Rated as one of the best for coverage, reliability, and speed, AT&T’s major downside lies in its higher-than-average pricing, which includes one-time activation fees for each device that cost 50% more than Verizon’s.
So while it’s not the best choice for budget-minded folks, it can be a great deal for people who want to get some solid TV perks alongside their wireless plan, just don’t forget to sign up for autopay and paperless billing
How AT&T unlimited plan prices compare*
|1 line||2 lines||3 lines|
*Prices include autopay, paperless billing, and multi-line discounts where applicable. Taxes and fees not included unless otherwise noted.
** T-Mobile prices include taxes and fees.
***Sprint offers savings for 3–5 lines through 6/30/19.
AT&T cell phone plans
Go big or go prepaid.
AT&T offers the following types of wireless plans:
- AT&T Unlimited plans (&More and &More Premium)
- AT&T Prepaid plans
- Mobile Share PlusSM Plans (Family plans)
- International plans
- AT&T data-only plans
- AT&T Connected Car
AT&T unlimited plans
AT&T Unlimited prices and plans
|AT&T Unlimited &More||AT&T Unlimited &More Premium|
|View Plan||View Plan|
*Prices include autopay, paperless billing, and multi-line discounts where applicable. Taxes and fees not included.
AT&T’s Unlimited plans won’t cut off or charge you for going over a limit, but your speed may be throttled.
With both plans, the included Watch TV app has 30+ live channels (that don’t suck). Similar live TV streaming apps cost $20 per month, and that’s for an additional premium channel.
On top of that, Premium includes a premium TV channel of your choice (HBO, Cinemax, Showtime, and Starz) without the usual $15-20 on top of your bill.
For individual users, AT&T’s unlimited plans cost is the same as Verizon’s, but more than T-Mobile or Sprint’s. Is it worth that price? We’d say if you want a reliable service with good speeds and coverage, as well as rolling out 5G coverage over the coming years, then the adage “you pay for what you get” comes into play. This is two-fold for TV fans who are looking to save some cash. But, even with discounts and perks, AT&T can cost you more than T-Mobile, Sprint, or smaller carriers.
Looking for prepaid plans?
But just so you know, you can get a better deal on unlimited data through prepaid plans with AT&T. After your autopay discount, a prepaid unlimited plan goes for $55 per month, saving you $10-$20 per month.
Comparing AT&T’s unlimited plans
Unlimited plans from AT&T are perfect for streaming junkies who like to watch hilarious YouTube cringe compilations or angry political Facebook videos on the go. You will never face overage charges due to data consumption, and you’ll get the fastest speeds available.
There are two unlimited plans, but only one is Premium. Both plans give you 4G LTE speeds and unlimited talk, text, and data. So how are they different?
|&More (starting at $70/mo.)*||&More Premium (starting at $80/mo.)*|
|Data||Speed may be throttled during busy times||No speed throttling until 22 GB of data use has been reached|
|Discounts||Save $15/mo. on DIRECTV NOW||Save $15/mo. DIRECTV or DIRECTV NOW|
|Mobile hotspot data||None||15 GB|
|Streaming quality||Standard definition only||High definition 1080p.|
|Resolution reduction||Video playback quality can be reduced any time||Video playback quality is reduced after 22 GB of data use|
|Entertainment perks||WatchTV app||WatchTV app + choose HBO, Cinemax, Showtime, Starz, VRV, Amazon Music, or Pandora|
|View Plan||View Plan|
* Price includes autopay, paperless billing, and multi-line discounts where applicable. Taxes and fees not included.
- Data speeds: Paying extra for &More Premium ensures that your speeds won’t be throttled until you’ve reached 22 GB of data use, but with &More it can happen during busy times no matter how much data you have used.
- Mobile hotspots: If you don’t need the mobile hotspot offered in the &More Premium plan, you can save the cash by going for the &More plan.
- Discounts: Premium offers additional entertainment perks for TV and radio
- Streaming quality: For fans of HD video, you’ll want to go with the Premium plan since &More only offers standard definition.
- Resolution reduction: Premium offers a guarantee of HD video playback, so long as you’re within your 22 GB of data use.
What is VRV?
