AT&T Buyer’s Guide: Everything you need to know
Find out what AT&T has to offer.
AT&T is the second-largest wireless carrier in the U.S. with over 100 million subscribers across the country. It offers nationwide Voice and LTE data coverage on its network, using GSM and LTE technology for both voice and data, primarily on 700, 850, 1700 and 1900MHz spectrm.
AT&T offers unlimited talk and text wireless plans for individuals and families and have deals on the latest phones including the Samsung Galaxy Note 8. If you’re a loyal AT&T customer for other services, you’ll be happy to know that there are benefits to bundling your services together, but if you’re strictly looking for a wireless plan, AT&T’s base offerings are definitely on the pricier side — though they do offer affordable prepaid plans and the option to save by bringing your own device.
Read on to learn more about what AT&T has to offer, and find the best plan and phone deal for you!
- Best Individual Plans
- Best Family Plan
- Best Phones
- Best Deals on AT&T
- How to cancel AT&T
- How to unlock an AT&T phone
- Finding an alternative carrier that uses AT&T’s network
Best Individual Plans
AT&T offers a range of mobile service options for individuals. We’ll start off with their standard talk, text, and data plans available when you’re buying a new phone through AT&T, then look at AT&T’s prepaid no-contract options, and finally your options for bringing your own device to the AT&T Network.
- Talk, Text and Data plans
- AT&T Prepaid
- Bring your own device to AT&T
Talk, Text and Data plans
AT&T offers two base talk, text, and data plans for individual lines — the AT&T Unlimited Choice plan, and the Unlimited Plus plan.
The Unlimited Choice plan starts at $65 a month for a single line (before discounts) and includes unlimited talk, text, and data with standard definition video streaming and data speeds that max out at 3Mbps. It’s a great option if you don’t want to worry about managing monthly quotas and don’t mind the slower data speeds for video.
The Unlimited Plus plan is significantly more expensive at $95 a month (before discounts), but that includes high definition video streaming and 10GB of mobile hotspot usage all delivered at the fastest speeds available on AT&T’s nationwide 4G LTE network. Both Unlimited Choice and Unlimited Plus plans include an HBO subscription, which lets you watch all your favorite HBO shows on all of your devices.
Keep in mind the cost of these plans do not include payments towards a new phone. If you’re trying to budget getting a new phone on contract with AT&T, add an extra $25 to get a closer estimation of what your monthly bill might look like. However, there are ways to bring that bill down a bit. You can save $5 a month by signing up for AutoPay and paperless bills ($10 per month for multiple lines). And all DirectTV customers (existing and new) save an additional $25 when bundled with wireless service.
You’ll also save if you add extra line to your account up to four lines total — Unlimited Choice goes down to $40 a month per line, while Unlimited plus goes down to $50 a month per line (after Autopay discount).
AT&T offers a number of bundles that include DirectTV alongside its other services, so if you’re looking for a total home package through one carrier you may lock down a pretty good deal that includes TV, home phone, internet and wireless all through AT&T.
To find the pricing offered in your area, you’ll want to go to AT&T’s website and enter your ZIP code.
Not interested in locking yourself into a long-term contract with AT&T? You may be interested in a prepaid plan instead. AT&T offers GoPhone plans for those looking for cheap and functional wireless services without the hassle of dealing with overage fees and or paying for features you don’t end up using.
Monthly GoPhone plans start at $30 for unlimited talk and text and 1GB of data, and it also offer decent pay-as-you-go plans which start as low as $2 a day for unlimited minutes and texts. With pay-as-you-go, you’re not charged on days that you don’t place or receive a call or send a text.
You can also get an unlimited prepaid plan, which offers up to 22GB of data capped at 3Mbps, for $60 per month after discounts.
Bring your own device to AT&T
If you’re switching over to AT&T from another carrier, you may be able to bring your current phone over to the network. You’ll want to make sure that your device has been unlocked by your previous carrier and then check its eligibility on AT&T’s network. You’re also able to connect laptops, tablets and mobile hotspots to an AT&T wireless plan, which you can learn more about in store.
