The best AT&T prepaid plans for March 2023

If you're interested in cutting those bills right down, our guide to this month's AT&T prepaid plans is sure to be handy. AT&T, like most of the other big carriers tends to focus on its big 'postpaid' unlimited plans, although that hasn't stopped it from offering up some pretty great prepaid options all around. Unlike those from the other carriers, there's quite a variation on offer too which shows AT&T is more willing to offer decent prepaid alternatives than most. In general, AT&T prepaid plans are cheaper, simpler, and also don't need a lengthy contract. We're deep-diving into the current lineup just down below.

If you're visiting this page, you probably already have a general idea about AT&T's current prepaid plans, however, what you might not know is there are actually a few different plan types to take advantage of. Both the traditional pay-monthly plans and multi-month bundles are actually available via AT&T, and we'll be comparing both of these services directly with a full price breakdown just below.

And, If you're you're simply researching affordable plans in general, we've also included our views on how AT&T's prepaid plans shape up against the best AT&T plans (opens in new tab) in general as well as the best prepaid plans from other carriers. At the bottom of the page, you'll find details in particular about other compelling options like Verizon prepaid plans, Visible, and Mint Mobile to name a few.

Before we get into the current AT&T prepaid plan offerings and pricing, we'll just quickly summarize what AT&T as a service brings to the table. Here we've included the main pros and cons of going prepaid, as well as things a couple of things we think you should know before you dive right in.

AT&T prepaid plans at a glance

Why go AT&T Prepaid?

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Affordable single lines
AT&T prepaid plans offer a simple, cheap way to get your hands on a set amount of data each month without the need for a lengthy contract. Compared to the standard post-paid unlimited data plans at AT&T, these prepaid plans are generally really affordable for single-line users especially.

More upfront, bigger savings
Unlike those offered by most bigger carriers, AT&T prepaid plans give you the option to pay monthly or for a whole year in one upfront payment. The latter might sound like a bad option, but it comes with an overall lower monthly price on average that can save you a ton of cash in the long run.

No credit check
Compared to AT&T's postpaid plans, there's no associated credit check for when you sign up with an AT&T prepaid plan. So, if credit is a concern for you, or you're simply working on building up your score in the meanwhile, these plans are readily available to you.

Why avoid AT&T Prepaid?

Limited features
AT&T prepaid plans, while cheap, are essentially the 'basic' option from the carrier. Subsequently, they do away with some of the juicy perks that most customers enjoy on the post-paid unlimited plans. These include things like high-definition video quality, prioritized data speeds, a bigger mobile hotspot allowance, and even free subscriptions to streaming services like HBO Max.

No enticing phone deals
While cheaper in regards to plan expenses, AT&T prepaid plans don't tend to offer access to the juiciest AT&T phone deals at any one time. The carrier really likes to reserve these for its prepaid customers, so if you've got your heart set on bagging one of the best AT&T phones, you'll likely not get a discount unless you sign up for a more expensive plan. If you happen to have a device to trade-in in particular this can be a strong option, as rebates on postpaid plans can be upwards of $700.

Extra expenses
While some service providers have opted for a simpler and more transparent pricing system, AT&T still offers plans that have taxes and fees piled on top of the price you see at first. So, expect to pay a bit more each month than whatever the 'price tag' indicates.

Current AT&T prepaid plans

AT&T prepaid pay monthly plans

AT&T's main prepaid plan offerings generally follow the usual sort of thing you see offered by smaller carriers - a monthly fee for one month of service with no lengthy contractual obligations. These plans generally offer the most data for AT&T prepaid plans and are also the 'main' plans the carrier advertises for its prepaid service, note, however, you may get better bang for the buck with the multi-month plans (see below).

AT&T Prepaid: 5GB plan for $30/month (opens in new tab)

AT&T Prepaid: 5GB plan for $30/month (opens in new tab)
For the simplest plan, you can pay one of the lowest prices. This plan will let you do all the calling and texting you want, and it provides 5GB of data that's more than enough for all your email, light browsing, and the occasional YouTube video. Just note, this is the one prepaid plan that doesn't include use in Mexico and Canada.
Yearly cost: $360 | Monthly cost: $30 (1 mo)

AT&T Prepaid: Unlimited plan for $65/month ($50 with auto-pay) (opens in new tab)

AT&T Prepaid: Unlimited plan for $65/month ($50 with auto-pay) (opens in new tab)
If you use your phone constantly for browsing, streaming music, and a lot of video, then you may be best off with an unlimited plan. With auto-pay, it's only a little more expensive than the 15GB plan. However, you may see reduced speeds when the network is busy, and you'll have to pay separately for hotspot data.
Yearly cost: $780 | Monthly cost: $65 (1 mo)

AT&T prepaid multi-month plans

Another option is the 'pay upfront' AT&T multi-month prepaid plan, which essentially offers a kind of Mint Mobile-like option where you buy your months in bulk. Simply put, you can expect to pay a fairly significant sum with these, however, they do average out to a much lower monthly price overall than the usual pay-monthly options. Below you can see the current offerings.

