HighSpeedteck.com uses our proprietary data and expert insights to compare these internet service titans.
Best speeds for the price
- Customer rating: 3.8
- Price: $55.00–$180.00/mo.
- Speed: 25–5,000 Mbps
- Internet type: Fiber, DSL, fixed wireless
- Data cap: Unlimited (for fiber); 350 GB/mo. (fixed wireless); 1 TB for speeds 75 Mbps and under
- Contract: Month to month
Best availability and budget packages
- Price: $49.99–$109.99/mo.
- Speed: 100–1,000 Mbps
- Internet type: Cable
- Data cap: 1.25 TB
Compare AT&T and Cox head to head
AT&T is ideal for customers who want fast speeds and a decent deal. Its best plan gives you 300 Mbps speeds for $55 per month, but you can pay a lot more for obscenely fast multigigabit speeds. Like AT&T, Cox also offers 1 gig speeds, but where it really shines is with its lower-priced plans. Cox budget packages are great if you don’t need the fastest speeds (and most people don’t). Just watch out for the price hikes that kick in after 12 months.
Pros and cons: AT&T vs. Cox
- Unlimited data on most plans
- Lots of fiber plans
- Excellent bundles with DIRECTV
- Limited fiber availability
- Limits on data use for fixed wireless plans
- Top-rated customer service
- Lots of bundle options
- Data caps on all plans
- Huge price hikes after 12 months
Plans and pricing: AT&T vs. Cox
AT&T offers a range of internet plans over fiber-optic, DSL, and fixed wireless connections. The fiber plans give you the best deal, but they’re also harder to come by. Cox provides cable internet at multiple tiers, from a cheap 25 Mbps plan to more expensive gigabit service.
Not sure what sort of plan you’re looking for? Use our How Much Speed Do I Need tool to get an idea of the kind of internet speed you’ll want based on what you do and how many people share your Wi-Fi.
AT&T plans and pricing
|AT&T Internet Up to 75 Mbps||$55.00/mo.*||Up to 75 Mbps|
|AT&T Internet 100||$55.00/mo.*||Up to 100 Mbps|
|AT&T Internet 300||$55.00/mo.*||300 Mbps|
|AT&T Internet 500||$65.00/mo.*||500 Mbps|
|AT&T 1G Internet||$80.00/mo.*||1,000 Mbps†|
|AT&T 2G Internet||$110.00/mo.*||2,000 Mbps†|
|AT&T 5G Internet||$180.00/mo.*||5,000 Mbps†|
|AT&T Fixed Wireless Internet||$59.99/mo.||25 Mbps|
*Plus taxes. Price after $5/mo Autopay & Paperless bill discount (w/in 2 bills). Monthly State Cost Recovery Charge in TX, OH, NV applies.
†Internet speed claims represent maximum network service capability speeds and based on wired connection to gateway. 1GIG speeds avail. to new customers with the latest router (“BGW320”) and recommended setup. For 5 GIG speed, single device wired speed maximum 4.7 Gbps. Actual customer speeds may vary based on a number of factors and are not guaranteed. For more information, go to www.att.com/speed101.
AT&T has a bunch of fiber internet plans, with speeds going up to a startling 5 Gbps—that’s the fastest possible speed you can get from any major internet provider anywhere in the United States. Do you need 5 Gbps speeds? Honestly, probably not.
You can’t do much better than $55 per month for the 300 Mbps plan. That’s an incredibly fast speed, ideal for a household of several people, and it’s not too shabby of a price either. Plus, you can always cancel your plan without facing early termination fees (ETFs).
If you live in a rural area, you can get AT&T’s Fixed Wireless Internet, which is designed for internet users living in places where few internet options are available.
Curious to know more about fixed wireless internet? Read our fixed wireless guide for details on how much it costs and where you can get it.
Xfinity plans and pricing
Cox plans and pricing
|Internet Essential 100||$49.99/mo. for 12 mos.||100 Mbps||View Plans|
|Internet Preferred 250||$59.99/mo. for 12 mos.||250 Mbps||View Plans|
|Internet Ultimate 500||$69.99/mo. for 12 mos.||500 Mbps||View Plans|
|Internet Gigablast||$109.99/mo.||1,000 Mbps||View Plans|
*for 12 months with 1-yr. term agreement
Cox’s cable packages all come with fairly steep price hikes after one year of service. That said, if you don’t need superfast internet speeds, Cox can still give you a good deal. Also, you’ll likely have an easier time getting a cable plan through Cox than getting a fiber plan from AT&T, making the fastest speeds more accessible.
