Both Cox and AT&T are among the largest internet providers in the US. Given both frequent the eastern part of the US, there are more than a few places you might have to choose between them. So, in a battle of AT&T vs Cox internet, which is better? Below, you’ll find the answer to that question.
AT&T vs Cox internet: Which is the best overall?
From our general findings, we found Cox is better for savings-minded people while AT&T is better for those seeking high-quality internet. Much of this comes down to how AT&T’s pricing model works at lower-cost plans.
Here’s the short answer:
AT&T has high reliability ratings and fast high potential speeds. In many cities, you can get speeds up to 5 Gbps. However, that AT&T is mainly available at major metropolitan areas.
Cox offers entry-level pricing that is $20 cheaper than AT&T’s lowest-priced plan. You also get a better bundling opportunity and greater availability of Cox’s higher speed offerings. However, it is much less available than AT&T from a general standpoint.
AT&T internet vs Cox: Who is faster?
- AT&T: Speeds from 10 Mbps to 5 Gbps
- Cox: Speeds from 25 Mbps to 1 Gbps
AT&T is on our list of the fastest internet providers in the United States. Meanwhile, Cox isn’t on this list, mainly because its maximum offering is 1 Gbps download speed.
This speed comparison runs heavily in favor of AT&T Fiber vs Cox internet. After all, AT&T Fiber focuses on a premium market with speeds up to 5 Gbps.
However, this speed comparison changes a bit when you focus on less densely populated areas. Most of what AT&T offers in these low-population areas are speeds up to 100 Mbps. Sometimes, its fixed wireless internet speeds don’t even reach 10 Mbps.
Cox offers a few more speed options in these low population areas. So, if you live outside of a major city, you might see Cox as the faster provider.
Which company offers faster upload speeds?
Upload speeds refer to how fast your home network communicates with the outside world. Between internet providers, AT&T blows Cox out of the water, offering symmetric upload speeds.
Symmetric upload speeds means you download as fast as you upload data. This can be ideal if you are into server hosting or sharing large files. It can also be ideal for streaming video.
Under Cox, upload speeds rarely go beyond 35 Mbps. Having slower upload speeds is fine for most families, but as we see a higher demand for video-based work from home internet, this is likely to change.
AT&T vs Cox internet: Which offers more reliability?
When comparing AT&T and Cox, you can say that both have a robust fiber network that is pretty reliable. Where reliability becomes more sketchy comes from the types of internet both providers offer.
Cox offers a combination of three different services: DSL, Cable, and fiber-optic internet. DSL and cable use lines that have been around for a while. Because of this aging network, it has less reliability.
AT&T offers similar support, but also includes support for fixed wireless internet. This internet type is like satellite internet because it focuses on rural connections.
Because it relies on nearby radio towers, its connection status can get spotty due to weather events and communication interruptions.
Neither company is known for widespread outages and both companies offer solid technical support for those issues. So on reliability, both companies are very comparable.
AT&T vs Cox internet: Which is the cheaper internet?
- AT&T: Prices starting at $55 per month
- Cox: Prices starting at $30 per month
With starting prices, Cox blows AT&T out of the water. Cox pricing starts $25 lower for comparable internet speeds.
However, Cox makes use of introductory rates to get people to sign up more often. So that $25 difference erodes to about $10 after one year passes.
AT&T takes an approach similar to EarthLink in its pricing strategy: fewer discounts. This means you won’t get a better rate for the first year of AT&T. Instead, it focuses on standard pricing with no increases.
This means AT&T customers typically stick with the company for the long haul. Fewer increases result in a better customer experience.
To make a long story short: Cox is cheaper if you want slower internet and AT&T is cheaper if you want faster internet. This situation applies, even when focusing on the introductory pricing model.
AT&T vs Cox: plans and pricing comparison
Knowing that Cox is cheaper overall can help. However, a total price breakdown can provide you a clear picture of what to expect.
Lower speed plans: Cox and AT&T
First, let’s look at the outliers from AT&T:
- Fixed wireless internet: $70 per month
- Internet 10: $55 /mo. (renews at $70)
- Internet 25: $55 /mo. (renews at $70)
- Internet 50: $55 /mo. (renews at $70)
- Internet 100: $55 /mo. (renews at $70)
The numbers just after “Internet” among AT&T plans represent the speed you get.
The AT&T preferred non-fiber option contains a lot of high-price options. AT&T prices its plans based on availability, not always on speed.
When we apply this to Cox, you’ll find similar strategies. However, its pricing on low-speed internet plans is more reasonable:
- Starter 25: $30 per month (renews at $45)
- Essential 50: $40 /mo. (renews at $50)
Higher speed plans: AT&T vs Cox internet
Cox also offers less flexibility in its low speed plans. When you compare the two providers on their higher speed internet options, it gets more interesting.
Here are the AT&T plans and pricing breakdown:
- Internet 300: $55 per month
- Internet 500: $65 /mo.
