Overview: Postpaid Plans by AT&T (Cellular Data Plans)

AT&T is one of the 'big two carriers' for US cellular coverage in the lower 48 states.

Current postpaid plan options:

  • Unlimited &More Premium - For smartphones & tablets
  • Unlimited &More - For smartphones & tablets
  • Mobile Share Plus - A tiered data plan with fixed buckets of data to share between devices.
  • Connected Car - For OnStar equipped vehicles & after market OBD-II devices.
  • Data Connect - For data only devices.
  • Wireless Internet - For AT&T branded wireless internet devices.

For Our Comparative Pricing Grid:
Guide to Cellular Data Plan Pricing

Table of Contents


AT&T Unlimited Plans

AT&T has experimented with unlimited data plans for a long time. They have or have had unlimited options for smartphones, tablets, and connected cars. There are also some occasional rental options that come up.

'Unlimited &More' Smartphone Plans

AT&T's current unlimited offering involves two tiers of their 'Unlimited &More' plan:

  • 'Unlimited &More Premium': $80/Single Line
  • 'Unlimited &More': $70/Single Line

These two levels of plans differ in several ways. We note the differences - and similarities in plan details below:

Unlimited &More Plan Details
  • Carrier Networks Used: AT&T
  • Carrier Relation: Direct
  • Plan Types Available: Smartphone
  • Device Types Permitted: Smartphone, Tablets, Connected Cars, Wearables
    • The first line of any plan must be a smartphone device. You can add two tablets ($20/mo) or wearables ($10/mo) to a single line account.
    • Select Connected Cars can be added to unlimited plans - on top of a plan with one smartphone line - without being subject to the high-speed mobile hotspot data cap. This does require a built-in Onstar system to qualify (no aftermarket devices like the Mobley).
    • AT&T does not allow other data only devices to be added to Unlimited &More plans. This includes hotspots, USB modems, and Wireless Internet devices. Only tiered data plans are available for these device types, including Wireless Internet plans that include up to 100GB of data for $100/month.
  • Device Purchase Required: No, but can purchase a device
  • Mobile Hotspot / Tethering Use:
    • Unlimited &More Premium: Includes 15GB of high-speed mobile hotspot use on each smartphone or tablet line, which drops to 128kpbs (2G speeds) after 15GB/month.
    •  Unlimited &More: Includes no mobile hotspot use on smartphones & tablets.
  • Throttling:  Full speed on device, mobile hotspot throttles noted above.
  • Network Management: After 22GB of usage in a month per line.
  • International Roaming: Full plan data usage in Mexico/Canada, however roaming off AT&T's network partners may be limited to 2G speed. This feature is primarily aimed at smartphones and tablets and does not apply to certain devices including wearables & connected cars. Check with AT&T to ensure your device is eligible for unlimited North America data roaming.
  • Domestic Roaming: AT&T's network has a decent sized off-carrier roaming area, with domestic data roaming limited to 400MB per month. If you exceed that, your data access may be shut down until you are back on AT&T native towers. AT&T also specifics that domestic roaming may be throttled to 2G speeds at all times.
  • Plan Period: 30 days
  • Data Roll Over: No
  • Overage Charges: No
  • Streaming: 
    • Video Optimization:
      • Unlimited &More Premium: HD Video streaming is restricted to 1080p on device, and 'Stream Saver' needs to be manually turned off to get HD.
      • Unlimited &More: Video is restricted to SD quality and Stream Saver cannot be turned off.
    • Bundled Services: 
      • Unlimited &More: includes a free subscription to Watch TV, AT&T's live streaming TV service with 30+ channels.
      • Unlimited &More Premium:  includes Watch TV as well as a choice of one premium channel (HBO, Showtime, Starz, Cinemax, Pandora, Amazon Music, or VRV).
    • Other Entertainment Features: Data-free cellular streaming on DirecTV and Watch TV app.  Discount on DirecTV service.
  • Unlimited: Yes
  • Lines permitted per plan: 10
    • Single Line: AT&T will activate a single line at the base price - this device must be a smartphone. You can add two tablets ($20/mo) or wearables ($10/mo) to a single line account.
    • Multi-Line: A second smartphone goes to multi-line pricing

AT&T Retired these plans on June 28, 2018 - these details are left here for those grandfathered in on the plan.

