We all want the best internet service coverage, at the cheapest cost possible, fast speed, and reliable customer support. If we can have all these, then work becomes easier, and work becomes faster. However, in the real world, it’s all about a careful balancing act that involves cost, reliability, speed, and support. This is the main reason why you should know the different internet service providers so you can compare options and choose based on what suits your lifestyle.
In the United States, there are two popular service providers worth checking out AT&T and Sprint. At first glance, both offer quality internet service connections and operate as two of the most respected companies in the country. However, the similarities end there.
In terms of coverage, AT&T is the country’s second-biggest in terms of subscribers and Sprint is fourth. For the best network, the two companies also occupy the same rankings. And when it comes to the affordability of internet plans, Sprint takes the lead. In short, there are a lot of factors that come into play when comparing these two service providers. In the guide below, we offer you a head-to-head comparison between AT&T and Sprint based on important parameters like speed, monthly cost, data cap, and overall value for money.
Is their wireless internet any good, is it worth the money, in this review we will be comparing AT&T vs Sprint mobile internet services to see which is the best cellular internet provider.
AT&T and Sprint Wireless Internet Data Services
AT&T and Sprint are part of the ‘big four’ networks in the United States and they both offer unlimited data plans. This is now a critical requirement for power users and for households looking to use the internet connection for communication, work, and entertainment. Although both offer unlimited internet plans and other add-ons, the details of the services vary. Here’s a look at the products offered by both companies.
- AT&T. The company is on a roll in the last few months by offering turbo-charged plans and features for its customers. By signing for their service, you can enjoy generous hotspot allowances and a WatchTV streaming platform. The company offers a variety of internet plans starting at $48.75 monthly.
- Sprint. Sprint also provides a variety of unlimited internet plans that can suit any budget. A popular option here is the Unlimited Plus which is bundled with HD video streaming, access to Hulu, and 15GB hotspot. During our review, pricing starts at $35 per month with no contract.
Speed – Whos Got Faster Internet Speeds?
When comparing plans and service providers, one of the first things to consider is internet speed. Both AT&T and Sprint advertises their services as reliable options in the market. However, don’t expect too much when you test their internet service. For example, AT&T may boast great coverage, but its speed is not that good.
In the tests conducted by RootMetrics and OpenSignal, the company ranks lower than Verizon and T-Mobile. Sprint’s speed performance is worse as it ranks just behind AT&T in terms of speed. But if you’re looking for high-speed performance over the long term, then you can’t go wrong with Sprint. With its 50GB 4G data cap, it’s more than double what AT&T delivers at 22GB regardless of the network.
AT&T Pros & Cons
- Offers unlimited internet plans
- Boasts the second-best network in the country
- No annual contract
- Internet speed is much slower than Verizon and T-Mobile
- Low DSL speeds in some areas
- Limited fiber availability
Sprint Pros & Cons
- Offers cheap plans
- Unlimited internet plans available
- Free Hulu
- Among the ‘big four’, its coverage is the weakest
- You can’t find ‘all-in’ pricing
- Customer support needs improvement
Monthly Costs, Data Allowance and Value for Money
There was a time when AT&T and Sprint were on the opposite end of the market: AT&T has solid coverage but comes at a steep price. Sprint, on the other hand, offers cheap packages but with poor coverage. This is no longer true today in a highly competitive industry. In the last few years, Sprint embarked on an aggressive marketing and investment plan that boosted its network reliability with a slight increase in price. AT&T, on the other hand, upgraded its services including unlimited internet plans.
When it comes to pricing, Sprint is ahead with cheaper rates for its unlimited plans. The monthly cost for Sprint starts at $35 per month and offers a variety of plans with bundled services. The starter plan for AT&T starts at $48.75 with no contract and comes with unlimited internet. For the premium plan, Sprint offers its services for $80 monthly. AT&T provides its customers with the Unlimited Elite for $85. The price difference is minimal and on this count, we can say that both companies offer comparable services. Just remember that these premium plans from these companies offer some fine print. With Sprint, customers in Canada and Mexico can enjoy unlimited 4G data, and users may experience reduced internet speeds during peak hours. For the same premium plan, AT&T promises its clients with more than 100GB per month but may also come at reduced speeds.
Aside from cost and internet speed, you can also compare these two vendors based on their bundled services. For many customers, the availability (or non-availability) of certain services is a deal-breaker. If you choose Sprint, your internet package comes with a free Hulu subscription, starting with the Basic plan. This also comes with a 500MB worth of hotspot. If you go for the Plus tier, you can get up to 50GB hotspot and subscription to TIDAL music. And when you sign up for its Premium package, you can enjoy all of these services with the addition of Amazon Prime and Lookout security.
Your AT&T plans are also bundled with entertainment services. Under its Unlimited and more plans, you can enjoy access to the WatchTV app. And if you move up to its premium plans, you can include access to music channels or TV for free. Our main concern with AT&T is that some plans from the company don’t offer hotspot allocation. You may need to pay a small fee to enjoy this service. However, the difference between the two is minimal. Sprint has its issue as well. For example, you can only enjoy Hulu on your Sprint device, and not your TV.
