AT&T vs. Optimum: Which Internet Provider Is Best for You?

Both have insanely fast fiber, but AT&T wins with great ratings and straight pricing.

  • Best customer ratings
    • Customer rating: 3.7/5.0
    • Price: $55.00–$180.00/mo.*
    • Speed: 1–5,000 Mbps
    • Internet type: Fiber, DSL, fixed wireless
    • Data cap: None
  • Best introductory rates
    • Customer rating: 3.5/5.0
    • Price: $30.00–$180.00/mo.
    • Speed: 300–5,000 Mbps
    • Internet type: Fiber, cable
    • Data cap: None

Compare AT&T and Optimum head to head

AT&T and Optimum look fairly similar on paper—both offer multigig fiber packages and no-contract plans. But AT&T takes the lead thanks to its excellent customer satisfaction ratings and straightforward pricing, while Optimum suffers because of its steep price hikes.

Pros and cons: AT&T vs. Optimum

Pros:

  • Simple pricing with no hidden price hikes
  • Wider fiber availability

Cons:

  • Slow speeds on DSL
  • Data caps on fixed wireless plan

Pros:

  • Low introductory prices
  • Multigigabit speeds

Cons:

  • Huge price hikes after 12 months
  • Limited availability

Want to know if AT&T or Optimum are in your area? Take a look by typing in your zip code below.

Plans and pricing: AT&T vs. Optimum

AT&T is best known for its fiber plans—which are extremely fast and affordable—but it also has DSL and fixed wireless plans that are better for rural customers. Optimum’s cable and fiber plans deliver speeds similar to AT&T’s fiber plans. Introductory prices are lower than AT&T’s, but they jump much higher after a year of service.

AT&T plans and pricing

PackagePriceSpeedConnection typeOrder online
AT&T Internet up to 100 Mbps$55.00/mo.**Up to 100 MbpsDSL
AT&T Fixed Wireless Internet$59.99/mo.#Up to 25 MbpsFixed Wireless
AT&T Internet 100$55.00/mo.*100 MbpsFiber
AT&T Fiber Internet 300$55.00/mo.*300 MbpsFiber
AT&T Fiber Internet 500$65.00/mo.*500 MbpsFiber
AT&T 1G Internet$80.00/mo.*1,000 MbpsFiber
AT&T 2G Internet$110.00/mo.*2,000 MbpsFiber
AT&T 5G Internet$180.00/mo.*5,000 MbpsFiber

AT&T and Optimum are pretty much neck and neck when it comes to top speeds—both providers boast fiber plans reaching all the way up to 5,000 Mbps. Optimum initially looks like the better pick because its prices are lower. But you actually get a better deal from AT&T in the long run because you don’t have to worry about huge price hikes that kick in after a year, as you would with Optimum.

You can also get DSL and fixed wireless internet from AT&T. DSL is much slower than fiber and cable, topping out at just 100 Mbps. The fixed wireless plan has a stringent monthly data cap of just 350 GB per month. Still, either of these can get you a reliable connection, making them a solid option for rural internet users.

Pro tip:

It’s really impressive to see 5,000 Mbps speeds, but do you actually need internet that fast? Not likely. Use our “How Much Internet Speed Do I Need?” tool for an accurate assessment of what works best for your household.

Optimum plans and pricing

PackagePromo price (first 12 mos.)*Regular price (after 12 mos.)SpeedConnection typeOrder online
300 Mbps Internet$30.00/mo.$109.99/mo.Up to 300 MbpsCableView Plan
500 Mbps Internet$50.00/mo.$129.99/mo.Up to 500 MbpsCableView Plan
1 Gig Internet$65.00/mo.$139.99/mo.Up to 940 MbpsCableView Plan
300 Mbps Fiber Internet$30.00/mo.$109.99/mo.Up to 300 MbpsFiberView Plan
500 Mbps Fiber Internet$50.00/mo.$129.99/mo.Up to 500 MbpsFiberView Plan
1 Gig Fiber Internet$65.00/mo.$139.99/mo.Up to 940 MbpsFiberView Plan
2 Gig Fiber Internet$105.00/mo.$120.00/mo.Up to 2,000 MbpsFiberView Plan
5 Gig Fiber Internet$165.00/mo.$180.00/mo.Up to 5,000 MbpsFiberView Plan

Optimum has been ramping up its speeds and lowering prices to compete with AT&T and Verizon Fios. So its plans have similar speeds to AT&T’s fiber packages, and its introductory prices blow AT&T out of the water.

