Prepaid plans are existent among the major wireless carriers - in this case, AT&T - but typically, their web pages are shoved away in favor of postpaid plan pages. In fact, you may have to search or access a completely different site to select prepaid offerings.
This is a problem that needs to be brought to the spotlight. After all, prepaid plans are growing - according to The Prepaid Press, the number of prepaid users is expected to reach almost 94 million by 2019, up from 77 million in 2015 - and for good reason. Prepaid plans don't come with strings attached and are often cheaper compared to postpaid plans.
Inside this guide, you'll find information regarding and related to the available AT&T prepaid plans, including international prepaid calling, family plans, prepaid phones, coverage, activation kits, and customer service in a clear, simplified manner that will help you understand the AT&T's offerings a bit better.
Finally, you'll find our comparison tool that will let you compare prepaid cell phone plans, to help you make an informed decision as to whether or an AT&T GoPhone account is right for you.
In This Guide
AT&T Wireless Prepaid Plans
According to the Pew Research Center, nearly one in five Americans see their smartphone as a financial burden. With this in mind, before browsing the no-contract plans that are available, you should determine the amount you can afford to spend based on your overall budget.
There are a few AT&T wireless GoPhone plans to choose from, all of which are compatible with the AutoPay discount. GoPhone rate plans also include the following calling features:
- Basic Voicemail
- Three-way Calling
- Call Forwarding
- Call Waiting
- Caller Number ID
The first plan, which is quite affordable - especially with the AutoPay discount - doesn't grant you with a set amount of high-speed data, but you can purchase a data package at a fee per 250MB. Otherwise, you'll be stuck with unlimited 128kps data speeds.
This no-contract plan includes Stream Saver, which allows you to stream more video on the go at 480p, unlimited talk and text in the United States, and unlimited messaging to over 100 countries. However, you will not be eligible for a multi-line discount or receive the rollover data feature.
The second plan features the first 6GB of high-speed data and includes Rollover Data, Stream Saver (which allows you to save data by compressing your video streaming resolution), unlimited talk from the U.S. to Mexico and Canada, talk, text, and data roaming in Mexico and Canada (50 percent of your usage must be in the U.S.), and eligibility for Multi-Line discount on up to five lines, making the plan absolutely perfect for families.
The next monthly plan is the AT&T prepaid unlimited plan, which is cheaper than the unlimited T-Mobile plan and includes unlimited talk and text as well as data. However, the data speeds are limited to a maximum of 3Mbps. Furthermore, for content AT&T identifies as video, the speed will be limited to a maximum of 1.5Mbps at standard definition quality, which is about 480p.
In other words, with the Prepaid GoPhone Unlimited plan, you will not be able to experience HD video streaming. At all. If you want HD video streaming, you're better off selecting the AT&T Unlimited Choice Plus postpaid plan.
As a side note, after 22GB of data usage, AT&T may (or most likely) throttle your speeds due to network congestion. Unfortunately, network congestion happens all too often. Alongside the data speeds, you'll have access to unlimited talk from the U.S. to Mexico and Canada, talk, text, and data roaming in Mexico and Canada, and eligibility for a Multi-Line discount of up to five lines.
Prepaid Mobile Hotspot
Did you know you can purchase a prepaid mobile hotspot with AT&T? Well, you certainly can with this service provider. With GoPhone mobile hotspot, you will receive a colorful mobile hotspot device that allows you to secure your own Wi-Fi network from a colorful display. Furthermore, you can renew your service whenever you need it for up to one year after your plan expires.
There are three monthly plans to choose from, ranging from 2GB of data to 8GB of data. You can also refill the amount of data through three methods: AutoPlay, by phone, or use a refill card that is available at retailers.
Data Connect Pass
Need a DataConnect Pass? DataConnect passes allow your data-only devices to use... well, data. Better yet, the data connect pass is not limited to the Mobile Share Advantage plans (Mobile Share Advantage are the postpaid plans).
There are three types of prepaid DataConnect Pass plans: DataConnect Pass, DataConnect Pass AutoRenew, and DataConnect Pass for Computers, with the option to auto-renew.
- DataConnect Pass - This plan allows for mobile browsing, gaming, and video streaming with LTE speeds using your iPad, tablet, camera, or gaming device. You can select between just a few hundred MB for 24 hours or a couple of GB for a 90-day period. You can also add DataConnect Pass Global, which lasts for thirty days and presents you with three options: 120MB, 300MB, and 800MB.
- DataConnect Pass Auto-Renew - If you choose this plan, which can be auto-renewed for each billing cycle, you can add either just 1GB for 30 days, a few GB for 30 days, or several GB for 30 days. The iPad, tablet, camera and gaming devices can all take advantage of the LTE network. As for DataConnect Pass Global, which can be added, you can choose the same amount as listed in the original prepaid DataConnect Pass plan.
- DataConnect Pass for Computers - This plan is strictly for computers. Surprisingly enough, you receive less data with these plans, which can be auto-renewed for each billing cycle. You can choose between 100MB, 300MB, and 1GB of data. However, you can also add DataConnect Pass Global for a certain fee.
As far as international calling goes, you can make phone calls from the U.S. to Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam, and the Mariana Islands free of charge with the two GoPhone monthly plans.
