All right, it’s time for a Comcast vs. AT&T U-Verse showdown, this time with a focus on the Los Angeles area. Let’s take a look at the Internet services, Cable TV options, and Home Phone features that both companies offer, then compare them to see which service sounds best for you.
Reviewing Comcast XFINITY
Comcast offers its XFINITY services throughout L.A., so regional limitations shouldn’t be a problem no matter what you have your eye on. First comes the Comcast XFINITY Internet services, which start at 25 Mbps for its lowest tier – still a respectable speed that will suit many households and apartments without any trouble. However, Comcast also offers 50 Mbps with its “Blast!” service, which is an upgrade for people heavily invested in media streaming and online gaming. There are also higher Internet speeds offered through elite packages.
When it comes to TV options, Comcast offers a couple different tiers – you can pick between a 140-channel or a 220-channel plan, but you have the option to add select programming on your own. This is a bit limited compared to the customization options that other services offer, which often include packages focused on sports or more limited programming options. However, Comcast does offer a number of streaming advantages for its programs, such as streaming to iPads and iPhones, as well as remote DVR management from a smartphone.
Finally, Home Phone services can net you unlimited nationwide calling and a handy “Readable Voicemail” that turns your voicemails to emails. You also get five numbers to reach via any phone, advanced call forwarding, and caller ID via mobile devices…this is all pretty standard stuff, but it makes a strong offering if you want a dependable landline option.
Costs For Comcast’s Services
A Comcast vs. AT&T U-Verse battle would not be complete without talking about cost, so let’s look at prices and bundles associated with Comcast services. Solo Internet services in L.A. start at $40 for the lowest tier, while the lowest TV option costs $45. Voice plans are only available via bundles — and let’s take a look at those bundles, because they come with some of the best Comcast deals you can find. For $99 per month (for the first year) you get a starter package that includes 140 channels, 25 Mbps Internet, and unlimited nationwide calls. Other costs may vary a bit by neighborhood, but pay $120 per month and you get 80 more channels. Pay around $160, and you get the extra-high bandwidth of 105 Mbps and 135 more channels, including HBO and Showtime. Double Plays, for only two services, are similar but knock the prices down by around $10 to $20 per month, so the bottom tier costs $80, the middle tier $90, and so on.
Comcast also offers business packages in L.A. starting at around $90, which includes dedicated business phone lines, faster Internet speeds, and TV packages designed specifically for waiting rooms. The company also offers a number of bonuses for purchasing Triple Play packages for home and business. For example, buy the two-year starter Triple Play package in L.A., and you can get up to $250 on a Visa prepaid card – just in case that’s the tipping point for you decision.
Finally, let’s remember that Comcast has acquired Time Warner Cable, and this could lead to some important changes to L.A. services in the future. Specifically, Comcast has already said that it will be offering faster Internet speeds to Time Warner Cable customers in areas like L.A. and New York. This is something to think about if you are currently in a Time Warner region.
Reviewing AT&T U-Verse
AT&T U-Verse is a specialized service that offers integrated, high-speed services for customers that qualify, which fortunately includes the greater L.A. area. Let’s start with Internet features, which are also one of the weakest points of AT&T’s U-Verse services. There’s no doubt about it, U-Verse is a lot slower than Xfinity. Typical speeds go up to 18 Mbps: In other words, AT&T’s highest speeds are lower than Comcast’s lowest speeds. This becomes even more wince-worthy when you note that the highest available speeds in L.A. appear to be only 3 Mbps. Is this enough for basic Internet activity and some streaming? Yes. Is it enough for a family with mobile devices, online gaming, and Netflix? No.
Next come TV channels: AT&T offers up to 140 TV channels through U-Verse in L.A., which is the lowest tier package that AT&T offers. Technically U-Verse can go up to 470 channels with high-definition options, movie packages, sports packages, and other handy customization options. However, L.A. does not appear to support much beyond the limited U-Family packages (although there is a chance your neighborhood may be different – and luckier).
Finally, let’s look at phone services, which include the basics like Caller ID, call waiting, three-way calling, and U-Verse voicemail. There aren’t many surprises here, but AT&T doesn’t offer anything that differentiates it much from Comcast Xfinity.
Costs For AT&T U-Verse
Now for some information on prices. AT&T U-Verse locks its prices in for 12 to 24 months, in addition to some discounts that last only 6 months. Because U-Verse is focused on integration between services, there are more choices for bundles and fewer for single services. However, if you want to choose single services then Internet services will cost you around $15 per month, TV will cost around $30 per month, and voice services will cost you around $25 to $35 per month.
When it comes to bundles, the lowest will cost you $50 per month (for the first year) for the basic Internet and Cable TV services, plus access to AT&T Wi-Fi hotspots around the country. Next comes the $80 (for the first two years) bundle, which adds phone service. It’s also worth noting that AT&T recently acquired DirecTV, and many of its digital TV options include DirecTV options depending on your location.
Comcast vs. AT&T U-Verse in L.A: Who Wins?
In the Comcast vs. AT&T U-Verse contest, there’s a clear winner: AT&T U-Verse simply does not have the same presence in Los Angeles as Comcast does. While other parts of the country, like North Carolina, are benefiting from higher AT&T Internet speeds, L.A. is not a focus for the company. The result is a selection of services that heavily favor Comcast Xfinity, which offers around 100 more channels and far, far better Internet speeds than U-Verse. If you have an active household that watches plenty of shows and streams lots of video or music, the choice is an easy one.
The primary reason to consider AT&T U-Verse is the low prices for some of its bundles and single services. If Internet speed is not important to you and you can make do with basic Cable TV packages, you can probably find a better deal with U-Verse.