On March 1, 2018 AT&T rolled out Unlimited Enhanced Choice and Unlimited Enhanced Plus.

The plans were only available for smartphones and tablets.

Here's an overview of AT&T's (now retired) Enhanced plan policies and perks:

  • AT&T Stream Saver & HD Video: Come with the Stream Saver featured enabled by default, which throttles video streams to 480p "DVD Quality" resolution so that streaming video uses less data. This feature can be manually turned off to enable 1080p resolution on Unlimited Enhanced Plus.
  • Mobile Hotspot: Unlimited Enhanced Plus plans include 15GB of high speed mobile hotspot use on smartphone and tablet plans. Unlimited Enhanced Choice plans do not include mobile hotspot as a feature on smartphones and tablets.
    • The Enhanced Plans do not allow the addition of data only devices, such as mobile hotspot devices.
  • Overage Charges: No
  • Rollover Data: None
  • Unlimited DirecTV Streaming: AT&T owns DirecTV, and to encourage customers to sign up for both services streaming from the DirecTV app on a smartphone or tablet does not count against AT&T monthly data caps or towards network management thresholds on unlimited plans. Of course, AT&T Unlimited customers can stream any video service desired, but usage does count towards network management thresholds.
  • Domestic Roaming: AT&T's network has a decent sized off-carrier roaming area, with domestic data roaming limited to 400MB per month. If you exceed that, your data access may be shut down until you are back on AT&T native towers. AT&T also specifics that domestic roaming may be throttled to 2G speeds at all times.
  • International Roaming: AT&T's international features are a bit confusing.
    • Unlimited Plus/Choice Enhanced: The AT&T Unlimited Enhanced plans have a "Roam North America" feature that allows for free voice, text, and data roaming in Canada & Mexico. Full and unrestricted plan data usage is allowed in Mexico/Canada, however roaming off AT&T's network partners may be limited to 2G speed.
    • Europe, the Caribbean, Canada, Latin America, and Asia Pacific
      • With activation of the International Day Pass feature (no charge to activate), AT&T customers can use their existing plans and all of their plan's features (including high-speed unlimited data) for $10 per device per 24-hour period. Note that the fine print indicates that this feature will be removed from the account if the majority of a  customer's usage is international for two months in a row.
      • A monthly Passport Package can also be activated (warning: these are pricey)
    • Rest of the World: A monthly Passport Package can also be activated (warning: these are pricey)
  • Network Management: Unlimited Enhanced plans are subject to "network management" once an unlimited customer has used more than 22GB on a line in a month.
(Retired) Unlimited Plus & Unlimited Choice Plans

AT&T Retired the the Unlimited Plus & Unlimited Choice plans on Feb 28, 2018 - these details are left here for those grandfathered in on the plan.

The Unlimited Choice started at $60/month for a single line but is capped at 3 Mbps speeds and only includes SD video.

Unlimited Plus started at $90/month for a single line. There is no speed cap, and smartphone & tablet lines include 10GB of high-speed mobile hotspot data.  But most interesting on these plans was that AT&T allowed the activation of mobile hotspot devices, wireless internet devices and connected car devices as additional lines - with out ANY high speed hotspot caps. They had a grace period through May 7, 2018 to activate new lines of data only service on these retired plans, and those lines are now grandfathered in. If you have one of these lines, they are priceless - and worth holding onto.

Here's an overview of AT&T's plan policies and perks for these plans:

