. Conversely, with Spectrum internet, upload speeds are significantly slower than the advertised download speeds.

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Ari Howard

Written by:

Ari Howard

Associate Writer, Broadband & Wireless Content

Ari is an Associate Writer for the Allconnect team, focusing on broadband and wireless news, as well as broadband and TV provider deals. She recently graduated from Davidson College with a bachelor’s degree in… Read more

Robin Layton

Edited by:

Robin Layton

Editor, Broadband Content

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