AT&T vs. Mediacom
HighSpeedteck.com uses our proprietary data and expert insights to compare these internet service titans.
Best for families
- Plans start at $55.00/mo.
- Offers affordable family plans
- Delivers great performance over fiber
- High prices on the fastest plans
Best for high data caps
- Plans start at $49.99/mo.
- High data caps
- Flexible month-to-month contracts
- Massive price hikes
AT&T offers fiber plans with incredibly fast speeds at a good price. With a relatively high ranking in customer satisfaction nationwide, AT&T is a good choice for most people.
Mediacom gives you a lot of choices for speed. And with no annual contract, you’re never stuck with a plan that’s not working for you. But although the upper-tier plans have a low initial cost, it lasts for only the first year, after which they are subject to some absolutely brutal price hikes that can have you paying around twice as much for the same plan.
AT&T vs. Mediacom internet
TYPE OF SERVICE
TYPE OF SERVICE
100 Mbps–1,000 Mbps (1 Gbps)
AT&T vs. Mediacom packages and pricing
Both AT&T and Mediacom have a lot of the same perks and a lot of the same drawbacks. Both of them offer a lot of choices in terms of plans, but both have a lot of hidden costs buried in the fine print.
The differences between the two are subtle but important. Let’s take a closer look at them side by side.
|AT&T Internet up to 100||$55.00/mo.*||Up to 100 Mbps||DSL|
|AT&T Fixed Wireless Internet||$59.99/mo.||25 Mbps||Fixed wireless|
|Internet 300||$55.00/mo.†||300 Mbps||Fiber|
|Internet 500||$65.00/mo.†||500 Mbps||Fiber|
|1G Internet||$80.00/mo.†||1,000 Mbps‡||Fiber|
|2G Internet||$110.00/mo.†||2,000 Mbps‡||Fiber|
|5G Internet||$180.00/mo.†||5,000 Mbps‡||Fiber|
*for 12 mos, plus taxes & equip fee. $10/mo equip fee applies. Incl 1TB data/mo. $10 chrg for each add’l 50GB (up to $100/mo).
†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 some really affordable packages that offer a lot of speed—you can even get an insanely fast 5,000 Mbps plan for the fastest internet speeds in the country. You can cancel any time on a fiber plan without worrying about early termination fees.
Another important point is that while AT&T is available in many areas, very few of these areas are wired for its fiber connections. If you’re looking only at its slower DSL plans, suddenly its selection of packages isn’t quite as enticing.
|Package||Price††||Speed*||Internet type||Data cap|
|Internet 100||$49.99/mo.||100 Mbps||Cable||1,000 GB|
|1Gig||$79.99/mo.||1,000 Mbps (1 Gbps)||Cable||6,000 GB|
*Speed varies by service area.
††Plus, activation, installation and monthly modem rental fees.
Mediacom’s biggest attraction is its rock-bottom prices on its basic internet plan (at least at first) combined with its huge data allowances on its more expensive plans. Its wide selection of plans allows you avoid wasting money on unnecessary features by choosing the precise speed that you need—at least to begin with.
As with AT&T, the devil’s in the details. Many of the plans go up in cost after the first year, and some continue to increase after that. Its 1Gig plan, which is a bit pricey to begin with, can be almost double the monthly cost after a few years.
Fortunately, unlike AT&T, Mediacom doesn’t lock you into an annual contract, which means that you can bail at any time. Its cable network is also a lot more reliable than DSL, which is another big advantage.
While a 6,000 GB data cap is probably one of the highest you’re ever going to see, it’s worth remembering that many providers offer unlimited data plans at much lower prices.
AT&T offers unlimited data in bundled plans, but unlimited data can also be purchased separately for those who only want to sign up for internet service. This can be a substantial price increase, especially if you’re using one of AT&T’s lower-cost plans, but it still comes out to much less than you would be paying for Mediacom’s top-tier plans.
AT&T vs. Mediacom: Who has the fastest internet speed?
AT&T wins the speed race with 5 G Internet, a fiber-optic plan that gives you 5,000 Mbps download speeds. No other major internet provider in the country can get you speeds that fast—it’s truly a record breaker. But it’s also an expensive plan, and most internet users will be just fine with 1,000 Mbps speeds or less.
Both AT&T and Mediacom offer plans with 1,000 Mbps (1 Gbps) download speeds. AT&T’s is the same price but more reliable, with the added benefit that it gives you gigabit upload speeds—something you won’t get from a cable provider like Mediacom.
Although Mediacom’s cable internet can sometimes match the speed of a fiber network, cable connections share bandwidth with your neighbors, which means that you won’t always get the gigabit speeds you pay for.
Cable is, however, much faster and more reliable than DSL, so in areas where AT&T is offering only DSL connections, Mediacom reigns supreme in terms of dependable speeds.
Test your speed:
Curious to see how fast your internet connection is right now? Use our speed test to find out.
AT&T offers both fiber and DSL plans. Fiber is the best internet connection available because it’s both fast and reliable. It also offers symmetrical upload speeds, which means that if you stream video or upload large files, those uploads will benefit from the same gigabit speeds that your downloads do.
The only real downside is that fiber networks are still available only in a very limited number of places.
