AT&T Wireless vs. T-Mobile Review 2018

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
Highly rated coverage
Pricier than T-Mobile
Best for travelers
50 GB of 4G LTE data
Spotty rural coverage

Overview

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 Unlimited & More vs. T-Mobile ONE price comparison

Lines*AT&T Unlimited & More price**T-Mobile ONE price**
1$70/mo.$70/mo.
2$125/mo.$120/mo.
3$145/mo.$140/mo.
4$160/mo.$160/mo.
5$195/mo.$180/mo.
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* AT&T offers up to 10 lines on its unlimited plans, while T-Mobile offers up to 12 lines on its unlimited plans.
** Prices include autopay, paperless billing, and multi-line discounts where applicable. Taxes and fees included in T-Mobile prices only.

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 &More℠ and T-Mobile ONE.

AT&T Unlimited & More vs. T-Mobile ONE price comparison

Lines*AT&T Unlimited & More price**T-Mobile ONE price**
1$70/mo.$70/mo.
2$125/mo.$120/mo.
3$145/mo.$140/mo.
4$160/mo.$160/mo.
5$195/mo.$180/mo.
View PlansView Plans

* AT&T offers up to 10 lines on its unlimited plans, while T-Mobile offers up to 12 lines on its unlimited plans.
** Prices include autopay, paperless billing, and multi-line discounts where applicable. Taxes and fees included in T-Mobile prices only.

We should add that, while price is important, it’s also important to figure out just what your money will get you. Here’s a quick peek at how the features included in AT&T Unlimited &More℠ and T-Mobile ONE compare.

AT&T Unlimited & More vs. T-Mobile ONE features comparison

FeaturesAT&T Unlimited &More℠T-Mobile ONE
Data speedsSpeed may be throttled during busy times50 GB of unthrottled data before speeds slowed
Video streaming quality480p480p
Mobile hotspotNone3G
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
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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 ONE 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 &More℠ Premium for AT&T and ONE Plus for T-Mobile.

Here’s what it’ll cost you each month to nab that higher data cap (at least for AT&T) and enjoy some screen time in full HD.

AT&T Unlimited & More℠ Premium vs. T-Mobile ONE Plus price comparison

Lines*AT&T & More Premium**T-Mobile ONE Plus price**
1$80/mo.$80/mo.
2$150/mo.$140/mo.
3$170/mo.$170/mo.
4$190/mo.$200/mo.
5$225/mo.$230/mo.
View PlansView Plans

* AT&T offers up to 10 lines on its unlimited plans, while T-Mobile offers up to 12 lines on its unlimited plans.
** Prices include autopay, paperless billing, and multi-line discounts where applicable. Taxes and fees included in T-Mobile prices only.

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 &More Premium℠T-Mobile ONE Plus
Data speeds22 GB of unthrottled data50 GB of unthrottled data
Video streaming qualityUp to 1080pUp to 1080p
Mobile hotspot15 GB of 4G LTE data, then 128 Kbps speeds10 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
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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 &More℠ Premium 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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Get the full reviews

Have a question about AT&T or T-Mobile that we didn’t answer here? We’ll help you figure it out in our full AT&T and T-Mobile reviews.

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—but if you want a Google phone, you’ll need to bring your own. 

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.

Which top phones do AT&T and T-Mobile have?

MakeAT&TT-Mobile
iPhoneX, 8 / 8 Plus, 7 / 7 Plus, SEX, 8 / 8 Plus, 7 / 7 Plus, SE
SamsungGalaxy S9 / S9+, Galaxy S8 / S8+, Galaxy 7, Galaxy Note8Galaxy S9 / S9+, Galaxy S8, Galaxy Note8
GoogleAvailable only through the Bring Your Own Device programAvailable only through the Bring Your Own Device program
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There is one exception though. Neither carrier sells Google phones like the Pixel. You can, however, bring your own Google phone to AT&T or T-Mobile as long as it’s compatible with AT&T’s or T-Mobile’s network.

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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

ATT Logo

  • Watch 30+ live and on-demand channels on both AT&T unlimited plans with the AT&T WatchTV app at no extra charge. These channels include favorites like TBS, Hallmark, HGTV, Food Network, AMC, and many more. Score! (You’ll need to create a free WatchTV account first.)
  • Get premium pampered if you’ve upgraded to the AT&T Unlimited &More℠ Premium 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
ATT Logo
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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.
  • TV fanatics: AT&T’s unlimited plans let you pick your poison from 30+ live and on-demand channels. So bring on the Property Brothers or Fear the Walking Dead binge sessions. Just grab the AT&T WatchTV app to get hooked on your next favorite show.
  • 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 ONE plan if one hour of in-flight data is enough for you—or upgrade to ONE Plus if you need more.
  • Data lovers: Get your streaming on with the T-Mobile ONE plan and 50 GB of unthrottled data each month at highly rated speeds.