AT&T is currently the second largest wireless phone provider in the US, with 134 million subscribers as of April 2017. Much like its biggest rival Verizon Wireless, AT&T decided to no longer offer unlimited data plans for its phones a few years ago as a stand alone service. In late 2016, it did introduce an unlimited plan for anyone who also subscribed to its DirecTV satellite TV service or its U-verse digital cable TV and internet division. In February 2017, AT&T finally began offering stand alone unlimited plans after Verizon did a 180 and offered its own unlimited phone service.
Thanks to these recent changes, it might be a bit confusing for people who might want to sign up for one of AT&T’s phone plans. So which of these AT&T plans are best for you? That’s just what we are going to find out in this feature.
AT&T Mobile Share Plans
For those who don’t need unlimited data, AT&T’s mobile share plans are what you are looking for. All of the Mobile Share Advantage AT&T plans include unlimited talk and text in in the US, along with unlimited texting to 120 countries. You also get a limited amount of shared data which you can share with multiple lines, the exact amount depends on your exact data plan choice. ONe downside to the Mobile Share plan is that video streaming is limited to 480p resolution for all users.
Pricing for data allotments can be seen below, but keep in mind that’s not including the Device Access Charge. If you are connecting a phone, mobile hotspot, or LTE-powered laptop — it’ll cost you an access fee of $20 per line. For those that want to connect a tablet or wearable, it’ll cost $10 per line for these device. A max of 10 devices can be added to a single Mobile Share plan.
So what other perks can you expect with the AT&T Mobile Share plan? Here’s the biggest extras and considerations:
- Any members of the military, along with qualified veterans, can also get a 15 percent discount on any of these plans.
- All the above plans include rollover data – meaning that if you don’t use it all one month, it’ll carry over to the next.
- Free unlimited 2G data if you use all of your high-speed allotment. It’s slow, but it’s enough for basic emails, etc.
- Those with 10GB+ plans can add a wireless home phone for $20, or pay $30 for wireless home phone and home internet access.
- Those with 10GB+ plans get unlimited talk/texting to Mexico and Canada, along with no roaming charges for calls, texts and data when you are in Mexico.
- International texting to 250 countries – more details here!
AT&T Unlimited Plans
Until just a few months ago, AT&T plans with unlimited data weren’t a thing. That has now changed, and now new subscribers can choose from two such plans, along with three more bundle plans if they also want to add the company’s DirectTV or DirecTV Now television service (AT&T acquired DirecTV for $49 billion in 2014). All of AT&T’s unlimited plans are generally geared towards families and friends rather than individual users.
AT&T Unlimited Choice plan
The AT&T Unlimited Choice plan is the cheapest of the carrier’s stand alone smartphone plans with “unlimited” data. The company charges $60 a month for just one line, and $115 a month for two lines. Each additional line can be added for $20 a month, for up to 10 lines.
Even though you are supposed to have unlimited data with the Choice plan, AT&T does keep the download speeds down to a limit of 3 Mbps, and it may go slower if you are one of the few people that uses 22 GB of data a month or more before your billing cycle ends. Also, video streaming is limited to just standard resolutions at 1.5 Mbps with this plan. On the plus side, you do get unlimited texts from the US to 120 countries, and unlimited calls and texts from US to Canada and Mexico, plus unlimited roaming in Canada and Mexico. You can cut off $25 a month from your DirecTV Now bill if you have signed up to use the live TV streaming service. Finally, you can get free access to HBO when you sign up for AT&T Unlimited Plus or Choice.
AT&T Unlimited Plus plan
You get more options with the AT&T Unlimited Plus plan, but you will also have to spend more money for that privilege. AT&T charges $90 a month for one line, $145 a month for two lines, and $20 a month for each additional line up to 10 lines. There are no download speed limits on the AT&T Unlimited Plus plan, but you still might get hit with slower speeds if you exceed 22 GB of data before the monthly bill cycle ends.
Video streams go up to HD quality on AT&T Unlimited Plus. and you also get 10 GB of high-speed mobile hotspot data per month. You still get unlimited texts from the US to 120 countries, and unlimited calls and texts from US to Canada and Mexico, plus unlimited roaming in Canada and Mexico. You can cut off $25 a month from your DirecTV Now bill, plus $25 off your DirecTV bill if you are signed up to use the satellite-based TV service. Finally, you can get free access to HBO when you sign up for AT&T Unlimited Plus or Choice. Keep in mind that the prices for these plans include discounts for the use of Autopay and paperless billing, which is $5 a month on single lines and $10 a month for multi-lines.
If you want to bundle your wireless service with TV, you can do that as well with three different bundle deals. The AT&T Unlimited Choice + DirecTV now offers users all of the features of the Choice plan, plus access to over 60 TV channels via the DirecTV Now streaming service for $70 a month, with up to two DirecTV now streams at once supported. AT&T Unlimited Plus + DirecTV Now offers all the benefits of the Plus plan, along with the over 60 DirecTV Now channels, for $100 a month, plus free access to HBO.
Finally, the AT&T Unlimited Plus + DirecTV plan includes the Plus benefits, and over 150 channels with the DirecTV satittle service, for $115 a month. That deal includes free HBO plus access to DirecTV in up to four rooms in a house, with an HD DVR. Keep in mind that this specific bundle does require a 24 month agreement for DirecTV. All of the prices in these bundle plans include a $25 bill credit and a $5 discount for the use of Autopay and paperless billing.
As with the Mobile Share Advantage plans, any members of the military, along with qualified veterans, can also get a 15 percent discount on any of these unlimited plans.
AT&T Data-only Plans
if you just want to access the network on your tablet, laptop, or other non-smartphone connected device, you’ll want to check out AT&T plans that are designed with data-only customers in mind. You can add up to 10 of those devices for each data-only account. The plans also charge $20 a month for each notebook and mobile hotspot on the account, along with $10 a month for each tablet and gaming device.
One pretty big thing to keep in mind is that these data-only plans are not available to purchase online at AT&T’s website. Customers who want to sign up for them must call an AT&T sales representative, or visit an AT&T store to apply for one of these plans. AT&T does not offer an unlimited data-only plan.
AT&T International Plans
If you are an AT&T customer and will be traveling outside the US, the carrier has a couple of options to keep you connected. One is the AT&T Passport International roaming plans, which will work in over 200 countries and offer unlimited texts. For $40 a month, you can get 200 MB of data and $0.25 per MB for any amount over that limit, along with voice calls for $1 a minute to any country. For $60 a month, your data limit goes up to 300 MB, with $0.20 per MB for any overages and $0.50 a minute for voice calls to any country. Finally, for $120 a month, you get 800 MB of data and $0.15 per MB for overages, plus voice calls for $0.35 a minute.
A better option for travelers who are only spending a few days overseas is the AT&T International Day Pass, which is available in over 100 counties. It costs $10 a day, and offers AT&T customers a way to use either their current Mobile Share plan or Unlimited plan in other parts of the world. The daily charge includes unlimited calls from those countries back to the U.S., along with unlimited texting to the world.
AT&T plans – Conclusion
Needless to say, the many AT&T plans give new customers a ton of different choices and bundles to choose from when picking out one they want to use. Again, the AT&T Plans for unlimited users are the best for any accounts that have two or more people signed up, while the Mobile Share Advantage plans are best for people who just have one or two phones that don’t use a ton of cellular data.
Which of these AT&T plans do you think will be best for your needs? Let us know what plan you would pick in the comments!