DSL hits a max speed of only 100 Mbps, and depending on the distance between your house and the provider, it could be much less than that. Nowadays, phone lines are often laid with DSL in mind, which can improve speeds, but DSL is still one of the slower options for broadband internet.
Mediacom offers only one type of internet: cable. Its cable speeds can vary between 100 Mbps to 1,000 Mbps, with its top speeds rivaling those of fiber networks. The downside of cable networks is that they can get bogged down at peak usage times, so if you and your neighbors are all hoping to enjoy some HD videos after work, you could be disappointed.
Despite these drawbacks, cable is still much faster and more reliable than DSL, often making it the best choice in areas without fiber coverage.
AT&T vs. Mediacom fees and contracts
Nobody likes surprises when they’re paying their bills, and both of these providers have a lot of hidden fees tucked away in their fine print. Here’s a roadmap to help you navigate through these unexpected costs.
|Modem rental||$10||Learn more|
|Declined payment||Up to $30||Learn more|
|Late fee||Up to $10||Learn more|
|Cancellation fee||$180 (prorated ETF)||Learn more|
|Taxes||Cost may vary||Learn more|
Data as of 4/28/2020.
AT&T has a lot of upfront costs, but it does allow you to install your equipment yourself, so professional installation is optional. Its cancellation fees are also prorated, so you won’t necessarily have to pay the full amount if you decide to cancel your contract.
|Modem rental||$11.50/mo.||Learn more|
|Declined payment||Cost may vary||Learn more|
|Late fees||Up to $10.00||Learn more|
|Cancellation fee||$120.00–$240.00||Learn more|
|Taxes||Cost may vary||Learn more|
Data as of 4/28/2020.
Mediacom requires professional installation, so you can’t install it yourself. Fortunately, if you order online, it’ll waive your installation fee.
One of the big advantages of going with Mediacom is that you can typically avoid the annual contracts that you get with AT&T, which can be a lifesaver once those price hikes hit you. If you do sign a contract with Mediacom for a year or more, make sure you don’t do it lightly, as the early termination fees are pretty steep.
Mediacom offers bundled packages with internet, TV, and phone all in one. Bundling your internet plan can save you money by giving you lower monthly prices, but it can also end up costing you money if you don’t read the fine print.
AT&T used to offer bundles with DIRECTV or AT&T TV, but those offers are no longer available. You can still get DIRECTV or DIRECTV STREAM—a streaming-based TV service that replaces AT&T TV. But you’ll need to order them as separate services, so you won’t get a deal on price.
Mediacom also provides bundles with TV service, offering over 170 channels. As with its standard internet service, its bundled plans go up in price not just after the first year but every year until you hit the standard rate.
That means that if you go with their Xtream Silver 200 plan, you’ll be paying $199.98 a month after four years. Fortunately, you don’t have an annual contract, so you can change your mind at any time.
AT&T’s internet plans come with no annual contracts, so you can cancel any time. Mediacom does monthly contracts, which makes it much easier to switch providers without incurring penalties.
Both AT&T and Mediacom have a lot of hidden fees to tiptoe around, but we prefer Mediacom’s month-to-month plans that give you the flexibility to hopefully avoid most of them.
AT&T vs. Mediacom equipment
Renting a modem and router
Renting your equipment from your provider saves a lot of time and hassle. Additionally, some of the features of bundled plans, such as on-demand video, require specialized equipment that you can get only from your provider.
Both AT&T and Mediacom have very low monthly equipment rental fees, which also makes this an attractive option. If you plan on staying with the same provider for two years or more, buying the equipment will probably save you money in the long run, but it also makes it more difficult for you to switch providers, as you’ll end up buying a new router every time you switch.
We recommend using your provider’s equipment. It will be faster and easier to resolve tech issues, and you won’t have to deal with connection cutoffs and other glitches that may come when you’re using something that the company isn’t already familiar with.
Buying a modem and router
You can buy a modem and router yourself if you’d prefer to pick something that’s up to your personal specifications. Owning your router gives you more control over security settings and advanced features. It’s also helpful if you’d like to boost your Wi-Fi signal to a wider reach.
AT&T vs. Mediacom customer service
AT&T outperformed Mediacom by a significant margin in our customer satisfaction survey. Customers rated AT&T near the middle in all categories (except installation, where it ranked much higher), while Mediacom’s results ranged more in the middle.
Here are some key points from the survey data.
Installation and setup
Installation fee: $99.00 (Pro install)
Installation type: Pro and self-install
Installation fee: $99.99 (free with online signup)
Installation type: Pro install
Both Mediacom and AT&T offer professional installation for a similar price. The biggest difference between the two is that AT&T offers a self-installation option, which means if you’ve got a bit of tech savvy, you might be able to save yourself a decent amount of upfront cost.
Overall customer satisfaction rating:
Overall customer satisfaction rating:
AT&T was one of the higher-ranked internet service providers in our customer satisfaction survey, taking sixth place overall. Mediacom, on the other hand, fell in the middle of the pack nationwide.
This was similar to customer responses in the 2019 J.D Power Survey, where AT&T was ranked “among the best,” while Mediacom was down at the bottom of “the rest.”