9 August, 2022

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Home » AT&T vs. Optimum: Which Web Supplier Ought to Earn Your Cash?

AT&T vs. Optimum: Which Web Supplier Ought to Earn Your Cash?

Proper off the bat, I’ve to admit that I wasn’t even positive what to name...

Proper off the bat, I’ve to admit that I wasn’t even positive what to name this text. It was initially going to be AT&T versus Suddenlink. However then the latter’s mother or father firm, Altice USA, introduced it will be rebranding Suddenlink. So, ought to it’s AT&T versus Altice USA? I might wager that almost all of CNET’s readers are extra acquainted with Altice’s Optimum and Suddenlink manufacturers than with Altice itself. Since Suddenlink will probably be transitioning to Optimum this 12 months, I’ve determined to go along with AT&T versus Optimum. Nonetheless, remember that on the Optimum aspect, I will be together with the areas and areas that Suddenlink is at the moment servicing.

Okay, with that established, now that we have determined to pit AT&T and Optimum house web companies in opposition to one another, what precisely are we evaluating? AT&T is likely one of the titans of the telecom business, with broadband companies obtainable to roughly 40% of properties in 21 states throughout the US. Optimum additionally presents house web to subscribers throughout 21 states, so it is no slouch, both.

AT&T Web presents fiber-optic web service, in addition to DSL and fixed-wireless choices. Optimum plans are largely cable web, however with a rising variety of fiber web tiers too. Every firm’s fiber plans will give clients essentially the most worth. We’ll see that there is some overlap between their respective protection maps, so in some circumstances, you can be confronted with a selection between them when looking for an web service supplier. 

Moreover, we’ll examine plans, costs, promos and extra to see which ISP may swimsuit your house finest. Let’s dive in deeper to know how they match up. 

Sarah Tew/CNET

Let’s begin with AT&T’s benefits over Optimum: larger total availability and a extra intensive fiber community all through its footprint. AT&T has publicly dedicated to boosting its fiber attain over the following few years, committing to protecting no less than 30 million clients by the tip of 2025. Presently, it is obtainable to only over 17 million households in contrast with Optimum’s 1 million.

As for the service itself, AT&T Fiber has no gear price and no knowledge cap and requires no long-term contract. It options symmetrical obtain and add speeds and in addition boasts some first rate perks, together with rewards playing cards and free HBO Max.

The place does it fall brief? Many shoppers inside AT&T’s radius will solely have entry to its DSL service, which is inferior to the efficiency of cable web. Additionally, AT&T DSL plans have an information cap.

Learn our AT&T house web evaluation.


Sarah Tew/CNET

Optimum goals to maintain issues easy with quick speeds and stable worth throughout its three foremost tiers — 300Mbps, 500Mbps and 1 gigabit. Like AT&T, it does not cost an extra gear rental price, require a time period settlement or implement knowledge caps. It additionally options fiber plans in a few of its markets, although not as extensively as AT&T.

As for Optimum’s shortcomings, its promo costs are legitimate for simply the primary 12 months of service. After that time, your month-to-month charges will rise (and, in some circumstances, fairly precipitously). Additionally, Optimum falls effectively wanting AT&T concerning buyer satisfaction scores — whereas AT&T is commonly close to the highest in varied surveys, Optimum tends to fall close to the very backside.

Learn our Optimum house web evaluation.


AT&T vs. Optimum: Availability and protection map

The protection map for AT&T (orange) appears to overwhelm Optimum’s availability (in blue). Whereas there’s some overlap between the 2, it’s also possible to see neither one blankets the nation.


On the high of the web page, I discussed that each AT&T and Optimum can be found in 21 states throughout the US. However one look on the above map from the Federal Communications Fee exhibits that AT&T covers extra individuals. In truth, based on the FCC’s numbers, AT&T is out there to only over 40% of the nation, whereas Optimum reaches practically 6% throughout the nation. 

Once you take a peek at among the precise areas coated by the 2 ISPs, Optimum has Arizona, Idaho, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia and the northeastern Tri-State space — Connecticut, New Jersey and New York (together with New York Metropolis) — all to itself. AT&T, alternatively, does not must compete with Optimum in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, South Carolina, Tennessee and Wisconsin.

The place is there some crossover? Each AT&T and Optimum present companies in Arkansas, California, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma and Texas.     

All that mentioned, whereas each contact an analogous variety of states, AT&T can declare extra widespread availability to clients throughout the US.

