AT&T offers a variety of cell phone plans, from single-line and family plans to prepaid and unlimited plans. This guide describes each type of AT&T plan so that you can decide which is best for you. Need some quick advice? Check out our Let’s Talk Editor’s Pick for the best AT&T plan.
AT&T Unlimited Data Plans
AT&T just rolled out three new postpaid unlimited plans to choose from: Unlimited Starter, Unlimited Extra, and Unlimited Elite. These plans replace the previously-offered Unlimited &More and Unlimited &More Premium plans.
AT&T Unlimited Plans Compared
|Unlimited Starter||Unlimited Extra||Unlimited Elite*|
|Data Deprioritization||At any time||50GB||100GB|
|Mexico & Canada||Unlimited talk, text, data||Unlimited talk, text, data||Unlimited talk, text, data|
|International||Unlimited texts to 120+ countries||Unlimited texts to 120+ countries||Unlimited texts to 120+ countries|
*The Elite plan will be available November 15, 2019
The Unlimited Extra and Unlimited Elite plans include far higher data deprioritization thresholds than AT&T ever offered before. With the Unlimited Extra plan, you receive 50GB of 4G LTE data before AT&T may slow your speeds (during network congestion), and with the Unlimited Elite plan, you get a whopping 100GB. Another great new feature is the hotspot allowance on the Unlimited Extra and Unlimited Elite plans—15GB and 30GB, respectively.
These AT&T unlimited plans also include great international features, such as Mexico and Canada privileges and unlimited messaging to over 120 countries worldwide. AT&T’s fine print states that Mexico and Canada roaming speeds may be at 2G, which isn’t anything to write home about, but may still allow you to do some basic activities like web browsing while over the border.
When considering which plan is best for you and/or your family, it’s important to remember that AT&T adds taxes and charges on top of the monthly price, whereas carriers like T-Mobile have all-in pricing, with taxes and fees already included. This is something you’ll want to take into consideration when setting aside a monthly wireless budget.
AT&T Postpaid Plans
A postpaid plan is the traditional type of phone plan offered by major carriers, whereby you are billed at the end of the month for your service. AT&T has a wide selection of postpaid plans, and all of them include unlimited talk and text. The key difference between AT&T postpaid plans is the data allowance.
Let’s Talk Tip: the Mobile Share Plus 9GB plan, which includes 9GB of data, is only $5 cheaper than the Unlimited Starter plan, which gives you unlimited data. The Unlimited Starter plan also includes more international features than the Mobile Share Plus plan, so it may be in your best interest to dish out the extra $5/month for the Unlimited Starter plan.
Postpaid Plans from AT&T
Features and Benefits on AT&T Postpaid Plans
AT&T plans include many added features and benefits that set them apart from other carriers. These include:
- AT&T Thanks: All postpaid plans offer AT&T Thanks, which gives you access to movie tickets, pre-sale concert tickets, surprise benefits, and more. You’re automatically enrolled in this program and can claim these benefits on the AT&T Thanks app. To download the app, text ATTTHANKS to 9758.
- No Overages: Although now common among carriers, AT&T won’t charge you for overages on the data included in your plan. If you are on the 3GB plan and you use more than 3GB plan, your data will be slowed (drastically), but you won’t be charged extra on your monthly bill.
- Data Rollover: If you don’t use all your data in a given month, it will over to the next month.
- Military, Veterans, First Responders Discounts: Military personnel, veterans, and first responders receive a 25% discount on monthly wireless bills (on AutoPay and paperless billing).
- International Benefits: All postpaid plans offer Mexico privileges, and unlimited plans include both Canada and Mexico.
Let’s Talk Editor’s Pick: Unlimited Extra Plan
AT&T’s $75/month Unlimited Extra plan, which includes a 15GB hotspot and 50GB data deprioritization threshold, is a great choice for anyone who is heavily reliant on their smartphone. With an extremely high data deprioritization threshold in addition to the hotspot allowance (not to mention great coverage on a strong network), you’ll have near-constant wireless access. This is also an excellent option for frequent travelers since it gives you the option of connecting to mobile hotspot when wifi isn’t available.
Comparatively, the AT&T Elite Plan is only worth the extra $10/month if you specifically want an HBO subscription. If you’re more of a Showtime, Hulu, Amazon Prime, or Netflix kind of person, then it makes more sense to sign up for the Unlimited Extra plan then get the subscription of your choosing.
When looking for a phone, our preference is to look for plans where the phone + plan is under a total of $100/month (note: AT&T does charge taxes and fees on top of this price), and the iPhone XR fits the bill.
AT&T Prepaid Plans
As the name indicates, prepaid plans require that you pay for your service prior to receiving it. AT&T offers several different prepaid options, from 1GB plans to unlimited data. One of the main benefits of signing up for an AT&T prepaid plan is that you get to forgo a pesky credit check.
Prepaid Plans form AT&T
AT&T Family Plans
Family plans are a great way to save money on your monthly bill. AT&T offers both prepaid and postpaid family plans, although there generally aren’t as many prepaid options. If you want the benefits of an unlimited data plan but don’t want to fork over $65 to $85 per month, you can get a discount by signing up for the Unlimited Starter, Unlimited Extra, or Unlimited Elite with a few friends or family members.
AT&T Unlimited Family Plans Compared
|Unlimited Starter||Unlimited Extra||Unlimited Elite|
Signing up for a 4-line plan through AT&T can save you as much as $35/month, per line, or $420 yearly.
4 Line Family Plans from AT&T
How to Buy a New AT&T Phone
There are two ways to purchase a new AT&T phone—pay the phone’s full retail price upfront or buy the device on monthly installments. Considering the high price tag on flagship devices, such as the iPhone 11, Samsung Galaxy S10 and Note10, and Google Pixel 4, it may not be plausible to pay for your AT&T phone outright. That’s where the monthly payment plans come in.
The two monthly installment options include:
- AT&T Installment Plan: 0% APR (may require down payment), the phone’s retail price is split into 30 even monthly payments.
- AT&T Next Up: 0% APR (may require down payment), the phone’s retail price is split into 30 even monthly payments + an added $5/month charge. Get the option to upgrade early by trading in your device after you pay off 50% of its retail price.
The first option is certainly cheaper for you in the long run, but if you’re someone who likes having the latest and greatest devices, you may want to look into the Next Up program.