In a world that’s more connected than ever, why tether yourself to a single provider? Especially when there are alternatives that might better suit your needs, whether you’re a business magnate in Manhattan or a student in Staten Island. In this comprehensive guide, we’re going to bring to light the top AT&T competitors, a telecommunications giant that has been around since Alexander Graham Bell himself!
From the fastest 5G networks to the most reliable service providers, we’ve got you covered. We’ve scoured through expert reviews, customer testimonials, and even the nitty-gritty details of data plans. So, if you’re looking for a change or just curious about what else is out there, join us as we explore these exciting alternatives.
Ready to switch lanes and explore the fast tracks of other service providers? Buckle up, because we’re just getting started!
Top AT&T Internet Competitors
Speed and reliability are the name of the game. But how do AT&T’s competitors stack up when it comes to internet services? Below, we’ve compiled a table that outlines the key offerings from some of the top AT&T competitors in the market. Let’s delve into the details and see how they compare in terms of price and speed.
|Competitor||Starting Price||Speed (Mbps)|
|Frontier||$49.99/mo.||Up to 2,000|
|Windstream||$35.00/mo.||Up to 1000|
|Spectrum||$49.99/mo.||Up to 940|
|Metronet||$49.95/mo.||Up to 1000|
|CenturyLink||$49.00/mo.||Up to 940|
Frontier offers two distinct types of internet services: fiber-optic and DSL, each with its own set of pros and cons. The fiber-optic service, known as Frontier Fiber, is the star of the show. Starting at $60 per month, you can get speeds up to 500 Mbps, and for those who need even more speed, Frontier offers plans up to 5 Gbps. One of the best parts about Frontier Fiber is that it comes with unlimited data and a Wi-Fi router at no extra cost. There are also no long-term contracts unless you opt for special promotions, such as a $200 gift card.
On the other hand, Frontier’s DSL service leaves much to be desired. Starting at $65 per month, the DSL service offers varying speeds that often don’t even qualify as “broadband.” The performance of the DSL service can be inconsistent and largely depends on your location. Unlike Frontier Fiber, the DSL service doesn’t advertise its speeds, so you won’t know what you’re getting until you sign up.
|Fiber 500||$49.99/mo||500 Mbps||Fiber|
|Fiber 1 Gig||$74.99/mo||1000 Mbps||Fiber|
|Fiber 2 Gig||$149.99/mo||2000 Mbps||Fiber|
|Fiber 5 Gig||$154.99/mo.||5000 Mbps||Fiber|
Frontier’s reach is quite extensive, available in 25 states across the U.S. While its fiber service is currently limited to 15 states, mainly in metro areas, Frontier has plans to expand this service to more states and locations in the future.
When it comes to customer satisfaction, Frontier has room for improvement. Although it has been working on enhancing its customer service, its scores in the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) have been below the industry average. However, there has been a slight improvement in recent years.
Windstream, operating under the brand name Kinetic, is a versatile internet service provider that caters to both rural and urban areas. With starting prices as low as $40 per month, Windstream offers a range of plans that are particularly appealing to those in suburban or rural locations. One of the standout features of Windstream is its no-data-cap policy, meaning you can surf, stream, and download without worrying about overage fees.
In terms of speed, Windstream doesn’t disappoint. The company offers DSL services that are faster than many other rural options. If you’re stuck choosing between satellite internet and Windstream, the latter is likely to give you more bang for your buck. Not only does Windstream’s DSL network offer faster speeds than many satellite or fixed wireless providers, but the plans are also generally cheaper and offer better connection quality.
|Kinetic Internet 100||$39.99/mo.||100 Mbps||DSL|
|Kinetic Fiber 500||$39.99/mo.||500 Mbps||Fiber|
|Kinetic Fiber Gig||$69.99/mo.||1000 Mbps||Fiber|
|Kinetic Fiber 2 Gig||$169.99/mo||2000 Mbps||Fiber|
Windstream is also expanding its fiber-optic services, promising even faster speeds and low introductory pricing. The company has announced a multi-year $2 billion fiber investment to expand its network across its 18-state footprint. By 2027, Windstream aims to have fiber available to 50% of its network, focusing on rural and potentially underserved suburban areas.
However, it’s essential to note that Windstream’s services can vary widely by location. Speeds and pricing are subject to change based on your address. For example, some areas may only offer speeds of up to 15 Mbps starting at $45 per month, while others might provide the full 50 Mbps starting at $27.
Despite its large coverage area, Windstream is available to only around 2.78% of the U.S. population. This is because the company primarily serves rural and suburban regions with low population density. However, in states like Georgia, Iowa, and Kentucky, Windstream’s coverage spans half the state or more.
