AT&T's Tablet and Hotspot Data Plans: Explained
AT&T offers a variety of tablet and hotspot plans to choose from. Some plans fall under different categories and are designs for different device types.
The seven categories of AT&T data plans are:
- AT&T Unlimited Tablet: This plan lets existing AT&T postpaid subscribers with active voice lines add a tablet line to their account.
- DataConnect Plans: These are monthly postpaid plans designed to be used in tablets, mobile hotspots, laptops, and cameras. You are automatically billed for data overages, and there is an option to purchase an international package so you can use your DataConnect plan when you travel abroad.
- AT&T Wireless Internet Plans: These plans are designed to replace your home internet. They give you more data at better rates, and the AT&T Wireless Internet device has a plug so you can attach a landline phone to it as well. You are automatically billed for data overages, and AT&T says the device doesn’t work with some devices like home security systems, fax machines, or medical alert and monitoring services.
- AT&T Prepaid Data Plans: These are monthly or annual data-only plans designed for tablets and mobile hotspots. Because these plans are prepaid, you will not be charged data-overages. Instead, your data will be shut off, and you will have the option to purchase additional data as you need it. International data is not available at this time for these plans.
- Prepaid DataConnect Pass: Designed to be used in tablets and cameras. What is unique about these plans is that there is a 90-day option. This gives you service for 90 days and is great for low-usage devices.
- Prepaid DataConnect Pass Auto Renew: These plans are the same as the regular Prepaid DataConnect Passes, but they offer better prices thanks to being on an auto-renew system. These plans continue to be designed for tablets and cameras.
- Prepaid DataConnect Pass for Computers: These plans are specifically for computers. Unfortunately, they are quite expensive. It’s probably better to get a plan for a hotspot device and share the data with your computer as opposed to getting one of these plans.
AT&T Unlimited Tablet
The AT&T Unlimited Tablet plan is designed for existing AT&T customers with active voice lines. It lets existing customers add a tablet line to their account for just $20/month.
The postpaid tablet plan includes unlimited data. The data is deprioritized though.
Having deprioritized data means that any time the AT&T network is busy, such as at a crowded sporting event, concert, airport, or even in a city during rush hour, your speeds may be slower than AT&T customers who are paying for priority data.
AT&T’s network typically has enough capacity so you are not likely to notice deprioritized speeds. This is still something helpful to keep in mind.
The Unlimited Tablet plan includes 5G access, but unfortunately it does not support mobile hotspot data and it limits video streaming quality to 480p.
It may be possible to stream video at higher resolutions, such as 720p, 1080p, or even 4K, but because the data speeds for video content are limited to 1.5Mbps, it may take higher-definition content longer to load and it may pause to buffer during playback.
The $20 AT&T Unlimited Tablet plan is the only postpaid tablet plan that I have officially been able to confirm is available from AT&T. It is available for AT&T customers with existing voice lines on their account. Though, I have heard it is possible to get this $20 plan as a standalone tablet plan with no voice lines by calling AT&T customer service at this number: 1 (800) 593-1430.
I was also told by AT&T support representatives on Twitter that there may be two other versions of this tablet plan available.
The two versions would depend on which voice line you had on your account, either AT&T Unlimited Extra or Unlimited Elite, and the tablet plans would essentially match the voice line features.
The Extra tablet plan would pull from the 50GB of priority data on the voice line before getting unlimited deprioritized data, it would get 15GB of additional hotspot data separate from the voice line, and it would have 480p streaming.
The Elite tablet plan would pull from the 100GB of priority data on the voice line before getting unlimited deprioritized data, it would get 30GB of additional hotspot data separate from the voice line, and it would get 4K streaming.
Again, these last to Extra and Elite may not be available at all, or it may simply depend on which AT&T representative you speak with when you go to sign up.
AT&T DataConnect Plans
AT&T DataConnect plans are monthly postpaid plans designed to be used in tablets, mobile hotspots, laptops, and cameras.
You are automatically billed for data overages at a rate of $10 per 2GB.
There is also an option to purchase an international package so you can use your DataConnect plan when you travel abroad.
The current plan options are:
The prices include a $10 discount that you get when you sign up for auto-pay and paperless billing.
If you would like to use the DataConnect plans when traveling abroad, you can purchase an AT&T Passport Data plan for tablets. The international data options currently available are:
- $70 for 2GB
- $140 for 6GB
The international data packages are valid for 30 days, and data overages are automatically charged at a rate of $30 per GB.
AT&T Wireless Internet Plans
The AT&T Wireless Internet plans are designed to be used only in AT&T’s wireless internet device and are intended to be used as a possible replacement for your home internet. The wireless internet device even has a port on it where you can connect a landline phone and use it for voice calling.
The rates for the Wireless Internet Plans are:
- $20 for talk-only
- $60 for 50GB and unlimited nationwide calling
- $100 for 100GB and unlimited nationwide calling
If you are an existing AT&T customer with DIRECTV or AT&T TV NOW and an eligible postpaid AT&T unlimited wireless plan, then you will get 50GB of bonus data on the Wireless Internet Plans.
This would make the $60 plan 100GB, and it would make the $100 plan 150GB.
Unlike the fixed wireless plans from Verizon or T-Mobile, which are restricted to only being used at your residential address, you can use the AT&T Wireless Internet plans anywhere you want.