Not sure what kind of speeds you need? Take our speed test to find out how fast your current internet is as a base of comparison.
*For the first 12 months with a 1-year agreement.
**With a 2-year agreement.
Xfinity’s prices and plans vary slightly depending on the region you’re in. But wherever you are, you’ll get fast speeds and a range of price options. You won’t get the excellent upload speeds of AT&T’s fiber plans, but you can still get great performance and save some money by springing for one of the cheaper plans.
But if you want some serious speed, Xfinity might cost you more. Its gigabit plan costs more than AT&T’s similar plan (in some markets), and generally you could end up paying more for faster speeds on Xfinity.
Xfinity used to get bragging rights for its 2,000 Mbps Gigabit Pro plan—once tying with Google Fiber’s 2 Gig plan for the fastest home internet plan in America. But now AT&T gets that honor with its 5 Gbps plan, which actually costs quite a bit less and gives you more than twice the speed.
Deals and Promotions: AT&T vs. Cox
Get a $150 or $200 reward card when you sign up for a fiber internet plan. The 300 Mbps and 500 Mbps plans come with a $150 reward card and the gigabit plans include a $200 reward card.
Get free installation with one of Cox’s several TV and internet bundling options.
Extra fees: AT&T vs. Cox
|Equipment Fee||Installation Fee||Other Fees|
|AT&T||$10.00/mo.||Up to $99 (professional installation) or $35 (self-install kit)||$15/mo. (early termination), $5 (late payment)|
|Cox||$12.00/mo.||Starts at $25 (professional installation) or $20 (self-install kit)||$10/mo. (early termination), late fees based on state laws and regulations|
Data as of 10/25/21. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
AT&T and Cox both charge hefty fees for a professional installation, but you can opt for a self-install option to help ease the bill.
As for equipment, for a monthly fee your provider will give you everything you need to get online after you sign up. This includes a modem, a router, and a cable box or DVR if you get TV service.
The nice thing about included equipment is it’s guaranteed to work with your service, and if you run into trouble, it’ll be covered by your provider. AT&T charges $10 per month for a router and modem, while Cox has a $12 per month rental fee for its Panoramic Wifi Gateway (a modem/router combo).
Pro tip: Use your own router
Most providers will allow you to use your own equipment and skip the rental fees if you like—there are lots of options out there.
This can be nice if you like customizing your equipment. For example, if you need something faster, check out a powerhouse like the Linksys EA7500. If you need more range, grab one of our recommended long-range routers for whole-home coverage.
Amazon.com Price (as of 4/26/21 10:15 MST). See full disclaimer.
Customer ratings: AT&T vs. Cox
|Overall Rating||Reliability Rating||Customer Service Rating||Speed Rating||Price Rating|
Rankings from HighSpeedInternet.com’s annual customer satisfaction survey.
AT&T and Cox ranked second and fourth respectively in our annual customer satisfaction report. Customers scored them similarly in reliability and speed, but Cox customers are slightly more satisfied with their customer service than AT&T customers. Both AT&T and Cox received their lowest scores in the price category, but AT&T edged out Cox with a 3.5 satisfaction score compared to Cox’s 3.3.
It’s worth noting that AT&T’s fiber internet customers gave higher ratings in every category compared to the ISP’s DSL customers, especially in the speed and customer service categories. Overall, AT&T fiber customers rated it 3.8, but it’s DSL score is 3.6. So customers actually rated AT&T fiber first, then Cox, and finally AT&T DSL.
Neither ISP has glaring faults—both ranked in the top half of 12 in every category. You’ll probably get satisfactory service from either one. But numbers-wise, AT&T has happier customers.
Best TV and internet bundles
|Package||Internet speed||TV channels||Price||Details|
|Cox Internet Essential + Contour Starter||100 Mbps||75+||$115.99/mo.||View Plans|
|Cox Internet Ultimate + Contour Preferred||500 Mbps||140+||$190.99/mo.||View Plans|
for 12 mos. w/ 1-yr. term agrmt.