Spectrum is a household name when it comes to internet services, and for good reason. With plans starting at $49.99 per month, Spectrum offers a variety of options to suit different needs. One of the most appealing aspects of Spectrum is its speed. With plans ranging from 300 Mbps to 940 Mbps, there’s something for everyone, whether you’re a casual browser or a hardcore gamer.
Another advantage of Spectrum is its wide availability. It serves customers in 41 states, making it one of the most accessible ISPs in the country. Spectrum also offers the flexibility of no-contract plans, allowing you to switch or cancel your service without incurring hefty fees.
|Plan||Price||Download Speed||Internet Type|
|Spectrum Internet||$49.99/mo.||300 Mbps||Cable|
|Spectrum Internet Ultra||$69.99/mo.||500 Mbps||Cable|
|Spectrum Internet Gig||$89.99/mo.||1000 Mbps||Cable|
However, Spectrum is not without its drawbacks. The company has received mixed reviews for its customer service, and some users have reported inconsistent speeds. Additionally, while Spectrum offers competitive initial pricing, the cost can increase significantly after the first year.
Metronet, a regional broadband business based in Indiana, has been making waves in the ISP market. With plans starting at $40 for 100 Mbps, Metronet offers a compelling alternative to more established providers. One of the standout features is its commitment to fiber broadband, which is more reliable than cable, satellite, DSL, and 5G fixed wireless.
Metronet is also expanding its reach. It recently announced a merger with Texas-based Vexus Fiber, extending its coverage to 16 states and over 250 communities. The company aims to have fiber available to 50% of its network by 2027, focusing on rural and potentially underserved suburban areas.
|Standard Internet||100/100 Mbps||$39.99/mo.||Fiber|
|Premium Internet||500/500 Mbps||$59.99/mo.||Fiber|
|Ultimate Internet||1000/1000 Mbps||$69.99/mo.||Fiber|
|Multi Gig||2000 Mbps||$79.99/mo.||Fiber|
However, Metronet’s services come with some caveats. The company charges a mandatory “Tech Assure Program fee” of $12 per month, which covers service calls, technician visits, and equipment repair. While this could be seen as a form of insurance, it does add an additional cost to your monthly bill.
CenturyLink keeps it simple by offering just two internet plans: one DSL and one fiber option. If you’re deciding between the two, the fiber internet plan is the clear winner. Known as the CenturyLink Fiber Gigabit plan, it offers speeds up to 940 Mbps for $65 per month. On the other hand, the DSL option, called Simply Unlimited Internet, provides up to 100 Mbps for $50 per month. The fiber plan is not only faster but also offers better value for the price.
|Plan||Max speeds||Price||Data cap|
|Price for Life 20||20Mbps/2Mbps||$50/mo.||None|
|Price for Life 40||40Mbps/3Mbps||$50/mo.||None|
|Price for Life 60||60Mbps/5Mbps||$50/mo.||None|
|Price for Life 80||80Mbps/10Mbps||$50/mo.||None|
|Price for Life 100||100Mbps/12Mbps||$50/mo.||None|
|Price for Life 120||120Mbps/30Mbps||$50/mo.||None|
|Price for Life 140||140Mbps/40Mbps||$50/mo.||None|
One of the perks of CenturyLink is the inclusion of unlimited data caps for both plans. This means you can download, stream, and game to your heart’s content without worrying about overage charges.
CenturyLink’s pricing is also stable, meaning the price you pay when you start the service will be the same even years later. This is a significant advantage over other ISPs that often hike up the prices after the first year. Additionally, there are no contracts, giving you the flexibility to switch or cancel your service without penalties.
However, it’s worth noting that the availability of these plans can vary by location. CenturyLink’s fiber plan is currently available in 19 cities across the United States, including places like Phoenix, Arizona, and Minneapolis, Minnesota. The DSL service has broader availability but offers less value for the price.
Best AT&T Competitors For Wireless Service
As we pivot from internet service providers to the realm of wireless service, it’s essential to recognize that the landscape is equally competitive, if not more so. While AT&T has been a titan in the wireless industry, offering a range of plans and state-of-the-art smartphones, it’s far from being the only game in town. Whether you’re looking for better coverage, lower prices, or exceptional customer service, there are several alternatives that could meet or even exceed your expectations.
In this section, we’ll delve into the top competitors that give AT&T a run for its money in the wireless service sector. From nationwide carriers like Verizon and T-Mobile to smaller, more specialized providers, we’ll explore the unique features and benefits that make each of them worthy of your consideration.
