Over the past five years or so AT&T has invested billions in their U-verse deployment, targeting not only DISH Network and DIRECTV customers, but also cable television subscribers. Charter Communications is one such cable company now in direct competition with U-verse, as they serve many of the midwestern markets within the AT&T footprint. In this article, we will compare U-verse vs Charter cable – covering some of the pros and cons of each provider.
AT&T U-verse is about six years old, and millions love having another option besides satellite TVor cable television. Charter is a traditional cable company, but with more than 5 million subscribers across 25 states, they are a force to be reckoned with when shopping triple play packages of voice, video, and high speed internet. If you are comparing Charter against Uverse, then you will primarily be looking at those three services to make your decision. First, we will look at the video services offered by each.
AT&T offers several package options, from the U-family to the all inclusive U-450 which has up to 430 channels when counting both the SD and HD versions. The nice thing with AT&T is that there are five different U-verse packages to pick from, meaning you can customize service to exactly what you want. Charter offers TV Basic, which is only $9.99 a month but only has local channesl and a few additional network. Most will go with the Charter TV in Digital option, which has around 150 channels when regular cable networks and 24 hour music channels are added together. Overall, AT&T offers better video packages when comparing the two – and more channels overall, especially when you look at their giant music channel lineup.
Next up, its important to compare U-verse internet vs Charter if you are going to be spending a lot of time online. Especially now with streaming services like Netflix and Hulu becoming popular, customers are demanding reliable and fast internet service that doesn’t buffer the stream. AT&T initially had some of the fastest speeds out there when U-verse was first deployed, but cable companies have closed the gap significantly in the last two years.
Charter offers internet speeds up to 100 Mps in some areas, while the most you can get currently with AT&T is the U-verse Max Turbo which tops out at 24 Mbps. Charter doesn’t have this kind of broadband speed in all areas, so you will have to check in directly with them to see what exactly is available. Both companies have basic plans for simple web surfing and e-mail – Charter Lite offers 1.5 Mbps, while the U-verse Pro is twice as fast at 3 Mbps. Both can be packaged into either the Charter triple play or the Uverse triple play, which is generally a better deal either way. Pricing is dependent on the plan selected, but after reviewing each company’s website there isn’t a big difference between Charter and U-verse. If you defnitely need a higher speed, then Charter internet gets the nod at this time.
The third piece of the triple play packages offered by AT&T and Charter is home phone service. While AT&T has struggled with millions disconnecting their home phones over the past five years, Charter has benefited by offering this additional service to their cable TV customers.
You probably won’t notice much if any difference in the quality of the phone line service with each provider. AT&T actually uses a different setup rather than the traditional copper phone line, using the U-verse Home Gateway to provide the line as well as internet and cable TV. Charter ties their phone service into the same coaxial cable network that provides the internet and video service, generally through a centralized box called a Mulitmedia Terminal adapter (MTA). Both companies have battery backups that keep your phone working for at least a few hours in the case of a power outage.
Charter cable and U-verse include unlimited local calling with their telephone services, as well as a bundle of calling features like call waiting, caller ID, and voice mail. The companies differ in the long distance plans offered, with AT&T offering a limited 250 minute calling plan for long distance calls if you don’t plan on using your phone in this way. Generally, the packages including unlimited long distance will cost a bit more with AT&T, but this is well worth it compared to burning up your cell phone minutes. Those with AT&T wireless service also have the option of having one integrated home and cell phone voicemail box.
Specials For New Customers
An important thing to evaluate if you are looking at Uverse and Charter are the specials offered to new customers. If you already have one of the providers, it can be worth it to switch to the other in that you can realize several hundred dollars in savings during the first year. Right now, the main Charter deals offer customers a $200 bill credit after they have completed one month of service. This deal requires a two year agreement, and also gives you a reduced price on a triple play package during the first two years.
AT&T Uverse promotions aren’t as good as they were a few years ago, but you can still get anywhere from $150 to $250 back in the form of Visa cards depending on the level of service. One popular Uverse triple play package offered right now includes the U300 TV channel lineup, U-verse Max internet (12 Mbps) and your home phone with 250 minutes of long distance for $119 a month. This price is good for the first year, and also includes a $250 promotional rebate card. Some of these deals require that you sign up online, so some online research can go a long way in saving you money on your communication services.
A final thing to evaluate is how much HD does your family want? There is a clear advantage with one company here, as AT&T offers up to 140 high definition channels in all of the markets where Uverse is available. On the other hand, Charter has struggled to keep up with the competition, offering anywhere from 40 to 90 HD channels in their footprint. If you have a plasma TV, going with the Uverse HD package is definitely going to make you happier. You may also want to check out satellite TV providers like DIRECTV if you want to fully explore your high defnition options.