It’s one of the networks (or apps) offered by AT&T Wireless as an additional perk. A great choice you’re a fan of Dragon Ball Super, Naruto, or classic anime like Akira.
Save big with AT&T and DIRECTV discounts
If you’re subscribing to either DIRECTV, DIRECTV NOW, or AT&T U-Verse, you can add another $180 per year in savings by going for an AT&T Unlimited &More Premier plan—which can help you pay for your phone or treating yourself to some bling.
Mobile Share Plus plans
|3 GB||9 GB|
|Monthly data cost after autopay and paperless bill discounts||$50||$60|
|Monthly charge for second line||$30||$40|
|Monthly charge for additional lines||$20||$20|
AT&T’s Mobile Share Plus plans (which are AT&T’s family plans) allow you to split data among a few people and devices to save money. This works best for families where not everyone needs a lot of data. Little Billy might rack up the data watching kids shows on Hulu, but Aunt Jane may just want to text the girls for brunch.
AT&T offers you a better bang for your buck by giving you 9 GB for $60, which is a better deal than Verizon’s 8 GB for $75 per month. AT&T also does better than Sprint here, which offers 2 GB for $45 per month, for five bucks more per you get 40% more data with AT&T.
AT&T Mobile Flex plan summary:
- Unlimited talk and text in USA
- Autopay and paperless bill discounts: $10 per month
- Data slowed to 2G speed (128 Kbps) for the remaining bill cycle after data allotment is used
- HD video streaming
- Tethering: Mobile hotspot for up to five devices
- Rollover data (expires after one billing cycle)
AT&T cell phones and devices
Get the phone you want from AT&T. Every. Single. Year.
Which phone calls your name: Apple iPhone 8, Samsung Galaxy S9, or the ZTE Axon M Smartphone? (And yes, Google Pixels work with AT&T, you just can’t buy or lease them directly through AT&T.)
|iPhone||iPhone SE, iPhone7 / 7 Plus, iPhone 8 / 8 Plus, iPhone X|
|Samsung||Galaxy 7, Galaxy S8 / S8+, Galaxy Note8, Galaxy S9 / S9+|
|Must purchase then unlock to work with AT&T|
With AT&T, you won’t be lacking in choices, unless you’re collecting obscure bricks and flip-phones from the early 2000s. If you’re really curious what works with AT&T’s Bring Your Own Phone program, you can scope out AT&T’s Phone Compatibility Check.
Regardless of whether you’re purchasing a device with an installment agreement, buying a device at full price, or bringing your own device, you can pay up to $45 per device in equipment charges. This charge is wack, if you ask us. Why pay $45 just to keep the phone you have?
Data plans for devices
You can add data plans for your tablets and other smart devices besides your phone, so that way, you don’t have to be connected to Wi-Fi to watch Atlanta or Shark Tank on your iPad.
Data plans for cars
AT&T Connected Car allows your car to be a mobile hotspot. This is a great option for families who take road trips often, but if you have a traveling mobile hotspot with your phone (like these ones on Amazon), it may not be necessary.
AT&T’s coverage and speeds cover what you need
AT&T has solid coverage across the country (and 120+ other countries), but you’ll want to check out the areas that matter to you.
AT&T has more-than-solid coverage
According to studies, AT&T has exceptional texting delivery speeds and reliability but is just behind Verizon in most other categories. If you’re coming from Sprint or T-Mobile, you will likely see an improvement in performance by switching to AT&T. If you’re coming from Verizon, you’ll probably get about the same performance, but maybe better or worse, just make sure to check your areas of coverage.1,2,3
Speedwise, AT&T isn’t quite as fast as Verizon or T-Mobile. However, AT&T was “the only carrier to record speeds of at least 10 Mbps in each of the 125 metro areas” tested—meaning that if you want consistency in every major city, AT&T’s a safe bet.4
What’s up with AT&T customer service?
You can get a hold of AT&T pretty easily, but that doesn’t make it all easy.
AT&T wireless has the following ways to get support:
We’d like to point out that AT&T (like all the major wireless providers) doesn’t rank well with customers. It’s them, not you—we swear.
Like any relationship, your relationship with AT&T is all about clear communication. Where we see most problems arising is lack of clarity in the bill, so make sure you know what you’re getting into, and all will be good.
