Best AT&T cell phone plans 2022

AT&T sign on a storefront
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AT&T provides great coverage to a vast majority of Americans, especially in rural areas, and it's rapidly developing its 5G network to increase that number of people. It's also, by far, one of the best wireless carriers you could join today and one that you can count on for great performance and reliable speeds. Though AT&T offers a variety of plans with competitive pricing to meet each customer's needs, its most complete plan is AT&T Unlimited Premium. With this plan, you'll get unlimited premium data, HD video streaming, 50GB of mobile hotspot, and everything you need to be prepared for AT&T's steadily growing 5G footprint.

These are the best plans for your new phone on AT&T

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AT&T data connection shown on an ASUS Zenfone 8

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AT&T Unlimited Premium

Best overall plan

Reasons to buy

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Unlimited premium data and 5G access
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Unlimited talk, text, and data in Mexico and Canada
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50GB hotspot data
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Unlimited talk, text, and high-speed data in 19 Latin American countries
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Signature Member discount available

Reasons to avoid

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Very expensive
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Taxes and fees not included
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Streaming speeds are limited by default

The AT&T Unlimited Premium plan will get you the best of the best when it comes to phone plans. Overall, you'll get unlimited premium data with access to AT&T's rapidly growing 5G network. This means no matter how much data you use, you will always get the full speed of the network. You'll also have unlimited talk, text, and data in the U.S., Mexico, Canada, and 19 other countries in Central and South America, along with unlimited texting from the U.S. to 200+ countries.

The Unlimited Premium plan also gets you 4K streaming, making it comparable to T-Mobile's top plans. With AT&T's plan, you'll get other bonus features such as advanced mobile security and 50GB of mobile hotspot data. Unfortunately, once you've used up 50GB of mobile hotspot data, your speeds will slow to 128Kbps, but 50GB is plenty for most people anyway.

One drawback of AT&T's Unlimited Premium plan is that it doesn't include taxes and fees, and it doesn't come cheap. One line on this plan will cost $85 per month, but signing up for three lines will drop the monthly bill down to $60 per month ($180 total) or $50 per month ($200 total) for four lines. Remember that these prices require AutoPay and paperless billing. 

In the end, this is still a great plan for people who need a lot of high-speed data, want to make the most out of an expanding 5G network, appreciate 4K video streaming, and like plenty of hotspot data for Wi-Fi on the go. If you're looking for something cheaper, AT&T still has some other plans that will work.

The AT&T logo on an LG G8 on a wooden surface

(Image credit: Source: Samuel Contreras / Android Central)

AT&T Prepaid 5GB

Budget conscious

Reasons to buy

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Rollover data
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5GB data
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Unlimited international texting
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Extremely affordable monthly cost

Reasons to avoid

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No premium data
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No 5G access
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SD streaming
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Pay-per-use talk and text to Mexico and Canada

AT&T's Prepaid 5GB plan is only $30 per month for a single line and it's a solid entry point for a light user looking to save. It's a great budget option, and though you won't have access to AT&T's 5G network, you'll still get benefits like turning your phone into a hotspot, getting fraud call blocking and spam alerts, as well as unlimited international texting. This plan gives you SD streaming, and if you have any unused high-speed data, it'll roll over into the next month.

With this plan, talking and texting to Mexico and Canada will be pay-per-use, so that's something to keep in mind if you have family that you call frequently. But you will be able to use talk, text, and data while traveling in Mexico and Canada. Another thing to note with this plan is that once you've used up your 5GB of data, your data speeds will slow to 128Kbps.

You do get rollover data with this plan so any unused data doesn't go to waste. This plan is also available with family plan discounts so if you're bringing the whole family or maybe just a trusted friend, there's room to save even more.

