The best AT&T plans for December 2021

AT&T is a fantastic service to consider. Not only does it have industry-leading 5G coverage, but its plans tend to offer more generous terms and pricing than the likes of Verizon. That said, determining the best AT&T plans can still be pretty confusing because of the number of options available. That's why we've put together this handy guide to clue you in with everything you need to know.

Best AT&T plans: quick links

Right now there's plenty of excellent AT&T phone plans to consider, both prepaid and postpaid, so you won't be locked into a plan that's not right for you. There are a ton of flexible options for each type of plan right now, ranging all the way from very basic stripped-down prepaid plans to feature-laden 5G unlimited data plans.

At the top of the page, we've summarized what we think are the best AT&T plans based on the things that people are commonly looking for. We'll also be including a full list of every available AT&T plan this month alongside full price breakdowns for each one just below that. You'll also find plenty of handy tips to help you decide which one is for you.

If you want to pick up one of the best AT&T phones on an installment plan, and in particular bag one of this week's best AT&T deals, be ready to go with one of the company’s unlimited data plans. They tend to be required as part of the deals AT&T offers, according to the fine print.

Whatever you need, we're here to help walk you through the major details of AT&T's plans as well as a lot of the fine print. We've gone through all the plans that AT&T offers to make it easier for you to understand what you're getting from each plan, what perks are included, and what the limitations are. So, read on to find the best AT&T plans for you. 

The best AT&T plans

AT&T plans: which is best for me?

AT&T's plans can be broken up into two main categories: unlimited data plans, and prepaid data plans. Generally speaking, you'll get the most perks, highest speeds, and best service on the unlimited data plans, which, while featuring the highest monthly prices, do also enable you to get some huge discounts on handsets. The best AT&T deals are generally only available with unlimited data plans, so you'll definitely want to factor that into your overall cell phone bill.

If you're on a budget, however, then AT&T prepaid plans are also a very good option. While you won't be able to get a deal on a new handset with these prepaid plans, you will be paying a lot less per month overall without the need to sign up to a lengthy contract. Remember though, AT&T prepaid plans often don't feature 5G data, or any perks like free streaming service subscriptions.

Just below you can see a full breakdown of every AT&T plan currently offered by the carrier, along with our thoughts. We've included full pricing using the cost for a single-line user, so if you're planning to sign up multiple lines, the cost will generally be much cheaper per line.

AT&T unlimited plans

AT&T's unlimited data plans are the flagship product from the carrier. They're generally pretty pricey but offer all that high-speed data you could ever need per month. They also pair unlimited talk and text with the data, but there are some key differences with each one such as how much priority data you get and things like free streaming service subscriptions - which we'll deep dive into just below.

1. AT&T Unlimited Starter Plan | $65 per month
AT&T's unlimited data plans start with the basic Unlimited Starter plan. While you'll get unlimited 5G data, plus talk and text here, there are a few key limitations that make this the 'budget' plan. Firstly, there's no priority data on this plan, which means you'll be subject to speed slow-downs if the local area is experiencing particularly heavy traffic. You'll also only be capped to standard-definition video content (480P), and there's also no mobile hotspot allowance here. Subsequently, this is a very stripped-down plan, but still a good choice if you're wanting unlimited data on a budget.

See this AT&T unlimited plan here.

2. AT&T Unlimited Extra Plan | $75 per month
This plan upgrades from the Unlimited Starter plan. It has all the same features, but upgrades the high-speed data allotment to 50GB before you'll experience data deprioritization during network congestion. It also includes 15GB of mobile hotspot. This is the AT&T plan that offers the best balance between price and priority data for those who don't want to pay extra for a ton of perks. Subsequently, we'd recommend this one to most people if you're looking to go for an unlimited postpaid data plan.

See this AT&T unlimited plan here.

3. AT&T Unlimited Elite| $85 per month
At the very top of the AT&T unlimited data plans pile is the Unlimited Elite plan. This plan includes a whopping 100GB of priority 5G data - meaning you're very, very unlikely to ever run out of high-speed data here. This plan is also amazing for people who love to stream content as you'll be getting a free subscription to HBO Max and full high-definition video streaming (as opposed to 480p). Also included is a very beefy 30GB of mobile hotspot allowance, which is currently the most you can get via AT&T plans.

See this AT&T unlimited plan here.

AT&T prepaid plans

AT&T's prepaid plans are the more budget-orientated offerings from AT&T. With these AT&T plans you won't be signed up to a lengthy service contract, instead you simply pay for each month at a time.

1. AT&T 8GB 12-month plan | $300 upfront ($25/mo)
The cheapest AT&T prepaid plan is the carrier's 8GB yearly plan, which breaks away from the usual prepaid payment method of paying per month, instead opting for a longer service period. This is, however, still a prepaid plan so you won't have to sign any contract. Averaging out to $25 a month, with this plan you'll get 8GB of 4G LTE data, HD video, mobile hotspot, plus unlimited talk and text. Bear in mind you'll be paying $300 upfront here, and while it's very feature-laden for the price, 8GB of data doesn't tend to go a long way when streaming HD video.

See AT&T's prepaid plans here.

2. AT&T pay-monthly prepaid plans| $30 to $40 per month
AT&T also offers more traditional pay-monthly prepaid plans for its customers, with the option of a 5GB plan for $30 a month, or a 15GB plan for $40 a month. All data with these prepaid AT&T plans is 4G, as opposed to 5G, though you will get unlimited talk and text, as well as mobile hotspotting. If you can, we'd recommend going with the pay-yearly 8GB plan above, as it tends to be much better value overall than these pay-monthly ones.

See AT&T's prepaid plans here.

3. AT&T unlimited prepaid plans| $50 to $60 per month
If you're wanting a cheap unlimited data option, AT&T also offers two unlimited prepaid plans currently - for $50 and $60 a month respectively. On the basic $50 plan you'll get unlimited 4G data plus talk and text, but only 480p video streaming and you'll have to pay extra for mobile hotspotting too. The $60 plan is much more feature-laden, with full HD video streaming, 10GB of mobile hotspot allowance, plus 22GB of prioritized (unable to be slowed) 5G data. If you're going for unlimited prepaid, we definitely recommend the more expensive $60 plan here.

See AT&T's prepaid plans here.


How much data do you really need?

While 1GB of a data might be enough for someone who mostly uses their phone for calling and texting (and the occasional search on Yelp), it may not be enough for most of us data hogs. If you stream a lot of video you may be looking at 10GB plans and up. For a lot of Internet browsing and Instagram use, somewhere in the ballpark of 5GB may be enough. Thankfully, even if you use up all of your high speed data, AT&T continues to provide data at lower speeds, so you can still upload your Instagram photos.

Does AT&T offer installment plans?

If the upfront cost of a new phone along with starting a new data plan is too much, AT&T offers an installment plan service to spread the cost of the device over up to 30 months. The Next Up plan also offers a chance to trade-in your phone and upgrade before you've finished paying off the device. Here's how those plans works.

AT&T Installment Plan:

AT&T Next lets you break up your device payments over 30 months. At the end of those 30 months (after the phone is paid off) your monthly payments will drop. 

AT&T Next Up:

If you can afford slightly higher monthly payments and want to have a new phone more often, the AT&T Next Up installment plan costs $5 extra each month but lets you upgrade to a new phone after you've paid off half of the cost of your current phone. Once you've paid half, you can trade in your device and switch to a new one.

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