MVNOs are a great alternative to the traditional Big Four because they often offer the same reliable service as the carriers they buy network space from at a lower rate. Essentially, they are cell phone companies who buy or lease data and minutes from larger carriers like Sprint, T-Mobile, AT&T, or Verizon Wireless.
There is a trade-off, however. Some MVNOs won't offer the latest phones, unlimited data, or have neat bonuses that the Big Four can provide. If you're on a budget, or just need a cheap cell phone plan for light to moderate use, you should look into the MVNOs available to you.
After spending hundreds of hours researching cell phone plans, our team has put together a list of carriers we feel are the best AT&T MVNOs. The carriers discussed in this guide are far cheaper in comparison to AT&T's service, all while retaining the network's top-tier coverage.
So, if you find yourself wanting to save a few hundred dollars per year on your cell phone bill, you should certainly turn your attention to the available AT&T MVNOs in the US.
Requirements for Selecting an AT&T MVNO
If you're planning to bring your own phone to an AT&T MVNO, you should ensure that your phone has the following bands:
- 3G: 850Mhz (Band 5), 1900Mhz (Band 2)
- LTE: 700 Mhz (Band 12), 1700/2100Mhz (Band 4), 1900Mhz (Band 2)
List of the Best AT&T MVNOs
You'll find in this guide a list of MVNOs that you can take advantage of. Read on, and find an MVNO that suits your lifestyle, and budget, best.
Cricket Wireless is one of the largest MVNO names in the United States, and for good reason. This AT&T-based MVNO sports highly affordable plans, including an unlimited data plan that's much cheaper than Verizon's, T-Mobile's, and AT&T's unlimited data plans. Additionally, if you're interested in group savings, you can take advantage of the Group Save discounts, which can save you up to $100 per month on your cell phone bill.
Consumer Cellular focuses on one particular demographic - senior citizens. You can choose from a variety of prepaid, no-contract plans, ranging between 250 minutes and an unlimited number of minutes.
There are also Connect Plans to take into consideration as well. Text and data amounts, which are featured in the Connect Plans, range between 300 texts and 30MB of data to unlimited texts and 5GB of data. However, you should be aware that you will be charged an extra $10 for every GB used if you exceed the maximum amount of data. As far as family savings go, you can share your minutes, text, and data via the Consumer Cellular Wireless Family Share plan. All you need to do is add a line to your plan for a small monthly fee.
H2O Wireless' plans are enticing, for certain. There are two categories that customers can pore over: monthly unlimited talk and text messaging and pay as you go. As far as monthly plans go, you'll be able to select anywhere between 3GB and 12GB of data.
However, if you're not a phone hog by any sense of the term, then you'll probably want to opt for any of the pay-as-you-go plans. With the pay-as-you-go plans, you can make payments in denominations of $10, $20, $25, $30, or $100. Once you add the prepaid amount to your account, you'll be able to use talk, text, MMS, and data. Your balance will only dwindle when you use any of those services.
Additionally, H2O has a family plan that allows you to connect up to four lines. If all four lines are new to the provider, you can take advantage of a $10 monthly discount for lines two through four.
Net10 Wireless is a larger MVNO belonging to parent company TracFone Wireless, offering many plans that include the money-saving Auto-Refill feature, 30 days of unlimited talk and text, and high-speed data access.
In terms of data, plans range between 500MB and 10GB. However, the cheapest cell phone plan is less valuable compared to plans found with the other major carriers.
Unique to Net10 are the phone upgrade options - you'll be able to upgrade your phone at a discount after you collect a certain amount of points. The plans, however, are specific, meaning that only phone upgrade plans will grant you the points necessary to earn a phone upgrade discount. These specific plans come complete with 30 days of unlimited talk and text as well as data access. The plans range between 5GB and 100 International Minutes (1 point) to 5GB and 200 International Minutes (3 points).
One of the biggest names in MVNO services, the Wal-Mart-distributed Straight Talk leases from all four major cellular providers.
In terms of monthly options, you can select between 100MB to 10GB of high-speed data. There are also international options to contemplate over, such as an add-on for Global Calling. Unfortunately, there is no true unlimited plan - the highest amount of high-speed data that you can purchase with Straight Talk is 10GB.
TracFone Wireless is one of the largest prepaid carriers in the nation, owning a large number of subsidiary MVNOs like Straight Talk and Net10.
TracFone offers two types of plans - monthly value plans and pay-as-you-go plans. TracFone's individual value plans range from 50 minutes to 200 minutes, which are rather pricey in comparison to quite a few other carriers. Not only do the plans include nationwide coverage but also a carryover function.
Then we have pay-as-you-go, which is a perfect option if you're traveling and don't rely on your mobile device often. The basic phone plans range between 60 minutes for 30 service days to 3000 minutes for 365 service days. However, as far as smartphone pay-as-you-go phone plans go, your selection ranges from the 30-day plan that includes 200 minutes 500 texts, and 200MB of data to the yearly plan that includes 1500 minutes, 1500 texts, and 1.5GB of data.
TracFone also offers international plans and a family value plan.
There are plenty of AT&T MVNOs out there; these are just a sampling of what you can adopt as your carrier. If you're interested in learning more about AT&T's MVNO selection, then you should refer to the MVNO links provided to you.
Hopefully, with enough time and research, you'll be able to find the MVNO that is most suited for you. Need more information before making a decision? Check out our cell phone plan comparison table.