AT&T Wireless vs. T-Mobile Review 2020

See which cell phone company is victorious and which one’s down for the count as AT&T and T-Mobile go head to head.
  • Best for TV lovers
    3.5 out of 5 overall
    Highly rated coverage
    Pricier than T-Mobile
  • Best for travelers
    4 out of 5 overall
    50 GB of 4G LTE data
    Spotty rural coverage


All the hype aside, which is better: AT&T or T-Mobile? We’re about to find out—and the answer may surprise you. We’ll guide you through which company has the better prices, performance, and perks. Ready, set, go!

AT&T vs. T-Mobile prices

T-Mobile’s prices are lower—and include taxes and fees.

If you’re checking the prices of AT&T and T-Mobile plans, you’ll notice T-Mobile tends to be cheaper.

T-Mobile’s prices aren’t only lower—they also include taxes and fees. We think this is a huge plus, and you won’t find this much transparency with any other wireless company’s pricing.

If you want to get into the nitty-gritty, though, here’s how prices break down between AT&T Unlimited Extra and T-Mobile Magenta.

We should add that, while price is important, it’s also important to figure out just what your money will get you. For instance, both companies offer 50 GB of full-speed data, but AT&T’s Unlimited Extra plans also offers 15 GB of full-speed hotspot data, while T-Mobile Magenta only gives you 3 GB.

Meanwhile, if you’re looking for a way to call home while you’re overseas, your unlimited AT&T plan may need an add-on. It only lets you text other countries from the US, while T-Mobile Magenta lets you text from other countries.

It’s also pretty obvious from this comparison that if your goal is to stream the new season of Arrested Development in crisp, vibrant HD, you’ll want to upgrade to the next level of unlimited plan. That’s Unlimited Elite Premium for AT&T and Magenta Plus for T-Mobile.

Here’s what it’ll cost you each month to nab that higher data cap and enjoy some screen time in full HD.

Along with HD video streaming, these upgraded unlimited plans also come with a handful of features that just might make that higher price worthwhile. (At least we think so.)

AT&T Unlimited &More℠ Premium vs. T-Mobile ONE Plus features comparison
FeaturesAT&T Unlimited Elite℠T-Mobile Magenta Plus
Video streaming qualityUp to 1080pUp to 1080p
Mobile hotspot30 GB of 4G LTE data, then 128 Kbps speeds20 GB of 4G LTE data, then 3G speeds
International texting and dataYes, from the US to 120+ countriesYes, in 210+ countries
Talk and text in Canada and MexicoUnlimited calls to and roaming inUnlimited talk and text plus up to 5 GB of 4G data
View PlansView Plans

Don’t forget, both unlimited plans come with a number of what we like to call bonus perks.

Yup, you can choose to snag HBO® with AT&T Unlimited Elite or Netflix if your T-Mobile plan has two lines or more, along with other extras that add up fast. If you want to skip ahead, we talk about all the perks below.

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AT&T vs. T-Mobile performance

AT&T wins at coverage, but T-Mobile edges into the lead when it comes to speed.

While AT&T and T-Mobile are pretty close when it comes to performance, there are a couple of factors that could help you choose one over the other.

AT&T vs. T-Mobile coverage

When it comes to coverage, AT&T has an impressive network. Its nationwide coverage is so widespread that it earned some pretty high marks from third-party tests—and we placed it in second (just behind Verizon).1, 2

T-Mobile, on the other hand, will serve you well in the city and suburbs. But if you spend a lot of time in the country, you might have trouble getting a signal. Still, T-Mobile ranks fairly well in those same third-party tests, and we ranked it third behind AT&T.3, 4

AT&T vs. T-Mobile speed

So AT&T is better for coverage, but what about speed? This time T-Mobile takes the lead.

Thanks to data gathered in third-party speed tests, we put T-Mobile in second place for speed—ahead of AT&T in third.5, 6, 7 That’s right; despite those coverage issues, T-Mobile’s speeds ranked highly—if not the highest—in every region in the US.8

AT&T vs. T-Mobile phones

You’ll find the same phones available on both networks

Both AT&T and T-Mobile have a great selection of newer Samsung phones and iPhones. In fact, both providers carry pretty much the same models.

This is an incomplete list, but it should give you a good idea of what kinds of phones are available with these carriers.

Which top phones do AT&T and T-Mobile have?
iPhone11, X, 8 / 8 Plus, 7 / 7 Plus, SE11, X, 8 / 8 Plus, 7 / 7 Plus, SE
SamsungGalaxy 10 / 10+, S9 / S9+, Galaxy S8, Galaxy Note8Galaxy 10 / 10+, S9 / S9+, Galaxy S8, Galaxy Note8
GooglePixel 4, Pixel 4 XL Pixel 4, Pixel 4 XL
DetailsView PhonesView Phones
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See how these carriers stack up against the others
We’ve also looked at other cell phone providers side by side to see how they compare. Read our Verizon vs. AT&T review and Verizon vs. T-Mobile review now.

AT&T vs. T-Mobile perks

AT&T has exceptional perks for TV lovers, while T-Mobile’s perks make traveling a breeze.

What’s a cell phone plan without perks? We say bring them on, and both AT&T and T-Mobile offer some unique extras that might just sway you.

AT&T perks

The AT&T internet logo featuring a globe with blue and white stripes
  • Get premium pampered if you’ve upgraded to the AT&T Elite plan. You get to choose between HBO®, CINEMAX, SHOWTIME, STARZ, or VRV—or you can dance like no one’s watching with Amazon Music or Pandora Premium. That’s right—you get one of these premium perks without spending a penny extra.
  • Score movie tickets and awesome deals just for being an AT&T customer with AT&T THANKS®.

T-Mobile perks

t-mobile logo

  • Get a Netflix subscription if you have two or more lines on your T-Mobile ONE plan.
  • Earn prizes like Vudu movie vouchers or even a trip to the World Series just for being a T-Mobile customer and having the T-Mobile Tuesdays app. One time we won a subscription to Bon Appétit. Yum.
  • Travel in style with in-flight texting and one hour of data on Gogo®-enabled flights with the T-Mobile ONE plan. Now you can drown out that crying baby with the sweet, sweet sounds of your favorite artist on Spotify. Ahh . . . .
  • Go big with unlimited in-flight Wi-Fi (plus that in-flight texting) if you upgrade to T-Mobile ONE Plus. Now that eight-hour flight doesn’t look so bad.

Recap—Is AT&T as good as T-Mobile?

Still not sure which is better of the two? Here’s our final word.

Best for travelersBest for families
The AT&T internet logo featuring a globe with blue and white stripes
View dealsView deals

Which should you pick, AT&T or T-Mobile?

  • Price-conscious purchasers: T-Mobile has the better deals, especially since its advertised prices include taxes and fees.
  • If you live in the country: Pick AT&T for better coverage in rural areas. Sometimes we experience issues making and receiving calls with T-Mobile when we’re out in the boonies. Bummer.
  • Globe-trotters: We’ve got to hand it to T-Mobile—extras like in-flight texting and Wi-Fi make those long hours sitting in seat 23B much more bearable. Check out the T-Mobile Magenta plan if one hour of in-flight data is enough for you—or upgrade to Magenta Plus if you need more.
  • Data lovers: Get your streaming on with the T-Mobile Magenta plan and 50 GB of unthrottled data each month at highly rated speeds. But for those who want more hotspot data, AT&T offers much more.