What Carriers Use AT&T’s Network?

Cricket offers the best overall unlimited MVNO plan on AT&T, but there are also great options from Consumer, Straight Talk, and more

Best value
Cricket
Cricket Wireless
3.9 out of 5 stars
3.9
Starting at
$25/mo. for unlimited data
No data cap on Unlimited plan
Good perks and deals on new phones
Best for seniors
Consumer Cellular
Consumer Cellular
4 out of 5 stars
4
Starting at
$55/mo. for 2 unlimited lines
50GB data cap on unlimited data plans
Amazing customer service
Best for data hogs
Straight Talk
Straight Talk
3.5 out of 5 stars
3.5
Starting at
$42.50/mo. for unlimited data
60GB data cap on unlimited data plans
10GB of hotspot data
Best family plans
H2O Wireless
H2O Wireless
3.6 out of 5 stars
3.6
Starting
$75/mo. for 3 unlimited data lines
40GB data cap on unlimited data plans
Up to four lines to your plan
Best for talk and text plans
Good2Go Mobile logo
Good2Go Mobile
3.4 out of 5 stars
3.4
Starting
$7/mo. for talk and text + 1GB data
Cheap talk and text plans
Great for children and older adults
Easton Smith
Jun 12, 2024
Icon Time To Read8 min read

If you know you live in an area with good AT&T towers, then you probably want to get on AT&T’s mobile network. But you don’t have to get a plan through AT&T itself.

More than a dozen mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) use AT&T’s network. These phone carriers offer prepaid plans that usually cost less than going straight to the source. We’ve looked at all of them, crunched the numbers, and talked to customers. Here’s what we found.

Cricket Wireless offers the best all around AT&T alternative with its Unlimited+ plan. But there are benefits to other AT&T prepaid cell phone alternatives.

Consumer Cellular offers an incredible deal for AARP members. Straight Talk sells 60GB of full-speed data for under $50 a month, and H20’s family plans offer unbeatable value.

Let’s go over everything you need to know about AT&T’s network and the top MVNO plans, including prices, performance, and perks.

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Top 5 AT&T MVNO carriers
  • Cricket Wireless
  • Consumer Cellular
  • Straight Talk
  • H2O Wireless
  • Good2Go Mobile

What you need to know about AT&T MVNOs

AT&T’s network is among the best, but not all MVNOs are built the same.

AT&T is one of the Big Three wireless carriers. The other two are T-Mobile and Verizon. All three have great nationwide coverage, fast 4G and 5G networks, and good reliability. But, in certain areas, AT&T is the clear best.

What are the benefits of MVNOs

Rather than operating their own networks, MVNOs lease network bandwidth from bigger companies, like AT&T. They can be significantly cheaper than going straight to the company that runs the network.

That’s the main benefit for most people. Though some MVNOs also offer nice perks for new customers, like cheap phones and prepaid cards. Often, when people talk about AT&T no-contract plans or AT&T pay-as-you-go plans, they’re talking about using an MVNO carrier or AT&T’s own prepaid service.

The biggest drawback is that MVNOs tend to have suboptimal performance. If you’re on a data plan with an MVNO, the Big Three networks generally prioritize data from their direct customers and deprioritize your data speeds. This can make it hard to do bandwidth-demanding activities, like streaming video in HD.

However, AT&T is known to have decent data speeds in many areas, so the network shouldn’t be too overtaxed most of the time. This is especially true for those who live close to AT&T towers. 

As one customer on an AT&T MVNO put it in a Reddit post: “AT&T as a network is on another level in terms of latency, and even if you are deprioritized, it isn't the same caliber of utterly unusable, frustratingly slow data speeds, versus Verizon. Simply put, I've had better data speeds on deprioritized AT&T than Verizon postpaid with priority in crowded areas.”

How to get AT&T’s free phones
Info Box

For a while, people were getting steep phone and internet discounts through the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). This included some free phones and other free equipment. But the ACP is winding down. But you can find some great deals—even free and BOGO phones—on our fresh phone deals page.

Cricket Wireless: Best value AT&T MVNO

Cricket’s powerful Unlimited+ plan gives you more bang for your buck than any other MVNO
Cricket
3.9 out of 5 stars
3.9
pro Wide selection of unlimited plans
pro Good data performance
pro Cheaper than AT&T
Starting at
$25/mo. for unlimited data

If you’re looking for a solid, all-around unlimited data plan on AT&T’s network, then Cricket should be your first stop. It’s one of the OG prepaid carriers on the market, and while it might not have the lowest prices, it does offer a ton of bang for your buck.

