AT&T Prepaid Adds New $85 ($75 w autopay) Unlimited, Unthrottled Plan. Is it Worth It?

  • AT&T Prepaid has quietly added a new plan to their lineup. Priced at $ 85/month, or $ 75 with auto-pay, the plan includes unlimited, unthrottled data, subject to de-prioritization after 22 GB. The plan also includes unlimited HD quality video streaming and 6 GB of high speed hotspot. After 6 GB hotspot speeds are throttled to 128 kbps.

    With the new plan, AT&T’s unlimited monthly plan lineup is as follows (prices are per month, all plans include unlimited domestic talk and picture messaging and unlimited global text messaging.

    • $ 30 ($ 25 with autopay) – no data included, add 250 MB for $ 5/month
    • $ 35 ($ 30 with autopay) –  unlimited data, first 1 GB at high speeds. HD video. Unused data rolls over. Plan data is used before rollover data and rollover data expires after 30 days. Hotspot available
    • $ 45 ($ 40 with autopay) –  unlimited data, first 6 GB at high speeds. HD video. Unlimited calls to Mexico and Canada. Unlimited voice and messaging and 6 GB of high speed data roaming in Mexico and Canada. Unused data rolls over. Plan data is used before rollover data and rollover data expires after 30 days. Hotspot available
    • $ 65 ($ 60 with autopay) –  unlimited data at 3 mbps, video at 1,5 mbps, subject to de-prioritization after 22 GB. Unlimited calls to Mexico and Canada. Unlimited voice and messaging and high speed data roaming in Mexico and Canada. Hotspot NOT available.
    • $ 85 ($ 75 with autopay) –  unlimited high speed data, subject to de-prioritization after 22 GB. HD video. Unlimited calls to Mexico and Canada. Unlimited voice and messaging and high speed data roaming in Mexico and Canada. Hotspot available.

    Here’s how AT&T’s $ 85 new plan compares with other unlimited high speed data plans:

    Name Price Network Hotspot Video  Deprioritization Threshold Notes
    Ulttra Mobile $ 49 Independent T-Mobile MVNO N/A “optimized” 30 GB Unlimited global texting and unlimited calling to 75 countries
    Lycamobile $ 50 Independent T-Mobile MVNO N/A unspecified 32 GB Unlimited global texting and unlimited calling to 60 countries
    Simple Mobile $ 50, $ 45 with autopay TracFone owned T-Mobile MVNO N/A 480p Unspecified Unlimited global texting and unlimited calling to 60 countries. Unlimited roaming in Mexico and 15 Latin American countries
    Boost $ 50* Sprint Owned 8 GB 480p 23 GB
    MetroPCS $ 50* T-Mobile Owned N/A 480p, $ 10/month extra for HD 35 GB
    Cricket $ 55, $ 50* with auto pay AT&T Owned 8 GB for $ 10 extra 480p 22 GB High speed data throttled to 3 mbps. Unlimited International SMS. Calls to and roaming in Mexico and Canada
    Page Plus $ 55, $ 50 with autopay TracFone owned Verizon MVNO N/A Unspecified Unspecified $ 10 international call credit
    Straight Talk $ 55, $ 54 with autopay TracFone owned AT&T, Verizon or T-Mobile MVNO N/A 480p Unspecified
    Cricket $ 60, $ 55* with auto pay AT&T Owned 8 GB for $ 10 extra HD 22 GB Calls to and roaming in Mexico and Canada
    Simple Mobile $ 60, $ 57 with autopay TracFone owned T-Mobile MVNO 10 GB 480p Unspecified Unlimited roaming in Mexico and 15 Latin American coutries
    Boost $ 60* Sprint Owned 20 GB HD 23 GB
    MetroPCS $ 60* T-Mobile Owned 10 GB 480p, $ 10/month extra for HD 35 GB
    AT&T Prepaid $ 65, $ 60 with autopay AT&T owned N/A 480p 22 GB High speed data throttled to 3 mbps. Unlimited International SMS. Calls to and roaming in Mexico and Canada
    Verizon Prepaid $ 75 Verizon owned unlimited at 600 kbps 480p data always subject to de-priotitiztion if network ibusy Unlimited calls and texts to Canada and Mexico
    AT&T Prepaid $ 85, $ 75 with autopay AT&T owned 6 GB HD 22 GB High speed data throttled to 3 mbps. Unlimited International SMS. Calls to and roaming in Mexico and Canada

    * Price includes all taxes.

    I’ve omitted unlimited plans from ROK Mobile, US Mobile and Xfinity Mobile because their “unlimited” data is actually throttled to 128 kbps after 15 – 20 GB rather than being subject to de-prioritization only when the network is busy. I’m also very skeptical that any MVNO can offer truly unlimited high speed data with only de-prioritization when the network is congested.  Mobile operators have never offered MVNOs unlimited data at a flat price. Data, minutes and texts are are sold at per unit prices. With unlimited plans, customers who use too much of any resource cost an MVNO money and have to be cut off or severely throttled if the MVNO is to survive. It you expect to use 20 GB a moth or more of data, I recommend using an mobile operator owned brand, rather than an MVNO.

    As to whether AT&T Prepaid’s $ 85 plan is worth it, like every other plan, that depends. It is a premium plan on a better network than T-Mobile or Sprint’s and without Verizon Prepaid’s 24/7 de-prioritization, throttled hotspot and video. On the other hand, the 6 GB limit on high-speed hotspot use is ridiculously low. If AT&T can make money providing 22 GB of high speed on device data before de-prioritization at this price point, surely they can provide 22 GB of high speed hotspot too.

    The AT&T plan might make sense as a replacement for unavailable wired broadband  for someone living in a remote area (no network congestion) who happens to have an AT&T tower nearby and can use something like Miracast to share Netflix and Prime video to a big screen. But even in that scenario Cricket’s  $ 55 (with autopay) plan would work nearly as well for $ 20 a month less.

    Source: AT&T via Howard Forums

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