AT&T offers several GoPhone prepaid plans for smartphones and basic phones with no-contract phones that connect to its 4G LTE network. In early 2015, AT&T updated its GoPhone prepaid plans to offer more 4G LTE data. AT&T offers a good mix of network reliability combined with affordable prepaid plans, a good selection of phones, and Rollover Data. If you have have bad credit, or are looking to shrink your wireless bills, AT&T GoPhone is a top choice.
If you’re looking for a prepaid plan that allows you to buy additional data and bring your own phone, here’s what you should know about the GoPhone prepaid plans.
Overview of GoPhone Plans
AT&T offers several daily, monthly and pay-as-you-go plans in two categories: smartphone plans and feature phone plans.
All smartphone plans run on AT&T’s 4G network, but they are a bit more expensive than competitors and they do not have roaming service. All of the smartphone plans are monthly with unlimited messaging, but only the $60/month top-tier plan includes a substantial 2GB of data, while the others are Wi-Fi only or charge $5 for every 100MB or 500MB of data.
- No credit check
- No contract
- No deposit
- No activation fees
- Several plans to choose from
- Ability to add additional data
- Bring your own phone
- Rollover data with select plans
- AT&T wireless network
- No roaming
- More expensive than some competitors
- Somewhat limited phone choice
- No unlimited plan
We'll start our review with a breakdown of AT&T's various no contract, no credit check, no activation fee prepaid plans. And keep in mind with all of these plans, you can purchase a new phone from AT&T or bring an existing compatible phone.
And remember, no matter which plan you choose, there is never an activation fee!
The GoPhone plans available for smartphone users are:
- $60/month for unlimited talk and text with 4GB high-speed Rollover Data (additional data: $10/1GB).
- $55/month for unlimited talk and text to U.S., Canada & Mexico with 1GB high-speed data (additional data: $10/500MB).
- $45/month for unlimited talk and text with 1.5 GB high-speed Rollover Data (additional data: $10/500MB).
- $30/month for unlimited talk and text. You can use WiFi or buy data at $5/100 MB.
Feature/Basic Phone Plans
The plans for basic (or "feature") phones are a bit different:
- $60/month for unlimited talk and text. Includes 4GB of data at device speed with Rollover Data.
- $55/month for unlimited talk and text to U.S., Mexico, & Canada with 1GB high-speed data.
- $45/month for unlimited talk and text with 1.5GB high-speed Rollover Data.
- $30/month for unlimited talk and text. Use WiFi or buy data at $5/100 MB.
Pay As You Go Plans
For those who have little use for cell phones, AT&T still offers pay as you go plans:
- $2/day on days used with unlimited talk and text and pay per use data at $0.01/5KB
- Pay as you go with $0.10/minute, $0.20/text message (or package), and $0.01/KB data
Data and Messaging Packages
The amount you need to pay for data packages depends on your plan.
- If you get the $60 monthly plan for smartphones, you can add an extra 1GB for $10.
- With the $45/month and $55/month plans, you can add 500MB for $5.
- And with the basic $30/month plan for smartphones and feature phones, an extra 100MB will cost you $5.
And if you do not buy a data package, have overages, or otherwise, here are your costs:
- Nationwide text messaging: $0.20 per text sent/received
- Nationwide picture and video messaging: $0.25 per message sent/received
- International text: $0.25 per message sent, $0.20 per message received
- International picture and video messaging: $0.50 per message sent, $0.25 per message received
- Data: $0.01 per 5KB (for non-smartphone plans)
Pay-As-You-Go Data Packages
Messaging packages are available for the $0.10 per minute plan customers.
- 200 messages will cost $4.99/month
- 1000 messages is $9.99/month
- Unlimited messages is $19.99 per month.
Packages are good for 30 days, assuming your balance is not expired.
How Much Data Do I Need?
If you aren’t sure how much data you need, AT&T has a data calculator to estimate data usage.
For example, 10 hours of streaming music on a smartphone will use about 0.3GB of data. If you get the top-tier smartphone plan with 2.5GB of data, that’s about enough to stream 5 hours of HD video, make 100 social media posts with photos, surf the web for 37 hours, send 200 emails and stream 10 hours of music.
GoPhone Phone Options
AT&T has a good range of phones to choose from, unlike some carriers that only offer 5 or so. Plus, you also have the option to bring your own phone to GoPhone prepaid.
The current line-up of phones is (as of August 24, 2015):
- Apple iPhone 5c (pre-owned) – $382
- Apple iPhone 4s – $450
- Motorola Moto G – $180
- HTC Desire 610 – $140
- Nokia Lumia 635 (pre-owned) – $40
- Kyocera DuraForce – $399
- LG G2 – $480
- Samsung Galaxy S5 – $650
- HTC One – $670
While newer phones are largely absent from the plan, you can buy a Nokia Windows phone, which aren’t available with most prepaid providers. In the past, Apple iPhones were not available as GoPhone devices but you can now get older iPhone 4 and 5 phones. And we suspect iPhone 6 phones will become available when the new iPhone is launched in Fall 2015.
Don’t like the selection of phones? Want to bring your own device or use a newer Android or iPhone on an AT&T GoPhone plan? AT&T allows you to bring your own phone to the prepaid program. To bring your own device, you need to buy the GoPhone SIM card kit for $10. Devices that aren’t under contract are eligible.
Other than that, you do not have to pay an activation fee with GoPhone.
Note: Until September 24, 2015, you can get $20 instant off any eligible AT&T GoPhone 4G LTE device when you buy a $25 or higher GoPhone refill card.
Comparison Against the Competition
AT&T GoPhone is one of the more affordable prepaid plans. While more expensive than Sprint Prepaid, it has better network reliability and speed in most areas and it includes Rollover Data.
The $45/month prepaid plan gives you 1.5GB of data, and you can rollover unused data for 30 days. And when this plan is compard to Verizon’s $45/month prepaid plan, which includes only 1GB of data with no rollover, AT&T GoPhone is the winner.
The Bottom Line
AT&T doesn’t offer the biggest selection of smartphones but it does have many popular phones and it lets you Bring Your Own Device. This is something that Sprint Prepaid, the next-cheapest prepaid plan, does not offer.
The bottom line is, if you have bad credit, AT&T GoPhone Prepaid is a good choice. It offers a winning a combination of affordability, reliability, and flexibility. All with no credit checks, contracts, and deposits.