Cox VS AT&T Internet In California

Cox Cable and AT&T overlap in much of Southern California, particularly around Irvine. Cox has the lowest pricing for basic plans, while AT&T competes on premium TV services. AT&T now offers fiber internet in some areas as well, making them the fastest option overall.

Brand Service type Speed range Price range Contact
Cox Cable 10–940 Mbps $19.99–119.99/mo. (800) 234-3993
AT&T DSL, Fiber 5–1,000 Mbps $49.99–59.99/mo. (844) 886-4258

Fees and fine print Compare plans

For internet-only customers, Cox is likely to be your cheapest option. However, as detailed in the comparison below, Cox also uses data limits to manage their network. 1 This can be troublesome for heavy streamers, home offices, and other “power users.”

AT&T is hard to compare since the top speed varies widely based on location. If you’re in their fiber internet service area (speeds up to 1,000 Mbps), it’s absolutely your best option.

However, most of their service are maxes out at 100 Mbps since it’s a DSL service based on older wires. Therefore, Cox is the most dependable recomendation that is most likely to deliver a good experience for basic use like streaming Netflix, video chat, and email.

Cox Cable vs AT&T Internet Basic Features

FeatureCox CommunicationsAT&T Internet
Starting price$19.99/mo. sign-up price$49.99/mo. sign-up price
Download speed range10–940 Mbps5–1,000 Mbps
Upload speed range1–35 Mbps1–1,000 Mbps
Network typeCableDSL, Fiber
Contract termsContract required for cheapest priceContract-free

Cox vs AT&T Data Usage Policies

Data cap policies are one of the main areas where AT&T and Cox differ. Cox has a 1.25 TB cap on most plans. This is a huge amount of data, which would essentially allow you to stream HD video 24/7 for the entire month without breaking your data allowance.

However, this can change if you have a busy household with lots of users, or work from home and move large files around on a regular basis. Therefore, even on DSL, AT&T can sometimes be the better choice. They’ve recently dropped data caps on their DSL plans in 2020, making them an unlimited data service. Only time will tell if this change lasts past the Covid-19 epidemic.

Cox has data caps on some plans. 1.25 TB is a common cap on Cox internet plans. AT&T uses data caps on some plans. 1TB is a common data limit for AT&T plans.

Cox Communications Data Caps

Cox places data caps on some plans.

AT&T Internet Data Caps

AT&T places data caps on some plans.

Cox vs AT&T Pricing and Fees

See the table below for a review of common add-on for Cox and AT&T internet service.

These fees are incrimental to the base cost of your plan, so keep that in mind when comparing the final price of service.

FeeCoxAT&T
WiFi equipment fee~$10.99/mo.~$10/mo.
Price increasesBill increases after promo periodBill increases after promo period
Early Termination FeeFee to cancel contractFee to cancel contract

Note that fee amounts described above may vary by plan. See the plan comparison tables for Cox and AT&T below for more information.

Some of these fees, such as router fees, can be removed if you use your own equipment. This not recomended for most users, however, since it means you have to install and manage your own WiFi, which some users may find challenging if they’re not comfortable with technology.

Using your own equipment means the provider is not responsible for maintaining it, and if there are network issues, they will likely blame the equipment you’re using before agreeing to send out a tech and fix it. This can be time consuming if you have your internet go down and need assistance quickly.

Cox vs AT&T Internet-Only Plan Comparison

The most common internet-only plan is Cox Internet Preferred 150, which offers 150 Mbps for a starting price of $49.99/month.

See the table below for an overview of how this compares to the base plans from AT&T DSl and AT&T Fiber respectively:

Most Common Plan Internet speed Sign-up price Final price Avg price over 2 yrs
Cox Internet Preferred 150 (Cox Cable) 150 Mbps $49.99/mo. $83.99/mo. $66.99/mo.
Internet 100 (AT&T) 100 Mbps $49.99/mo. $59.99/mo. $55/mo.
Internet 1000 (AT&T) 1000 Mbps $49.99/mo. $59.99/mo. $55/mo.

The price of the Cox Cable Cox Internet Preferred 150 internet plan is $49.99/month for the first 1 year. However, the price then rises 68% to a final price of $83.99.

So, that means the price you actually pay for internet, averaged over two years, is $66.99/month.

Remember that Cox Internet Preferred 150 includes the following fees when you compare pricing:

  • $10.99/month fee for WiFi equipment
  • Fees for using more than 1.25 TB

Let’s compare that to AT&T:

The price of the AT&T Internet 100 internet plan is $49.99/month for the first Contract-Free. However, the price jumps up 20% to $59.99 after that initial period.

So, the price of AT&T internet is actually $55/month, when averaged over two years.

