The AT&T Unlimited Data plan is back in a big way, and finally available without a DirecTV subscription, but there are important catches that you need to know before you change plans or before you switch carriers.
T-Mobile, Sprint, and Verizon also offer Unlimited plans, but nothing is ever truly unlimited. In this case, AT&T’s unlimited plan includes tough to live with restrictions that others don’t. Even if you are just thinking about changing your AT&T plan to the AT&T unlimited data option, you will lose some services.
A single line of AT&T unlimited data is $100 a month. Add another line for $40 each. If you add four lines you get a $40 a month credit that starts after two billing cycles.
Until this new plan arrived you needed an AT&T Uverse or DirecTV subscription to get AT&T unlimited data plans, but that is no longer required.
Is the AT&T unlimited data plan for you? It depends on how you use your phone, how much data you use and if you need your data to always be at the fastest speed.
What is the AT&T Unlimited Data Plan?
The AT&T unlimited data plan is not brand new, but it is finally one that anyone on AT&T can get. If you already have grandfathered AT&T unlimited data this is not a direct replacement, so keep reading about the restrictions before you switch.
Unlike Verizon there is no special one line discount, but you can choose to use the new AT&T unlimited data plan with a single line if that is all you need.
“We’re offering unlimited entertainment on the nation’s best data network where and when you want to enjoy more of what you love,” said David Christopher, Chief Marketing Officer of the AT&T Entertainment Group.
Depending on the plan you are using and the number of lines you have, switching may save you money.
What’s Included with AT&T Unlimited Data?
When you switch to the AT&T unlimited data plan you get several upgrades to your plan. These include better support for calls to Canada and Mexico as well as no roaming charges when in Canda and Mexico if you add a free Roam North America feature.
- Unlimited data for all eligible devices on your plan.
- Unlimited talk and text including calls to Mexico and Canada.
- Talk, text, and use data in Canada and Mexico when you add the AT&T Roam North America feature to eligible devices on your AT&T Unlimited Plan for no additional charge.1
- Stream Saver – Allows you to save data by streaming higher definition video at Standard Definition quality (about 480p).
You can turn the Stream Saver feature off online to watch videos at full resolution. It is enabled by default, though. With the AT&T unlimited data plan, there are some catches that you need to know about.
What’s the AT&T Unlimited Data Catch?
There is a big AT&T unlimited data catch, and there are other limits that you need to know about before you switch. This is especially important if you are on the old AT&T unlimited data plan that you cannot switch back to.
Unlimited is actually unlimited, but once you reach 22GB used in a month the data drops to a much slower speed. Officially this only happens if you reach the limit and there is network congestion. If you live in a big city, network congestion could happen very often, so keep that in mind.
Another major issue is that you cannot use the phone as a personal hotspot on the new plan. The only device you can connect as a hotspot is a car. If you use your phone to connect your laptop or tablets to the Internet, you will lose that feature. Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile all include a hotspot option.
AT&T sneaks in two other catches. You can stream at regular resolution, but you need to turn that feature on. The calls, texts, and data use in Canada and Mexico are free if you add a special part onto your plan. If you forget to do this, expect to pay. The Stream Saver feature is understandable, but the fact that AT&T requires the second add-on to make the Mexico and Canada roaming free is sneaky, and will likely result in significant revenue from confused consumers.
What is the AT&T Unlimited Data Price?
The AT&T Unlimited data price varies based on the number of lines you have. There is no discount for a single line, and it’s actually the most expensive unlimited data plan available, even though it is missing a hotspot feature.
- 1 line Unlimited – $100
- 2 lines Unlimited – $140
- 3 lines Unlimited – $180
- 4 lines Unlimited – $180 ($220 for 2 months)
- 5 lines Unlimited – $220 ($260 for 2 months)
If you get four lines, the fourth line is free. However, you need to wait two months for those credits to start, so you will pay $40 for the line until the credits start. If you choose 5 lines, the 4th line is still free, but you need to wait for the credits to start as well.
Is AT&T Unlimited Data a Good Deal?
If you need to use AT&T, and you need 22GB of high-speed data, and the Canada and Mexico feature, AND you don’t need a personal hotspot the AT&T unlimited data plan might be a good deal for you. Even if you meet those requirements, you may find a lower data plan on AT&T a better deal.
Users who have a choice about the network to use should look elsewhere. AT&T charges more for the AT&T unlimited data plans and delivers less. The Verizon Unlimited Plan is unequivocally better AT&T’s unlimited data plan. Verizon and AT&T coverage are so close that there is no excuse for AT&T to charge more and offer less.
T-Mobile is another excellent alternative if their coverage meets your needs. Sprint unlimited data plan prices are dramatically lower than AT&T, and the rest of the top players, but that’s becuase they don’t have the network to compete.
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