AT&T vs. Cox: Which Internet Provider Is Best for You?
Speed: 100–1,000 Mbps
Internet type: Fiber, fixed wireless
Data cap: Unlimited for fiber; 350 GB for fixed wireless; 1 TB for speeds 75 Mbps and under
Speed: 10–1,000 Mbps
Internet type: Cable
Data cap: 1.25 TB
Data as of 4/19/21. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
AT&T is ideal for customers who want the fastest speeds for the least amount of money. Its fastest plan gives you 940 Mbps speeds for less than $100 a month.
Cox also offers 1 gig speeds, but where it really shines is with lower-priced plans. Cox budget packages are perfect if you don’t need the fastest speeds (and most people don’t).
Pros and cons: AT&T vs. Cox
- Affordable 1 gig plan
- Good customer service
- No data caps on fiber plans
- Limited access to the fastest plans
- Expensive installation fees
- Great budget and mid-tier plans
- Fast 1 gig speeds
- Affordable bundles
- Data caps on all plans
- More expensive gigabit package than AT&T
Compare AT&T and Cox head to head
Plans and pricing: AT&T vs. Cox
Both AT&T and Cox offer different tiers of service through Wi-Fi plans and bundle packages. Usually the price increases along with the speed and certain deals may be available only in certain areas. AT&T gives you great starting prices for the speed and type of service you get, while Cox has affordable pricing and a range of options.
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 100||$45.00/mo.*||Up to 100 Mbps||View Plan|
|AT&T Fiber Internet 300||$35.00/mo*||300 Mbps||View Plan|
|AT&T Fiber Internet 500||$45.00/mo.||500 Mbps||View Plan|
|AT&T Fiber Internet 1000||$60.00/mo.†||1,000 Mbps||View Plan|
|AT&T Fixed Wireless Internet||$59.99/mo.||~25 Mbps||View Plan|
*for 12 mos, plus taxes & equip fee. $10/mo. equip fee applies. Incl 1TB data/mo. overage chrgs apply.
†for 12 mos, plus taxes & equip fee. $10/mo. equip fee applies. Incl unlimited internet data allowance ($30 value)
AT&T is in the process of transitioning away from older technologies like DSL and expanding its fiber network. This is good news for people with access to AT&T Fiber since you can get a great deal on its fiber plans.
If you live in a rural area, though, you can still 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.
If you can get AT&T Fiber, its pricing is competitive—especially at the higher tiers. You can’t do much better than $60 per month for gigabit internet. The price on AT&T’s Internet 1000 plan goes up to $80 per month after the 12-month promotional period ends. But that’s still a fair deal—and if you don’t want to pay that much, you can cancel your plan without facing early termination fees (ETFs).
Cox plans and pricing
|Internet Starter 25||$29.99/mo. for 12 mos.||25 Mbps||View Plan|
|Internet Essential 50||$39.99/mo. for 12 mos.||50 Mbps||View Plan|
|Internet Preferred 150||$59.99/mo. for 12 mos.||150 Mbps||View Plan|
|Internet Ultimate 500||$79.99/mo. for 12 mos.||500 Mbps||View Plan|
|Internet Gigablast||$99.99/mo.||940 Mbps||View Plan|
*for 12 months with 1-yr. term agreement
Cox packages are all the same type of service: cable. The packages are generally more expensive than AT&T’s comparable plans. Gigablast, in particular, is much more expensive than AT&T’s Internet 1000 plan. That said, if you don’t need superfast internet speeds, Cox can still give you a good deal. Also, you may have an easier time getting a cable plan through Cox than getting a fiber plan from AT&T.
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.
Extra fees: AT&T vs. Cox
|Equipment Fee||Installation Fee||Other Fees|
|AT&T||$10/mo.||Up to $99 (professional installation) or $35 (self-install kit)||$15/mo. (early termination), $5 (late payment)|
|Cox||$12/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 4/19/21. 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, 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. But it isn’t always free. 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 NETGEAR Nighthawk X10. 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|
AT&T and Cox ranked second and fourth respectively in our latest 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 Starter + Contour Preferred||25 Mbps||140+||$119.99/mo.||View Plans|
|Cox Internet Preferred + Contour Preferred||150 Mbps||140+||$201.99/mo.||View Plans|
for 12 months plus taxes & internet equip. fee w/ 24-mo. TV agmt & combined bill. Autopay & Paperless bill req’d. Prices higher in 2nd year. $10/mo. internet equip. fee applies*
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, Cox Contour. Contour is a solid all-around TV service with a good channel selection. We like the Silver Duo, with 170+ channels (including HBO®, CINEMAX®, and SHOWTIME®) and up to 940 Mbps speeds for $149.99 per month.
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 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 940 Mbps speeds for downloads and uploads.
Cable is also fast and reliable. But while Cox can get you 940 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.
Since AT&T is no longer offering DSL to new customers, you’re really faced with a choice between cable and fiber. Cox’s cable network is much more widely available, but if you have access to both, we suggest going with fiber.
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||View Plans|
|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||View Plans|
|Cox||1 yr., month-to-month option for $10/mo. extra||View Plans|
You won’t need to worry about an annual contract if you sign up for a fiber internet plan with AT&T—all of its fiber internet plans go month to month, so you can cancel any time without worrying about an early termination fee. AT&T TV used to require a two-year commitment, but now you can get it with no contract.
If you decide to cancel AT&T service early when you do have a contract, you’ll need to pay $15 for every month you have left on your agreement.
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 $99; $35 for self-installation kit||View Plans|
|Cox||$25–$75; $20 for self-installation kit||View Plans|
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, though it’ll tack a $35 activation fee onto your first bill. Still, that’s better than the $99 for professional installation.
Cox charges $75 for professional installation of its internet service, but the price goes down if you have a bundle package. A double-play bundle costs $50 for professional installation, while a triple-play bundle costs you just $25 for pro installation.
Cox also offers a self-install option. If you order internet alone, the kit costs $20. If you bundle with TV or TV plus phone, the kit is free.
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. And AT&T’s prices go up after the 12-month promotion period ends, so you may end up paying more than you were planning for. If you want cheap internet, then a lower-tier Cox plan may be just what you need.
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.
Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on Amazon.com at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product. HighSpeedInternet.com utilizes paid Amazon links.
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Author - Peter Holslin
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 - Cara Haynes
Cara Haynes has been editing and writing in the digital space for seven years, and she's edited all things internet for HighSpeedInternet.com for five years. She graduated with a BA in English and a minor in editing from Brigham Young University. When she's not editing, she makes tech accessible through her freelance writing for brands like Pluralsight. She believes no one should feel lost in internet land and that a good internet connection significantly extends your life span.