Some human interaction required for prepaid users
Recap—AT&T’s good for most, but best for TV fans looking to save money
If you’re thinking about starting a new plan with AT&T, we’ll ask you to keep these things in mind.
- Plans: AT&T’s Unlimited plans are the way to go if you want to save money on TV subscriptions, but AT&T’s prepaid plans may be cheaper if you don’t.
- Recommended plan: AT&T &More Premium is the only way to get HD video quality, no speed throttling (up to 22GB), and a mobile hotspot.
- Coverage: AT&T trails only behind Verizon, and not by much.
- Speed: AT&T’s speed isn’t the fastest, but it is faster than 10 Mbps in all major metro areas, which other providers can’t say.
- Customer service: AT&T is similar to the other big carriers in every other way—we’d appreciate clearer, simpler pricing. Other than billing, we don’t expect many problems.
- Overall: If you’re a DIRECTV, DIRECTV NOW, or AT&T U-Verse customer, and you want solid coverage, consistent speeds, and the option to get any major phone, AT&T is a great (but pricey) choice.
FAQs about AT&T wireless
Q: Does AT&T have overage charges or hidden fees?
AT&T doesn’t have overages on its Unlimited data plans.
AT&T’s hidden fee comes in the form of “device access fees,” which means each line adds a $10 to $30 monthly access charge. This is pretty standard, Verizon charges about the same, but goes up to $40 for some smart phones.
Most of us would rather play Jeopardy! than mull over line items on a cell phone bill. Don’t worry—you get some discounts afterward even if you don’t want to do the math.
What to expect on your first bill:
- You’ll pay for your first month of service in advance.
- If you start in the middle of a cycle, you’ll pay for a partial month of service.
- You’ll have to pay one-time activation fees and equipment charges.
Q: Does AT&T have an activation fee?
Yes. You’ll pay a one-time $45 activation fee per line—which is $15 more than Verizon’s. Sprint and T-Mobile don’t even have activation fees. Not cool, AT&T. Not cool.
Q: What does “discount applied to charge within two bills” mean in AT&T’s fine print?
Don’t worry—you’re still getting promotional pricing. And we recommend enrolling in autopay and paperless building to save that money too. You just won’t notice it right away.
With AT&T, you’ll pay your first and maybe even second bill at regular price—plus your other first bill charges like activation fees, equipment fees, and any prorated fees for a partial month’s service.
After your first or second bill, you’ll get credit for the difference you were charged. Don’t ask us why AT&T makes this weird.
Q: Does AT&T do trade-ins?
You can trade in your device to AT&T for up to $200 or more. Get a quote online here, then send or bring in your device and receive either a promotion card or your trade-in value immediately. The online tool can give you an estimate too. For example, our iPhone ended up being worth $92—not a bad chunk of change to throw at your new bill.
Q: What are AT&T’s return policy and early termination fees?
Return policies can get a little hairy. We recommend visiting AT&T’s Return Policy for any questions on cancellation fees or exchanges.
Q: Can I keep my phone number with AT&T?
Yes, AT&T has a tool that allows you to check your phone number for eligibility. Mobile numbers will transfer upon activation of your new phone, but landline or non-wireless numbers may take a bit longer—about five to seven business days.
Q: What discounts does AT&T offer?
Autopay and paperless billing discount
You get $10 off for signing up for autopay and paperless billing. This is kind of a given—AT&T doesn’t even quote regular prices.
If you’re not into the idea of autopay or paperless billing, you’ll pay $10 more a month for a single line and $20 more per month for multiple lines.
Multiple phone line discount
If your plan is above $50 per month, you get a $10 discount per month for up to three lines; for four or more lines, you get a $20 discount per month per line.
If your plan is under $50 per month, your discount will be $5 per month per line.
AT&T’s military discount saves veterans and qualified military personnel an extra 15% on their monthly plan charge.
1. RootMetrics, “Mobile Performance in the US Part 1: Performance across the Entire US – 2H 2017”
2. OpenSignal, “The 4G Battle Continues between T-Mobile and Verizon”
3. RootMetrics, “Mobile Performance in the US Part 1: Performance Across the Entire US – 2H 2017”
4. OpenSignal, “The 4G Battle Continues between T-Mobile and Verizon”
5. Speedtest, “United States”