AT&T Unlimited Starter vs. Unlimited Extra

AT&T’s Unlimited Starter and Unlimited Extra plans both offer unlimited minutes, texts, and data. While the Unlimited Starter plan is $5 to $10 per line cheaper each month, it does not include an allotment of mobile hotspot data or an allotment of high-priority data.

The Unlimited Extra plan includes a 50GB allotment of Premium Data, which allows for better speeds when AT&T’s network is congested. The Unlimited Extra plan also offers a 15GB per month allotment of mobile hotspot data for those who want to connect other devices to the internet via their phones’ cellular connections.


View Plans on AT&T’s Website


Pricing

AT&T’s Unlimited Starter and Unlimited Extra plans are priced based on the number of lines on an account. The Unlimited Starter plan is between $5 per line and $10 per line cheaper than the Unlimited Extra plan.

The table below shows the monthly cost per line of each plan before taxes and fees.

LinesUnlimited ExtraUnlimited Starter
1$75$65
2$65$60
3$50$45
4$40$35

Coverage

Subscribers on the Unlimited Starter and Unlimited Extra plan both get access to coverage from AT&T’s native network and AT&T’s roaming partners. AT&T’s coverage is solid and only surpassed by Verizon. You can check coverage at your location with AT&T’s interactive coverage map.

AT&T coverage map

Speeds

When AT&T’s network is not congested, subscribers on the Unlimited Extra and Unlimited Starter plans should experience the same speeds. Where AT&T offers a strong signal, speeds tend to be great when the network is not congested. When AT&T’s network is congested, the Unlimited Extra plan and the Unlimited Starter plan may offer different speeds.

Prioritization

The Unlimited Extra plan comes with a 50GB allotment of Premium Data each month. While subscribers have Premium Data available, they will have high-priority access to AT&T’s network during periods of network congestion. Subscribers that run out of Premium Data can continue to use data at normal speeds when AT&T’s network is not congested. During periods of network congestion, subscribers without Premium Data will experience slower data speeds than some of the other users on AT&T’s network.

AT&T’s Unlimited Starter plan does not come with any Premium Data. Subscribers on the Unlimited Starter plan are always at risk of experiencing slowed data speeds when AT&T’s network is congested. Fortunately, serious congestion is rare in most areas.

Hotspot access

The Unlimited Extra plan includes 15GB per month of full-speed mobile hotspot data. Subscribers on the Unlimited Extra plan that use over 15GB of mobile hotspot data can continue to use hotspot data at a sluggish, almost unusable, speed of 128Kbps. The 15GB allotment is on a per-line basis (rather than a per-account basis).

Subscribers on AT&T’s Unlimited Starter plan do not get an allotment of hotspot data.

Plan similarities

Both the Unlimited Extra and Unlimited Starter plan offer unlimited minutes, unlimited texts, and unlimited data. Both plans also:

  • Permit 5G-capable devices
  • Offer service in Mexico & Canada
  • Throttle most video traffic to standard-definition quality (480p)

Starter or Extra?

Choosing between the Starter and Extra plans can be tricky. In my opinion, the most important difference between the plans is, for most people, the allotment of Premium Data (only available on the Extra plan). If you’re looking for top-tier performance, I suggest going with AT&T’s Unlimited Extra plan.

If you’re looking to save money, I suggest starting with AT&T’s Unlimited Starter plan. If you find the Starter plan isn’t delivering great speeds and suspect network congestion may be the problem, you can always upgrade to the Unlimited Extra plan at a later date.


View Plans on AT&T’s Website