AT&T did not want to offer unlimited data to everyone.
Although AT&T sat curiously silent this week, they were preparing a response to Verizon, a company who itself had been dragged into offering unlimited data by its competitors.
Verizon had dismissed the idea of unlimited data throughout 2016; meanwhile, T-Mobile was crushing it with their unlimited plans, acquiring new customers by the minute. Naturally, Verizon had to get in on the act. Now AT&T has followed suit, removing the requirement to be a DIRECTV bundle customer to access unlimited data.
AT&T initially beat their nemesis, Verizon, to the punch with their unlimited data plan. However, by requiring their customers to pay for other bundled services it came across as a far less appealing option than T-Mobile's and Sprint's unlimited plans. Thankfully for AT&T customers, there's been an overhaul.
For this, we have T-Mobile to thank. Their innovation and success has compelled the staid old #1 and #2 carriers to follow.
AT&T's made the following key changes to their unlimited plan:
- A single line costs $100 as opposed to the previous price of $150, as they've eliminated the mandatory DirecTV subscription
- Lines 2 and 3 are $40, while the 4th one is free with a $40 credit; the credit only takes affect, however, after you’ve paid $220 for two months
- Full HD video streaming
- The addition of Roam North America which allows for unlimited use in Canada and Mexico
Crucially, the plan still does not include a hotspot allowance, unlike Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon's unlimited plans, all of which provide 10GB of use. Also worth noting: data is soft capped at 22GB, after which speeds are slowed down. Both are important things to keep in mind when shopping for unlimited plans.
AT&T’s announcement comes at the end of a wild week that saw Verizon introducing their unlimited plan to great fanfare, T-Mobile adding HD video to their One plan, and Sprint adding HD to their Unlimited Freedom plan. Check out the breakdown below:
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.