AT&T is the second largest carrier in the US, and has plenty of great plans for everyone. But like all carriers, their plans can be pretty confusing. So to help you find out which of the AT&T phone plans are the best in 2022, we’re here to help. As the last thing you want to do is pay for a plan that does not meet your needs.
In this article, we’re going to go over the best postpaid plan, the best plan for travelers, the best prepaid plan, and much more. So there’s something for everyone here, and you can make sure you get the right plan without worrying about paying extra. AT&T does also include some perks with most of its postpaid plans, which we will also be detailing here. Don’t forget that HBO MAX is owned by AT&T, so it is included with some of its plans.
Postpaid vs Prepaid vs MVNO
Before we get started, it’s important to talk about the differences between Postpaid, Prepaid and MVNO. Postpaid are customers that pay for their service after they have received it. That means your final bill will be larger than your first bill. Prepaid essentially means that you pay for your service before you receive it. And MVNO stands for Mobile Virtual Network Operator, they essentially buy access to AT&T’s network at wholesale rates. Which is why it can be a lot cheaper than getting a postpaid plan.
When it comes to coverage, all three will offer the same coverage, if they are on the same network. The difference here is going to be in busy areas. On a network tower, Postpaid customers get priority, followed by prepaid customers. MVNO customers are at the very bottom, however an AT&T-owned MVNO may be a bit higher than other MVNO’s, as it’s still a AT&T company. Cricket is one that is owned by AT&T.
Smartphone selection is another difference here. While postpaid customers get access to almost all smartphones that are available, prepaid and MVNO’s have far fewer options for customers. They also usually do not offer any financing, so you’d need to go through a third-party, like Samsung (and buy unlocked).
Now that you know the difference between postpaid, prepaid and MVNO, let’s get started.
Best overall AT&T Plan: Unlimited Extra
The best overall plan over at AT&T for postpaid customers is going to be the Unlimited Extra plan. This plan will cost you $75 per month for a single line. Or for a family of four lines, just $40/month/line.
This plan offers quite a bit. For example, you do get unlimited talk, text and data with up to 50GB of premium data. What that means is that after you use that 50GB, you are likely to be throttled. In addition to that, you get 15GB of hotspot data per line, per month. Which is really useful in a pinch.
AT&T does also offer up unlimited talk, text and data to and from Mexico and Canada. Along with unlimited texting from the US to over 200 countries. Finally, AT&T will give you six months of Stadia Pro with this plan – that’s Google’s cloud gaming service. AT&T Active Armor advanced security is also available, which will help with spam and fraud call blocking, identity monitoring, safe browsing and more.
Best AT&T Plan for Travelers: Unlimited Elite
The Unlimited Elite plan is the most expensive plan over at AT&T, but for travelers, it is the best. It’ll cost you $85/month for a single line, or as low as $50/month/line with four or more lines.
This plan offers unlimited talk, text and data. It’s truly unlimited data, as you will not be slowed down. According to their website “Unlimited talk, text, & high-speed data that can’t slow down based on how much you use”. So you will not be throttled, but if you’re in a crowded area, you may experience a slower network due to the congestion. AT&T also includes 40GB of hotspot data per line, per month.
Like with the Unlimited Extra plan, you also get unlimited talk, and text to and from Mexico and Canada. Along with unlimited texting to over 200 countries. But there are a few other perks included here. You also get the six months of Stadia Pro included, along with HBO MAX, and you can watch content in 4K over its network. Whereas other plans are limited to SD.
Best AT&T Prepaid Plan: 5GB Data
AT&T Prepaid offers three plans, and we believe that the 5GB Data option is the best for most people. It’ll cost you $30 per month, which is not bad for cell service.
With this plan, you’ll get 5GB of high-speed data, throttled afterwards. You also get unlimited talk and text. Mobile Hotspot is included, and uses data from your 5GB cap. AT&T does offer rollover data, so if you did not use the full 5GB this month, whatever is left will rollover to the next month. This can be very useful for those months where you don’t leave home much, and can use that data for those months where you’re traveling a lot.
Talk and text to Mexico and Canada is pay-per-use, but you get unlimited text to over 230 countries with this plan.
Best AT&T MVNO: Cricket Wireless
Cricket Wireless is an MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator) that is owned by AT&T. It’s a great way to get cell phone service for cheap. The best plan over at Cricket Wireless is the Unlimited plan. This will cost you $55/month for a single line, or $25/month for a family of four (that’s $100 total).
This plan offers unlimited high-speed data, and does have access to its 5G nationwide network. You may get throttled however, in congested areas. There’s unlimited talk and text as well. Video will stream in 480p or SD quality.
With this plan, you can also get unlimited talk, text and data in Canada and Mexico. Cricket Wireless notes that your Canada usage cannot exceed 50%. There’s also unlimited texts from the US to over 37 countries, as well as HD Voice and WiFi Calling available.
If you don’t need unlimited from Cricket Wireless, there are 5GB and 10GB plans available for $30 and $40 per month, respectively. Though they do not include usage in Mexico and Canada, nor do they include texting to 37 countries.