So you're thinking about switching to AT&T?
Maybe you're not happy with your wireless provider and you're shopping around for a better price. Or, maybe you already know you want the benefits of being on the AT&T network. We're going to tell you about an option that gives you both.
Did you know that there's a way to have cell phone service on the AT&T network without paying AT&T prices?
If you don't know about MVNOs (Mobile Virtual Network Operators), it could be worth a bundle in savings to read on. In fact, it's not uncommon to save over 50% on your cell phone bill by switching to an alternative carrier.
Unreal Mobile 3GB data includes unlimited mins, unlimited texts and 3GB data for only $20 per month. Unreal Mobile prepaid phone plans offer wireless coverage on the AT&T 4G LTE and 5G network.
Good2Go Mobile unlimited talk & text includes unlimited mins, unlimited texts and 0GB data for only $10 per month. Good2Go Mobile prepaid phone plans offer wireless coverage on the AT&T & T-Mobile 4G LTE and 5G networks.
Red Pocket 5GB data only includes 0 mins, 0 texts and 5GB data for only $25 per month. Red Pocket prepaid phone plans offer wireless coverage on the AT&T 4G LTE and 5G network.
AT&T switch deals starting at $10
Switching to a cheap AT&T carrier
MVNOs are smaller carriers that lease bandwidth on the major carriers' towers. This is good news for you because it means you're getting service on the main networks you've always depended on, with the same great coverage.
I know you'll need some good reasons to change carriers, though. Here are some things you should know about how you can benefit from an alternative mobile provider:
- Cheaper prices: Cell service on the big four has become expensive - we all know that. AT&T MVNOs keep their overhead low so that they can offer you solid service at a better price.
- Customized plans: The big four carriers all promote their unlimited plans as their main offering. The flaw in this ploy is that the average smartphone user goes through less than 3GB of data usage per month. It's like paying for 200 TV channels and when you only watch 20. MVNOs let you pick and choose exactly what you pay for.
- No contracts or credit checks: All low-cost carriers offer prepaid plans. If you're unhappy, you can leave anytime you choose.
- Keep your phone and number: If you bring your own phone will save you between $10 and £30 per month in pricey device payments (which, incidentally, work as a form of contract, keeping you tied to your expensive carrier).
Now that you're ready to take advantage of all of these benefits of MVNOs, let's look at how to go about making the change.
AT&T unlimited data plans
|Plan||Data||Monthly Price||Annual Cost|
|AT&T Unlimited Extra||Unlimited||$75||$900|
|AT&T Unlimited Elite||Unlimited||$85||$1,020|
AT&T vs Pure Talk Plan Comparison
Keep your AT&T phone, number & coverage: Save $600 per year
|Carrier||Network Coverage||4G/5G Data||Price||Annual Cost|
|AT&T||AT&T 4G & 5G||Unltd*||$75/mo||$900/yr|
|Pure Talk||AT&T 4G & 5G||4GB||$25/mo||$300/yr|
|*Don't waste money on unlimited data - Avg. data usage is only 3-5GB||Savings||$50/mo||$600/yr|
Cheap AT&T plan features
- 4G LTE data speeds: Since AT&T MVNOs are all powered by the AT&T network, you'll pay less without sacrificing speed.
- Unlimited talk and text messaging: Finding a new unlimited plan has never been easier. Virtually all small carriers include unlimited text and calls in their plan options. Compare cheap talk and text plans with or without data.
- International calls to Canada and Mexico: International calling is a must for many people. Luckily MVNOs offer some of the best international phone plans, with free calling to certain countries like Canada and Mexico, and discounted rates on others.
- Multiline discounts: Low-cost carriers also offer some of the cheapest family cell phone plans, with multi-line discounts.
- Wi-Fi calling: This feature is handy when you're out of your service area, allowing you to make calls over the internet instead of on your cellular connection.
- Tethering/hotspot data: Many low-cost carriers allow you to use your phone as a hotspot. Pick an MVNO with the best mobile hotspot plans so you can share your mobile hotspot data with other devices.
- HD video streaming: Just like the big guys, some MVNOs offer HD video streaming and some don't. Read the fine print to find the option you want.
Compare cheap AT&T plans
|Good2Go Mobile||AT&T & T-Mobile||Unltd||Unltd||1GB||$10** 50% Off for 3 Months|
|Boost Mobile||AT&T & T-Mobile||Unltd||Unltd||2GB||$15** $0.99 for 1st Month|
|Unreal Mobile||AT&T||Unltd||Unltd||12GB||$30** Buy 2 Months Get 1 Free|
|Red Pocket||AT&T||Unltd||Unltd||10GB||$22.50** $270 for 12 Months Service|
|Boost Mobile||AT&T & T-Mobile||Unltd||Unltd||1GB||$8.33** $100 for 1 year service|
How to switch to a cheap AT&T deal
Some aspects of changing your mobile service are the same regardless of your current provider or device.