Spectrum Mobile is an intriguing option for those who are already Spectrum customers. This telecommunications giant, known for its cable TV and internet services, has ventured into the mobile phone service arena. What sets Spectrum Mobile apart is its exclusive availability to existing Spectrum customers, making it a niche but potentially rewarding choice.
Starting at $77 a month, you can get an unlimited data plan along with a brand-new iPhone 14 Pro Max. The unlimited data plan is robust, offering truly unlimited data with no caps, unlimited talk and text, access to high-speed Wi-Fi hotspots, free international calling and texting to certain locations, and mobile hotspot access. At $30, Spectrum Mobile’s unlimited data plan is among the cheapest in the industry.
For those who prefer to pay for only the data they use, Spectrum Mobile offers a by-the-gig plan. This plan starts at $14 per month for unlimited talk and text and the first gigabit of data. Each additional gigabit will cost another $14. This could be an excellent option for those who use 1–3 GB of data a month.
One of the significant advantages of Spectrum Mobile is its network coverage. The service leverages Verizon Wireless’s cell phone towers, providing strong network coverage even in rural areas. However, it’s worth noting that your data speeds could be throttled during peak usage periods.
Spectrum Mobile also offers some decent perks, such as up to 5 GB of full-speed mobile hotspot data, access to 5G coverage, 2,000 free minutes of calling to Mexico and Canada, and free international texting from the U.S.
However, there are some limitations. To avail of Spectrum Mobile’s services, you must be an existing Spectrum home internet customer. If you cancel your internet subscription but wish to maintain your mobile service, you’ll be charged an extra $20 a month per line, and your Wi-Fi speeds will be reduced to 5 Mbps.
T-Mobile has come a long way from being at the bottom of the list of major cellular carriers. In fact, it might just be the best cell phone company in the industry today, especially if you’re all about high-speed data. With the acquisition of Sprint a couple of years ago, T-Mobile has significantly expanded its capabilities and offerings.
Starting with their unlimited plans, T-Mobile sets itself apart with super-high data caps. While other major carriers like AT&T and Verizon often set their caps at 50 GB per month for mid-tier unlimited plans, T-Mobile’s mid-tier Magenta plan offers a whopping 100 GB of premium data per month. But the real showstopper is the Magenta MAX plan, which has no data cap at all. That means you get truly unlimited 4G and 5G data with no throttling.
When it comes to data speeds, T-Mobile takes the crown. It boasts the fastest average 4G and 5G download speeds, making it a top choice for those who prioritize performance. This is especially beneficial for activities like streaming, gaming, or working on your phone.
T-Mobile also excels in 5G coverage. It has the fastest average 5G download speed and the highest average customer time spent connected to 5G. This puts T-Mobile ahead in the 5G race, offering a glimpse into the future of mobile technology.
But it’s not just about data and speed; T-Mobile also offers some enticing perks. With their Magenta and Magenta MAX plans, you can enjoy free Netflix and Paramount+ subscriptions, worldwide data coverage, and generous mobile hotspot data allowances.
However, T-Mobile does have some downsides, such as gaps in 4G coverage and higher costs compared to discount MVNO providers. But if you’re looking for a powerful cell phone plan and are willing to pay a bit more for premium features, T-Mobile could be the right choice for you.
If you’re looking for a wireless service that’s synonymous with extensive coverage and blazing-fast data speeds, Verizon is your go-to option. It’s a premium service, and its pricing reflects that, but what you get in return is unparalleled quality. Verizon’s plans are generally $5 to $15 more expensive than similar offerings from competitors, but the company justifies this with its top-tier network performance and speed.
Verizon offers a variety of unlimited plans, each packed with features that cater to different needs. For instance, their “Unlimited Welcome” plan is the most budget-friendly but comes with the caveat that your data speeds can be deprioritized at any time. On the other hand, the “Unlimited Plus” plan offers premium network access with no data cap, 30 GB of mobile hotspot data, and even 4K ultra HD video streaming capabilities with a compatible device.
One of the standout features of Verizon is its 5G coverage. While their “Nationwide 5G” offers slightly faster speeds than 4G LTE, their ultra-wideband 5G can deliver speeds ranging from 100–200+ Mbps, which is faster than most home broadband connections. However, this ultra-wideband 5G is only available in certain areas and on specific devices.
Verizon also offers various discounts for seniors, first responders, students, teachers, active military, and nurses. These discounts can save you at least $10 on your plan, making the service more affordable.
That said, Verizon’s customer service could use some improvement, a common issue across the cell phone industry. But if you’re looking for a wireless service that offers the best in terms of coverage and speed, Verizon is hard to beat.
