AT&T's Unlimited Plans: Everything You Need to Know


WhistleOut
13 March 2017

AT&T Unlimited Plans

It took an all-out price war for AT&T to finally improve its unlimited options. 

The recent unlimited wars have seen each of the four major carriers tweaking their unlimited offerings in an effort to yank customers away from one another. AT&T finally did away with the silly DirecTV requirement associated with their one and only unlimited cell phone plan, reducing its price from a ridiculous $150/month to a still expensive $100. Reactions to the alteration ranged from lukewarm to hostile, so the company further decreased it to $90 (with auto pay) and added a $60 option that runs on slower speeds. 

Here’s a glance at how AT&T's Unlimited Choice and Unlimited Plus plans stack up against the likes of T-Mobile, Sprint and Verizon: 

Even with the changes, AT&T still has the most expensive unlimited plan out there. That said, if you’re a current AT&T customer looking to switch to unlimited or a prospective customer who likes the coverage they provide, these options are a heck of a lot more appealing than the previous one.

This article will guide you through the ins and outs of the Unlimited Choice and Unlimited Plus plans so you know what to expect before signing up.

UNLIMITED PLUS

This is AT&T’s full-strength unlimited plan, comparable features-wise to the ones offered by Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile. It includes:

  • Unlimited talk, text and 4G LTE data
  • 10GB of mobile hotspot use per month
  • Unlimited HD video streaming
  • Unlimited talk, text and data roaming to and within Mexico and Canada

Auto pay knocks $5/month off the $95/month (for one line) cost, but it’s still $10 more expensive than Verizon’s plan. Two lines are priced at $145, with each additional line another $20. 

AT&T notes, in various places (likely at legal’s behest), that they slow data speeds “during periods of network congestion” after 22GB has been reached in a month. You can save some of that usage by leaving Stream Saver turned on, which limits video quality to 480p, or standard definition. All eligible lines come with it turned on automatically, but you can deactivate Stream Saver by going to att.com/myatt or calling 611. 

Unlimited Plus entitles you to a $25 DirecTV credit, in the event you're thinking about adding this service on. Contracts start at $100/month with the credit. 

UNLIMITED CHOICE

AT&T’s Unlimited Choice is a rather curious offering, providing only 3Mbps speeds for an unlimited plan that is still more expensive than Sprint’s Unlimited Freedom, and a mere $10 less expensive than T-Mobile’s One. Another big omission is the lack of a mobile hotspot allowance. Unlimited Choice includes:

  • Unlimited talk, text and data; data speeds limited to 3Mbps
  • Unlimited talk, text and data roaming to and within Mexico and Canada 
  • Video streaming exclusively in standard definition (480p), at speeds of 1.5Mbps

The first line is $60 (with auto pay), two lines are $115, and each additional line is $20 more. If you're already on AT&T, want an unlimited plan, and don't want to spring for the market's most expensive option (Unlimited Plus), this may be just what you need. After all, there's a decent chance the plan will provide enough juice for all your usual internet browsing and streaming. 

SOME FINE PRINT NOTES

AT&T's fine print is as extensive as it is difficult to read without a magnifying glass. Having pored over it, here are some notables: 

  • The Mexico/Canada data roaming feature will be removed if usage exceeds 50% of your total data consumption for two consecutive months. This is something to know if you plan on decamping to a Mexican beach for an extended period of time
  • You can also send and receive unlimited text messages to more than 190 countries, 120 countries for picture and video messages. Calls, however, are subject to per-minute rates. 
  • Once you've used up your 10GB hotspot allotment (on Unlimited Plus), speeds will be slowed to a glacial 128Kbps for the rest of the bill cycle
  • There's a 15% service discount on Unlimited Choice and Unlimited Plus for active military personnel, veterans, and spouses
ONE MORE THING. . .

For those interested in prepaid, AT&T just added an unlimited GoPhone option.

Compare unlimited plans from all of the carriers by using WhistleOut's comparison tool. In the meantime, here's a peek at a few: 

Compare Carriers to Find the Perfect Cell Phone Plan

About AT&T...
iPhone SE

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 dealsAT&Ts phone line-up, or our review of AT&T



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