Internet 100 comes with some fees as well:

  • $10/month fee for WiFi equipment
  • Fees for using more than 1 TB

Cox vs AT&T Internet Plans Overview

AT&T Fiber internet plans are displayed seperately below so you can see how the speeds compare depending on your service area. You can check if you’re in an AT&T DSL or Fiber service area by entering your address at their site.

Overall, Fiber is almost always the best value for money in terms of speed. Cox is the better choice if you can live with lower speeds at a budget price. The cost for Cox’s entry-level internet plan is currently one of the lowest promotional prices on the market (just be sure to remember it will be more espensive after the first year, when the promotional price expires).

Cox Internet Plans

Cox internet plans are best for customers who need the absolute lowest price for basic internet service. They’re also a good fit if you want to bundle in basic cable. AT&T also has cable TV options, but they’re far more expensive if your primary angle is just getting local sports and a few premium channels like Starz.

Plan NameDownload SpeedFinal Price
Cox Internet Starter 1010 Mbps$44.99
Cox Internet Essential 5050 Mbps$65.99
Cox Internet Preferred 150150 Mbps$83.99
Cox Internet Ultimate 500500 Mbps$99.99
Gigablast950 Mbps$119.99

AT&T DSL Internet Plans

AT&T DSL plans are a decent value, but cable from Cox is usually stronger internet for the price point.

Plan NameDownload SpeedPromo PriceFinal Price
Internet Basic 55 Mbps$49.99/mo$59.99
Internet 2525 Mbps$49.99/mo$59.99
Internet 5050 Mbps$49.99/mo$59.99
Internet 100100 Mbps$49.99/mo$59.99

AT&T Fiber Internet Plans

AT&T Fiber is the best choice if you can get them, althought the base price will be a bit more than the lowest offerings from Cox. The cost per Mbps of bandwidth is much greater though, meaning that your experience in a large home with multiple users or running upload-intensive applications will be much less likely to “lag” or “buffer.”

Plan NameDownload SpeedPromo PriceFinal Price
Internet 10001000 Mbps$49.99/mo$59.99

Cox vs AT&T Net Neutrality Policies

Neither AT&T nor Cox has a strong stance on Net Neutrality. Both are large incumbent providers, who historically are anti-Net-Neutrality and prefer light-touch regulations which reduce their oversight from federal or state agencies.

This can sometimes be a good thing for consumer however, as with AT&T’s ability to remove data caps for customers who use their owned-and-operated TV services rather than buying TV from competitors.

Cox Communications Net Neutrality Stance

Cox maintains a page describing their support for the principles of Net Neutrality. However in practice, the company often uses selective throttling in network management.

Cox Net Neutrality statement
AT&T Internet Net Neutrality Stance

AT&T has a statement of support for Net Neutrality on their policy website, but has remained quiet on the topic of future paid prioritization for certain services.

AT&T Net Neutrality statement

Cox vs AT&T Customer Service Ratings

Cox gets overall better ratings on customer service. Reviews from customers often praise their customer service. Cox has local customer service, while AT&T, as a larger nationwide company, can have hit-or-miss service and support, which may be from offshore call centers depending on the level of support.

If your primary concern is the ability to call a local tech and get help with WiFi issues on an ongoing basis rather than troubleshooting yourself, Cox is by far the best option. They will charge one-off for services that are not caused by network issues.

However, they offer a monthly care package for an extremely low price (around $10/month currently) which is well worth considering for older subscribers who are less familiar with basic tech support.

Cox has an ACSI score of 62/100. AT&T, on the other hand, has an ACSI score of 68/100.

Cox vs AT&T: which is best in California?

Between AT&T Internet, AT&T Fiber, and Cox Cable internet, we reccomend them in this order:

  1. AT&T Fiber Internet (500–1,000 Mbps): Best speed and value
  2. Cox Cable (10–940 Mbps): Runner up, best budget plans
  3. AT&T DSL Internet (5–100 Mbps): Not reccomended

AT&T Fiber is cheaper for the speed, and more reliable. Fiber internet is always our top recomendation, when it's available, since the economics of delivering fiber service make the price equivalent to slower cable/DSL service once it's installed at your building.

That said, for practical purposes Cox is the most likely top choice because AT&T Fiber is only available in a few limited areas for the moment, mostly in wealthier neighborhoods. The only real issue with Cox is their data caps. As mentioned above, these caps don't matter for the majority of customers

Page Summary
  • AT&T Fiber is the fastest option, but has limited availability. Most of AT&T's coverage area is DSL internet capped at 100 Mbps download.
  • Cox offers consistent speeds up to 940 Mbps in their service area, as well as ultra-cheap entry-level plans for basic speeds.
  • Cox is usually the most affordable option in Southern California.

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Last Update: July 05, 2020
Published: July 04, 2020
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