AT&T Prepaid: 1 year 16GB plan for $300 upfront (opens in new tab)

AT&T Prepaid: 1 year 16GB plan for $300 upfront (opens in new tab)
If you can pay for a full year upfront, the 16GB prepaid plan is one of the highest-value options AT&T offers. 8GB each month is enough for a lot of browsing and a little bit of streaming music and videos. And AT&T allows you to rollover unused data from one month to the next. Be careful on this plan though, as it allows HD video streaming, which could devour your entire data allotment in a few days.
Yearly cost: $300 | Monthly cost: $25 (1 mo)

What AT&T prepaid plans include

While AT&T's plans come with data allotments most prominently displayed, they offer a good deal more than that. Here's what you can expect to get from prepaid plans with data allotments:

  • Unlimited talk and text
  • Roaming in Mexico and Canada (except 5GB plan)
  • Mobile hotspot support
  • 4G LTE connectivity
  • Rollover data
  • Unlimited texting to Mexico, Canada, and over 100 other countries

And, here's what the prepaid unlimited plans have to offer:

  • Autopay discounts
  • Unlimited talk, text and data
  • Roaming in Mexico and Canada
  • Slowed speeds during network congestion (after 22GB for Unlimited Plus)
  • Unlimited texting to Mexico, Canada, and over 100 other countries

AT&T Prepaid plans: FAQ

AT&T prepaid plans best cheap phone

(Image credit: Future)

Prepaid Plans: Should I go monthly or multi-month?

There are two important factors in considering whether to go with a monthly or multi-month plan: how much data you need and what you can afford. 

If you need a lot of data, then your only option is to go with a monthly plan, as the multi-month plans only offer 8GB of data.

If your data needs are minimal, then you have some options. By paying for a 12-month plan, you'll be able to get 8GB of data a month and more features with your plan than the 5GB plan, plus you'll have saved $60 over the course of the year. If you opt for the 3-month plan, you won't save quite as much, but you can worry less about running out of data. You'll be paying $3 more per month than the 5GB plan but getting an extra 3GB of data, which is a deal since AT&T would charge $10/GB for extra data on the 5GB plan. 

How do AT&T's prepaid plans compare against the competition?

AT&T certainly has the name recognition, but that doesn't mean its the best player in the market for prepaid and affordable mobile plans.

Mint Mobile plans are a very, very competitive alternative to the likes of AT&T prepaid. While running on the T-Mobile network specifically, Mint Mobile operates a similar 'buy-in-bulk' pricing scheme to the best value AT&T prepaid plans. For example, for $240 (averaging to $20 a month) you can get yourself 12-months of Mint Mobile's 10GB data plan. That's quite a bit cheaper than the equivalent 8GB AT&T prepaid plan at $30 a month, and there are also options for a cheap unlimited data plan at Mint too at $30 a month (opens in new tab). Of course, Mint's plans average out to a very cheap rate per month, but you'll need to be buying them upfront. The Mint unlimited plan also caps out at 128Kpbs data speeds after 35GB of use, which is the same as AT&T users who have used their allowance.

If you don't want to pay upfront for a multi-month plan but do plan on sticking with one carrier for a while, you may like Verizon's prepaid options. Verizon prepaid plans offer a reduced rate, a special loyalty discount, after your first three months and again after nine months. However, they are otherwise more expensive than AT&T's comparable offers.

For high data needs, Metro by T-Mobile offers a better value than AT&T. You can get an unlimited data plan with 5G connectivity and 5GB of hotspot data for just $50 a month, and you don't have to pay upfront for multiple months. That $50 is also inclusive of taxes and fees, so you know exactly what you'll be paying. To top it off, T-Mobile won't deprioritize your data speeds until after you've used 35GB of data, which beats both of AT&T's prepaid unlimited plans.

Visible (opens in new tab) is another serious contender for mobile users on a budget. Even if you're just trying to get a single line, you'll be paying $40 at most. That's for an unlimited data plan on Verizon's 4G and 5G network. That unlimited data even extends to mobile hotspot, though it's capped to 5Mbps speeds. Better still, your price can drop as low as $25/month with Visible's Party Pay system which lets you create a 'family plan' with friends, family, or total strangers, and everyone pays their own bills.

Mark Knapp

Over the last several years, Mark has been tasked as a writer, an editor, and a manager, interacting with published content from all angles. He is intimately familiar with the editorial process from the inception of an article idea, through the iterative process, past publishing, and down the road into performance analysis.