AT&T Router Options Explained

Should I rent a wireless router, modem, or gateway from AT&T… or buy it myself?

Wireless Router: Renting vs. Buying

If you recently opened an account with AT&T for your internet, you’re probably wondering what equipment you need. Maybe they already sent you a fancy box with words like wireless router and modem but you aren’t sure whether it’s worth the rental fee. 

We compare and contrast between which situations you should rent it from AT&T or buy it yourself.

What equipment do I need for AT&T internet service?

AT&T will rent you a Wi-Fi® gateway or AT&T-compatible DSL modem.

What’s the difference between a router and a modem? Do I need both? What is a wireless gateway?

A modem sends electrical signals to and from your home network to the internet. It is called a modem because it modulates signals back and forth. A router routes data between the different devices in your home.  You need both, but you can invest in what’s called a gateway or combo, very similar to what you get from your internet provider which just has both technologies in a single device.

Can I rent a router/modem from AT&T?

If you have a new service, AT&T will automatically send you a router and modem as part of your package.

How much does it (typically) cost to rent a router/modem from AT&T?

It costs $10 per month for your equipment fee. 

Is it a good deal to rent a router/modem from AT&T?

If you sign up as a new customer with AT&T, they are going to charge you a $10 Wi-Fi Gateway equipment fee. There’s no way to get around this fee which means you will be paying the rental fee for the router and modem from the company regardless.  You are allowed to use your own router but even if you do you still have to pay the same $10 fee every month for the modem. In that case, it really doesn’t make much sense for you to purchase one on your own because AT&T makes it a good deal to stick with them at $10 per month. 

With most companies if you were not looking to use this equipment and pay every month, then when you sign up or when you receive the equipment you’d have to look for the way to avoid hanging onto it. It sounds like this isn’t an option anymore with AT&T.

What other options do I have? 

Assuming you don’t want to pay the rental fee or deal with returning the equipment whenever you close your account, your only other option is to buy a router yourself. AT&T prohibits the use of any other modem, so you have to use the modem they provide but you can use a router behind that modem that you purchase on your own. (Some question whether AT&T can really prohibit using your own modem.)

What should I know about buying my equipment?


You need to make sure firstly that the router you buy is compatible with AT&T.

Tech support

You also have to note that you will have no support from AT&T where issues involving your router are concerned.

Customer service

You might have a difficult time with AT&T customer service as well if you are trying to get help finding a compatible router or establishing a connection between the two devices because big companies don’t typically like it when you eat into their profits.

Where can I find out about which modem to buy?

There are many review sites out there that offer viable information on different modems, routers, and combo packages. You can review each one to see what they offer, and whether they are compatible with your internet. You can always ask AT&T customer service before you sign up for their service or even after you have their service. 

I’m having issues with AT&T equipment return, what should I do?

If you are trying to return your equipment, but the company is giving you trouble we can help. The first thing you have to do is make sure that you are returning your equipment in the right way. Even big companies have very particular rules for how equipment has to be packaged and regardless of whether you use your own router, at some point you will have to return your modem. Pay attention to the fine print from AT&T

But companies are always look for ways to make a little more profit and sometimes customers have issues with bogus return fees.

At FairShake we can help you resolve any outstanding issues or fees.

Get started now…

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