However, monthly prices go up exponentially after 12 months, so in the end you don’t save much. Consider the 300 Mbps plan, for example. It starts off at a thrifty $30 a month, only to skyrocket to $109.99 a month. That’s outrageously expensive—more along the lines of a gigabit plan. Still, the price hikes on the 2 Gig and 5 Gig plans aren’t as steep, making those a better deal price-wise. And Optimum still delivers fast speeds and reliable service with no contractual requirements or caps on data usage.

Pro tip:

Take our speed test to see what kind of bandwidth you have on your current internet connection. It could be time for an upgrade!

HSI badge deals

Deals and promotions: AT&T vs. Optimum

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.

Optimum
Order a qualifying internet plan to receive a $100 or $200 prepaid Visa gift card, a Wi-Fi 6 gateway, a Wi-Fi extender, and installation—all for no extra cost. Some plans also include Optimum Stream.


Get the Deal

Extra fees: AT&T vs. Optimum

Equipment FeeInstallation FeeOther Fees
AT&T
  • $10.00/mo. for modem/router
  • Up to $99.00 for pro install (covered on many plans)
  • $10 per 50 GB when you exceed data cap
  • $15.00/mo. early termination (contract plans only)
  • $5.00 late payment fee
Optimum
  • $10.00/mo. for cable modem or wireless gateway
  • Free Smart Router
  • $3.00/mo. per added Xtend unit
  • Free self-install kit
  • $99.99 for standard install
  • $149.99 for premium install
  • Up to $10.00 late payment fee
  • $10.00 phone payment processing fee

AT&T charges you $10 for every 50 GB of data you use when you exceed your data cap. Most customers get unlimited data from AT&T plans, but the fixed wireless plan and DSL plans with speeds below 100 Mbps all have data caps.

Other than that, the extra fees on AT&T and Optimum’s plans are all fairly standard. AT&T covers your installation fee when you sign up for select plans, while Optimum has a self-installation option that doesn’t cost anything extra.

Buy your modem and router to save on extra fees

While you can rent a modem and router from your internet provider, we recommend in most cases that you buy your own equipment instead. Owning your equipment means you don’t have to pay rental fees every month. You also get more flexibility and options when it comes to picking a router that meets your specific internet needs.

The Google Nest Wi-Fi System is the best router you can get, in our opinion. It’s easy to set up, supports fast speeds, and provides mesh networking for large homes and wider spaces (like a backyard).

Here’s some other resources to find the best router for you:

Customer ratings: AT&T vs. Optimum

Overall RatingReliability RatingCustomer Service RatingSpeed RatingPrice Rating
AT&T3.73.73.73.83.5
Optimum3.43.63.23.72.9

Clearly, folks are happy with what they get from AT&T—the provider has some of the highest ratings overall in our annual customer satisfaction survey. Its highest rating is in price satisfaction, which isn’t surprising given the speeds you get for what you pay. It rates fourth in overall satisfaction and stays in the top five for all other categories.

Optimum is a different story. It sits at rock bottom among the 13 national internet providers in our survey for customer service, price, and overall satisfaction. It does better in reliability and speed satisfaction, but not enough to break into the top nine providers. However, Optimum’s few fiber customers gave better scores than its cable ones.

Want to know if AT&T or Optimum are in your area? Take a look by typing in your zip code below.

Best TV and internet bundles

PackageInternet speedTV channelsPriceOrder online
Optimum 300 Mbps Fiber Internet + Premier TVUp to 300 Mbps420+$145.00/mo.View Plan
Optimum 1 Gig Fiber Internet + Premier TVUp to 300 Mbps420+$180.00/mo.View Plan

Optimum has a handful of bundle packages that let you pair your internet with a cable TV plan. We recommend pairing an internet plan with Premier TV because that gets you all the premium channels, including SHOWTIME and access to the HBO Max streaming service. You can also sign up for a mobile phone plan through Optimum, letting you get a cell phone plan for just $45 a month (or even less if you add more lines).

