AT&T, America's second largest wireless carrier, has maintained a high profile for its GoPhone prepaid service for many years. They offer a number of plans that can fit different consumers' needs.
Pros: They have a selection of monthly plans that can serve the needs of heavy talkers and texters.
Cons: The phones that can take advantage of mobile web are on the expensive side, relative to performance.
Lowest Price Per Anytime Minute: $0.10
AT&T offers a prepaid smartphone plan that comes with unlimited minutes and messages, plus 1GB of data, for 65 dollars per month. For feature phones it offers a plan with unlimited minutes, messages, and web browsing for 50 dollars per month. The 25 dollar plan includes 250 minutes and unlimited messages. For a 2 dollar daily fee, charged only on days the phone is used, customers can get unlimited minutes and messages. The basic pay-as-you-go rate for AT&T GoPhone is 10 cents per minute.
Read more about AT&T plans
Customer Service: AT&T GoPhone offers customer service via a toll-free number or e-mail.
Free Nights: With unlimited plan
Credit Check: None
Free Weekends: With unlimited plan
Daily Access Fee: No
Payment Options: GoPhone offers nearly every payment option available. A credit card, debit card, or electronic check can be used on the website. Credit cards can be used to fund the account right from the phone (by dialing 611) or from a landline (toll free number). Cash, debit, credit, and check can be processed at an authorized AT&T dealer.
Text and Picture Messaging: Unlimited text messaging comes with all of the monthly and daily plans. The basic text messaging rate is 20 cents. Customers can purchase 200 messages for $4.99 per month, 1,000 messages for $9.99 per month, or unlimited messages for $19.99 per month. International text messaging is included with monthly and daily plans as well.The basic rate is 25 cents to send, 20 cents to receive.
Data Plans: The 65 dollar smartphone plan comes with 1GB of data. The 50 dollar monthly plan includes unlimited web browsing from a feature phone. The data rate for the 25 dollar monthly plan, the 2 dollar daily plan, and the basic plan is 1 cents per 5KB of data used. Those with the 25 dollar monthly plan can buy the following data packages: 25 dollars for 1GB, 15 dollars for 200MB, 5 dollars for 50MB.
Downloads: AT&T GoPhone offers downloads to all of their prepaid subscribers. Ringtones, wallpaper, games, and graphics begin at $1.99.
International Calling: AT&T offers unlimited text messaging to Mexico, Canada, and 100 other countries with its 50 dollar unlimited and 2 dollar daily unlimited plans. With the 25 dollar plan it is free to receive international texts, but costs 25 cents to send. The 10 cents daily plan cost 25 cents to send and 20 cents to receive. AT&T also offers an International Long Distance calling Features Package, which costs 10 dollars per month and covers 250 minutes of calls to landlines in over 50 countries.
Text Messaging Available: Yes
Roaming Charges: AT&T offers its nationwide network to prepaid customers, so no roaming charges will be incurred with this service.
Text Messaging Charge For Incoming: Yes
Unlimited Text Messaging Plan Available: Yes
Activation Fee: None
Nationwide Long Distance: All calls made within AT&T's network are billed at the same rate. There are no extra long distance charges.
Unlimited Plan Available: Yes
411 Calls: Directory assistance is available for $1.79 per call, plus airtime.
Earliest Minute Expiration: If you fail to purchase new minutes with AT&T's Pay as You Go, the expiration rate will vary. A 15 dollar card will expire after 30 days, a 25, 50, or 75 dollar card will expire after 90 days, and a hundred dollar card will stay active for a year. However, when new minutes are purchased, all minutes on that account are good until the latest possible expiration date.
911 Calls: Yes
Phones: Phones for AT&T GoPhone plans begin at $9.99. Many of them are refurbished models and are offered at a large discount. Nearly 100 phones are currently available, and more are always being added.
Standard Calling Features: All basic call features are included: caller ID, call waiting, 3 way calling, voicemail, and call forwarding.
Some Available Cell Models: AT&T Fusion 2 (shown)
Samsung Galaxy Appeal
Pantech Breeze III
Samsung Rugby II
Cheapest Phone Model: $19.95