AT&T vs. T-Mobile Comparison 2021

T-Mobile is one of the significant competitors to AT&T in the mobile carrier market. Both companies offer expensive plans with good coverage throughout cities and fast download speeds. 

You get access to entertainment perks through both company’s unlimited plans, including free streaming service subscriptions. You need to check your plan to ensure this is provided.

One of the most significant differences between AT&T and T-Mobile is the coverage provided, with AT&T having significantly higher coverage across the country. T-Mobile offers a considerable advantage with their plans, with no throttling up to 50 GB of download. AT&T does not provide a comparable option.

Keep reading as we take you through various features and requirements of a mobile carrier to see which provider will give you the best service.

AT&TT-Mobile
Best 4G Coverage
Best 5G Coverage
Best Overall Coverage
Lowest Prices
PerksHBO MaxNetflix
Unlimited Premium Data0 GB – 100 GB Guaranteed. Only top-tier plans get guaranteed premium data50 GB Guaranteed
Hotspot DataUp to 30 GBUnlimited but limited speeds. Up to 20 GB of 4G speeds.

AT&T vs. T-Mobile Prices and Plans

T-Mobile offers three unlimited plans, and AT&T offers a variety of plans, including some unlimited. When comparing comparable plans, you’ll find T-Mobile is $5 cheaper in most cases except the top-tier unlimited plans; both AT&T and T-Mobile charge $85 for their ultimate unlimited plans.

T-Mobile and AT&T both offer family plans, and the same is true for those plans. The cheapest unlimited family plan with T-Mobile is $35 per line, and the cheapest unlimited AT&T family plan is $45 per line. 

One of the big factors with the plans we mentioned above is speed. T-Mobile will guarantee that 50 GB of your downloads will not be throttled. Whereas AT&T may throttle your download speeds if you use too much or at peak times of the day.

If you’re trying to do something or using your phone as a hotspot for work, you could be throttled and be unable to perform the task you need with AT&T. For general usage, 50 GB is a massive amount of data, and unless you’re streaming videos, you won’t be throttled.

T-Mobile is a clear winner when it comes to personal and family plans, its plans are cheaper, and you won’t be throttled.  

AT&T Pros and Cons 

AT&T Pros
  • AT&T provides high data caps, so you won’t get limited or charged more in most cases.
  • One of the largest coverages available.
  • Excellent download speeds when compared to competitors.
  • You can upgrade your phone even if you’re still paying off your old one.
AT&T Cons
  • Less coverage for rural customers, so you may need a smaller local carrier if you travel or live in a rural location.
  • Basic plans are limited and unlimited plans are some of the most expensive.
  • Lower level plans will be limited in streaming quality
  • Even some unlimited plans will throttle your data usage over certain limits or at certain times of the day.

T-Mobile Pros and Cons

T-Mobile Pros
  • Clear cost on plans. When you pick a plan that will be the total cost, no hidden fees or taxes included later.
  • Good coverage, generally ranked in the top 5 providers for coverage.
  • Good perks, even getting Netflix provided for free when many plans
  • Great international coverage and rates for frequent travelers.
T-Mobile Cons
  • Expensive plans, while not the most expensive, there are much cheaper options available.
  • While coverage is good, it’s not the best for the price. So it’s both a pro and a con depending on where you are located.
  • Unlimited plans can still limit your speeds during peak times if you are streaming.

AT&T vs. T-Mobile Coverage

When comparing AT&T and T-Mobile, AT&T has superior coverage, roughly 8% better coverage map than T-Mobile. You will need to check both companies’ coverage maps for your specific location to ensure good coverage.

AT&T’s coverage map | T-Mobile’s coverage map

AT&T is currently pushing to get better coverage than Verizon and is actively improving how much of the country they will cover. Both AT&T and T-Mobile have relatively poor rural coverage, though, so they may not be good options if you travel to or live in a rural area.