AT&T discontinued its bundle packages with internet and DIRECTV. You can still get DIRECTV or DIRECTV STREAM, but you’ll have to order them separately because no bundle deals are available.

Internet types: AT&T vs. Optimum

Internet typeOrder online
AT&TFiber, DSL, fixed wireless
OptimumFiber, cableView Plans

Fiber is the fastest type of internet you can get—it’s the only internet connection that gets you symmetrical upload and download speeds, so your uploads are fast enough to handle regular Zooming, livestreams, large uploads, and whatever else you throw at it. Cable internet isn’t quite as powerful, but it’s still fast and reliable and works great for most people.

DSL and fixed wireless are slower internet types that are more common in rural areas and small towns. They both hit speeds of around 25–100 Mbps, but they’re affordable and make solid alternatives to a costly satellite internet plan.

Data caps: AT&T vs. Optimum

Data CapOrder online
AT&T
  • No data cap for fiber
  • 1 TB for speeds up to 75 Mbps
  • 350 GB for fixed wireless
OptimumNoneView Plans

Optimum doesn’t have data caps on any of its plans, so you can use all the internet you want all month without worrying about overage charges.

AT&T doesn’t have data caps on its fiber plans. DSL plans with speeds 75 Mbps and under have a monthly cap of 1 TB, which is fairly generous and standard for most providers. The fixed wireless plan has a cap of 350 GB per month, which is a lot less than average. If you exceed your monthly data allotment, then you pay $10 for every additional 50 GB you use.

Pro tip: 

Want unlimited data? Take a look at our data caps guide to see which providers give you unlimited data and which have monthly caps.

Contracts: AT&T vs. Optimum

Contract lengthOrder online
AT&TNo contracts
OptimumNo contractsView Plans

Neither AT&T nor Optimum have annual contracts on their plans. You can cancel your internet any time without paying early termination fees. That means you have more flexibility to do things like subscribe for just a few months (say, if you’re living in a sublet for a few months).

Installation: AT&T vs. Optimum

Installation optionsOrder online
AT&T
  • Up to $99.00 for pro install
  • $35.00 for self-install
Optimum
  • Free self-install kit
  • $99.99 for standard install
  • $149.99 for premium install
View Plans

AT&T charges $99 for professional installation, but the cost is waived when you order online. Optimum also charges $99 for pro installation—which entails a technician coming to your house to get everything set up. But you can opt for a self-install kit that doesn’t cost anything.

In some cases, you may need to pay more for Optimum’s “premium installation.” This is required if you live in a home that needs wiring or other amenities that you can’t set up yourself, like an optical network terminal or wiring from your home to a node on the street.

Availability: AT&T vs. Optimum

AT&T is available in 22 states nationwide, including California, Texas, and parts of the Midwest and South. Optimum is available in 25 states, including large parts of the South, West, and East Coast. Use our zip code tool below to see what plans and prices you can get from either of these providers in your area.

To see if AT&T or Optimum is in your area, enter your zip code below.

Final call: AT&T vs. Optimum

AT&T and Optimum are evenly matched on speed, since both offer fiber plans that can hit up to 5,000 Mbps. Both providers also offer no-contract plans and unlimited data (at least for speeds of 100 Mbps and up in AT&T’s case).

Optimum has an edge on AT&T when it comes to introductory rates, but massive price hikes kick in after a year. You don’t have to worry about that with AT&T, making it a better bet long-term. AT&T also has solid options for rural users that you can’t get from Optimum.

View Optimum Plans

Methodology

Our HighSpeedInternet.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.

Author -

Peter Holslin has more than a decade of experience working as a writer and freelance journalist. He graduated with a BA in liberal arts and journalism from New York City’s The New School University in 2008 and went on to contribute to publications like Rolling Stone, VICE, BuzzFeed, and countless others. At HighSpeedInternet.com, he focuses on covering 5G, nerding out about frequency bands and virtual RAN, and producing reviews on emerging services like 5G home internet. He also writes about internet providers and packages, hotspots, VPNs, and Wi-Fi troubleshooting.

Editor - Aaron Gates