AT&T is the second-largest carrier and is a formidable rival and a great complement to Verizon for us nomads.
AT&T’s LTE network lags Verizon in coverage and speed, but AT&T’s older 3G and 4G networks have great coverage and speeds that blow Verizon’s legacy 3G out of the water.
There are plenty of locations we have been where the best Verizon can manage is 3G or very weak or overloaded LTE. Sometimes in those locations AT&T ends up delivering a much better overall experience.
AT&T Prepaid (formerly GoPhone) is AT&T's own prepaid brand, and can be obtained directly with the carrier or in select retailers. They offer different monthly smartphone plans, or a pay as you go daily option, as well as data only hotspot plans.
Policies & Perks:
- Domestic Roaming: (unconfirmed) - AT&T Prepaid seems to include domestic roaming, and likely has similar limits to postpaid accounts.
- Throttling: Direct AT&T prepaid plans experience full network speeds - except for unlimited plan, which is capped at 3mbps.
- International: Their unlimited plan includes unlimited voice, text & data in Mexico & Canada. The 6GB plan includes unlimited voice, text & full allotment of data in Mexico & Canada. All other plans are subject to international roaming rates.
- Mobile Hotspot Use: Plans with tiered data allow mobile hotspot use; unlimited plan does not permit mobile hotspot.
- Data Roll Over: Unused data on tiered plans rolls over to the next month, as along as the account is kept active.
- Overage Charges: There are no overage charges on prepaid plans. Once you use your data, data service continues at throttled speeds until your next refill.
- Streaming: No streaming services are provided with prepaid accounts.
- Unlimited Data Option: AT&T Prepaid added an unlimited voice, text, and data plan that is capped at 3mbps, streams video at 480p, and has no option for mobile hotspot. Network management at 22GB.
Testing Status: We do not keep a prepaid AT&T plan in our testing arsenal.
- GoPhone Adds Unlimited Plan, Increases $40/Month plan to 6GB Posted on: March 13, 2017
- Increased Data on both Verizon and AT&T Prepaid Plans Posted on: November 8, 2016
- AT&T Reseller Harbor Mobile Gives Customers 2-Day Notice of Cancellation Posted on: May 6, 2016
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AT&T Prepaid Ratings
If keeping connected is important to you in your travels, AT&T is a worthwhile part of your setup. Their prepaid plans might be a flexible way to keep the option available.