It’s time for AT&T vs. Charter vs. Time Warner Cable in Dallas: Which looks the best in this big Texan market? Read on to see how they compare against each other and what features each service offers.
AT&T U-Verse TV, Internet and Phone
AT&T offers a far number of Internet speeds in Dallas, but they tend to be on the lower end of the spectrum. They start at the extra-low end with 768Kbps, and reach up to 18 Mbps for the fastest and most expensive service. This is nothing especially fast, but it does provide a range that will serve a variety of Internet needs, from surfing the web to watching Netflix. 18 Mbps is sufficient for a typical modern family basic Internet needs.
For TV, AT&T offers DirecTV (which it purchased recently) Satellite TV packages instead of traditional cable for its digital TV offerings. At the max, this provides more 225 channels for families, and includes some extras like a TB HD DVR. At the low end packages start at around 150 channels. However, even the maximum channels require you to eventually pay extra for channels like HBO and Showtime. On the other hand, local channels are included in every package.
For phone services, AT&T offers U-Verse Voice, which includes the basics plus a few extras like web-based call management that will notify you when you get voicemail. You can also choose to use U-Verse VoIP services. Plans range from unlimited minutes to 200 minutes of anytime calling.
For Internet services, AT&T costs start at $20 for the lowest plan (locked in for one year) and go up to $30 or more for the highest speed. Cable TV (well, satellite in this case) ranges from $30 to $40, and phone costs range from $25 to $40 based on minutes and international calling.
Add in bundles, and things get a lot more complicated. You can pick basic Internet and phone services for $35 per month (for the first year), or pay $60 or $75 to add in advanced TV options. Getting your Internet above 3 Mbps, however, will require some higher prices in the $80 to $110 range, and you may lose out on some of the deals AT&T offers.
Additionally, it’s worth mentioning that AT&T has recently launched the “GigaPower” version of their U-Verse services in the Dallas area. GigaPower is the AT&T name for its extra-fast, fully fiber optic network services that offer up 1 GB download speeds in select areas and 100 Mbps in a number of other areas (with upgrades to higher speeds expected in the future). You may rightly recognize this as far, far faster than traditional AT&T services. If you live in one of the eligible areas and are willing to spend $90 to $120 on really fast Internet services, you may want to check for GigaPower in your Dallas neighborhood.
Charter Cable TV, Internet and Home Phone
Charter Internet services are across the board for Dallas regions. Believing in the one-size-fits-all approach, Charter offers Internet speeds up to 30 Mbps, and claims at the average Texas speeds are only around 7 Mbps (that’s all of Texas, not just Dallas). This is a very healthy amount of bandwidth in the AT&T vs. Charter vs. Time Warner Cable battle, even with today’s modern digital needs accounted for – so unless you are an extra-heavy downloader and HD streamer this should be sufficient for your needs.
When it comes to TV, Charter’s options show a bit more variety. The basic offering starts at over 125 channels, but you can pay more for 50 or 75 extra channels. While Charter offers a DVR as well, it cannot really compare with AT&T DirecTV offering, and you’ll have to purchase a separate premium package for HBO, Starz, etc. Phone services, meanwhile, offer unlimited local and long distance calling and offer all the basic features you expect, but without quite as much voicemail management as AT&T.
Charter focuses heavily on bundles – for example, you can’t really get phone service separate from your bundle, and all prices (which are locked in for a year) are prices with bundle discounts. If you want something beyond the bundle discounts, you’ll have to make a direct request for a single service and be willing to pay more.
For a Charter “Double Play” you can get basic TV and Internet services for $90. For an extra $20 you get phone service and more TV channels. Another $20, bringing you up to $130, will give you phone service and all the channels that Charter can offer. If you don’t need TV services, you can buy Internet and Phone for $50. The lowest cost package is basic TV, phone and Internet, which Charter lowers to around $90, essentially throwing in phone services for free.
Time Warner Cable Digital Services
Time Warner Cable (which remember, is currently completing a deal to be acquired by Comcast) offers one of the widest range of Internet speeds in the Dallas area, ranging from the low option of 2 Mbps all the way up to a special Dallas option for $75 Mbps. In between are several options, from 15 and 20 to 30 and 50 Mbps. Suffice it to say there’s a lot of options.
Cable TV from Time Warner Cable also has quite a few options. Starter packages will only give you around 20 channels for your very basic needs. Standard packages offer around 70 channels. The highest tiers offer around 200 or more channels, but only the highest tier gets DVR service along with the channels, as well as HBO and the other specialized crowd.
Time Warner Cable offers a couple different phone plans. The National plan will get you unlimited calls in North America and the usual phone services/voicemail/etc. The Global Penny Plan lowers international calls for 50 different regions to one cent per minute. The International OnePrice plan, meanwhile, gives you 1,000 minutes a month to spend within 100 countries however you wish.
Let’s take these one at a time. Internet service costs range from $15 per month (locked in, as usual, for the first year) all the way up to $75 for the highest tier available in Dallas. Digital Cable TV service will run you anywhere from $20 to $80, with four other payment options between the extremes depending on how many channels you want and what your DVR preferences are. Phone services start at $10, with an additional $3 for the Penny plan and $20 for the 1,000 global minutes.
When it comes to bundles, Time Warner also has quite a few options, including a nice online deal for 20-channel Cable and 15 Mbps Internet for $45 per month. The same package, but upgraded to 200 channels (plus HBO and crowd) and 30 Mbps Internet costs $130. Add a phone, and the price jumps to $150. The lowest triple play option gives you 70 channels, 3 Mbps and phone service for $80
So, Who Wins the AT&T vs. Charter vs. Time Warner Cable Showdown?
This is a tricky decision, but the AT&T vs. Charter vs. Time Warner Cable comparison comes down to this: If you care about price and aren’t too picky about your package, then Charter has some great deals. On the other hand, if you like to micromanagement and choose specific services with a lot of upgrade potential, then Time Warner wins this round. If a service has to be crowned, Time Warner Cable’s multiple options and deals give it the ultimate edge.
Photo Credit: David.Nahas