AT&T’s unlimited data plans cost as much as $85 per month before taxes for a single line of service, but did you know that you can keep AT&T’s wireless network and lower your monthly bill?
It’s possible if you switch to a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) that partners with AT&T to use its towers.
Switch to an AT&T MVNO and Cut Your Wireless Bill in Half!
Have you heard of Straight Talk Wireless, Consumer Cellular, FreeUP Mobile or Red Pocket Mobile? They’re all MVNOs.
Then there’s Cricket Wireless. It also offers low-cost cell phone service on AT&T’s network, but it’s not technically an MVNO because it’s owned by AT&T.
The other MVNOs that I mentioned are independent of AT&T and only rent space on its network.
Over the past few years, I’ve tested a handful of these low-cost AT&T alternatives and will review the best ones in this article. Some plans from the carriers on my list can cut your AT&T bill in half.
Table of Contents:
- Owned by AT&T, Cricket Wireless has 10 million subscribers
- Four lines of unlimited service for $100/month
- Taxes and fees are included
- Cheapest unlimited plan: Data speeds capped at 8 Mbps and SD quality video
- Bring your own device or buy one from Cricket; budget and high-end options
- Retail locations nationwide
For quite some time, AT&T-owned Cricket Wireless has offered four lines of unlimited talk, text and data for $100 per month. Taxes and fees are included. With its cheapest unlimited plan, data speeds are capped at 8 Mbps and you only get SD quality video streaming. Budget and high-end smartphones are available for sale, plus a few free device options if you transfer a number. Cricket Wireless has retail locations nationwide that offer in-person customer service.
- Top-rated “Non-Contract Value Carrier” by J.D. Power
- Two network partners: AT&T and T-Mobile (Check coverage)
- 5% discount for AARP members
- Products and plans available at Target locations nationwide
- Talk, text and data starting at $20/month
- Free activation and no contracts
Consumer Cellular targets the senior population and offers a 5% AARP discount, but the service is available to people of all ages. Consumer Cellular has flexible data plans that are ideal for light data users. There are two network partners with this carrier: AT&T and T-Mobile. You’ll be assigned one or the other when you sign up. If you want to make sure that you get AT&T, you can visit a Target retail store and pick up a Consumer Cellular SIM card for AT&T’s network. Consumer Cellular has received high marks for its 100% U.S. based customer service.
Straight Talk Wireless
- Owned by TracFone, America’s largest no-contract cell phone provider
- Straight Talk is available at Walmart locations nationwide
- Good value: 25GB of high-speed data for $45 per month
- Partners with all of the major networks (Check coverage)
- Bring your own device or buy a phone from Straight Talk
Available at Walmart, Straight Talk operates on all of the major wireless networks, which makes it simple to keep your own phone and bring it to the prepaid service. Straight Talk offers several affordable plan options, including 25GB of high-speed data for $45 per month. Auto-refill discounts are available. When I tested the service for 30 days, I picked up a SIM Activation Kit from Walmart that included an AT&T SIM card. Customer service is available by phone and chat. TracFone owns the Straight Talk brand. Other TracFone brands that offer service on AT&T’s network include H2O Wireless and Net10 Wireless.
If you’re unsure about switching away from AT&T after reading through this list, consider one more option: AT&T Prepaid.
Every now and then, AT&T Prepaid offers some very competitive deals. For example, I noticed an unlimited plan for $50 a month at the time of this writing in July 2020.
The prepaid plans have fewer perks compared to AT&T’s postpaid service, but the savings may be enough for you.
To learn more about cheap cell phone service plans from other major networks and carriers, see Team Clark’s guide to the best cell phone plans and deals. It’s updated regularly!
More Clark.com Stories You May Like:
- 9 Easy Ways to Lower Your Monthly Cell Phone Bill
- Coverage Maps: Find a Cheap Cell Phone Plan With the Best Coverage
- The #1 Mistake People Make When Switching Cell Phone Carriers