The company got its start as a telephone provider, and still delivers DSL Internet over phone lines throughout much of the country. They also offer a variety of services including digital voice, fiber broadband, satellite TV, and fixed wireless.
AT&T has a reputation for excellent budget pricing on bundled TV/Internet plans. The pricing on standalone services is a bit higher, but still less than competing cable and fiber services in most cases.
Where AT&T really shines is in their integrated features, which open up interesting home networking options for TV and Internet “power users.”
AT&T Internet at a Glance
|Price Range||$50.00 - $90.00/mo+|
|Connection Type(s)||DSL, Fixed Wireless & Fiber|
|Customer Recommendation Rating on BroadbandNow.com||41.1%|
|ACSI Customer Service Rating||64/100|
|Phone Number||(844) 815-6944|
AT&T Pros and Cons
Here’s a current list of the top AT&T plans we found through a combination of online and call-center sleuthing.
|Deals||Price Monthly||Internet Speed||Phone|
|Best Internet Only Plan||$5000||50 Mbps DSL||(844) 815-6944|
|U-verse TV & Internet||$7500||50 Mbps DSL||(844) 815-6944|
|DIRECTV & Internet||$7500||50 Mbps DSL||(844) 815-6944|
|10 Mbps||$6000||10 Mbps Fixed Wireless||(844) 815-6944|
|Internet 1000||$9000||1,000 Mbps Fiber||(844) 815-6944|
|Internet 100||$5000||100 Mbps Fiber||(844) 815-6944|
|Internet 50||$5000||50 Mbps Fiber||(844) 815-6944|
|U-verse TV & Internet||$7500||50 Mbps Fiber||(844) 815-6944|
|Internet 300||$7000||300 Mbps Fiber||(844) 815-6944|
If you're looking to compare plans, make sure to check out our detailed guide on the latest AT&T Internet deals and promotions.
In areas where they offer DSL service, AT&T’s speeds are on the slower side compared to cable. In the few areas where they offer fiber, however, it’s a different story altogether.
AT&T Internet Download Speeds Over Time
|City||AT&T Internet Average Speed||AT&T Internet Top 10% Speeds|
|Atlanta, Georgia||80 Mbps||169 Mbps|
|Austin, Texas||85 Mbps||249 Mbps|
|Chicago, Illinois||42 Mbps||72 Mbps|
|Cleveland, Ohio||36 Mbps||93 Mbps|
|Columbus, Ohio||19 Mbps||25 Mbps|
|Dallas, Texas||87 Mbps||215 Mbps|
|Fort Lauderdale, Florida||58 Mbps||155 Mbps|
|Fort Worth, Texas||54 Mbps||147 Mbps|
|Houston, Texas||49 Mbps||120 Mbps|
|Indianapolis, Indiana||30 Mbps||76 Mbps|
|Jacksonville, Florida||53 Mbps||106 Mbps|
|Los Angeles, California||40 Mbps||109 Mbps|
|Miami, Florida||66 Mbps||205 Mbps|
|Milwaukee, Wisconsin||46 Mbps||95 Mbps|
|Orlando, Florida||46 Mbps||122 Mbps|
|Saint Louis, Missouri||39 Mbps||98 Mbps|
|San Antonio, Texas||55 Mbps||118 Mbps|
|San Diego, California||27 Mbps||50 Mbps|
|San Francisco, California||46 Mbps||113 Mbps|
|San Jose, California||37 Mbps||82 Mbps|
Signing up for AT&T
Signing up for AT&T is easiest over the phone rather than through their website. Due to the complexity of AT&T’s offerings (particularly bundled broadband Internet/satellite TV plans), it can be helpful to call and have an agent walk you through the step-by-step of getting your specific service set up. Just be prepared to say a firm “no” to upsells, and always be polite. Call agents often have the power to give you a good deal, but they’ll only do it if you treat them with respect.
A few things to watch out for:
One-time activation feesMost AT&T Internet plans come with an “activation fee.” One benefit of signing up over the phone is that you can negotiate about the activation fee. In many cases, they’ll drop it if you can make a case for your value as a customer.
Hidden feesAT&T has a wide variety of hard-to-spot fees tacked onto your monthly bill.
