The benefits of bundling
Who wouldn’t want to pay one smaller bill each month as opposed to several larger bills? A household that already buys internet and TV as a la carte services is probably paying almost the same amount you would for a bundled option—sometimes more.
However, every satellite internet provider offers a monthly discount on their bundles. DISH and DIRECTV both offer a $10/month discount when you bundle satellite internet with satellite television. That’s a savings of $120/year. To get the best deal, call in and talk to a customer service rep.
All offerings do require approved lines of credit. When comparing services, you may find certain incentives such as a $100 gift card to an electronics store in your area. These will be market-specific and vary from month to month.
What type of bundles are available?
One of the major distinctions between the companies reviewed is whether they offer TV programming or not. Because DIRECTV and DISH are the two primary satellite television providers, they offer full package bundles with TV, internet, and phone. HughesNet and Exede each offers a phone service that can be bundled at a discounted rate with the internet package. The bundle discount itself is almost identical across the board, so you’ll want to look to differences such as TV availability or internet speeds when deciding. Let’s break down what each company offers.
The sections below are sorted by brand and available services. DISH and DIRECTV are covered first as the two companies that offer all three services—TV, internet, and phone. HughesNet and Exede follow as companies that only offer internet and phone bundles.
DISH TV + internet + phone
DISH TV packages start at $49.99 per month and go up to $139.99 with a wide variety of channels and add-ons such as HBO. Internet packages range from $49.99 to $79.99 per month with varying data caps, and users may elect to add a phone line for $19.99 per month.
When it comes to bundling, DISH simply offers a $10 monthly bill credit to customers who elect to bundle packages. Any combination of services can be bundled.
DIRECTV TV + internet + phone
DIRECTV offers six different channel packages starting at $50.00 per month. The package with the highest channel count is the Premier package coming in at $125 per month. As DIRECTV is most well known for their NFL SUNDAY TICKET channel, it should be noted that you must be on the Choice plan or better to add the service. Add a phone line for only $9.99 per month.
DIRECTV’s data plans, when partnered with AT&T U-verse, are excellent. The plan pricing ranges from $14.99 per month to $54.99 per month and offers no data caps. The only limitation is the bandwidth ranging from 6 Mbps to a whopping 75 Mbps.
Similar to DISH, DIRECTV simply offers a $10 per month bill credit for bundling services. As with the DISH bundle examples, the table below demonstrates a few possible combinations, but these are not set bundles. Any combination of services can be bundled.
I’m happy with my TV service—can I bundle just satellite internet and phone?
A user would still be eligible for the bundle discount through DISH even if they were to forego TV and only set up phone plus internet service. With DIRECTV, you would simply go through their ISP partner company in your area. Alternatively, there are a few leading companies who also offer satellite internet and phone like HughesNet and Exede. Data bandwidth restrictions may mean limited video streaming, but each of these would certainly suffice for a home office or for homework/research purposes.
HughesNet internet + phone
HughesNet offers four internet packages varying by bandwidth and data cap. The basic package, called 10 GB, starts at $49.99 with 25 Mbps downloads and 3 Mbps upload speeds. The plans carry a data primetime, which covers most of the day and offers dramatically increased caps outside of primetime. Off-peak hours are from 2 a.m. to 8 a.m.
Add a phone line with HughesNet for unlimited domestic calling and packages available for international calls. A phone line costs $29.99 per month minus the bundling discount of $10 per month for the first three months.
Exede internet + phone
Exede’s plans compete closely with HughesNet with the exception of a few stark contrasts: all plans offer a standard 12 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload. Exede also employs a “soft” data cap. This means that once you hit your cap for the month, you won’t be cut off, but your bandwidth will be reduced to a range of 1–5 Mbps, which is about the range of most mobile devices on 3G data. Pricing ranges from $59.99 to $149.99 per month.
While Exede does not offer television programming, they are one of the ISPs which can be bundled into a DIRECTV package. Exede does offer a phone service with unlimited domestic calling at $29.99 per month and a $10 per month bundling discount for the first year.
Which bundle should I choose?
If you’re in it strictly for the cost (and don’t care about extra features such as DVRs and premium channels), we’ve gone ahead and broken down the bundles per provider:
Economy TV + phone + internet bundles
|DISH||Top 120 TV + good internet + phone||$124.97/mo.|
|DIRECTV/AT&T||Choice TV + 24 internet + phone||$94.98/mo.|
Mid-range TV + phone + internet bundles
|DISH||Top 250 TV + better internet + phone||$159.97/mo.|
|DIRECTV/AT&T||Ultimate + 45 internet + phone||$119.98/mo.|
Premium TV + phone + internet bundles
Best total package: DIRECTV Premier TV + 75 internet + phone
If you are in a market where DIRECTV is partnered with AT&T U-verse, then DIRECTV Premium Tier package blows the doors off their competition. They offer the best data plans at the lowest price points with the least-expensive phone plan and a very well-rounded channel offering. This combination beats the competition every way you stack it. However, in any market where U-verse is not available, DIRECTV is only as good as their partner in that market. In fact, DIRECTV partners with HughesNet and Exede in many markets.
Best phone and internet: DISH NETWORK best internet + phone
This category would be a tie between DISH and HughesNet except for the extra $10.00 per month HughesNet charges for their phone service. No matter which tier you’re shopping in, they offer a nearly identical phone and internet bundle option. Another contributing factor for DISH is that you can always add on a TV package down the road.
Best budget option: Exede Liberty 10 internet + phone
If you’re shopping the economy tier options for a reliable internet service, Exede takes the cake—especially at the lower tiers. When comparing the high-end performance packages, they start to lose their edge, but at the first-tier level, Exede offers competitive monthly data caps at the best bandwidth.
Whether you’re looking to upgrade to the all-you-can-get super package or just trim a few bucks from your monthly bill, bundling is a great way to save money. Choose one of the bundles featured here or make your own to suit your needs.