In the maps, you’ll see AT&T covering around 70% of the country and T-Mobile covering 62%. Of course, these values can change as each company rolls out enhancements to their network and compete against each other.

AT&T is the winner for coverage overall, and you’ll likely find them to be a good option for you in the same locations as T-Mobile is.

AT&T vs. T-Mobile Speed

AT&T pushes its network as being the fastest in the country. However, online reviews and tests show this is not always the case. So your location and even the type of phone you have will decide which provider will offer the fastest speed.

The good thing, though, is that all tests show AT&T and T-Mobile to be neck and neck on speeds, so whichever you decide on will give you good speeds.

A factor in speed is the plan that you choose. Both companies offer unlimited data, but that data can be throttled when you hit certain download limits, and it can be throttled at certain times of day if you’re on one of the lower-cost unlimited plans. T-Mobile offers a guaranteed 50 GB of unthrottled data no matter what.

The winner, because you get 50 GB of unthrottled data, is T-Mobile. This feature on their unlimited plans would be a deciding factor for me. 50 GB is a lot of data, and it’s unlikely that normal usage would go over this each month. 

AT&T vs. T-Mobile Perks

Both AT&T and T-Mobile offer an entertainment perk. With AT&T, you’ll get an HBO subscription, and with T-Mobile, you’ll get a Netflix subscription. You’ll need to check your specific plan to make sure this is included.

AT&T also offers a program to its customers which is free to join with most plans, and it will provide discounts, promotions, and some great offers through a website. The website could include discounted concert tickets, deals on local retailers or restaurants, and many other great options. Sign up and see what is available to you here: https://www.att.com/att/attthanks/en/index.html.

T-Mobile has a perks program that isn’t as good as AT&T. Every Tuesday, you’ll have access to deals and promotions on all kinds of products and services. You can review the details here: https://www.t-mobile.com/support/new-to-tmobile/t-mobile-tuesdays

For perks, AT&T is the winner because most people will have Netflix anyway, and the perks program offered by AT&T is better and available at all times.

AT&T vs. T-Mobile Reputation

There is no real comparison between the reputations of AT&T and T-Mobile. AT&T has a relatively poor reputation with its customers, while T-Mobile is considered one of the best, most trustworthy, and customer-focused mobile carriers around.

AT&T is currently working on its reputation issues, with a two-year plan to improve how customers and people view them overall. They say this is less about marketing and more about improving their service and customer experience. They don’t however offer any specific details on what they’re doing to improve this.

T-Mobile is pushing to be one of the biggest carriers in the United States, and they are using their customer focus and reputation to bring customers over to them. They are consistently ranked with a high reputation and continue to provide excellent service and customer experience.

AT&T vs. T-Mobile Which is Better?

T-Mobile would be my choice as the preferred mobile carrier compared to AT&T. T-Mobile offers cheaper plans with better features and a much better reputation. The most significant factor for me is the 50 GB unthrottled data rates you will get with T-Mobile. 

If you are using your data for work or when trying to look up information outside your home, having your data throttled will be a major inconvenience. This inconvenience could cost you time and even make you go hunting for Wi-Fi from a local store, which is not what you want from your data plan.

AT&T is one of the biggest mobile carriers in the United States, and they are consistently pushing to improve their coverage and speeds. With upgrades to their networks and service in high-value areas. They are not customer-focused and rely heavily on their coverage and data speeds and are just being a well-known provider.

T-Mobile is one of their big competitors that is striving to gain ground on them; they are doing this by offering better prices, better features, and better customer experience.

You should review coverage and speeds for both providers in your area, and if T-Mobile is comparable for you, then I would recommend going with them instead. You’ll get better service if there are issues, and you’re not going to be throttled in most situations.

If you’re a rural customer or looking for cheaper plans, it would be advisable to go to a smaller local carrier that can provide basic service at much lower rates. Consider using WIFI for your data instead of looking for unlimited data plans.