  • Talk & Text: Unlimited on each line
  • AT&T Stream Saver & HD Video: The Stream Saver feature is enabled by default, which throttles video streams to 480p "DVD Quality" resolution so that streaming video uses less data. This feature can be manually turned off to enable full-resolution HD streaming.
  • Mobile Hotspot: Unlimited Choice plans do not include mobile hotspot as a feature on smartphones and tablets. Internet only devices on the choice plan do not have a data cap, but are still limited to 3Mbps speed.
  • Network Management: Kicks in at 22GB
  • No Overage Charges: None
  • Rollover Data: None
  • Unlimited DirecTV Streaming: AT&T owns DirecTV, and to encourage customers to sign up for both services streaming from the DirecTV app on a smartphone or tablet does not count against AT&T monthly data caps or towards network management thresholds on unlimited plans. Of course, AT&T Unlimited customers can stream any video service desired, but usage does count towards network management thresholds.
  • Domestic Roaming: AT&T's network has a decent sized off-carrier roaming area, with domestic data roaming limited to 400MB per month. If you exceed that, your data access may be shut down until you are back on AT&T native towers.
  • International Roaming: AT&T's international features are a bit confusing.
    • Canada & Mexico:  "Roam North America" feature that allows for free voice, text, and data roaming in Canada & Mexico. However, if a customer uses more than 50% of their data in Canada or Mexico for two consecutive months, the feature may be removed.
    • Europe, the Caribbean, Canada, Latin America, and Asia Pacific
      • With activation of the International Day Pass feature (no charge to activate), AT&T customers can use their existing plans and all of their plan's features (including high-speed unlimited data) for $10 per device per 24-hour period. Note that the fine print indicates that this feature will be removed from the account if the majority of a  customer's usage is international for two months in a row.
      • A monthly Passport Package can also be activated (warning: these are pricey)
    • Rest of the World: A monthly Passport Package can also be activated (warning: these are pricey)
(Retired) Original iPhone Unlimited Plan
  • These older plans included no mobile hotspot use, and became subject to network management like modern plans are.
    • Should you keep it? For most still on these older grandfathered plans, we recommend considering switching to AT&T's newer Unlimited data plans to get a mobile hotspot benefit and Canada/Mexico access.

AT&T Postpaid Tiered Plans

The data-limited AT&T Mobile Share plans are currently on their third iteration in two years, now called Mobile Share Plus.



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The currently available Plus plans offer only two data levels - 3GB and 9GB. The price per-GB is cheaper than what Flex offered.

On AT&T's postpaid tiered plans, in addition to data costs, you must also pay a "line access charge" fee for every device sharing in the data - $20/mo for smartphones and hotspots and $10/mo for most other devices. With the line access charges, plus taxes and fees, these plans can be very expensive for the amount of data they provide.

  • Carrier Networks Used: AT&T
  • Carrier Relation: Direct
  • Plan Types Available: Phone (unlimited talk/text)
  • Device Types Permitted: Phone, Hotspot, Wearables, Tablets, Laptops, Wireless Home Internet Device
  • Device Purchase Required: No, but can purchase a device
  • Mobile Hotspot Use: All data is available for hotspot/tethering.
  • Throttling: None
  • Network Management: None
  • International Roaming: International data roaming is only available in Mexico. Connected devices on this plan, including connected vehicles, wearables, and the Wireless Home Internet (Home Base) devices are exempt - these devices will be charged pay-per-use roaming rates in Mexico.
  • Domestic Roaming: AT&T's network has a decent sized off-carrier roaming area, with domestic data roaming limited to 400MB per month. If you exceed that, your data access may be shut down until you are back on AT&T native towers.
  • Plan Period: 30 days
  • Data Roll Over: Plans include rollover data, but any rolled over data is only usable in the very next billing cycle. Regular monthly plan data is consumed first, then rolled over data.
  • Overage Charges: There are no overage charges but speeds drop to a glacial 128kbps (2g) when the monthly data allotment is used up. This throttle also affects sponsored data.
  • Streaming: 
    • Video is throttled to 1.5Mbps (480p - SD) and that speed cannot be increased. Unlike the previous Flex plans and most of AT&T's other plans, Mobile Share Plus does not come with StreamSaver.
    • This plan does support AT&T sponsored data which means that streaming AT&T services like Watch TV or DirecTV Now will not count against your data cap. However, if your cap is used up and you hit the 2G throttle, sponsored data is also slowed to 2G.
  • Unlimited: No
  • Lines permitted per plan: Each plan can have up to 10 devices, but each added device will incur a monthly access charge
  • Extras: None

Over the years, AT&T has had many different shared data plans. Here are links to our past articles on them for further details. All plans are now grandfathered in if you had them.