It makes a lot of sense to bundle your internet and TV with one provider. Not only will you get a simpler bill, but also you’ll usually get a better deal.
Cox offers bundles with its own cable TV service,. Contour is a solid all-around TV service with a good channel selection. There are cheaper bundling options available with Cox Counter Stream Player, which gives you streaming TV service instead of wired cable TV. If you want to bundle a Cox internet plan with cable TV, you can pair any of the Cox internet plans (100-1,000 Mbps) with any Cox TV plan (75-250 channels).
But you won’t be able to get a bundle package from AT&T. You used to be able to bundle AT&T internet with DIRECTV and AT&T TV, but those offers are no longer available.
Internet connection types: AT&T vs. Cox
|AT&T||Fiber, fixed wireless|
AT&T primarily offers fiber-optic internet, but it also has fixed-wireless connections for rural customers. Cox’s network is built on cable lines. In terms of speed and reliability, fiber is by far the best—AT&T can get you up to 5 Gbps speeds for downloads and uploads. That’s the fastest internet plan ever from a major provider.
Cable is also fast and reliable. But while Cox can get you 1,000 Mbps download speeds, your upload speeds will generally be much slower. Keep that in mind if you plan to do upload-intensive tasks like uploading content to social media, hosting livestreams, or attending Zoom meetings.
Not sure what kind of internet you have? You can get more information by reading our guide to internet connection types.
AT&T vs. Cox: Data caps
|AT&T||Unlimited for fiber plans; 1 TB for speeds up to 75 Mbps; 350 GB for fixed wireless|
|Cox||1.25 TB||View Plans|
AT&T has no data caps for customers on its fiber internet plans. AT&T’s fixed wireless package has a relatively small 350 GB data cap.
Cox gives all of its customers a 1.25 TB data cap. That’s going to be plenty for most users, though heavy streamers may run into some trouble.
AT&T vs. Cox: Contracts
|AT&T||None for fiber plans or AT&T TV|
|Cox||1 yr., month-to-month option for $10.00/mo. extra||View Plans|
You won’t need to worry about an annual contract if you sign up with AT&T—all of its internet plans go month to month, so you can cancel any time without worrying about an early termination fee.
Cox gives you the option between signing up for a one-year contract or paying $10 a month extra for a month-to-month option. The early termination fee on the annual contract is $10 for each month you have left on your bill. So, you’ll save a little money by signing a contract, but you might have to pay up in the end if you cancel before it’s over.
AT&T vs. Cox: Installation
|AT&T||Up to $49.00; free self-installation kit|
|Cox||$100.00; free for self-installation kit||View Plans|
Data as of 11/16/2021. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
AT&T and Cox both charge hefty fees for a professional installation, but there are a few tricks to help ease the bill. AT&T offers a free self-install kit, so you don’t have to pay $49 for professional installation.
Cox charges $100 for professional installation of its internet service, but you can get a self-installation kit at no extra charge.
AT&T vs. Cox: Availability
AT&T and Cox both offer service in a similar number of states: twenty-one states for AT&T and eighteen for Cox. AT&T tends to have more coverage overall, with wider availability in each state.
To find out if you can get either of these providers, type in your zip code below to see if they’re available in your area.
Final call: AT&T vs. Cox
We think AT&T’s fiber service is the best bet out of what you get from these two providers. It gives you faster speeds and a more reliable connection type compared to Cox’s plans.
The catch? AT&T Fiber is a lot harder to come by than Cox’s cable internet. If you want cheap internet, then a lower-tier Cox plan may be just what you need.
Our HighSpeedTeck.com editorial team bases our analyses on customer input from our annual customer satisfaction survey, results from our speed test tool, and proprietary internet provider data on speeds and pricing. To strengthen our research, we look closely at provider contracts to get hard-to-find information on price hikes, data caps, and extra fees, and we keep tabs on the latest news reports and online reviews. When applicable, we also rely on our personal experiences testing these services.
- Your Guide to AT&T Internet Installation
- AT&T vs. CenturyLink
- Cox vs. Frontier
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