Cricket offers a wide selection of plans, including 5GB, 8GB, and 15GB data plans. But you can find the best deals with Cricket’s unlimited data plans. There are several different unlimited options to consider.

Cricket wireless unlimited data plans

As you can see, the cheapest way to get on Cricket is to sign up for the standard Unlimited Plan. If you pay up front, the price is just $25 a month. That’s an incredible price, but it only lasts for the first three months. After that it goes up to the standard $55.

We don’t actually recommend this plan for most people. It comes with unlimited data, but that data is always subject to deprioritization and throttling. But if you pay just $5 a month more, you can update to the Unlimited+ plan and get better performance and perks.

With the Cricket Wireless Unlimited+ plan you get unlimited talk, text, and data on AT&T’s 4G LTE/5G networks, including 15GB of hotspot data, 150GB of free cloud storage, and unlimited talk/text/data in Mexico and Canada. Because Cricket is an MVNO, data speeds can be slower than the highest-paying AT&T customers but above other MVNO users.

One Cricket customer, Stondsebass, wrote on Reddit: “[I’ve] been a Cricket customer for years. My family and I have the family plan with Cricket Unlimited+ and never really notice any deprioritization, even some of us who use heavy data haven’t really noticed the service slowing down.”

In terms of data performance, the Cricket Unlimited+ plan is comparable to AT&T’s own Unlimited Starter plan, which costs $65.99 a month. Not only does AT&T’s Unlimited Starter plan cost more, but it also has fewer perks. You only get 5GB of hotspot data, and your video streams max out at 1.5Mbps speeds.

AT&T Unlimited Starter plan

Cricket Wireless offers some great introductory phone deals for new customers, like a Motorola razr 2023 for $99.99. Its customer service is also rated relatively well by customers.

In short: If you’re looking for a company that does pretty much everything AT&T does but cheaper, then Cricket is the way to go.

Consumer Cellular: Best AT&T MVNO for seniors

Get two unlimited data lines with 50GB of data for just $22.50 each!
Consumer Cellular
4 out of 5 stars
4
pro Incredible prices for AARP members
pro High data caps
pro Great customer service
Starting at
$55/mo. for 2 unlimited lines

Consumer Cellular is an AT&T MVNO that’s perfectly tailored for older folks who want to save a ton of money without giving up on unlimited data.

There are a lot of things that Consumer Cellular does well, but we’ll start with the company’s biggest selling point: you can get TWO lines with unlimited talk, text, and data for just $55 a month if you’re an AARP member.

Consumer Cellular $55 for 2 plan

Two unlimited data lines for $55 a month is a wildly low price. It’s not just an introductory gimmick, either. You get that price month after month, year after year.

Consumer runs on AT&T’s 4G/LTE/5G with great coverage. While your data speeds with Consumer aren’t the first priority on the network, you get up to 50GB of high-speed data that shouldn’t be majorly throttled. That’s more than many other MVNOs offer.

But it’s not just the price and performance that make Consumer great for seniors. The company ranks first among all MVNO carriers in JD Power’s 2024 U.S. Wireless Customer Care Study. In an industry that tends to score poorly when it comes to customer service, that’s a relief.

Why stop with just cell phone service?
Light Bulb

We’ve ranked all of the best internet service providers for seniors. Check out our article to find the perfect internet plan for your household.

Straight Talk: Best AT&T MVNO for data hogs

Get 60GB of high-speed data with an unlimited Straight Talk plan.
Straight Talk
3.5 out of 5 stars
3.5
pro 60GB of unthrottled high-speed data
pro Affordable prices
Starting at
$42.50/mo. for unlimited data

If you’re looking for a cheap AT&T alternative that still allows you to scroll, swipe, stream, game, and browse all day long, then check out Straight Talk.

Straight Talk offers a variety of affordable prepaid plans with unlimited talk, text, and data. Each plan comes with different set of features, but they all share one thing: 60GB of high-speed unthrottled data. That’s a lot more than nearly any other MVNO offers.

Straight Talk unlimited data plans

Straight Talk’s cheapest Silver Unlimited Data Plan is the way to go for most customers. It’s just $42.50 a month, and you get unlimited talk, text, and data—plus 10GB of mobile hotspot data. You can pay more for Gold or Platinum plans, but all that really changes is the amount of hotspot data.