Cricket Wireless is a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) that operates on AT&T’s network, making it a reliable service provider. If you’re looking to save on your cell phone bill without compromising on quality, Cricket Wireless could be a strong contender. With plans starting as low as $30 per month for 5GB of high-speed data, it offers a range of options to suit various needs and budgets.
Cricket Wireless offers four different monthly plans, and you can add up to five lines for additional discounts. The plans are as follows:
- 5GB Plan: $30 per line
- 10GB Plan: $35 per line, with discounts for additional lines
- Unlimited Plan: $50 per line, with discounts for additional lines
- Unlimited + 15GB Mobile Hotspot: $55 per line, with discounts for additional lines
All plans include unlimited talk, text, and picture messaging in the United States, as well as HD voice and Wi-Fi calling. You also get 5G access on capable devices and unlimited data at 128 Kbps after your monthly data usage limit is reached.
One of the standout features is Cricket Wireless’s unlimited plan, which is available for $25 per line with four lines. That means all four lines will get unlimited high-speed data for a total of $100. This is a competitive price for a multiline phone plan.
Cricket Wireless also offers multi-month plans that are only available online to new customers. These plans require you to prepay for 3-12 months of service at the time of purchase. For example, you can get 12 months of unlimited service for $360, which averages out to $30 per month.
When it comes to customer service, Cricket Wireless offers support via phone and online chat. The wait times for phone support can be a bit long, but the online chat option is generally quicker.
Mint Mobile is a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) that operates on T-Mobile’s network, offering a budget-friendly alternative without sacrificing quality. With plans starting at just $15 per month for 5GB of high-speed data, Mint Mobile is an attractive option for those looking to cut costs on their phone bill. However, it’s worth noting that you’ll need to pay for at least three months of service upfront.
Mint Mobile offers four different prepaid plans, and the prices vary depending on the length of the prepaid plan. You can’t purchase a Mint Mobile plan for just a single month; you’ll need to commit to three, six, or 12 months. The plans are as follows:
- 5GB Plan: $15 per month, $45 total due with new customer offer
- 15GB Plan: $20 per month, $60 total due with new customer offer
- 20GB Plan: $135 total due (presumably for multiple months)
- 40GB Plan: $30 per month, $90 total due with new customer offer
All plans include unlimited talk and text, free calling to Mexico and Canada, and 5G and 4G/LTE access. Once you hit your monthly data allotment, your data speed will be reduced, but you’ll still have access to mobile data.
One unique aspect of Mint Mobile is that it doesn’t offer discounts for multiple lines. However, you can order up to four lines at a time at full price, and all lines will be eligible for new customer savings on the three-month plans.
In terms of performance, Mint Mobile provides consistently reliable service with no dropped calls or undelivered text messages. The data speeds are also impressive, usually around 75 Mbps, making it suitable for most online activities, including streaming HD video.
Customer service is available via phone and online chat, and the wait times are relatively short. The representatives are knowledgeable and friendly, adding to the overall positive experience.
Final Verdict: Which AT&T Competitor You Should Choose
The landscape of internet and wireless service providers is vast, and choosing the right one can be a daunting task. However, if you’re considering moving away from AT&T, there are several strong AT&T competitor in both the internet and wireless sectors that offer a range of services, speeds, and pricing options.
For internet services, Frontier offers a fiber-optic network with speeds up to 5000 Mbps, making it a strong contender for those who prioritize speed. Windstream offers a variety of plans with no data caps, appealing to heavy internet users. Spectrum and Metronet offer competitive pricing and speeds, while CenturyLink provides a Price for Life guarantee, ensuring your bill won’t increase over time.
In the wireless sector, Spectrum Mobile offers a range of plans with competitive pricing and the option to mix and match data plans. T-Mobile stands out for its high-speed data and extensive 5G coverage. Verizon offers unparalleled network performance and speed but comes with a premium price tag. Cricket Wireless is a budget-friendly option with reliable coverage, and Mint Mobile offers the most flexible pricing with prepaid plans.
So, which AT&T competitor should you choose? The answer depends on your specific needs:
- For Speed: Frontier for internet and T-Mobile for wireless.
- For Budget: Cricket Wireless for wireless and Windstream for internet.
- For Flexibility: Mint Mobile for wireless and Spectrum for internet.
- For Reliability: Verizon for wireless and CenturyLink for internet.
Each of these AT&T competitor has its own set of advantages and disadvantages, but they all offer strong alternatives to AT&T’s services. Take the time to assess your needs, compare plans, and read customer reviews to make an informed decision.