Best Family Plans
AT&T offers shared data plans for families with unlimited domestic talk and text and worry-free data — you won’t receive overage charges when you’ve reached your data allotment.
Add up to 10 lines to your plan and find the monthly data amount that meets your family’s needs. Starting at $80 for 10GB of shared data, your best value for a data-hungry family is the 25GB plan for $110. Spread across a family of four, that averages to 7.5GB per phone, which is more than enough to support regular streaming of audio and video, along with everything else your family uses their phones for.
Since AT&T offers much more than just wireless service, you have the option to add a plethora of features to your plan. First, you can add more devices such as LTE-enabled tablets and wearables for a monthly access charge, as well as laptops and mobile hotspot devices.
More importantly for families, you can add both home phone and internet to your plant for only $30. AT&T also offers cable bundles if you’re interested in cable TV packages.
Looking to buy a brand new phone through AT&T? It can offer you the latest and greatest devices — for both Android and iOS — including:
- Samsung Galaxy Note 8
- Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+ and Galaxy S8 Active
- LG G6
- LG V30
- iPhone X and iPhone 8 and 8 Plus
You have two options for buying phones through AT&T — you can buy them outright, or pay no money down with AT&T Next, a payment plan service that links the cost of the phone to your wireless contract, as you pay for the phone in monthly installments with an option to upgrade to a new device in two years. You may choose put a down payment on the device to bring the monthly payment down, or consider trading in an older phone to put cash towards your new one.
Best Deals on AT&T
Right now, AT&T is pushing a couple great deals for unlimited data plans.
AT&T’s Unlimited choice plan is jam-packed with awesome features for heavy mobile users and fans of HBO. You get 22GB of high speed data before AT&T may slow your speeds and 10GB of mobile hotspot per line per month. You can get four lines for just $160 a month (that’s $40 a month per line) which is a great option for families.
AT&T is also offering Direct TV for just $25 a month for 24 months with an AT&T Unlimited Plus wireless plan. We’re all for cutting cable, and technically Direct TV isn’t cable so if you’re looking for a deal on a TV package this might be right for you!
The ZTE Axon M is available exclusively through AT&T. It’s a pretty unique device with double the screen! To promote this new device, AT&T is offering a $100 Visa Reward Card when you buy a ZTE Axon M. The phone itself is $725 if you’re into the concept here.
How to cancel AT&T
If you’re considering signing a multi-year contract with AT&T, you need to know the details and processes for canceling your service. This is where reading the fine print of your contract ahead of time comes in handy. Depending on your wireless plan, you may have to pay an Early Termination Fee or the outstanding balance of an installment agreement like AT&T Next plans.
You have two options for canceling your services with AT&T:
- Call 1-800-331-0500 or 611 from an AT&T wireless phone, and then follow the call prompts to cancel your service.
- Cancel in-person at an AT&T store near you.
If you’ve decided to cancel your service within 14 days of activation, you’ll want to know about AT&T’s equipment return policies.
How to unlock an AT&T phone
If you plan on buying a phone through AT&T, you may want to know the process for unlocking your phone. AT&T has complete instructions on its support website, and the whole process should take no more than three days to process.
The first step is determining whether your device is eligible to be unlocked, and of course AT&T has a site for that. Unlocking your AT&T phone is a fairly painless process, requiring you to fill out some forms with your AT&T credentials and your device’s IMEI number. Once your request has been processed, you are free to connect your device to another wireless carrier.
Finding an alternative carrier that uses AT&T’s network
If you want to use the AT&T network but are looking for plans that offer a better deal, you might be interested in a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO). MVNOs are often referred to as alternative carriers, and they work by partnering with the big four carriers to piggyback on their networks. That means they can offer better deals to consumers without needing to worry about infrastructure upkeep.
They’ve become increasingly reliable over the years and offer the cheapest plans in the mobile industry. There are currently 12 MVNOs that operate on AT&T, including Cricket Wireless, Straight Talk, and H20 Wireless.
Update, November 2017: This article was last updated with the most recent AT&T pricing.
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