AT&T's Unlimited Choice Plan delivers less. Less speed and less features for more money. If that sounds like a ripoff to you, you're right. Here's exactly why AT&T Unlimited Choice plan is an expensive bad idea.
Compared to the other Unlimited data plans, AT&T Unlimited Choice plan offers:
- less speed: 3G vs 4G LTE
- less video picture quality: standard definition vs. high definition
- no mobile hotspots
AND COSTS MORE (than Sprint and T-Mobile Unlimited data plans)
Let's compare the plans' features:
|AT&T Plus||AT&T Choice||TMobile
|Data speeds||4G LTE||4G LTE||3G (3Mbps max)||4G LTE||4G LTE|
|HD video included||no||yes||no (480p)||no||yes|
|Auto pay & paperless bill required||yes||yes||yes||yes||yes|
|Excludes taxes & surcharges||yes||yes||yes||no||yes|
|One time activation fees||$30/line||$25/line||$25/line||no||$30/line|
Less speed: 3G vs 4G LTE
Yes, 3G speeds are fine if you're just downloading a few emails and checking your Facebook page now and then, but if that's all you're doing, you probably don't even need an Unlimited data plan because those basic internetting tasks don't require much data at all. Sign up for 3 or 4GB a month and you'd be more than set.
However if you plan to be streaming videos or music often, you'll need all those Unlimited data gigabytes to upload or download the larger video and music files. And you'll want the 4G LTE speeds for seamless video streaming and faster file loading.
Less video picture quality: standard vs high definition
Unlike the lower speed, video in standard definition (480p) isn't a fatal flaw in a plan. To be honest, the verdict is still out whether or not our eyes can even discern the difference between standard and high definition on our smaller device screens. Steve Jobs didn't think we could.
No mobile hotspots
We can forgive the lower picture quality, but the omission of mobile hotspots is not a good thing. Why? Say adios to the magic that makes our laptops virtual offices and our tablets streaming video babysitters.
The hotspot feature (or tethering) allows you to share your carrier's network connection with other devices (laptops and tablets included) so they can access the internet. It also offers a safer alternative to logging on to public WiFi.
In other words, mobile hotspot is the cell phone plan feature that keeps on giving.
Pay more to get less
But here's the clincher. When you compare unlimited plan prices, you'll see that Unlimited Choice (which delivers the least product) isn't even the least expensive. Sprint and T-Mobile One unlimited plans offer more speed, more mobile hotspots, more picture definition at a cheaper price than Unlimited Choice.
Yep, that's right. Sprint is $10 less -- price does expire in a year on March 18, 2018 but that still translates into a year of savings. T-Mobile's One plan, with its All-In pricing that includes taxes and surcharges combined with its activation fee waivers, ends up also being cheaper out-the-door.
But wait, it gets even better. AT&T's subsidiary prepaid Cricket Wireless Unlimited plan also offers a 60% faster service (8Mbps vs 3Mbps) for less than Unlimited Choice's price. (Cricket's price also includes all taxes and surcharges.) Since both plans use the exact same AT&T network, the coverage is similar also.
How can AT&T expect people to pay more for less?
It's hoping that you only see its two unlimited data plans. Placed side by side, the Unlimited Plus and Choice plans, it seems to make sense: pay less for less speed. But when you line them up against all the carriers' offerings, it adds up only to AT&T charging higher prices for a lesser product.
Whether you're interested in 1GB of data or endless amounts, it's always a good idea to compare cell phone plans to be sure you're getting all that you need at the right price. We at WhistleOut believe that good information makes good decisions. Happy Shopping!
Compare Carriers to Find the Perfect Cell Phone Plan
AT&T in one of the big four cell phone carriers in the United States with a massive customer base and huge network footprint across the U.S.
- Where to Buy: Online, in-store, over the phone
- Bring Your Own Phone: If you have an unlocked GSM phone and your phone supports AT&T's LTE bands, you can bring your own phone to AT&T.
- Locations: AT&T's network and services are available nationally. AT&T's headquarters are in Dallas, Texas.
- Tethering: Customers can use their AT&T plan as a mobile hotspot, though usage is specific to each plan. Unlimited plans on AT&T have a hotspot cap of 10GB per month.
- Network: 4G LTE network using band 17 and band 5 (700Mhz, 850Mhz), band 2 and 4 (1900Mhz, 1700/2100Mhz). Many MVNOs (smaller carriers) also use the AT&T network. AT&T also supports HSPA (3G) & (3.5G) HSPA+.
- Coverage: AT&T consistently ranks #2 in network coverage tests.
- Prepaid: AT&T's pre-paid brand is call GoPhone -- AT&T also owns Cricket Wireless.
- Taxes & Fees: AT&T will charge state taxes and fees on top of your monthly cell phone plan cost.
Fact: With over 147 million customers in the US and Mexico, AT&T is one of the largest wireless providers in the world. AT&T also owns Cricket Wireless. Take a look at AT&T's current wireless deals, AT&Ts phone line-up, or our review of AT&T.