Many of our readers are familiar with the so-called “Big Four” wireless service providers. It doesn’t tax the brains to name the players of Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint.
A lot of people might incorrectly assume that this is pretty much it when it comes to choice in the United States. That couldn’t be further from the truth.
For each of the major network operators listed above there are other brands in the space. Some of these service providers license infrastructure to Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) and include the likes of Metro, Boost Mobile, and Cricket Wireless.
Most of the top-tier carriers, though, offer their own prepaid services with different rate plans, phone selection, and support. Let’s take a look at one of them in particular: AT&T Prepaid.
AT&T Prepaid, formerly known as GoPhone, operates in the US using the same network as the tier-one brand and, for the most part, provides nearly identical coverage. One key difference is that there is no third party coverage in pockets of states such as Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, Nebraska.
AT&T Prepaid features include no annual contract, no credit check, and easy activation.
AT&T Prepaid rate plans let subscribers go month-to-month with no long-term agreement or cancellation fees. Moreover, it does not charge for going over your allotted data; you receive “throttled” 2G speeds on data for the remainder of the bill cycle.
- $35/month: Unlimited Talk and Text with 1GB of high-speed data
- $50/month: Unlimited Talk and Text with 8GB high-speed data
- $65/month: Unlimited Talk and Text with 8GB high-speed data
- $85/month: Unlimited Talk and Text with unlimited high-speed data
Customers who sign up for automatic bill payment can save $5-$10 per month, depending on which rate plan they’re on. Mobile hotspot/tethering is available to most of the plans.
There are other features available for the various plan, including unlimited calls and text to Mexico and Canada or usage in Mexico and Canada. Those on the 1GB or 8GB plans who do not use the allotted amount will be able to roll it over to the next month.
AT&T Prepaid offers add-ons such as international calling and monthly data plans for tablets and hotspots. Moreover, add-on data can be purchased in the event you hit your plan’s data threshold. Click here to access Verizon Prepaid FAQs.
Customers interested in family plans or multiple lines can do so with discounted pricing. As of today AT&T Prepaid offers a discount of at least $10 per month, per line when adding a line of service. Additionally, there’s also a discount for AutoPay, automatic bill payment. It’s possible to mix and match plans based off of individual data needs.
Taking a look at the current lineup of phones offered through AT&T Prepaid we find familiar names from brands like LG and Samsung as well as Alcatel and ZTE. The overall selection pales in comparison to the standard AT&T brand and skews toward affordability instead of power. For those looking to save money there are also a handful devices which are certified restored.
If you’re in the market for a new phone under AT&T, be sure to check out our regularly updated guide on which devices are the best.
Bring Your Own Device
You can often use your current phone to AT&T Prepaid, especially if it was previously paired with the standard AT&T service.
AT&T Prepaid is a GSM-based service provider using the following frequencies/bands:
- 3G WCDMA/ UMTS/ HSDPA/ HSPA+ – 850/1900MHz Bands 2 & 5 (minimum requirement for nationwide service)
- 4G LTE – 700/ 850/ 1900/ 1700/ 2100/ 2300MHz Bands 2, 4, 5, 12, 17, 29, 30, 40, 66
You will want to check with your phone maker to see if it’s compatible with the aforementioned bands and frequencies. Also, contact your current service provider to see if you can unlock your phone for usage on AT&T.
We’re also seeing a growing trend of unlocked phones with support for AT&T and its Prepaid bands sold direct to consumer. Examples include models from Motorola, Blu, Essential, and Samsung.