Customer Support – Do They Deliver On Their Promises?
As part of the ‘big four’ internet service providers in the US, these two companies struggle when it comes to perceived customer support. Again, AT&T and Sprint occupy the third and fourth place respectively in the customer support perception ranking. Traditionally, the customer support available for the wireless industry is not exemplary. However, according to J.D. Power, the customer support score of the two companies often fall below the industry average.
But the ratings should not stop you from enjoying the technical and customer support services offered by the companies. As a member of Sprint, you can access a variety of contact options including a Support Center where you can get answers to common questions. If you’re looking to report a poor connection or you need technical assistance, the Support Center can provide you the help you need. There are posted videos too that can serve as your guide in troubleshooting certain issues. And if you can’t find the answers to your issues, you can always contact the Support team that’s available 24/7. Just like other service providers, Sprint offers support services in Spanish.
AT&T also offers the same set of contact options and more. Its official website offers a Support Center where the common issues and customer complaints are addressed. In case these are not enough, you can also directly contact the support team. the company also maintains several social media channels. The site also provides a link to its Community Forum where you can ask help from fellow customers of the company.
Service Availability Comparison
Another important concern that you should consider is network coverage. Remember, you should sign up with a platform that offers consistent and reliable network coverage. And when you take a look at the four leading service providers in the US, Verizon still leads the pack. Not far behind are AT&T and Sprint occupy the fourth position.
The coverage of Sprint is heavily concentrated on the East Coast, particularly in Florida, New Jersey, and Massachusetts. A majority of Oregon, Washington, and California are also covered by the company. In the Midwest, the service is spotty, and during our review, Sprint does not offer service coverage in Montana and South Dakota. AT&T, on the other hand, covers the US from coast to coast. The east coast is covered well, with reliable service in Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina. There are network maps you can find online and based on these resources, AT&T is superior. If you’re looking for reliable service in most places, then AT&T is the best option available.
Customer Reviews – Uncovering The Truth
If you’re still on the fence and still want to make an in-depth comparison between the two, then it’s best to read a few reviews. Here are a few reviews that we have collected online that can help in your comparison shopping.
The internet service and coverage by AT&T are reliable. However, my only concern is the maximum download speed that only averages 10.8Mbps in my location. If only the company can push it up to at least 25Mbps and I’ll be a happy customer. Perhaps one reason for this is my location. I live in a rural area, and I just hope that AT&T can also offer high-speed downloads even in rural areas. – Michael M.
I have been a loyal customer of AT&T for 2 years now and I can say I’m satisfied with its service coverage and customer support. One time, my internet connection becomes unreliable so I contacted the technical support. The service was scheduled within two days and during the designated time, a highly professional technical support agent visited my home office. He was professional and he quickly addressed the issue. – Heather L.
I use AT&T’s service along with my Roku TV and a smartphone. I can say that the service is good and customer support is decent. – Christian L.
I’m a Sprint customer for more than 15 years. Last January, I called and spoke with a helpful technical support agent. I complained about my issue regarding my bill, and he was patient enough to understand my predicament. After a few minutes of explaining my concern, his team managed to reduce my bill. I’m a happy customer here. – Richard W.
I was having issues activating my smartphone, and thankfully, the Sprint store associates were patient and helpful. Special thanks to Andrew and Diego for helping me out. – Ariana S.
We are a bit disappointed with Sprint, particularly in handling our bills and complaints. Our monthly bill continues to increase and we can’t even use our internet 24/7. I hope they can address the spotty internet coverage. – Lisa C.
Other Popular Internet Services You Can Try
Aside from Sprint and AT&T, you can also count on other leading service providers like Verizon and Xfinity. As of this writing, Verizon is still the leader when it comes to network coverage. If you’re looking for a reliable internet connection, then Verizon’s service is best. Also, you can count on Xfinity if you’re looking for a fast and reliable internet connection.
Frequently Asked Questions
What’s the cheapest unlimited internet package that I can get from AT&T and Sprint?
For AT&T, you can start with the $49.99 monthly plan with proven reliability. Sprint, on the other hand, offers a much cheaper starter plan at $35.
Are there extra charges that I should worry about when I sign up for a starter plan for both companies?
Yes, there are other fees that you should consider when signing up for an account. With the basic plan of AT&T, you need to pay an extra $10 monthly for the equipment. Sprint offers the Kickstarter plan for mobile devices. However, you need to bring your device to enjoy this offer.
Can I enjoy unlimited internet with no data cap?
Yes. Both AT&T and Sprint offer unlimited internet connection with no data cap.
Are there discounts and deals available for new customers?
Yes. Aside from the standard plans, both companies offer internet bundles, freebies, and deals for new customers. These offers are offered for a limited time and may change without notice. We recommend that you regularly check their sites to get the latest deals.
AT&T and Sprint are part of the ‘big four’ internet service providers in the US and they offer consistent reliable service and a variety of internet deals. Although they are similar in branding, both companies offer highly specific services and features. If you’re looking for wider network coverage, we recommend AT&T. But if the value for money matters and a cheaper starter pack, then Sprint is best.