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AT&T Fixed Wireless Internet Review
A rural provider with decent speeds and prices that’s available where others aren’t
Gather round all you farmers, hermits, desert rats, homesteaders, and country folk. AT&T’s Fixed Wireless may be the internet you’ve been looking for. Or, there could be a better rural internet service provider (ISP) out there for you. Either way, this review should help you figure it out.
We’ll tell you up front what we like most: it’s available where others aren’t, and it has consistent speeds. It doesn’t have the fastest speeds or the lowest prices in the industry, but they’re decent compared to other rural internet options.
Now, let’s dive into the details.
AT&T Fixed Wireless Internet prices and plans
AT&T’s fixed wireless internet is a one-size-fits-all service. It offers a single plan that comes with 350 GB of data. The price you pay for this plan depends on whether you have a wireless plan with AT&T or want to bundle with a DIRECTV plan.
You’ll get $10 off your monthly bill if you have an existing AT&T Wireless plan. To qualify, your wireless phone plan must have a minimum monthly data allowance of 1 GB.
AT&T also advertises a bundled price when you get AT&T Fixed Wireless Internet and DIRECTV at the same time. The details are below, but we don’t necessarily recommend this “deal.” This bundle is actually just the same price as buying the two services separately.
|Fixed Wireless Internet + DIRECTV||$134.98||Up to 25 Mbps||160+||View Plan|
Data cap and overage charges
AT&T Fixed Wireless Internet has a soft data cap of 350 GB per month. You’ll be charged $10 for every 50 GB of data you use after that (with a maximum of $200 per month).
We prefer home internet service to have an unlimited data cap, especially since both Verizon and T-Mobile’s fixed wireless home internet plans don’t come with data caps. That said, AT&T’s 350 GB allowance is nothing to scoff at.
350 GB of internet data is enough to scroll through a social media feed for almost 4,000 hours (not recommended). Or, you could use your data allotment to stream 500 episodes of the Great British Baking Show. In other words, most people who aren’t video conferencing all day or downloading huge files shouldn’t have a major problem with the data cap.
Where is AT&T Fixed Wireless Internet available?
You might think that, since AT&T’s Fixed Wireless Internet service uses the company’s cell phone network, it would have the same basic coverage as a cell phone. But, that’s not the case. Unfortunately, AT&T’s Fixed Wireless Internet coverage is more limited.
But still, the service is often available where there are few other ISPs, especially in the midwest and south. Here’s a complete list of the 18 states where AT&T Fixed Wireless Internet access is available.
- North Carolina
- South Carolina
How does AT&T Fixed Wireless compare to Viasat, Windstream, and other rural ISPs?
You may have moved to the country to get away from the hustle and bustle, but that doesn’t mean you have to live with a slow internet connection. In most places, there are at least a couple of options for medium-high speed internet.
So, how does AT&T Fixed Wireless Internet compare to these other options? In a word: decent.
AT&T’s Fixed Wireless Internet’s speeds are higher than some other rural providers out there. And AT&T’s prices are definitely cheaper than many satellite internet plans (like Viasat’s). However, as this comparison chart shows, there are rural ISPs that can beat out AT&T in both price and speed.
|AT&T Fixed Wireless||$59.99/mo.*||Up to 25 Mbps||350 GB||View Plan|
|Unlimited Silver 25||$69.99-$99.99/mo.†||25 Mbps||60 GB||View Plan|
|Internet 25Mbps Unlimited||$55.00/mo.||25 Mbps||Unlimited||View Plan|
Before you get too excited about that Kinetic Gig plan from Windstream, remember this cardinal rule of rural internet access: it’s all about location! Windstream's prices and offerings vary wildly depending on where you live (and its prices go up after the first year).
That’s one thing we really appreciate about AT&T’s service: the price is the same, no matter where you are, and it doesn’t go up after a promotional period.
Is AT&T Fixed Wireless Internet cheap?
AT&T’s Fixed Wireless Internet service is relatively cheap, but far from the most affordable in the industry. Here’s a closer look at how the prices compare to other top rural ISPs.
- Viasat: Viasat’s prices tend to be a lot higher than AT&T’s, but the company does offer some plans with higher speeds.
- Rise Broadband: Rise Broadband beats out AT&T’s prices pretty much everywhere.
- Windstream: Windstream’s prices may look way better than AT&T’s at first glance, but it depends on where you’re located. And beware the price hikes after 12 months.
- T-Mobile Home Internet: T-Mobile’s home internet is just $50 a month (and comes with 5G service in certain areas), beating out AT&T’s price by a good margin.
AT&T Fixed Wireless Internet speed and data
AT&T states that customers can expect at least 10 Mbps download speeds and 1 Mbps upload speeds. But, the company says, customers typically experience download speeds of 25 Mbps. Independent reviews from customers suggest that this range is correct, with some even getting 30+ Mbps speeds.
What does that mean for you? Well, that really depends on how much speed you need to live your day to day life.
For example, 25 Mbps is plenty of speed to power a couple of computers (or TVs) streaming a show in standard definition. In general, it should be just enough for single people or small families that don’t work from home or run more than one device at once.
