A basic home security system with 24/7 professional monitoring from AT&T
Editor’s note: Unfortunately, AT&T Digital Life was discontinued in 2022. That said, the company didn’t hang users out to dry. They were offered the opportunity to switch over to a Brinks system, which offered upgraded cameras and keypads.
Though AT&T has been around since the 1800s, they’ve only been in the home security game for about eight years. In that time, they’ve had an interesting evolution. First they scaled up to a portfolio of several home security systems, including some with video cameras and home automation capabilities. Then, a couple of years ago, they went in the other direction and slimmed down their offerings to what is now a single basic home security system with no video or home automation features.
And then — poof — they were gone. Unfortunately AT&T Digital Life is no more, so if you’re looking to protect your home and your family, we’d recommend heading over to our roundup of the best security systems on the market today. That said, we’re still going to take a look at this legacy system because you might find their products from third-party sellers or, who knows, AT&T Digital Life could be back on the scene at some point.
AT&T’s current home security offering is called Smart Security. (This is a bit of an awkward name choice, since the service has no smart home features.) The Smart Security plan includes a package of basic equipment and 24/7 professional monitoring for $549.99 up front and $39.99 per month, with a two-year contract.
Before going further, let’s just say it: Those prices are a bit steep. On average, basic security equipment for a typical home falls in the $350-$450 range. So AT&T is pricey compared to the industry average. They do have reasonable monthly monitoring rates, though. Many brand competitors charge $40-$50 per month for professional monitoring, so AT&T’s $39.99 isn’t bad at all. For context, these prices are about similar to one of the best in the business. For more information on that, check out our review of ADT.
Keep in mind, AT&T Digital Life is only available in certain areas. They’ve got a handy tool on their site for checking availability in your area. You’ll want to give that a whirl before even considering them, because it sure would be disappointing to get your heart set on a system and then realize you can’t have it. (I checked my local area in LA, and they don’t offer it here.)
|Recessed Contact Sensors (Door)||2||$19.99|
|Surface Contact Sensors (Window)||4||$34.99|
Add-on equipment comes with a one-year agreement and a separate monthly service charge. Read the full terms and conditions for details.1
Did You Know? When it comes to professional home security monitoring, “response time” does not refer to police arrival time. Instead, it describes the time it takes the system to receive alerts, process information and contact authorities. Many factors can affect response time. To learn more, read our guide to the best home security company response times.
FYI: AT&T Digital Life’s stripped-down home security package is simple and easy to use. That said, it has stiff competition from modern DIY systems like SimpliSafe — one of the best (and most affordable) home security systems available. Read our hands-on review of SimpliSafe.
AT&T Digital Life has been consistently narrowing its security offerings over the last few years, and this does cause concern — especially if you’re considering signing a two-year contract. When we reviewed AT&T Digital Life in March 2021, we noted that the stripped-down version of the Smart Security package still included a touch-screen control panel (which we really loved) and the option to add on some environmental monitoring, like a CO sensor. Those features now seem to have been stripped away as well. The Smart Package currently includes a standard keypad, not a touch-screen panel. And their site no longer mentions any add-on environmental sensors.
Though the basic equipment in the Smart Security package is good, I don’t think it justifies the price, even with 24/7 professional monitoring. After all, you get award-winning 24/7 professional monitoring with ADT for only a slightly higher price (starting at $45.99), and they let you pay for your equipment over time, rather than in one lump sum up front. Plus, you get a slick touch- screen panel and the ability to include all kinds of smart home features. That’s the kind of upgrade potential that gives you value for your money. It’ll be nice if AT&T Digital Life is able to offer those kinds of advanced features in the future. If so, we’d certainly love to try them in our home again.
AT&T. (2014). AT&T Digital Life Customer Agreement Summary