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Spectrum vs. AT&T Internet Review 2021
AT&T nabs the win for high speeds and lower prices, but Spectrum comes with unlimited data and no contracts.
AT&T recently changed its internet plans and contract requirements. We've added these new details to this review for the most up-to-date comparison of AT&T vs. Spectrum.
AT&T or Spectrum? This is the question we set out to answer when we spent days methodically researching and testing the two internet service competitors.
We think AT&T's fiber internet has this win in the bag thanks to its fast speeds and low prices. But if you've only got AT&T DSL service in your area, Spectrum is the clear winner.
That's because AT&T's DSL internet speeds go up to only 75 or 100 Mbps—but you might get stuck with speeds as slow as 10 Mbps. And while AT&T Fiber is a great deal, its availability is mainly focused on big cities.
Even if you can get AT&T Fiber in your area, Spectrum still offers no contracts and fairly reasonable prices. We dug into all the details on how these two internet service providers (ISPs) stack up, so let's dive in.
AT&T Internet pros and cons
- Fast download/upload speeds
- Excellent plan values
- Customer service has been improving
- No data caps
- Availability may be limited
Spectrum pros and cons
- Fast download/upload speeds
- More affordable plan options
- No data caps
- Higher speed plans get pricey
Spectrum vs. AT&T: Prices
Both Spectrum and AT&T offer plans with speeds that'll keep you connected whether you’re a big gamer or love to stream HD videos. If you’ve got a big family all streaming and gaming under one roof, you'll want to opt for AT&T's or Spectrum's faster internet plans.
In fact, we don't really recommend AT&T's DSL plans unless you can get top-tier speeds of 75 or 100 Mbps. Anything less than that and you're looking at an internet slowdown if you've got a lot of connected devices or lots of housemates using the internet with you.
But with faster speeds come higher prices—though AT&T's prices will get you more speed for less money, especially when it comes to the gig plan.
But again, that's if you can get AT&T Fiber in your area.
|AT&T Internet up to 75 Mbps||$45/mo.*||75 Mbps||View Plans|
|AT&T Internet 100||$45/mo.†||100 Mbps||View Plans|
|AT&T Internet 300||$35/mo.†||300 Mbps||View Plans|
|AT&T Internet 500||$45/mo.†||500 Mbps||View Plans|
|AT&T Internet 1000||$60/mo.‡||940 Mbps||View Plan|
Spectrum’s price for its up to 100 Mbps plan* is pretty close to the price of AT&T Fiber’s Internet 100 plan.
But as your download speed gets faster, Spectrum’s prices quickly start to tower over AT&T’s prices, and not in a good way. In fact, Spectrum’s Internet Gig plan is one of the more expensive gig plans we’ve seen. For contrast, an Xfinity gigabit plan costs about $70.00 a month and a Verizon Fios gigabit plan costs $79.99 a month.
|Spectrum Internet® Ultra||$69.99/mo for 12 mos.^||Up to 400 Mbps^||View Plan|
|Spectrum Internet® Gig||$109.99/mo for 12 mos.°||Up to 1000 Mbps°||View Plan|
Spectrum vs. AT&T: Internet speed
Both Spectrum and AT&T offer a broad range of download speeds for you to choose from. That's good news because it means you'll have an easier time finding an internet plan that fits your needs—and doesn't cost you excess money.
But when it comes to judging how well AT&T and Spectrum deliver on those speed promises, we found both ISPs to be a little lacking.
In our latest analysis of the fastest internet providers in the US, Spectrum ranked 14th out of 38 ISPs overall, and AT&T ranked 15th out of 38 overall. But we should point out that AT&T's speed score included its DSL internet service, so its fiber internet likely performs better.
Data effective 12/3/2020.
We scored each of these internet providers by looking at the average download speed, upload speed, and latency scores from 1.6 million internet speed tests. So the weighted score doesn't represent a download speed you might see.
Overall, both AT&T and Spectrum sit close to the front of the pack when it comes to the actual speeds they delivered to customers. But because AT&T is now focused solely on its fiber internet, we think you'll probably see better speed performance from it in the future.
Spectrum vs. AT&T: Customer service
In internet land, customer service is never seen as amazing. And AT&T and Spectrum are no different.
In the latest American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) report, AT&T’s customer service scored 71 out of 100 and Spectrum scored 63 out of 100. And the internet industry as a whole scored 65 out of 100. But none of those scores are great—they'd all be considered "below average" in a classroom.
Spectrum vs. AT&T: Which is better?
On the face of it, AT&T earns the crown for lower prices and fiber internet reliability. But don’t disregard Spectrum: It's a bargain compared to AT&T's DSL internet plans.
- Pricing: AT&T is cheaper than Spectrum—but only if you’re in an AT&T Fiber coverage area. If you've got only AT&T DSL to choose from, look to Spectrum for reasonable prices for fast speeds.
- Speed: AT&T offers speeds up to 940 Mbps while Spectrum goes up to 1,000 Mbps.* And, more often than not, we think you'll see speeds close to what each ISP advertises.
- Customer service: AT&T ranks better, but Spectrum is most improved.
|Monthly price||$49.99/mo for 12 mos.–$109.99/mo for 12 mos.**||$35/mo.–$60/mo.††|
|Download speeds||200–1000 Mbps||300–940 Mbps|
|Learn more||View Plans||View Plans|
When reviewing and comparing internet services, such as those provided by AT&T Internet and Spectrum, we go above and beyond simple metrics.
We place a heavy emphasis on the technical details such as overall download speeds, upload speed, and any included data caps. However, we also consider overall availability, affordability, and contracts involved.
Here are the factors we considered when comparing these two services:
- Overall download/upload speeds
- Price of each provider’s plans
- Whether contracts are required
- Geographic service availability
- Included equipment and fees
Is Spectrum Internet the same as AT&T?
No, Spectrum Internet and AT&T Internet are two separate services, supplied by two different providers.
Is Spectrum cheaper than AT&T?
While Spectrum does offer cheaper plan options than AT&T Fiber Internet to start, Spectrum's prices quickly increase as you opt for higher download/upload speeds.
If low-priced plans are what you are after, both AT&T Internet and Spectrum provide affordable offerings.
What's a good internet speed?
A good internet speed for your home varies depending on the activities you enjoy (such as streaming movies and playing video games) and the number of devices which will be accessing the internet at a single time.
To find the perfect internet speed for your home or office, we recommend checking out our guide, How Much Internet Speed Do I Need?