This makes these plans an ideal option for RVers or travelers who want reliable data on AT&T’s LTE network across the United States.
It’s important to be mindful of your usage though, because AT&T will automatically charge you for data-overages at a rate of $25 per 10GB.
If you would like to avoid being charged for data-overages, then AT&T’s Prepaid Data Plans may be for you.
Not only are there no overage charges, but the $55 100GB prepaid data plan is actually a better value than the $100 100GB Wireless Internet Plan.
AT&T Prepaid Data Plans
AT&T Prepaid Data Plans are monthly or annual data-only plans designed to be used in tablets and mobile hotspot devices.
You will not be charged data-overages with these plans because you are pre-paying for a set data amount. When you reach your data allotment, your data will be shut off. You have the option to purchase additional data as you need it for all plans at a rate of $10 for 5GB.
The current AT&T Prepaid Data Plans are:
The $25 20GB is an annual plan. You need to pay for 12 months up front, so $300, but the 20GB of data renews each month. The annual pricing helps make this plan such an excellent value.
If you are able to commit to 12 months of service, such as people who frequently travel domestically for their job and want a reliable cellular connection on their tablet to get work done, then the $25 20GB tablet plan may be a great option.
The $35 15GB plan is a monthly plan. It’s not as good of a value as the $25 annual plan, but being monthly gives you more flexibility. It’s a decent option for lower-usage hotspot plans.
However, I don’t think the $35 plan is worth it for tablet users. Instead, you are better off getting one of the DataConnect Pass plans.
The DataConnect Pass plans include an option which is $40 for 25GB, and if you decide to sign up for auto-renewal the price drops to just $35. You’re basically getting yourself an extra 10GB of data for your tablet for the same price.
Finally, the $55 100GB plan is one of the best tablet and hotspot plans currently available. It’s a competitive price for a huge amount of data. It matches the 100GB Wireless Internet plan in terms of data amount, and it comes in at just over half the cost ($55 vs $100 on the Wireless Internet plan).
Considering how much data you get, it may be possible for the $55 100GB plan to serve as a home internet option for frequent travelers, RVers, or people who live in more remote areas with few options for internet service providers.
5G access is available on all the Prepaid Data Plans. You just need a compatible 5G device, such as Apple’s new cellular iPad Pro with 5G or the Netgear Nighthawk 5G Mobile Hotspot Pro, to be able to connect to AT&T’s 5G network.
If you use these plans in a tablet, then the tablet can use the hotspot feature to share the data with other devices. Any hotspot usage on the tablet will simply deduct from the plan’s data allowance.
International data is currently not available for these plans.
Prepaid DataConnect Pass Plans
The Prepaid DataConnect Pass plans from AT&T are designed to be used in tablets or cameras. They do not support mobile hotspots.
The two plan options are:
These plans will not auto-renew. Instead, they will expire when all of the data is used or the specified time period ends, whichever comes first.
These plans also support access to AT&T’s Wi-Fi hotspots, which AT&T says are available at over 30,000 locations nationwide.
The $30 2GB plan for 90 days can be a great option to keep a low-usage device connected to the cellular network. The cost breaks down to about $10 per month for 666MB of data. This isn’t a huge amount of data, but for light email or occasional web browsing this plan may be perfect.
You can also use the $30 2GB plan to enable the GPS feature in cellularly connected cameras. This will help you embed more accurate location data in the metadata of your photos.
The $40 25GB plan for 30 days is another great option for monthly users looking for an affordable tablet plan. In fact, I think it’s a better tablet plan than the $35 15GB plan outlined in the AT&T Prepaid Data Plans category. $5 more for 10GB of extra data is easily worth it to me.
The mobile hotspot feature is not available for either of these plans. You will only be able to use the cellular data on your tablet or camera.
Prepaid DataConnect Pass Plans with Auto Renew
The Prepaid DataConnect Pass plans with auto-renew are similar to the regular DataConnect passes, but instead of expiring after the specified time period these plans will automatically renew. If your data runs out on one of these auto-renew plans, you will not have data access and you will have to wait for your plan to renew to get a fresh data allotment.
The auto-renew DataConnect Pass plans are:
I think the $35 25GB plan is one of the best tablet data plans available on the AT&T network. It’s monthly, so you have the flexibility to cancel or sign up any time you want to, and 25GB for $35 is a great value. It’s better than the $35 15GB plan available in the Prepaid Data Plan category.
However, the $20 1GB plan and the $55 7GB plan are simply not worth it all. It’s confusing how bad these plans are.
The $20 1GB plan may seem like a decent option on the surface, and it certainly can be a decent option for some people, but why not sign up for the 2GB plan for 90 days for just $30?
Spending the $10 extra gives you 2x the data amount, which is helpful if you go over the 1GB allotment, and you have a full 90 days to use it. In my opinion the 90 plan gives you more flexibility and versatility.
And the $55 7GB plan? Absolute trash. This is the worst-value tablet plan AT&T offers. The same $55 can get you 100GB of data via the Prepaid Data Plan.
So… why is the $55 7GB plan even here?
I honestly have no idea. Curious enough, the $55 7GB plan is the only DataConnect plan to support the mobile hotspot feature.
But again, the $55 100GB Prepaid Data plan supports the mobile hotspot too, so… yeah. Just don’t get the 7GB plan.
Those are all of AT&T’s tablet and hotspot plans explained. Share this article with a friend if you found it helpful.