Evaluate AT&T and Optimum plans and costs

AT&T and Optimum every present quite a lot of web connection varieties. AT&T options DSL, fiber and stuck wi-fi choices, whereas Optimum presents cable and fiber plans. Let’s discover a bit extra to see how they examine. 

AT&T plans and pricing

Plan Max speeds Promo worth (first 12 months) Common month-to-month price (after 12 months) Tools price Knowledge Cap
AT&T Mounted Wi-fi 25Mbps obtain, 1Mpbs add $70 $70 None 350GB
AT&T Web 10 (DSL) 10Mbps obtain, 1Mpbs add $55 $70 None 1TB
AT&T Web 18 (DSL) 18Mbps obtain, 1Mpbs add $55 $70 None 1TB
AT&T Web 25 (DSL) 25Mbps obtain, 2Mpbs add $55 $70 None 1TB
AT&T Web 50 (DSL) 50Mbps obtain, 10Mpbs add $55 $70 None 1TB
AT&T Web 100 (DSL) 100Mbps obtain, 20Mpbs add $55 $70 None None
AT&T Fiber – Web 300 300Mbps obtain, 300Mpbs add $55 $55 None None
AT&T Fiber – Web 500 500Mbps obtain, 500Mpbs add $65 $65 None None
AT&T Fiber – Web 1000 940Mbps obtain, 880Mpbs add $80 $80 None None
AT&T Fiber – Web 2000 2Gbps obtain, 2Gbps add $110 $110 None None
AT&T Fiber – Web 5000 5Gbps obtain, 5Gbps add $180 $180 None None

Optimum plans and pricing

Plan Max speeds Beginning month-to-month worth Common month-to-month worth (after 12 months) Month-to-month gear price Knowledge cap Contract
Optimum 300 300Mbps obtain, 20Mbps add $40 $110 None None None
Fiber Optimum 300 300Mbps obtain, 300Mbps add $40 $110 None None None
Optimum 500 500Mbps obtain, 20Mbps add $60 $130 None None None
Fiber Optimum 500 500Mbps obtain, 500Mbps add $60 $130 None None None
Optimum 1 Gig 940Mbps obtain, 35Mbps add $80 $140 None None None
Fiber Optimum 1 Gig 940Mbps obtain, 940Mbps add $80 $140 None None None

I can really feel your ache in case you’re feeling data overload for the time being. Let’s have a look at what we are able to do to simplify issues. All of Optimum’s choices are higher than AT&T’s DSL and stuck wi-fi choices. You get higher obtain and add speeds and will not must cope with limiting knowledge caps. 

However as soon as we begin wanting on the 300Mbps tiers and above, it turns into a win for AT&T. Initially, fiber web all the time outperforms cable web connections. Fiber connections characteristic symmetrical obtain and add speeds (cable web has a lot slower add speeds than obtain speeds). Now, Optimum options some fiber plans too. In response to what a spokesperson advised CNET earlier, they’re obtainable to only over 1,000,000 clients. However AT&T, out of its first-quarter reporting for 2022, says roughly 17 million of its clients are eligible for fiber

Moreover, with regards to price, AT&T has the sting. Whereas AT&T and Optimum are nearly equal on beginning costs for comparable velocity plans, AT&T’s worth is the value. There is no steep soar after your first 12 months of service, as is lurking with Optimum’s plans. To be honest, many ISPs take the identical method as Optimum and provide you with an alluring worth out of the gate however bump up your invoice quantity after 12 months. I admire that AT&T takes a unique method, and I believe your family price range will welcome that predictability.  

AT&T vs. Optimum: Phrases and charges

Let me minimize to the chase: Each AT&T and Optimum seem to goal to do proper by their clients by minimizing the additional prices and charges. For instance, neither supplier requires a time period settlement, so there is no concern of early termination charges. Let’s take a peek at different phrases and circumstances you may encounter. 

No month-to-month modem charges 

That is pretty current information. At first of 2022, each AT&T and Optimum charged an extra $10 monthly for gear. Even worse, AT&T did not provide you with an opportunity to skip that price through the use of your personal gear. Nonetheless, efficient instantly, each suppliers have trashed their earlier charges and now embrace gateway units (modem or router) within the month-to-month price. That is nice information.

One-time set up price 

Optimum has the cheaper setup cost, which runs $59, however is included in case you order on-line. Equally, AT&T will waive its set up cost — a better, $99 price — if clients order on-line.