You can also call from the U.S. to over 225 countries worldwide at pay-per-minute rates. That being said, you can add an international calling package to receive reduced per-minute rates. Here are the packages available:
- Latin America/Carribean - With this rate plan, you can pay reduced per minute rates from the U.S. to landlines and mobile phones in 45 countries across Latin America and the Carribean. If your monthly plan includes unlimited calling to Mexico (and it probably will), and you add this package, your calls to Mexico will not be charged.
- East Asia/India - With this rate plan, you can make unlimited calls from the U.S. to landlines and mobile numbers in China, India, Hong Kong, Singapore and South Korea, plus reduced rates to 30 other countries in East Asia.
- International Plus - You'll receive 1,000 minutes of calling per month from the U.S. to Mexico, plus phone calls to landlines in over 50 countries. However, you can only purchase two packages within a 30-day period.
- Dominican Republic - You can make unlimited calls to landlines and "X"-rate-per-minute (as it is subject to change) calls to mobile numbers when calling from the U.S. to the Dominican Republic.
- International - For any plan, you will receive 250 minutes of calling per month to landlines in over 50 countries. Do note that international packages for the monthly and annual plans are good for 30 minutes, but packages for weekly plans are good for only seven days as long as the account balance has not expired.
And if you're wondering about text according to AT&T, many of the GoPhone plans include unlimited text.
AT&T Family Plans
While AT&T offers a variety of individual plans, you can save up to $600 per year with the multi-line discount. With the multi-line discount, all you need to do is add friends and family to your account. The discount can be applied to all monthly plans and enrollment into the multi-line account.
You'll receive a discount for the second line, which only increases the more lines you add. If you plan to add multiple lines, you might receive better savings and neat bonuses with an AT&T family cell phone plan.
Of course, you can't select a prepaid plan without having a prepaid phone. You can either bring your own phone to AT&T and select one of these available BYOP plans or purchase AT&T prepay cell phones directly from the provider.
Unlike its competitor Verizon, AT&T, alongside Sprint and T-Mobile, tend to feature some pretty nifty prepaid deals. For instance, you might be able to switch to AT&T GoPhone and get your second month free. Pretty enticing, isn't it?
Compare: Prepaid phones can be cheap, but used phones are cheaper. Compare prices on AT&T's Used and Refurbished cell phone lineup here
There are several different prepay phones to choose from with AT&T's GoPhone service. The phones offered by AT&T aren't as extensive in amount as Verizon, but that doesn't mean they aren't bad. You may be able to choose between the following AT&T prepay cell phone brands:
- XPAL Power
So if you're craving an AT&T prepaid iPhone, you'll be able to buy one from the carrier. The same goes for the Samsung Galaxy. This line of prepay phones can be purchased if you're interested.
Read More: You can take a look at all the phones AT&T offers using our smartphone comparison tool.
Comparing between the Voice and GoPhone service coverage maps, you'll find the GoPhone service is lacking in HD Voice. That being said, Verizon has already offered its first HD Voice prepaid phone. For more information, you can compare the coverage maps between the four major carriers.
Some patches in the GoPhone network also require a 3G, 4G or 4G LTE network handset. Fortunately, you'll be receiving the same amount of coverage via GoPhone as with the standard plan.
AT&T offers a GoPhone kit that is completely free of charge. However, if you have a tablet, you'll have to purchase a kit at an AT&T store.
Nevertheless, you'll be able to (more than likely) transfer your number with this service and receive the GoPhone benefits, including 4G LTE speeds on the AT&T network, no annual contract, no credit check, easy activation, and great plan choices.
This kit is compatible with not only feature phones, the iPhone, select Android and Windows smartphones, and the Blackberry Z10 and Q10, but also the Standard, Micro, and nano SIM devices. You'll find more information regarding SIM cards with our article "What Is a SIM Card?"
You'll be receiving your SIM card via mail. All you need to do, once you receive the card, is to insert it into your phone and activate the service utilizing AT&T's GoPhone site.
Prices on the AT&T wireless prepaid cards, which is a convenient way to refill your account, range from $20 to $100. These cards expire after 90 days. Unfortunately, you will struggle with finding the exact details of the cards on the official site.
AT&T Customer Service
AT&T GoPhone accounts have a separate customer service page dedicated to its service. The AT&T prepaid customer service number is 800-901-9878. AT&T Wireless prepaid customer service is available from Monday through Friday between 7 AM and 10 PM, as well as Saturday and Sunday between 9 AM and 7 PM.
You can also access star services all day, every day using your phone. You'll be able to make payments, check your usage and balance, or even upgrade your devices for free.
And finally, if you're in need of more breathing support, you can always refer to the wireless Support page, which includes contact information, FAQs, and forums.
Are AT&T Prepaid Plans Right for You?
AT&T GoPhone plans are incredibly affordable, especially compared to more expensive prepaid services like the Verizon and T-Mobile networks (after all, one of the prepaid T-Mobile plans is the T-Mobile ONE prepaid, which is a tad pricier) - it is, however, more expensive compared to Sprint network's prepaid plans. So it's no surprise that prepaid plans are expected to continue growing.
Even GoPhone plans can be compared to the all-too-affordable MVNOs like Straight Talk, Virgin Mobile, and Boost Mobile. However, the plans still may be a bit on the expensive side - at least compared to Straight Talk's, Virgin Mobile's, and Boost Mobile's plans - as you'll find the Data Love Unlimited and Boost Unlimited plans to be a little cheaper. In fact, Boost Unlimited itself is far cheaper compared to AT&T's prepaid unlimited plan.
You can read our buyer's guide to prepaid cell phone plans to compare prepaid plans across all providers.