Cell phone in use

AT&T Prepaid 8GB Promo Plan

Disclosure: At the time of writing, I have a financial relationship with AT&T. However, I don’t believe I receive commissions on prepaid service plans.


AT&T recently began offering its prepaid plan with 8GB of data, unlimited minutes, and unlimited texts for only $300 ($25 per month) for those who are willing to purchase 360 days of service upfront. According to AT&T, this promotion is a limited time offer that’s set to end on October 21, 2019.

If you’re willing to purchase nearly a year of service all at once, this is an awfully good deal for a large data allotment on AT&T’s network. My own experience with AT&T’s prepaid service when I trialed it a few months ago was positive.

The $300 base price may not be the final price of 360 days of service. If you need to order a SIM card, that comes with an additional charge. When I went through the checkout process and indicated that I needed a SIM card shipped to Boulder, CO, my final price came to $305.43:

  • $300 for service
  • $4.99 for a SIM card
  • $0.44 in sales tax

In the grand scheme of things, the final price was awfully close to the base price. With a lot of carriers, I’d expect to see more extensive taxes and fees beyond the base price of service.

Additional details about the AT&T plan:

  • Mobile hotspot access is included. Hotspot use draws from regular data allowances.
  • Rollover data is included (only one month of unused data will rollover).
  • AT&T’s Sponsored Data deal is offered. Certain types of data use won’t count against monthly data allotments.

Comparison with Mint Mobile’s pricing

At $25 per month, a year of AT&T prepaid service with 8GB of data is competitive with the cost of a year of Mint Mobile’s 8GB service. Mint Mobile currently charges $20 per month on annual 8GB plans. Taking advantage of a current promotion, customers can get six months of Mint Mobile service for only $60.

While Mint Mobile continues to offer a lower monthly price, it may make sense for many people to spend a few extra dollars each month to access AT&T’s network. At the national level, AT&T’s network offers more extensive coverage than Mint Mobile’s service over T-Mobile’s network.

Verizon’s Double Data Promo on Prepaid Plans

Earlier this month, Verizon improved its prepaid plan offerings by relaunching the double data promotion it has run in the past. As before, all of prepaid phone plans include unlimited talk and text. Plans differ in the amount of high-speed data allotted each month. Here are the current monthly prices for each plan before taxes, fees, or discounts:[1]

  • $30 – 1GB high-speed data
  • $40 – 6GB high-speed data
  • $50 – 16GB high-speed data
  • $65 – Unlimited high-speed data

Streaming video will likely be limited to 480p quality on Verizon’s prepaid plans. Unlimited data at low (2G) speeds is available if a customer uses up all of his or her allotted high-speed data.

Discounts

A $5 per month per line discount is usually available if subscribers pay automatically each month. The discount cannot be applied to the $30 per month plan or the first month of service.

When an initial line is purchased at full price, the following multiline discounts are available:[2]

  • $10 off — Additional line with 6GB high-speed data
  • $15 off — Additional line with 16GB high-speed data
  • $20 off — Additional line with unlimited high-speed data

Terms

The current deals appear to be part of a temporary promotion, but I haven’t seen any indication of an end date for the promotion. When the promotion ends, it looks like customers who’ve already taken advantage of the promotion will continue to receive the deal for the lifetime of their plan:

Limited time offer. Available to new activations only. Bonus data added each month as long as your account remains active. Once activated, customers can move between eligible plans anytime and keep the bonus data. Your promotional data allowance will not appear in your shopping cart, but will be seen in your account after activation.

My thoughts

I’m not aware of any mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) operating on Verizon’s network offering better deals to heavy data-users than Verizon is now offering directly. However, consumers that use small amounts of data each month may still be able to find better deals with MVNOs operating over Verizon’s network.

I’ve been trying Verizon’s prepaid service for a few weeks now, and I’m a fan. While Verizon’s prepaid subscribers may be deprioritized in times of congestion, I believe the prepaid service offers nearly the same coverage as Verizon’s postpaid service.

Potential bias

I have a financial relationship with Verizon. As of 5/28/2019, I’m likely to receive a $24 commission when I refer a new prepaid subscriber to Verizon. I share more details about my relationship with Verizon here.