No knowledge caps to concern, for essentially the most half 

All Optimum clients get limitless knowledge with all plans. That eliminates any worries about potential knowledge overage charges or throttling points to hinder the efficiency of your broadband connection. The identical will be mentioned with most AT&T plans, besides the DSL and stuck wi-fi choices. These are nonetheless burdened with knowledge caps, sadly. Prospects will probably be charged an additional $10 for every further 50GB of knowledge used monthly, as much as $100 monthly (or $200 monthly for mounted wi-fi clients). Chalk this one up as a win for Optimum.

HBO Max logo on a mobile phone screen

HBO Max performs a component in each suppliers’ promo packages, although AT&T’s quickest tiers provide the streamer at no cost for so long as you may have your plan.

Sarah Tew/CNET

AT&T vs. Optimum: Perks and promos

Each Optimum and AT&T supply some engaging promos to attempt to lure potential clients. HBO Max, specifically, performs a component in each suppliers’ choices.

First, Optimum presents new clients a Visa Pay as you go Card, starting from $50 to $200, relying on the tier you choose. Second, new clients have a possibility so as to add two or extra strains of Optimum Cell for the lowered price of $30 monthly. Third, an HBO Max subscription (a worth of $15 a month) is included for wherever from three months (for subscribers of the bottom, 300Mbps tier) to a full 12 months (Gig clients).

AT&T additionally comes robust with the perks. To start out, clients who join on-line will obtain a $150 AT&T Visa Reward Card. Subsequent up, new fiber clients will get free entry to AT&T’s nationwide community of 30,000 hotspots. Lastly, all AT&T fiber clients with gigabit velocity or above will get a free HBO Max subscription for so long as they continue to be with the service. That is a stable worth of $180 a 12 months during your time as an AT&T buyer. 

American Buyer Satisfaction Index

AT&T vs. Optimum on buyer satisfaction — it isn’t even shut

Let’s begin right here: ISPs are lifeless final amongst all industries for buyer satisfaction. Nonetheless, inside that context, AT&T fares fairly effectively throughout the class, whereas Optimum has some work to do. 

AT&T appeared close to the highest of the charts in JD Energy’s 2021 US Residential Web Service Supplier Satisfaction Research. It shone brightly in two areas — the North Central and South — and had a median rating of 738 out of 1,000 potential factors. Optimum was second-to-last within the East area with 655 factors, which was effectively beneath the general common of 714. It fared even worse within the South (underneath the banner of Suddenlink), the place it garnered solely 621 factors. 

Over on the American Buyer Satisfaction Index, the newest metrics present AT&T in third place, with 69 out of 100 factors. Whereas that is down 3% from the earlier 12 months, it is nonetheless effectively above the business common. Conversely, Optimum fell far wanting the business common and, at 59 factors, it snagged a spot on the backside of the ACSI chart. The one ISP beneath it was Suddenlink, which, as we talked about on the very begin of this text, is definitely Optimum now. Ouch.

AT&T vs. Optimum: What is the backside line?

In actuality, though there’s some crossover within the states they cowl, AT&T and Optimum will not usually go head-to-head on your {dollars}. Each suppliers are increasing their fiber footprints, although AT&T, because the bigger firm, is rising extra aggressively. In case your deal with is serviceable for both of their fiber web choices, you are going to get a great product. However Optimum’s looming worth improve after 12 months signifies that you will get the larger worth in the long term from AT&T.

AT&T vs. Optimum FAQs

Is Optimum cheaper than AT&T?

For essentially the most half, Optimum’s beginning costs are cheaper than comparable AT&T plans. For instance, Optimum’s 300Mbps plan begins at $40 monthly, whereas AT&T’s 300Mbps is $55 month-to-month. Optimum’s 500Mbps plan begins $5 cheaper than AT&T’s. The gigabit plans begin even, each priced at $80 monthly. Nonetheless, after 12 months, when Optimum’s charges improve, AT&T turns into cheaper throughout all plans.

Does AT&T supply sooner speeds than Optimum?

Extra extensively, sure. AT&T presents multi-gigabit speeds — 2Gbps and 5Gbps — to only over 5 million clients throughout its footprint in over 70 completely different cities. Optimum at the moment presents those self same multi-gig plans solely to elements of Lengthy Island, New York. Nonetheless, each suppliers supply gigabit plans to nearly all of their clients.

Are AT&T and Optimum the identical firm?

No. Optimum Cell does use the AT&T community. However AT&T is a telecommunications firm that gives broadband and cellular companies, whereas Optimum is owned by Altice USA, itself one of many largest communications firms within the nation.