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AT&T plans explained: 5G, pricing, and deals

T-Mobile phone plans may have gotten all the attention as the first carrier to launch a nationwide 5G network coverage, but AT&T has since followed suit. Now, we are seeing a rapidly expanding AT&T 5G network, and the carrier offers 5G access in the majority of its phone plans.

Speaking of plans, AT&T offers a few of them. Between its unlimited data plans, its prepaid plans, and other plans, there’s a lot to consider if you’re thinking about switching to AT&T or switching your plan within AT&T. There are other major 5G carriers to choose from.

Interested in learning more? We’ve put together this guide for you. Here’s everything you need to know about AT&T’s phone plans.

AT&T plans

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AT&T offers a range of plans, for a range of different situations. Its most well-known plans are its unlimited plans, and there are three of them. It also offers a few different prepaid plans, and a data plan for connected devices. Here’s a rundown.

AT&T Unlimited Starter

AT&T Unlimited Starter is the carrier’s cheapest unlimited data plan, but it still offers what should be enough for most users. The foundation of the plan is unlimited talk, text, and data, however it’s important to note that while you’ll be able to use AT&T’s 5G network, you may be throttled if there’s too much congestion on the network. You’ll also get unlimited talk, text, and data in Mexico and Canada, but don’t expect 5G or even 4G speeds — AT&T says you may be on 2G networks at times.

That’s about all you’ll get from AT&T Unlimited Starter. There’s no hot spot access, and you’ll be limited to standard-definition video streaming. For this plan, you’ll pay $65 for one line, or $45 per line for three lines. That’s a bit more expensive than T-Mobile’s Essentials plan, which offers perks like 50GB of premium data and unlimited hot spot usage at 3G speeds.

Subscribe to AT&T Unlimited Starter

AT&T Unlimited Extra

The next step up is AT&T’s Unlimited Extra plan, which is where the perks start to kick in. On top of the unlimited data, you’ll get 50GB of premium data, meaning that you won’t be throttled in times of congestion if you’ve used less than 50GB in that month. You’ll also get 15GB of hot spot data per month.

Unlimited Extra costs $75 per month for one line, or $50 per line, per month for three lines.

Subscribe to AT&T Unlimited Extra

AT&T Unlimited Elite

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AT&T’s highest-end phone plan may be expensive, but you get some pretty sweet perks with it. For starters, it doubles the amount of premium data to a hefty 100GB, and it doubles the amount of hot spot data to 30GB. It also allows for HD streaming, instead of SD — and that could come in handy considering the plan includes a HBO Max subscription, too.

As mentioned, the plan is expensive. You’ll pay $85 per month for one line, or $60 per line, per month for three lines.

Subscribe to AT&T Unlimited Elite

AT&T Prepaid Phone Plans

As you would expect, the carrier also offers some AT&T prepaid phone plans, which are perfect for those who really just want the basics and are happy to pay less and need fewer perks.

The first prepaid plan costs $30 per month, and includes unlimited talk, text, and 5GB of data. The second ups the price to $40 per month, but has 15GB of data instead of 5GB.

AT&T network coverage

AT&T has long offered one of the largest wireless networks in the U.S., and while the carrier’s network doesn’t reach every square inch of the country, it gets pretty close. Now, to be clear, you definitely won’t get 5G coverage all over the U.S., but AT&T is rapidly expanding and improving its 5G network, and that’s likely to continue.

Generally speaking, AT&T’s network should cover heavily populated areas, but in rural areas, coverage may be a little less certain. If you live in, or regularly travel to, a rural area, it may be worth double-checking if you’ll get AT&T coverage there before you sign up to an AT&T plan. You can do so straight from the AT&T website.

How AT&T compares to T-Mobile and Verizon

T-Mobile offers the best value for the money in terms of unlimited data plans right now, and considering it got a head start on launching a nationwide 5G network, it may offer among the largest 5G networks, too. For example, T-Mobile’s cheapest plan, Essentials, costs $60 per month for one line, and includes 50GB of premium data and unlimited 3G hot spot usage. That’s pretty stellar.

T-Mobile offers the best value for the money in terms of unlimited data plans right now.

Verizon, on the other hand, is a little more expensive than AT&T, and offers fewer perks. For example, Verizon’s cheapest unlimited data plan costs $70 and doesn’t even let customers access its mmWave network. AT&T is a middle ground for now, though paying an extra few dollars may be worth it to you depending on the perks and features you’re looking for.

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Christian de Looper
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