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Brief AT&T Prepaid Review

This review is not up to my usual standards. I hope to update it soon.

Summary

AT&T’s prepaid plans offer access to AT&T’s solid network without the high price and commitment of AT&T’s postpaid plans. So far, my experience with the service has been positive.


View Prepaid Plans on AT&T’s Website


My experience

In May 2019, I went to AT&T’s website to purchase prepaid service. I chose to bring my own device and selected a $35 per month plan ($30/month with automatic payments) that offered unlimited texts, unlimited minutes, and 1GB of data. The ordering process was surprisingly quick and simple. I ordered an AT&T SIM card that was very reasonably prices at $0.99 and the entire order shipped for free. I paid a total of $37.95 which included $1.96 of taxes and/or fees.

A few days later, I received a SIM card, a card with a code for adding money to my prepaid account, and activation instructions:

The card had instructions on the back, so I initially followed that set of instructions. Once I realized this set of instructions wouldn’t work, I found another set of instructions AT&T sent on a separate piece of paper. I thought the activation process involved more steps than necessary, but it wasn’t particularly burdensome. Once the AT&T SIM card was in my phone, I dialed 611 and entered my code to add the $35 credit to my prepaid account. After that, I was told programming was in process and was instructed to turn my phone off for ten minutes. When I turned my phone back on, I still didn’t have service. I redialed 611, reentered my code, and successfully added the $35 to my account to activate my plan. It’s possible the process involved so many steps because the phone I used was a Kyocera Brigadier which I don’t think fully supports AT&T’s network. Interestingly, AT&T did not require (or encourage) a pre-purchase IMEI check for compatability as many other carriers do. After activation, I switched the SIM card over to my Motorola G6 Play which I know supports AT&T service.

Using the service

So far, I’ve been pleased with the service. Speeds are as I would expect from the AT&T network and appear unthrottled. Below are a few screenshots from speedtests I ran in Boulder, Colorado:

Screenshot_20190531-092332
Screenshot_20190531-092428

As usual, I wouldn’t take my personal experience with speeds too seriously since network quality varies by region. If you’re curious about AT&T’s performance in your area, I recommend reading How to Evaluate Wireless Service.

Based on my assessment, it looks like AT&T’s prepaid plans don’t have as much roaming access as AT&T’s postpaid plans, and I expect prepaid traffic is deprioritized when networks are congested.

3 thoughts to “Brief AT&T Prepaid Review”

  1. I am the owner of a family group (5 lines). I wanted to change the plans of two lines from $50(8Gb) to the plan of $35(2Gb). A lot of tricky policies and unsatisfactory customer services that ATT provides, please be aware:

    First, I had already auto-paid, 2 days ago, for the coming month and my original plan was renewed today. This is the first charge.

    Second, as I looked at all the available plans and clicked on one to check the details, it was automatically taken as i already confirmed the change and all five lines were immediately disconnected. I was asked to pay for all the five lines ($115) – although I only wanted to change 2 lines. Until I make payment, all the lines will be disconnected. So even when we hadn’t paid for the new plan, i.e hadn’t confirmed the change, the services were already cut by ATT.

    Third, when I was doing the plan change online, there isn’t any warning that the current plans (that i just paid for and were renewed a few hours ago) would be forfeited once I make a change.

    We called an agent who said that there’s nothing she could do about it, so we asked to talk to a supervisor. The supervisor then said that it was a glitch that we were asked to pay for all 5 lines ($115), and she propose to charge the two changed lines. So we were basically charged twice for the two lines for this month. We had no other choice but pay and proceed with the change; otherwise, the service won’t be restored!

    It’s unsatisfactory for me as a loyal customer. The previous plan’s charge should be pro-rated, either as discount to the new plan’s charge or as credit for future payment. All ATT staff could say is that that’s their policy without considering the situation.

  2. I paid for At&T Prepaid $300 yearly and I tried to add my husband’s account too and without any alert message it changed my plan and whatever I paid got disappeared. My line got disconnected and it asked me to pay it again. I was with the At&T prepaid customer care and 3 hours of discussion they said they can’t do anything.

    AT&T customer care is a total mess and complete waste of time. Their site is horrible. My payment also got failed multiple times and it had to come multiple times to see whether it’s back or not.

    I never saw any site down during the day time.

  3. I just had a bad experience with AT&T prepaid too. I ported the number from previous carrier before continued. Everything was okay and the new SIM card was fedex to me. However, when I tried to activate it, it turned AT&T didn’t really transfer the number from previous carriers. After a lengthy call (mostly waiting time), they got it fixed and then told me to proceed the payment (interestingly they didn’t charge me when I signed up).

    Now the real nightmare starts, for $300, plus $2 tax, I was charged for $302, but every time I submitted the payment, the system rejected the payment, for three times in a roll. I then called their payment department, which has very little wait time (well, you can understand), the clerk on the other side tried a couple of times and then give up. I can tell from strongly accented English she was upset as she tried to defer me back to technical support (which is a long wait time I knew) and I rejected it.

    So finally she get her supervisor which also had strong accent and he told me it’s my bank’s problem which was lame. Nevertheless, he didn’t want to investigate further and hung up the phone.

    I then called local att store and they told me that I need to add state sales tax, a surprise. I did and it went through. Now, I still don’t understand why I have pay state tax on the phone service. Oh well, horrible experience but at least I’m good for one year, I hope.

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