Now that Verizon has thrown its hat into the unlimited ring, AT&T is making changes to its own unlimited data plan. Starting Friday, February 17, the carrier's Unlimited Data option will be available to all AT&T customers – not just DirecTV subscribers.
AT&T brought back unlimited fast data twelve months ago, but its $100 plan was limited to customers who also subscribed to the carrier’s cable DirecTV and U-Verse TV options.
However, this condition will officially be scrapped from tomorrow onwards, so any qualifying consumer or business customer will now, finally, be eligible for unlimited gigabytes on AT&T’s LTE network.
AT&T unlimited: pros and cons
The unlimited plan from AT&T includes unlimited talk, text and 4G LTE data; unlimited calls to Canada and Mexico; and unlimited international texting to more than 120 countries. Customers will also receive unlimited talk, text and data roaming in Canada and Mexico by adding the free Roam North America package to their service.
AT&T's unlimited plan is priced at $100 per month for a single line, with additional lines available to add for an extra $40 per month, per line. Right now, if you sign on for four lines of unlimited service, you’ll get your fourth line free – so that's $180 per month for four lines of talk, text, data and more.
While it’s great news for AT&T loyalists looking for a better data option, the plan’s pricing still places it firmly behind similar plans offered by T-Mobile, Sprint and even major rival Verizon. AT&T’s plan doesn’t include mobile hotspot use, and it seems the video-restricting Screen Saver feature – which limits video quality to 480p unless switched off – also applies.
Your unlimited LTE data also comes with restrictions. Like other carriers, AT&T will temporarily throttle data speeds for customers who have used 22GB or more of fast data in a single billing cycle. Slowed speeds only occur during periods of network congestion, and only apply to customers who’ve hit the 22GB mark that month; so it’s not a permanent restriction, but still inconvenient.
Unlimited wars continue
AT&T’s decision comes days after Verizon finally brought back unlimited data for its customers, in a week that’s been heavy with plan changes and one-upmanship. After Verizon announced its $80 unlimited data plan would include HD video streaming, T-Mobile modified its own $70 One unlimited option to include higher video resolution, and 10GB of mobile hotspot use per month.
In response to T-Mobile’s changes, Sprint’s $60 Unlimited Freedom plan also dropped video streaming restrictions and increased mobile hotspot allowance from 5GB per month to 10GB. Price-wise, Sprint still offers the cheapest unlimited data out of the big four carriers, but prepaid brands such as Boost, Cricket and MetroPCS still feature competitive unlimited options from $50 per month.
Customers looking for unlimited family deals can also take advantage of several money-saving, limited-time promotions. Sprint is offering four unlimited lines for just $90 per month from now through to March 2018, while T-Mobile’s best four-line unlimited rate is currently $160 per month.
AT&T’s unlimited plan goes live for all takers starting tomorrow. If unlimited isn’t your thing, you can still sign up for AT&T’s Mobile Share Advantage plans.
AT&T image via ;Roman Tiraspolsky / Shutterstock, Inc
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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.