HD fees and sports-related TV fees are two common culprits, along with the regular taxes and bonus feature pricing.
Modem/router limitationsMany of AT&T’s Internet plans require the use of an AT&T-provided gateway.
While you can put it in bridge mode and hook up your own router on top of it, this is an annoyance for customers who prefer to use their own hardware entirely to maximize performance and save the monthly cost.
Most AT&T plans advertise the hardware rental fee as “included” in the plan, but verify this when you sign up and double check the final bill for a $5–10 “equipment fee.”
AT&T DSL vs Fiber Internet
DSL and Fiber are the two most common Internet-only plan options for AT&T customers. But what’s the difference?
The biggest difference is that fiber is a new, high-performance technology while DSL is an older, lower-quality technology.
Fiber uses Internet-specific cables that deliver digital data using light. DSL modulates data analog-style as radio frequencies over copper telephone wires.
…As you might imagine, light is many, many times faster than radio frequencies.
AT&T U-Verse vs AT&T Internet
AT&T is currently phasing out the “U-Verse” brand name in favor of the more direct “AT&T Internet.”
The U-Verse brand has long been confusing for customers, originally rolled out as a triple-play offering to differentiate their generic DSL service (which used ADSL) from their more advanced DSL service (using VDSL2).
The company is currently directing customers seeking TV plans to their DirecTV satellite TV service. In the long term, customers can expect to see AT&T TV offerings under the brand name “AT&T Entertainment.”
What Happened to the “Premier Offer” Targeted Ads Discount?
AT&T’s fiber Internet offerings used to come with a big caveat: you had to pay an extra $30/month to keep them from sharing your personal data with advertisers.
Unsurprisingly, the Internet did not approve of this and as of 2016 the plan was axed, with existing customers being offered the lower “premier” pricing.
AT&T does not currently offer discounts in exchange for personal data, and seems to have responded to customers’ concerns about data and privacy.
AT&T TV Options
For the moment, AT&T is offering TV service under their recently acquired DIRECTV brand. As mentioned above, we expect to see this fold into the “AT&T Entertainment” side of the company within the next few years. For the most part, DIRECTV has a package for just about everyone, with options ranging from the basic essentials to more channels than you could ever hope to watch in one lifetime. The two baseline tiers–Select and Entertainment–aren’t likely to satisfy many sports fans. At the least, you’ll probably want to opt for the company’s Choice package. For reference, here’s a breakdown of the sports channels available in both the Choice and Xtra tiers:
DIRECTV Choice Sports Channels
- NFL Network
- ESPN HD
- ESPN 2 HD
- Fox Sports 1 HD
- NFL Sunday Ticket MAX
- Tennis Channel HD
- MLB Network HD
DIRECTV Xtra Sports Channels
- Everything in the Choice tier
- Golf Channel HD
- NBA TV HD
- NHL Network HD
- Sportsman Channel
- CBS Sports Network HD
- Fox Sports 2 HD
- The Olympics Channel HD
AT&T International Channels
One area where AT&T has worked to distinguish themselves is in International programming. They’ve consistently offered some of the best options so far as subtitled and International TV programming, and it’s expected that they will continue to do so as U-Verse and DirecTV transition to the AT&T Entertainment brand.
Conclusion: AT&T can be Pricey, But it’s Perfect for TV Bingers
Low data caps paired with top-notch TV offers make AT&T Internet bundles a compelling value for potential customers.
While the company doesn’t have the greatest reputation when it comes to customer service, they’ve been making strides in recent years to simplify their offerings and improve customer relations.
Their DSL options consistently stand up to competing cable offerings when it comes to speed, especially for customers in urban and suburban areas. For those of us lucky enough to live in range of their limited but growing 100% fiber Internet plans, it’s a no-brainer: next-generation speeds at an affordable price.
Robert Smith is a UX designer based in Brooklyn, New York. He enjoys sharing his knowledge about all things “user experience” through articles, op-eds, and how-to posts. When he’s not creating web apps, he enjoys cycling and reading classic sci-fi.
James Webb is a tech and gadgets expert with a focus on educational content development. He draws on his background in the startup world to make complicated technologies and topics easy to understand for normal folks.