When you’re in the market for a new internet service provider (ISP), you’ll need to compare a bunch of features across different companies to find the provider who will get you the best deal.
Comparing packages between Verizon Fios and AT&T is no exception. While each of these companies is a behemoth in the ISP scene, they may seem very similar if you aren’t entirely familiar with the features that they offer.
Likewise, it can be tough to discriminate between which features are necessary for your internet service, and which are unnecessary extras. In this article, we’ll dive into the services of Verizon Fios vs. AT&T TV and Internet so that you’ll know which is better for your needs.
What Should You Look For In A Broadband Provider?
You’ll need to keep your eye out for several critical features when you shop around for a broadband provider. These features include:
- Internet speed
- Bandwidth caps or lack thereof
- Availability in your area
- Quality of customer service
- TV bundling
Speed and Bandwidth Caps
The internet speed is one of the most important features that an internet package has because it determines the rate at which you can use the internet.
Bandwidth caps aren’t very common in the US, but some ISPs still have them. Bandwidth caps are what they sound like: maximum monthly rates at which you will need to pay extra if you exceed.
If you plan on using a lot of streaming video, you will probably end up paying more if you use an ISP which has a bandwidth cap unless you pick a plan with a high monthly cap.
Availability and Reliability
Availability in your area is perhaps a precursor to using an internet package rather than an essential feature. Nevertheless, if your favored ISP doesn’t provide services in your area, you’ll need to find another.
Reliability is a minor concern for most ISPs that use land-based distribution via fiber optic cables or other wires. In the city, reliability for these distribution methods will be nearly flawless.
In the countryside, however, the resources which the ISP has on hand to repair the damage can make the difference between losing internet service for a few hours or a few days.
Service, Pricing, and Packaging
Quality of customer service is another minor concern for choosing an ISP. Some ISPs, like Comcast, have terrible reputations for keeping customers happy. Others, like RCN, are known for their gracious and preemptive customer service.
TV bundling in internet packages is another feature which may be relevant to you. If you plan on watching traditionally-distributed TV, you can sometimes save money by having the TV subscription bundled into your internet subscription.
Bundling in this way can sometimes be inconvenient, however. There is a good chance that you will be paying for more channels than you will watch on a regular basis.
So, be aware that the bundling of TV channels and internet rates will vary from ISP to ISP, and that you may need to accept a package with features you won’t be using if the price point is better.
Pricing is the final concern for picking an ISP. Pricing of services is based on the bundle of services and the region. Most of the time, packages with similar feature sets will be priced similarly across ISPs.
However, sometimes the promotional deals vary significantly enough from ISP to ISP that one may be better in the short term.
Verizon Fios Features and Bundles
Verizon Fios has a handful of different plans, all of which utilize the Fios fiber-optic system.
The prototypical Fios plan offers 100 Mbps in speed, priced at $40 per month. This price is locked in for one year, after which it may increase. As a signup bonus, you’ll get a $50 prepaid Visa card, which is almost as good as cash.
Fios also has a handful of items in its typical product bundles, including TV service and phone service. For some of these bundles, you can get otherwise unheard-of signup bonuses. For example, the Fios Triple Play plan offers speeds up to 980 Mbps when downloading.
The Triple Play option also offers a free Chromebook as a signup bonus. If you need a new inexpensive platform to access the internet as well as a new ISP contract, Verizon Fios is tough to beat.
You will sacrifice a lot of flexibility if you decide to eschew TV in your Verizon package, however. If you take the Triple Play package and remove TV channels from the coverage, the resulting internet-only package costs the same amount.
It also delivers the same speed and signup bonuses.
In fact, the only differences between the two packages will be that you get a three-year guarantee of no price increases instead of a two-year guarantee included with the Triple Play package.
You’ll also get the option to rent a router for free for the first three years of the contract.
In other words, if you purchase a Verizon Fios package, you will probably get much better value if you bundle your TV services and your internet services together.
AT&T TV and Internet Features and Bundles
AT&T’s TV and Internet services are similar to Verizon, but there are a few critical differences which you need to know about.
First, AT&T TV and internet packages usually have TV offerings which are synonymous with DirectTV. This means that the TV offerings of AT&T TV include 145+ channels of DirectTV.
Recently, however, AT&T has pioneered a new service called “AT&T TV,” which is a combination of a live-TV access subscription as well as on-demand content similar to Netflix.
Importantly, because of the way that AT&T bundles its services and TV offerings, there is very little that is fundamentally new about the AT&T TV packages.
If you want to purchase premium TV channels like HBO, Showtime, Starz, and Cinemax, you’ll need to pay extra for them after the initial three-month period regardless of the package you pick.
AT&T’s internet offerings are secondary to their TV packages, however. If you choose the standard DirectTV and internet package, you’ll pay $65 per month for mediocre internet speeds of less than 30 Mbps.
The next package is scarcely better, with 30 Mbps of speed at $85 per month.
For the AT&T High-Speed Internet package which doesn’t include any access to DirectTV, priced at $40 the speeds aren’t significantly better, clocking in at 45 Mbps. You’ll also have to deal with a one terabyte bandwidth cap.
The signup bonuses for AT&T’s packages are significantly less favorable than Verizon Fios. Most of the signup bonuses are for temporary access to packages of premium TV channels.
Furthermore, with AT&T, you’ll only have a two-year pricing guarantee regardless of the package you pick. If, however, you purchase the internet-only plan, you’ll have a free wi-fi router and limited access to McAfee antivirus software.
Finally, for the TV features that are specific to AT&T TV and not available on DirectTV, you may find that your region is not eligible. The rollout of AT&T TV is ongoing, but many areas are not yet covered.
In light of the features of each of these services, there is a case for Verizon Fios as well as for AT&T TV and Internet. Better service depends on your needs.
If you don’t care as much about accessing traditional TV features, Verizon Fios is probably a better choice because it has higher internet speeds for the same price. You also won’t have to deal with any data caps, and the signup bonuses are formidable.
Furthermore, with Fios, you’ll be able to lock in your starting rates for a few years whether or not you decide to include any TV services in your package. Finally, the signup bonuses with Fios are significantly better than AT&T’s.
Especially if you’re in the market for a new laptop, getting a Chromebook when you sign your Fios contract could be very appealing. Likewise, the $50 gift card included with some Verizon packages is a nice touch.
On the other hand, if you want a more robust TV package and you don’t care very much about internet speeds or bandwidth usage, the AT&T options might be a good fit for you. You will have an easier time getting the live TV experiences that you crave with the AT&T options.
With AT&T, you’ll also get a free router. This means that you don’t need to pay for access to a piece of infrastructure after you’ve been using it for three years like you would need to if you opted to do the free three-year router rental with Fios.
In summary, neither AT&T or Verizon have a superior product compared to the other. For some people, however, the differences in the way that the services are bundled could make a significant difference.