AT&T is switching around the configuration of its GoPhone plans a bit – the pay-as-you-go options that, for some, offer a better arrangement than the typical two-year contracts they could otherwise sign up for when they go to purchase a new phone.
And there’s an added bonus: Starting June 21, all GoPhone customers will also be able to tap into AT&T’s 4G LTE network so long as their smartphones support the connection. If not, well, there’s always the Samsung Galaxy Express – soon to be discounted to $250 off-contract to commemorate AT&T’s new GoPhone plans.
The three new plans come in at $60, $40, and $25 per month. The most expensive package gives users unlimited nationwide calling and messaging, with two gigabytes of data by default and additional data purchasable in the form of 1 GB increments (for an extra $10 each).
The middle-tier plan, AT&T’s $40 monthly GoPhone plan, cuts the total talk minutes back to 500 and the data back to 200 megabytes – smartphone users perhaps need not apply on this one. Customers still receive unlimited text messaging, however, and additional chunks of data can be picked up at $5 for 100 MB.
Finally, AT&T’s cheapest plan delivers a measly 250 minutes of national calling for $25 monthly. Customers get unlimited text messaging, but data is an optional extra this time around – $5 for 50 MB chunk of data that you can only purchase once (no loading up!).
Those opting to stay removed from the smartphone world, preferring instead to stick to basic devices, can pick up a GoPhone plan that gives 500 minute of calling, unlimited data, and unlimited messaging for $35 monthly. Smartphone users can also purchase a $50 monthly plan that nets unlimited calling and unlimited texting, but only access to Wi-Fi based data services.
So, what are the big changes between these newly announced plans and AT&T’s existing GoPhone plans?
At the top, AT&T’s lowering the cost of its $65 plan by $5 and tossing in an extra gigabyte of data. In the middle, AT&T’s cutting the cost of service by $10, but reducing the unlimited minutes of its $50 monthly plan to 500 minutes for its new $40 monthly plan. Its existing unlimited data setup also goes to the chopping block – this shouldn’t bother smartphone users, as you still have to purchase a data package on top of AT&T’s current $50 plan, making the issue rather moot.
AT&T’s cheapest plan stays pretty similar for the data options – instead of being able to purchase 5 KB of data for a penny per chunk, customers will have to sign up for the all-or-nothing 50 MB plan ($5).
Two things remain a bit fuzzy about AT&T’s new plans, however: First, it’s unclear whether this officially means that AT&T is scrapping its existing “$2 daily unlimited plan” and its ten-cents-per-minute plan, the lowest-tier offerings on AT&T’s current GoPhone service.
Additionally, since AT&T will be parading around a discounted Samsung Galaxy Express when these new plans launch, it’s unclear whether those on smartphones opting for AT&T’s new $40 or $25 GoPhone plans will have to pay a supplemental fee for data. That bit’s a little confusing when it comes to AT&T’s current GoPhone plan lineup, in that one can purchase a plan with “unlimited data,” yet still have to pay for a data package to tap into AT&T’s network on a smartphone.
By David Murphy, PCMag