However, AT&T’s data speeds probably won’t cut it if you need internet for modern gaming, video conferencing, watching movies in 4K, or if you have five, six, or more connected devices on the same network.
How do AT&T’s data speeds compare?
AT&T Fixed Wireless Internet definitely isn’t making the list of the fastest ISPs, but then again, no rural provider does. So, the question is, how does AT&T compare to company’s offering rural internet? This chart can begin to answer that question.
Download speed range
|AT&T Fixed Wireless||25 Mbps||View Plans|
|T-Mobile 5G Home Internet||3382 Mbps||View Plans|
|Windstream Internet||50–1000 Mbps||View Plans|
|Earthlink Internet||10–5000 Mbps||View Plans|
|HughesNet Internet||25 Mbps||View Plans|
|Rise Broadband||25–50 Mbps||View Plans|
|Viasat Internet||12–100 Mbps||View Plans|
*Data effective as of post date.
As you can see, AT&T isn’t the fastest. But it’s within the same range as many of these other providers. And it’s important to remember that not all of these ISPs are available in all areas. You may like the look of EarthLink’s 1,000 Mbps, but those speeds are definitely not available in most areas.
AT&T Fixed Wireless Internet contracts, equipment, and fees
Telecommunications companies aren’t known for being super forthcoming and clear about their pricing and fees. This is why you must always read the fine print, or at least let us read it and then tell you what it says.
With AT&T Fixed Wireless Internet, there are a couple of important things you’ll want to know that are hidden down there with the asterisk. First of all, let’s talk contracts.
AT&T Fixed Wireless does not require a contract when you sign up for internet as a standalone service. This is great news for people who move around a lot or aren’t sure that the service is right for them.
But, if you do decide to bundle fixed wireless service with a phone or DIRECTV plan, then you will likely be required to sign up for a contract for the other service (but you’ll also get a discount on your internet).
Fixed wireless service is different from DSL, cable, or fiber-optic internet connections in one fundamental way: your data is coming from a cell phone tower, not a wire in the ground. Without a wired connection, you’ll need a couple key pieces of equipment.
First of all, there’s a wireless antenna that receives the signal from the tower. Then there’s a wireless modem/router that connects to the wireless receiver and your connected devices at home. Both the modem/router and antenna come free from AT&T (but you can’t keep them after your service ends) and seem to work quite well according to customer reviews.
AT&T will install everything for you (though there is a $99 installation fee). The installation has three steps:
- Assess: An expert comes to your home and finds the best place to put the antennae.
- Install: The equipment is hooked up (usually to the outside of your home) and fine-tuned to give you the best signal.
- Connect: The installer sets up the modem/Wi-Fi Gateway and helps you connect your home devices.
We saved the worst part of the fine print for last: fees! Here’s what you can expect (and hopefully avoid) from AT&T.
- Installation fees: You may be charged a $99 installation fee, depending on your location.
- Overage fees: You’ll pay $10 for every 50 GB of data you use over 350 GB.
- Termination fees: If you cancel your service, then you must return equipment within 21 days or pay a $150 fee. The fee will be refunded if the equipment is received within 90 days of cancellation.
AT&T Fixed Wireless customer service
While it might come as a bit of a shock to hear, AT&T’s customer service is actually pretty responsive and helpful. The company is at the very top of the American Customer Satisfaction Survey in 2020–2021, with a score of 71. The next up behind AT&T is Verizon Fios.
|ACSI 2020–2021||71 out of 100|
*Data effective as of post date.
Even with a high ACSI score, AT&T (like any telecommunications company) can still be frustrating to deal with sometimes. Check out our customer survey guide for a few tricks to make the process easier.
Recap: Is AT&T Fixed Wireless Internet good?
We’ve gone over everything you need to know about AT&T’s Fixed Wireless Internet. So, what’s the final verdict? It’s pretty darn good, for the right kind of customer. Here’s a quick recap to help you figure out if it’s right for you.
- Prices and plans: AT&T only offers one plan, which gives you 350 GB of data at 10–25 Mbps speeds. The price is $69.99 (or $59.99 if you have a qualifying cell phone plan).
- Speed: At about 25 Mbps, AT&T’s data speeds are respectable. But, depending on where you live, there may be much faster rural ISPs.
- Data caps: AT&T’s 350 GB data cap is pretty high. If you do happen to go over the cap, you’ll be charged $10 for every 50 GB.
- Contracts, equipment, and fees: You’ll need some special equipment for fixed internet service, but it’s free (after a $99 installation fee).
- Customer service: AT&T leads the industry when it comes to customer service. That might not be saying much, given the industry, but it means they’ll at least answer the phone and try to fix your problem.
We spent over a dozen hours researching and writing this review of AT&T’s Fixed Wireless Internet service. Our knowledge base was informed by several sources, including customer reviews, third-party research, and our own proprietary data from over 100,000 mobile customers.
Here are some of the features we focused on when evaluating AT&T’s service:
- Price: We compared AT&T’s pricing to other fixed wireless and rural ISPs.
- Speed: We looked at how AT&T’s data speeds compared to similar providers.
- Customer experience: We used customer satisfaction surveys, customer reviews, and our own experience with AT&T to determine the overall quality of service.
Thank you for reading our review and trusting us to help you find the very best internet service!