- Nov 30, 2015
AT&T is a great carrier, but there are reasons to make a change.
Having phone service that's cheap and good is important to us.
It wasn't so long ago that you had very few choices when it came to good phone coverage most everywhere you wanted to go. Today, though, you have plenty of other choices when it comes to the company who provides your service. That means you just might be able to get exactly what you need and save some money every month. Everyone loves to save money, right?
There are a lot of folks using smartphones on
Coverage is always the most important thing to consider when you pay for service each month. You need to be able to use what you're paying for.
For a lot of people, only AT&T offers the coverage you need. If that's the case, you should stick with what works. But be sure to check other options, because things have changed!
If the coverage is equal, there is no reason to pay more.
AT&T has one of the most expensive unlimited plans for people who aren't DirectTV subscribers and also offer a throttled (3 Mbps maximum) plan to keep folks who aren't into spending over $100 for a single line plan once fees and taxes come into the picture. If you want true high-speed data, you can save money if you find another carrier who offers comparable coverage.
Check your coverage, ask your friends, check the maps, etc. And when you check the prices you'll like what you see.
AT&T has this in common with all of the Big Four carriers in the U.S.: You can't use the same plan you have for your phone on another device (except a car in AT&T's case) without having a phone plan and spending more money.
Data is data, and the carrier providing it shouldn't care what device you're using. You'll find smaller MVNO carriers that don't care if you swap the SIM card out of your phone and put it into a hotspot or tablet or smartwatch. AT&T offers 10GB of tethering data on its more expensive unlimited plan, but you'll need to make sure the phone you're using is compatible. Many are (unlocked phones or AT&T branded phones) but others aren't.
It's the little things, like this, that can make a difference.
Being the popular choice can sometimes be a bad thing. Ask most anyone who has tried to use AT&T in downtown New York or San Francisco and they will tell you that certain times of the day mean you'll have no service with AT&T despite having a strong signal.
Only a certain number of devices can connect to a cell tower at once, and when that number is exceeded it's not pretty. AT&T doesn't seem to have the backhaul or network infrastructure to handle all their customers when everyone is trying to use their phones.
This is why you see the big trailers with AT&T and Verizon logos at sporting events; COWs (Cell On Wheels) are designed to handle those kinds of load. But AT&T can't drop off a COW every day at lunch time on 3rd Avenue. You'll find other carriers are less crowded and offer better service when AT&T is oversaturated.
Better prepaid plans
AT&T has a decent prepaid system. Formerly GoPhone, AT&T prepaid has several plans between 1 and 10 GB per month as well as an unlimited plan. But your data speeds are capped at 3 Mbps on all of them. There are plenty of other options that aren't purposefully throttled and might even save some money.
AT&T does offer good nationwide phone service. But it is no longer the only game in town and if you think it's time to make a switch here are a few extra reasons to think about.
Alternative carriers (MVNOS)