Postpaid Data Only Plans

AT&T offers four different postpaid plans for data only devices: Data Connect, Mobile Share Data (now grandfathered), Connected Car and Wireless Internet.

DataConnect

This plan does not use shared data - a data allotment must be purchased for each device.

  • Eligible Devices: Limited to a few data-only devices. DataConnect comes in two flavors with prices and data allotments that depend on the type of device:
    • Tablets, Connected Cameras:
      • 250MB
      • 3GB
      • 5GB
    • Mobile Hotspots, USB Modems, netbooks:
      • 10GB (Note that a hotspot on DataConnect will get twice the data for the same $/mo compared to a tablet)
  • Rollover Data: None. Data allowances, including overages, must be used in billing period or will be forfeited.
  • Data Overages: Additional data will automatically be provided in increments of 250MB at $14.99 on a 250MB plan or 1GB at $10/GB on the 3GB and larger plans.
  • International Roaming: Not included - If roaming outside the U.S., international data rates will be charged.  Some devices are eligible for AT&T Passport International data packages.
  • Tethering: Allowed on hotspots. Otherwise only allowed on Tablets that have the 5GB option.
  • WiFi Access: Includes access to AT&T's domestic public wifi hotspots

Connected Car & RV

AT&T offers Connected Car & RV plans for vehicles with built-in hotspots, such as GM's OnStar, Airstreams and Ford's SYNC systems. The also offer an aftermarket OBD-II device that is eligible for in vehicle usage only. They also allow connected cars to pair with tiered data plans if desired.

AT&T has an entire connected car department for supporting these systems with their own set of data plans available for qualified vehicles.

  • Connected Car/RV Unlimited: Provides unlimited data for $20-30/month plus taxes and fees.  Network management threshold is AT&T's standard 22GB.
  • Tiered Data: Customers can also add a vehicle to an existing Mobile Share Advantage tiered data plan for an additional $10/month access fee.

Generally, the unlimited option is the better choice except for users with minimal monthly data usage.

  • Eligible Devices: Vehicles with a built-in cellular hotspot, or AT&T's aftermarket OBD-II device. A full list is available on the AT&T Connected Car website.
  • Price: $20-30/month per vehicle, maximum of 3 vehicles per account (3 vehicles on plan results in $60 monthly plan charge).
  • Data: Unlimited
  • Network Management: 22GB
  • Rollover Data: None.
  • Data Overages: None.
  • Domestic Roaming: Limited to 100mb per month
  • International Roaming: Limited to network affiliates in Canada. No other international roaming allowed.
Connected Car "Mobley" Plan

Available for much of 2017, this plan officially retired in September 2017. A too-good-to-be-true unlimited plan for $20/month only subject to network management after 22GB of usage in a month. Using the aftermarket ZTE Mobley Connected Car Device with a power adapter allowed use of the plan without a vehicle's ignition being on. This was a stand-alone plan not requiring any other AT&T account but was only available through AT&T's Connected Car department.

AT&T pushed a mandatory firmware update in October 2018, officially removing a 'no timeout' option that had been made available during an earlier update. Also in October, AT&T began cracking down on use of the plan in non-Mobley devices by locking pins - although a PUK work-around was found pretty quickly.

  • Should you keep it? Those who have the plan are currently grandfathered-in, and this plan is definitely worth keeping for as long as you can!
  • Use in other devices? While the Mobley SIM at present time will work in other hotspot devices, these plans were clearly activated as for Connected Car devices only. There is risk in the future AT&T could enforce these terms of service.

Mobile Internet Guide to Connected Vehicles

 

Updated news on this plan:

AT&T Spark Connected Car OBD-II Device by Harman – Is It a Mobley Replacement?

AT&T Connected Car Mobley SIMs Reporting as PIN Locked

AT&T Pushes Mobley Firmware Update – Removes ‘No Time Out’ Power Save Setting

 

Wireless Internet

AT&T Wireless internet provides a "home" telephone line and data.  It is intended to service rural areas without landline internet service.

