5 Things to Know Before You Sign Up for AT&T Prepaid

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5 Things to Know Before You Sign Up for AT&T Prepaid
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AT&T isn’t a company that I normally associate with cheap cell phone plans, but the AT&T Prepaid division has increased its promotions lately.

The wireless provider’s prepaid plans have always been slightly cheaper than its traditional postpaid plans. However, some of the deals that have been offered in 2020 are at AT&T-owned Cricket Wireless’ price point.

If you’re thinking about switching to AT&T Prepaid, read my review of the five things to know before you sign up!

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1. Network Coverage

AT&T Prepaid runs on AT&T’s nationwide network, with 5G access available on select plans. The coverage map for AT&T Prepaid is similar to the one for AT&T’s postpaid plans, but it’s not identical. Take a look below:

AT&T Prepaid

AT&T Prepaid Coverage Map
Prepaid Coverage Map (August 2020)

AT&T Postpaid

AT&T Wireless Coverage Map
Postpaid Coverage Map (August 2020)

These screenshots are from AT&T’s website. Before you sign up for a prepaid plan, follow this link and compare the coverage maps. Make sure that there are no dead spots where you live or travel.

2. Plans and Pricing

The regular prices for AT&T Prepaid’s no-contract plans range from $35 a month for 2GB of data to $75 a month for unlimited data. There is no credit check required with these plans.

Those prices won’t save you much compared to postpaid plans, but some of AT&T Prepaid’s deals may be worth checking out.

For the last year or so, AT&T Prepaid’s limited-time offers have become a better value. As of August 2020, there are deals for fixed-data and unlimited data plans. Here’s a sample of the offers:

Unlimited Plus for $50/Month 

  • Must activate a new line and enroll in auto pay to get $50/month rate
  • Unlimited talk and text within the U.S., Mexico and Canada
  • Unlimited text from the U.S. to over 100 countries
  • After 22GB, data speeds may be slowed when the network is busy
  • Includes data usage within and between the U.S., Mexico and Canada
  • Mobile hotspot use (10GB high-speed) included
  • 5G access where available
  • Video streams in HD quality
  • Available in stores and online; no online activation fee

12-Month Plan: $25/Month for 8GB 

  • 360 days of service for $300 advance payment
  • Unlimited talk and text within the U.S., Mexico and Canada
  • Unlimited text from the U.S. to over 100 countries
  • 8GB of high-speed data each month
  • Unused high-speed data rolls over to next month
  • Includes data usage within and between the U.S., Mexico and Canada
  • Mobile hotspot use included
  • Video streams in HD quality
  • Online-only plan

3-Month Plan: $33/Month for 8GB

  • 90 days of service for $99 advance payment
  • Unlimited talk and text within the U.S., Mexico and Canada
  • Unlimited text from the U.S. to over 100 countries
  • 8GB of high-speed data each month
  • Unused high-speed data rolls over to next month
  • Includes data usage within and between the U.S., Mexico and Canada
  • Mobile hotspot use included
  • Video streams in HD quality
  • Online-only plan

I’ve been tracking AT&T Prepaid’s deals for a couple of years now. Although these offers typically have expiration dates, deals like the ones featured above have been extended in the past.

If a promotion is no longer available, it may return in the future. Check out this article for updated cell phone plans and deals!

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3. Additional Features

AT&T Prepaid doesn’t offer HBO Max like the company’s most expensive postpaid plan. But although these prepaid plans don’t have lots of extras, they cover the basics pretty well.

For example, most AT&T Prepaid plans (including Unlimited Plus) let you stream video in HD. However, if you have a plan with a high-speed data cap, you may want to use the Stream Saver feature instead.

When this feature is enabled, video streams at SD quality (about 480p) and you use less high-speed data.

Other features like data use in Mexico and Canada, mobile hotspot, rollover data, texting abroad and 5G access may be available depending on the AT&T Prepaid plan that you choose.

Here’s a link to AT&T’s website where you can take a side-by-side look at the latest plans and features.

4. Phone Selection

If you want to purchase a new phone from AT&T to use on its prepaid service, there’s a limited selection of devices for sale online.

When I checked AT&T’s website in August 2020, only 12 phones were available in the AT&T Prepaid section. They included Apple iPhone and Samsung Galaxy devices, plus a couple of LG phones.

The majority of the phones were priced below $100 and many of them were on sale.

AT&T Prepaid Phones
AT&T Prepaid Phone Selection (August 2020)

AT&T Prepaid’s phone selection isn’t impressive, so you may be better off purchasing a compatible device elsewhere and bringing it to the network. You could also bring an unlocked phone that you already own.

To make sure that your unlocked phone is compatible with the network, follow this link to AT&T’s website.

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5. Customer Service

Some of AT&T Prepaid’s limited-time deals are offered only on its website, while others are available at AT&T stores. AT&T Prepaid SIM cards are also sold in retail locations like Best Buy, Target and Walmart.

If you need to reach AT&T Prepaid customer support, you can call 800-901-9878 or dial 611 from your AT&T phone. This is the number to call for any AT&T Prepaid billing and account issues.

To avoid the wait time, you can search help articles or ask a question in AT&T’s community forums instead.

Final Thought

AT&T Prepaid provides a way to keep AT&T’s network and save money, but don’t settle for its regular rates. Take advantage of AT&T Prepaid’s deals to maximize your potential savings.

Of course, AT&T Prepaid isn’t your only option. You can use AT&T’s network with Cricket Wireless, Straight Talk and others.

If you aren’t tied to AT&T’s network, there are even more ways to save. Compare your options for low-cost wireless service in Team Clark’s guide to the best cell phone plans and deals!

Do you have service with AT&T Prepaid? Leave your customer review in the comments below!

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