- Choose a carrier. Each AT&T MVNO offers something a little different. Find the one with the prices, plans and coverage best suited to your mobile usage and budget. Later in this guide, you'll find a list of AT&T carriers.
- Choose a plan. Most low-cost carriers offer customization options - this is what makes them so attractive. You can pay only for what you need instead of overpaying for data or minutes you'll never use. You wouldn't pay for 24 eggs if you only needed 12, right?
- Get your phone unlocked. All carriers must grant your request to unlock your phone as long as it's paid off, isn't lost or stolen, and you're not in the middle of a contract.
Switching from T-Mobile
T-Mobile operates on GSM just like AT&T devices making the switch pretty easy.
In order to free your phone for use on the AT&T network you can submit a request for T-Mobile to unlock your device. This wireless provider also allows you to unlock phones through the T-Mobile Device Unlock app. The app is only available for Android so you should contact customer service if you need to unlock an iPhone.
Even though many phones will work on both networks it's best to check with your new carrier to verify that you can keep your device. You will then want to compare cell phone plans available from AT&T MVNOs to figure out which one best matches your needs and budget.
Switching from Verizon
If you want to switch to an alternative AT&T carrier from Verizon there are a couple of things you should know, especially since you will probably be bringing your own device.
There are two technologies used for cellular phone service - CDMA and GSM. Verizon utilize CDMA. It used to be that there was no way to bring your own phone from one network to the other, however, some newer phones are designed to function on both the CDMA and GSM technologies. These include:
- Most 4G LTE devices
- "Global" phones, which are CDMA phones designed so that you can use them in other countries
- Some newer iPhone models
Once you've checked with your chosen carrier to make sure your device is compatible, you'll need to call Verizon and request an unlock code. This code allows you to use your phone on any carrier.
Check out our handy guide on how to unlock a phone. Verizon devices come unlocked, so if you're making the switch to the AT&T network from Verizon you'll be ready to go.
AT&T cell phone deals
If high smartphone prices have you nervous about switching to a prepaid carrier - because you'll need to bring your own device in most cases - there's a very savvy solution.
Compare AT&T phone deals
|Apple iPhone SE||AT&T||Red Pocket||$399|
|Apple iPhone 11||AT&T||Red Pocket||$499|
|Samsung Galaxy S20||AT&T||Red Pocket||$529|
|Apple iPhone 12 mini||AT&T||Red Pocket||$629|
|Samsung Galaxy S20+||AT&T||Red Pocket||$629|
|Apple iPhone 13 mini||AT&T||Red Pocket||$729|
|Apple iPhone 12||AT&T||Red Pocket||$729|
|Apple iPhone 13||AT&T||Red Pocket||$829|
|Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max||AT&T||Red Pocket||$899|
|Apple iPhone 12 Pro||AT&T||Red Pocket||$899|
|Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max||AT&T||Red Pocket||$999|
|Apple iPhone 13 Pro||AT&T||Red Pocket||$999|
AT&T prepaid phone benefits
- Buying a prepaid AT&T phone makes switching carriers a breeze.
- Compare phone prices and save up to 25% on popular devices, like the latest iPhone or Samsung Galaxy.
- Save even more by choosing a refurbished phone.
AT&T carriers list
|Boost Mobile||AT&T & T-Mobile|
|Red Pocket||AT&T, T-Mobile & Verizon|
|Straight Talk||T-Mobile, AT&T & Verizon|
|Tracfone||Verizon, AT&T & T-Mobile|
|Unreal Mobile||AT&T & T-Mobile|
|Wing||AT&T, Verizon & T-Mobile|
|Good2Go Mobile||AT&T & T-Mobile|
Switch to AT&T FAQs
How do you activate an AT&T SIM Card?
Your SIM card should arrive already activated or come with simple instructions to do so.
Can I bring my own phone to AT&T?
Yes, you can keep your phone and use it when you switch carrier.
Can I transfer my phone number to AT&T?
Yes, you can keep your phone number. It's important that your current phone number remains active until you follow the instructions to port it into service with your new provider.
Does AT&T have coverage in my area?
AT&T MVNOs enjoy the same national 4G LTE coverage as AT&T itself. However, if you live in a particularly remote area, check the carriers coverage map to be sure you can get service in your location.
With the rise of these low-cost carriers, there's no longer any reason to pay high rates for data and services you'll never use.
As intimidating as it can feel to change your cell service, an alternative mobile provider is a solid choice that will put hundreds of dollars back in your pocket.