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AT&T has just launched a new prepaid cell phone plan. The new plan is priced at $85/month, or $75 with auto pay billing, and it includes unlimited talk, text and data with mobile hotspot and HD video streaming.
The plan also comes with free full service roaming while traveling in Mexico and Canada. That means subscribers have full access to their talk, text and data while traveling in either country.
Like all unlimited data plans, this new offering does come with a couple of catches. For starters, there is a data prioritization policy in place. During times of heavy network traffic, those that consume more than 22GB of data in a month may have their data speeds temporarily slowed down when compared to other AT&T customers.
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Another restriction is that mobile hotspot is limited to 6GB at 4G LTE data speeds. Once that data threshold is reached, data speeds get reduced to 128 Kbps for the remainder of the customer's billing cycle.
AT&T already offers an unlimited data plan priced at $65/month or $60 with auto pay billing. That plan however comes with data speeds limited to a maximum of 3 Mbps, video streaming limited to a resolution of 480p, and does not include mobile hotspot. Whether or not this new plan will gain favor with AT&T's prepaid customers remains to be seen.
With the new plan in tow, AT&T's prepaid lineup now looks like this:
AT&T's Updated Prepaid Plan Lineup
All plans include unlimited talk, text and data with the specified amount of data at high speed.
- $30 ($25 with auto pay) - no data
- $35 ($30 with auto pay) - 1GB data with the option to stream video in HD
- $45 ($40 with auto pay) - 6GB data with the option to stream video in HD. Phone can be used in Canada and Mexico at no extra charge.
- $65 ($60 with auto pay) - unlimited data with maximum speeds of 3 Mbps, no hotspot and video streaming limited to 480p. Phone can be used in Canada and Mexico at no extra charge.
- $85 ($75 with auto pay) - unlimited data and unlimited hotspot. First 6GB of hotspot at 4G LTE data speeds before throttling to 128 Kbps. HD video streaming. Phone can be used in Canada and Mexico at no extra charge.
Those with multi-line accounts can save $5 on the price of a second line, $10 for a 3rd line, $15 for a 4th and $20 for a 5th. An additional $5 per line can be saved by enabling auto pay billing.
The prices shown do not include taxes and fees which cost extra.
With auto pay billing enabled, AT&T's new $75 unlimited data prepaid plan matches prepaid unlimited data plans from T-Mobile and Verizon in price. I think we can now see why Verizon announced yesterday that is lowering the price of its prepaid unlimited plan to $75. Now 3 out of the 4 major carrier prepaid brands offer an unlimited data plan at a price that I think is too much.
For now at least, Sprint prepaid is significantly cheaper than the other brands costing subscribers only $60/month.
For real savings, those looking for a new plan should really consider an unlimited data plan with an MVNO. MVNO plans start at just $45/month or less than $40/month if you are willing to pay for several months of service in advance.