  • Eligible Devices: Only available with the Wireless Internet device.
  • Data Allotment Options:
    • 10GB - $30/mo
    • 50GB - $40/mo
    • 100GB - $80/mo
    • There is an additional $20/month line access charge.
  • Rollover Data: None. Data allowances, including overages, must be used in billing period or will be forfeited.
  • Data Overages: Additional data will automatically be provided in increments of 1GB at $10/GB for the 10GB plan and 10GB at $25/GB for the 50GB and 100GB plans.
  • International Roaming: None allowed - this plan is intended to be a rural home internet replacement.
  • AT&T Stream Saver & HD Video: Comes with the Stream Saver featured enabled by default, which throttles video streams to 480p "DVD Quality" resolution so that streaming video uses less data. This feature can be manually turned off to enable full-resolution HD streaming.
  • Non-Complying Devices: Sim cannot be moved to another device.  AT&T fine print indicates a "non-complying device" allows AT&T to change the customer's plan to one that complies with the device.  Bottom line - don't move your sim to another device.
Mobile Share Data (Grandfathered)

Mobile Share Data plans are not available online - they can only be purchased at an AT&T store or by calling AT&T directly. These plans appear to be unavailable to new AT&T customers but may be available to existing customers. The Mobile Share Data plan can be shared by up to ten data-only devices. Smartphones are not eligible for this plan.

  • Eligible Devices: Tablets, Laptops/Netbooks, Mobile Hotspot devices, Gaming devices.
  • Data Allotment Options: Many options ranging from 4GB for $30/mo to 50GB for $335/mo. Data is shared by up to 10 devices on the plan.
  • Device Access Charges: Each device on the plan must also pay a monthly access charge.
    • Laptops/netbooks, Mobile Hotspots: $20/month.
    • Tablets, Gaming Devices: $10/month.
  • Rollover Data: None. Data allowances, including overages, must be used in billing period or will be forfeited.
  • Data Overages: Additional data will automatically be provided in increments of 1GB for $15/GB.
  • International Roaming: 15GB and larger plans include Mexico roaming. All other roaming will incur roaming fees.
  • Tethering: Allowed.  Limited to five devices simultaneously.

In early 2017, some AT&T introduced a 'Rural Plan' that could be paired with the AT&T Homebase device. Availability of this plan was based on zip code.

In mid-February of 2017, AT&T began offering even more data on its Homebase device - which it soon renamed the Wireless Home & Internet device.

AT&T offered the following data amounts on these plans:

  • 250GB for $60/month (+$20/voice) = $80+ taxes
  • 500GB for $100/month (+20/voice) = $120+ taxes

The catch:

These extra large data buckets were offered in select "rural" markets for a limited time. The 250GB/500GB 'Rural' plans were only available for customers with billing addresses in certain areas (some zip codes in Missouri, Kansas, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Western PA, and Upstate New York). Knowledge of what zip codes qualified was sparse - many people reported getting flyers in the mail with details of the plan.

Some RVers with addresses outside of the targeted markets had been able to activate the plan by finding the right representative, but results were mixed.

These 250GB/500GB plans are no longer available to anyone - and we warn folks who locked these plans in not to make any changes on them - or risk having the plan removed.

These plans will work anywhere that AT&T has coverage (not just in the target markets), but in addition to the data price, you are forced to pay an extra $20 in service charges for a home phone number with unlimited talk. There is not an option to drop the voice line. Unlike cellular smartphone plans, texting is not included.

  • Eligible Devices: Homebase, Wireless Internet Device
  • Data Allotment Options: 25GB, 50GB, 100GB, 250GB, 500GB
  • Additional Access Charges: $20/month for voice - whether you use it or not.
  • Rollover Data: None. Data must be used in billing period or will be forfeited.
  • Data Overages: Additional data over your cap will automatically be provided in increments 10GB/$10.
  • International Roaming: None.
  • Domestic Roaming: Limit of 400MB of data per month. If you exceed that, AT&T may shut down your data access until you are back on a native tower.
  • Network Management: Subject to network management as soon as you leave target markets.
  • Streaming: All video streaming (i.e. DirectTV Now, DirectTV) counts towards data limits.
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Quick Take

If keeping connected is important to you in your travels, AT&T plans are worthwhile to consider for at least a secondary carrier, if not a primary for RVers and cruisers.

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