If you’re looking to bring your own phone (BYOP) to AT&T, you’ve come to the right place. This guide will walk you through exactly how to switch to AT&T. Plus, we’ll show you some of the best plans from the carrier.
Phone Compatibility with AT&T
Although most newer cell phones are now compatible across carriers, you may have some difficulty with bringing older phones over to AT&T.
Switch to AT&T From Verizon
Moving to AT&T from Verizon is a tricky one. The two companies use two different types of networks: AT&T runs on GSM while Verizon runs on CDMA. This means older Verizon phones may be incompatible with the AT&T network. However, newer phones are most likely compatible; for example, the iPhone 5S or newer is likely good to go.
Switch to AT&T From Sprint
Moving from Sprint to AT&T is similar to moving from Verizon to AT&T since Sprint also runs on a CDMA network. AT&T does say on their site that most Sprint phones are compatible with their network, but can’t make any promises.
Switch To AT&T from T-Mobile
Taking your T-Mobile phone to AT&T is simple. T-Mobile and AT&T both run on the GSM network, so phones should transfer over just fine. Still, you’ll need to make sure your phone is fully paid off on T-Mobile. If you still have payments left, T-Mobile won’t unlock your phone and let you transfer.
Double Check Phone Compatibility
If you’re not sure if your phone is compatible with AT&T, don’t worry. AT&T has made it super easy to check, and all you need is your phone’s identification number or IMEI. Simply go on AT&T’s website and type in your device serial number. The carrier’s phone compatibility checker will tell you straight away if your phone is compatible or not. If it is, all you’ll need to do is order a free SIM to get started.
Make Sure Your Phone is Unlocked
Regardless of which network you’re moving from, you will need to request an unlock from your carrier. You can unlock your phone by calling your current carrier. Keep in mind, though, that you won’t be able to unlock your phone unless it is fully paid off and you meet any other phone unlocking requirements.
Some carriers require that you have an account with them for a certain period of time before they will unlock your phone
Usually, if you don’t owe anything on your phone, you’ll be able to get your phone unlocked. However, some carriers have other requirements you have to meet before they will unlock your phone. For example, Boost Mobile requires that you have an active phone number with them for at least 12 months before they will unlock your phone.
Transfer Your Phone Number
IMPORTANT: Do not cancel your current cell phone account before the porting process is complete or you may lose your phone number.
Porting your current number to a new network is generally hassle-free, but it may take some time. AT&T says porting a number can take 5-7 business days, so plan accordingly when you make the switch.
To make sure AT&T can transfer your number, check their website and type in your 10 digit number. If your number is eligible, AT&T will do the heavy lifting and do the transferring for you. They will even cancel your current service for you.
How Does AT&T’s Coverage Compare?
At this point, you’re probably certain that transferring to the AT&T network is what you want to do. But just to be sure, compare the carrier’s coverage to the likes of Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint. You can toggle between the four major carriers and see what coverage is like in your state and area. AT&T offers great coverage throughout the United States, though they trail perennial king Verizon by a significant margin.
AT&T Coverage by State
|State||Percentage Covered||Mile Covered (mi²)|
|North Carolina||93.48%||47,301 mi²|
|North Dakota||97.42%||68,102 mi²|
|New Hampshire||89.09%||8,601 mi²|
|New Jersey||99.99%||7,731 mi²|
|New Mexico||80.61%||96,757 mi²|
|New York||95.33%||46,680 mi²|
|Rhode Island||99.95%||1,178 mi²|
|South Carolina||98.98%||30,900 mi²|
|South Dakota||99.09%||76,202 mi²|
|West Virginia||92.61%||22,426 mi²|
Compare AT&T Cell Phone Plans
There are many AT&T plans to choose from including family plans, military plans, and individual plans. When you switch to AT&T and BYOP, your monthly bill will be cheaper because you won’t be paying for a new device with monthly installments and AT&T often has deals and other discounts for those who switch over to them.
The Most Popular AT&T Plans
Although AT&T is a household brand name, there are dozens of other carriers (known as MVNOs) that operate on the AT&T network and offer the same coverage (usually for a cheaper price).
Enjoy the same great AT&T coverage but on a cheaper plan by choosing a smaller carrier (MVNO)
You can decide which AT&T MVNO or AT&T plan is best for you by using the Let’s Talk comparison engine. There you can customize the perfect plan for you, and compare a multitude of plans that fit your needs.
MVNO Cell Phone Plans
Switch to Another Network
Not sold on AT&T’s network? Read our other guides to learn how to switch to another carrier: