media logos

AT&T testing unlimited GoPhone plan

We’ve seen a number of prepaid unlimited calling plans pop up over the past year or so. These have mostly been MVNOs of one type or another, or in the case of Cricket wireless and MetroPCS, regional carriers. The majors haven’t really gotten in on the action…until now. AT&T GoPhone is now testing an unlimited plan in “limited markets in Florida.” Details after the jump, but as a teaser: it’s cheaper than their current postpaid unlimited plan.

The test markets can purchase unlimited Go Phone calling for $3 per day, which works out to $90 for a 30-day month. This is cheaper than their $99 postpaid offering, but not quite at the level of other carriers. Furthermore, it offers only voice, while other carriers tend to bundle their services. Presumably this will work like AT&T’s current Pay As You Go service, which only charges the fee on days the phone is used. This would make it akin to Cricket PAYgo, except without the messaging features.

Remember, too, that AT&T’s GoPhone network isn’t as expansive as its network for postpaid subscribers. The company has roaming deals which it does not offer its prepaid customers — at least not for free. This makes the network aspect of this deal a bit less palatable. It’s still a more comprehensive network than Cricket and Metro, but it isn’t as robust as one might assume.

It’s unclear whether this will affect AT&T’s postpaid unlimited plan, but I doubt it. Christopher Price of PhoneNews.com thinks otherwise:

As such, this plan would likely prompt AT&T to change their unlimited postpay plan in some form; either by adding data/messaging features to the plan, or in a rate drop significantly below the $90/month rate. Otherwise, it would clearly make more sense to sign up for the GoPhone $3/day plan.

Between the network issue and the lack of a viable data plan, AT&T could probably keep their $99 price point on postpaid unlimited and not lose many customers. The only people who would flock to the prepaid plan, I would think, are those who don’t travel much and who don’t use data. That said, it’s certainly within the realm of possibility that AT&T improves its postpaid unlimited plan amid pressure from both prepaid and postpaid competitors.

There’s no word on whether this will become a nationwide offering. In fact, we don’t even know which markets in Florida AT&T is testing this. We’ll see how far they take it.