In terms of perks and special deals, Straight Talk doesn’t have anything too flashy. You can snag a Samsung A14 5G phone for just $79.99, but offers like the free phones that AT&T offers new customers are nowhere to be seen.

H20 Wireless: Best AT&T MVNO for family plans

Get three unlimited data lines on AT&T’s network for just $25/mo. each.
H2O Wireless
3.6 out of 5 stars
3.6
pro Incredible deals on unlimited data family plans
pro 40GB of unthrottled data
pro 5GB mobile hotspot
Starting at
$75/mo. for 3 unlimited data lines

When you sign up for a family plan with H20 Wireless, you can get on AT&T’s network with unlimited everything for just $25 a month!

Of course, the service is about as basic as it gets. H20’s unlimited data plan has no frills—just unlimited text, talk, and data with 40GB of high-speed data and 2GB to 5GB of hotspot data. Here’s a closer look.

H20 unlimited data family plan with three lines

H20 might not be ideal for those who travel internationally frequently or use their phone as a hotspot to work on the road. But if you just want to get the whole family on a cheap unlimited plan for under $100 a month, then look no further.

Good2Go: Best talk and text plans

Get unlimited minutes and texts, without all that distracting data, for just $7 a month
Good2Go Mobile logo
3.4 out of 5 stars
3.4
pro Extremely affordable talk and text plans
pro Discounts for multi-month upfront payment
Starting at
$7/mo. for talk and text + 1GB data

These days, phone companies are all about unlimited data plans. But there’s a case to be made for classic, talk and text plans. These plans are great for kids who need a phone to arrange rides and stay safe, but shouldn’t be scrolling on TikTok all day.

But it’s not just for kids. Many adults don’t need—or want—the constant distraction of high-data phone use. With Good2Go, you can get all of the necessary basics for less than $10 a month. And just in case you need to use Google Maps in a pinch you get 1GB of data thrown in as well.

Good2Go Mobile talk and text plan with 1GB of data

As you can see, Good2Go’s $7 talk and text plan requires you to pay for six months up front. That’s just $42, which is still less than the cost of an average unlimited data plan for a single month! But if you don’t want to pay upfront, you can still get a Good2Go prepaid plan that operates on AT&T’s network for just $10 a month.

AT&T phone compatibility

MVNO phone plans used to have issues with phone compatibility. You had to worry about whether you were coming from a CDMA or GSM network. But with most modern AT&T prepaid cell phone plans, you don’t have to worry about that.

Most new phones are AT&T compatible, unless they are specifically locked to another carrier. However, you should always double check with your carrier before you sign up.

Recap: Best AT&T MVNOs

Here’s the quick and easy version of everything we learned about the top AT&T MVNOs

That wraps up our review of the best AT&T MVNOs. Here are some bullet points to help you remember what makes each of these carriers a great pick.

Best value: Cricket Wireless offers the perfect all-around AT&T alternative. Its affordable Unlimited+ plan has no data caps, 15GB of hotspot data, free international perks, and even free cloud storage.

Best for seniors: If you’re an AARP member, you can get two unlimited talk, text, and data lines for just $55 a month with Consumer Cellular. That’s an unbeatable price.

Best for data hogs: Straight Talk's unlimited data plans have a 60GB cap on full-speed data. That’s a lot more than other MVNOs, meaning you can stream, post, scroll, and game till the cows come home.

Best family plans: Get plans for the whole family without breaking the bank. You can get up for four lines of unlimited data for just $25 a pop with H20 Wireless.

Best talk and text Plan: Good2Go Mobile has a super cheap, stripped down plan that’s perfect for kids and adults alike. Unlimited talk and text, plus 1GB of data for emergencies, all for $7 a month.

Methodology

Every article we write begins with a lengthy and in-depth research process. For this review of the best AT&T MVNOs, we began by looking at every single carrier that uses the network. We looked at third-party data, customer reviews, and all available information about carrier plans and policies. We narrowed down our top picks based on the following criteria:

  1. Price
  2. Data allotment and performance
  3. Policies, fees, and perks

We hope that we’ve helped you find your next cell phone plan. If we missed anything, please let us know by clicking on the Contact Us link below!

Easton Smith
Written by
Easton Smith
Easton has worked as a freelance writer and researcher for several years, reviewing health, lifestyle, and technology products. He has probably read more Terms of Use contracts than any human alive. When he’s not sitting in front of a computer, Easton spends his time camping, climbing, and volunteering with humanitarian aid organizations.

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