- Internet 1000: $80 /mo.
- Internet 2000: $110 /mo.
- Internet 5000: $180 /mo.
Cox Wi-Fi plans, by comparison, offer a more expensive lineup of high-speed plans:
- Preferred 250: $60 /mo. (renews at $84)
- Ultimate 500: $80 /mo. (renews at $100)
- Gigablast (one gig internet): $100 /mo. (renews at $120)
Cox Communications’ advantage erodes when comparing fiber plans. Most times, they are more expensive and slower, making AT&T a better premier dealer.
The pricing above also accounts for a $10 per month discount for automatic payments.
Fees comparison between AT&T and Cox
AT&T and Cox both have similar terms to be aware of. These terms contain a variety of fees, most of which you can avoid with some creative planning.
First, both companies include equipment rental fees. AT&T builds the equipment rental fee as part of its package, meaning there’s no way to avoid it. Meanwhile, Cox includes an extra $13 per month (on top of the above charges).
You can avoid Cox’s equipment fees by bringing your own router. However, you’ll have to learn about finding the best router for you.
Both companies also offer Wi-Fi extenders that cost $50 with AT&T and $130 with Cox. So, regarding equipment AT&T offers better deals.
Both companies also offer professional installation around $100. Once again, you can avoid this professional requirement by performing a self-installation. You can find self-installation kits with both companies.
AT&T offers the weaker option under self-installation, as there are some locations where it isn’t an option. This situation mainly happens in places with new fiber development.
Cox vs AT&T: Which offers no-contract options?
Both Cox and AT&T offer no-contract options. You’ll find that this causes the pricing to go up significantly under Cox, skipping the introductory promotion pricing you see above.
Cox will attempt to get you to sign up for a one-year contract. This can save you about $10 per month, which adds up to $20 per month off when including the automatic payment discount.
This offers you incredibly low pricing when requiring less than 100 Mbps of internet. But as you see from our breakdown, those discounts aren’t enough to beat AT&T’s better overall deals at higher speeds.
Cox vs AT&T internet: How do data caps work?
Both companies have fairly limited data caps. You can expect 1 TB of monthly data limits from AT&T and 1.25 TB of monthly data limits from Cox.
Both companies have an identical overage structure, providing you $10 per every 50 GB of excess data. The data overage cost limits at $100, meaning you would have to go over by 500 GB to get a maximum penalty.
Cox does better regarding its data caps, allowing a one time overage fee exemption. This kind offering gives you the opportunity to correct mistakes or reduce your usage.
AT&T vs Cox internet: Which has better customer service?
It’s easy to say that most customers dislike their internet service provider. Much of this comes from unlimited phone trees, customer service problems, and widespread outages.
When you keep this in mind, AT&T is the exception to this rule. Almost 70% of AT&T customers are happy with their internet service. Cox is behind at about 61%.
This comparison of customer ratings mainly comes down to clarity of pricing and reliability.
AT&T’s primary advantage from having consistent pricing is the lack of sticker shock after an increase. Many internet companies, Cox included, suffer from someone suddenly seeing an increase to their bill. Even with proper notification systems, this change can be frustrating.
When AT&T doesn’t provide the notice (because they don’t increase the bill), customers don’t have that experience. It’s something that many internet providers can learn from.
Most of AT&T’s lower customer service responses come from underserved areas. These areas have lower populations, which Cox conveniently does better with serving.
AT&T vs Cox: Which internet provider has more availability?
When comparing the availability of AT&T and Cox, AT&T has a more widespread service. This focuses on the number of states, with AT&T serving 23 while Cox serves 19.
AT&T Fiber internet plans have less availability than Cox fiber plans. Cox offers faster speeds in a more widespread area. Both focus their offering on the eastern United States.
How do I find AT&T or Cox internet near me?
If you want to find a specific internet service provider near you, it’s best to start with a tool that can compare them. This tool is the Internet Advisor “Find a Provider” tool.
To use the tool, all you need to start is your zip code. Using this zip code, the tool finds known providers in your area. You can click on the ‘check availability’ button, enter your address, and find out whether they offer services near your address with no effort.
The tool also provides you all the contact information you need on-screen. This way, you don’t have to browse 17 different websites to find what you need, you just need one.
To find out more about each provider, check out our service pages:
Compare AT&T Preferred Dealer plans near me.
Compare AT&T Preferred Dealer plans near me.(non-fiber plans)
Wrap up - Is AT&T better than Cox?
Simply put: AT&T Fiber beats Cox overall, but the AT&T non-fiber options are weaker than what Cox offers. Regarding internet plans, availability will determine your choice.
AT&T Fiber is available in only a few select locations. If you can get it, it is cheaper and more reliable than what Cox has available. AT&T’s slower plans don’t boast the same bonus.
If you live in suburbs, Cox might be your better internet choice. So be sure to look at the availability of both to see your best internet option.