AT&T Prepaid Review (formerly GoPhone)
AT&T’s Prepaid plan provides affordable service with excellent coverage on the AT&T network and seriously rivals the offerings from Cricket. In this article I'll be covering the features of AT&T’s Prepaid service and why it’s worth considering.
I signed up for AT&T’s $45/month Prepaid plan back in January, 2017, when it was still called AT&T GoPhone. The $45 plan included unlimited talk and text and 4GB of LTE data.
Features & Experience
As you’d expect from a big carrier, the experience was great. Talk, text, and data worked beautifully with full support for visual voicemail, group and picture messaging, and the ability share your mobile data with the personal hotspot feature.
You’re also getting fast data speeds and excellent coverage. At home I ranged from 5 to 10Mbps down and 1-2Mbps up. Out and about I peaked at 31Mbps down and 17Mbps up. The speeds were perfect in my area for music streaming, web surfing, and video watching, and coverage remained strong wherever I wandered off to.
Even though there are no overage charges, AT&T is kind enough to send you alerts when you’re running low on data. You get an alert when you have 750MB remaining, 250MB remaining, and when you’ve been switched to the 128Kbps throttled speeds. The throttled speeds remain fine for a lot of text based services like email, Twitter, Reddit, and some light web browsing, but things load noticeably slower and occasionally my streamed music would cut out until the song had time to buffer.
AT&T Prepaid also includes a nice online experience. You log in with your phone number and a 4 digit pin. Once you log in you can view your plan renewal date, your current balance, a toggle for auto-pay which you should definitely take advantage of, and your current data usage. Rollover data is included with this plan. Your unused data will carryover to the next month of service.
AT&T also includes additional options on their online website. You can setup auto-pay, see available add-ons, switch plans, and the ability to add lines for a slight discount for each new line you add. Available add-ons include 1GB of LTE data for $10 and long-distance calling options. You can also turn and you can turn the stream saver on or off. Stream saver helps you save data by streaming all video content at 480p quality. If you find you need more or less data, you can also switch plans right from your online account. In terms of the multi-line discount (after all, the other members don't need to be your family), the second, third, fourth, and fifth lines get $5, $10, $15, and $20 off respectively. The account owner is eligible for the $5 auto pay discount. The total savings of a five person family plan is $55/month and the price per person drops down to $34/month.
At the time I tested it, AT&T had a mobile application as well. However, all you could do on the mobile app was sign in to your account. After you signed in, the app immediately brought you to Safari where you could view your usage and manage your account. AT&T’s mobile website worked well and was essentially identical to their desktop site...except smaller.
How AT&T Prepaid Compares
AT&T’s Prepaid plan remains very competitive on their network, as it fits snugly between Cricket’s $35/month plan and Straight Talk’s $45/month plan. What sets AT&T’s GoPhone plan apart is its uncapped LTE speeds and its inclusion of the hotspot feature. Cricket caps their data speeds at 8Mbps down and charges $10 extra for the hotspot feature. Seeing as AT&T’s GoPhone service includes a gig and half more data, full LTE speeds, and the hotspot feature for only $5 more per month, I think the plan is competitively priced and is absolutely worth considering.
AT&T is one of the big carriers, and as you’d expect everything worked well on their network. Account management was seamless, talk, text, and data worked flawlessly, and the inclusion of the hotspot feature was a huge bonus. Pricing remained competitive with great group savings and auto pay discounts, and there were no overage charges to be concerned about, and helpful alerts warned you when you were running low on data. At the end of the day, AT&T’s GoPhone service earns my wholehearted recommendation. Coverage was strong. Data speeds were great. And everything worked well. Now you may be wondering, how does this plan compare with Cricket? Well, that topic is for another day, but until then both plans have earned my recommendation and remain competitive in the cell phone industry.