The AT&T logo on an LG V60

(Image credit: Samuel Contreras)

AT&T Unlimited Extra

Best for 5G access

Reasons to buy

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50GB premium data and 5G access
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Unlimited talk, text, and data in Mexico and Canada
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15GB hotspot data
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Advanced mobile security
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Unlimited international texting

Reasons to avoid

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480p streaming
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Taxes and fees not included

AT&T's Unlimited Extra plan is a lot like AT&T Unlimited Elite, but it's one of the best 5G plans available today. You'll (obviously) get access to 5G, along with unlimited talk, text, and data, advanced mobile security, as well as international benefits such as unlimited talk, text, and data in Mexico and Canada, and unlimited texting from the U.S. to 120+ countries. Though you'll get half as much premium data (50GB), this is still more than enough for most people, and you're not likely to see your data speeds slow down anytime soon.

You'll also get 15GB of mobile hotspot data with this plan. Though this is a decent amount, you won't be able to rely on your smartphone as a hotspot every day to upload heavy files, stream Netflix, etc. Once you've reached 15GB, your data speeds will be slowed to 128Kbps, enough to keep you connected when you don't have access to home WI-Fi or need to keep working during an outage. It's worth keeping in mind that video quality is limited to 480p, so you may be disappointed if you're a big streamer.

It's the perfect plan for someone who wants to take advantage of AT&T's 5G network and a vast amount of data without wasting money on the unwanted perks of the more expensive plan. For one line, you'll pay $75 per month; for three, you'll pay $50 per month ($150 total) or $40 per month ($160 total) for four lines. When you take these multi-line discounts into account, AT&T's Unlimited Extra is a great value option that's less attractive than AT&T's Unlimited Elite plan but won't leave you wishing for more. As with other AT&T plans, taxes and fees aren't included, and the prices factor in AT&T's AutoPay and paperless billing discount.

A Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra with sim cards nearby

(Image credit: Andrew Martonik / Android Central)

AT&T Unlimited Starter

Best for affordable multiple lines

Reasons to buy

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Unlimited talk, text, and data
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5G access
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Unlimited talk, text, and data in Mexico & Canada
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Unlimited international texting
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Affordable multi-line discounts

Reasons to avoid

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No premium data
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No hotspot data
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480p streaming

AT&T's Unlimited Starter plan is an excellent choice for those who still want 5G access and unlimited talk, text, and data, but won't mind the occasional slower data speeds if the network is busy. For a single line, it costs $65 per month, making it AT&T's cheapest core plan. However, things get even better when you add three lines, and the price becomes $45 per month ($135 total) or $35 per month ($140 total) for four lines. Though this plan is a great deal when you sign up for a few lines, AT&T gives you the flexibility to pick a different plan for each family member with Unlimited Your Way.

AT&T's Unlimited Starter plan comes with the same international features as its two counterparts, but one caveat is that this plan doesn't include any mobile hotspot data. This plan also gives you standard mobile security instead of advanced, meaning that you won't get the expanded Wi-Fi protection, caller ID, or identity monitoring you would with Unlimited Elite or Extra. Nevertheless, AT&T's Unlimited Starter will meet most of your basic data needs and keep your family (and wallet) happy.

The Cricket Wireless coverage map shown on a phone with tools nearby

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Cricket Unlimited More

No contracts, credit checks, or hidden fees

Reasons to buy

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AT&T 4G LTE and 5G network access
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Unlimited talk, text, and messaging
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Multi-line discounts
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Service in Canada and Mexico (unlimited plan)
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Includes HBO Max with ads

Reasons to avoid

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More expensive than other prepaid carriers
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SD video streaming

Cricket Wireless is a prepaid MVNO carrier owned by AT&T and one of the best prepaid phone plans. Its top plan, Cricket More, comes with access to AT&T's 5G network, unlimited high-speed data, 15GB of mobile hotspot data, SD video streaming, and even international benefits like Mexico and Canada usage as well as unlimited texts from the U.S. to 37 countries. However, you'll pay $60 per month for one line, whereas for three, you'll pay $37 per month ($110 total) and $33 per month ($130 total) for four lines.

Cricket's unlimited plan is similar to AT&T's Unlimited Extra plan but at a more affordable price. It even comes with premium data so that you won't be slowed based on usage compared to other Cricket customers. This plan also includes HBO Max with ads. If you're looking for an even more affordable prepaid plan with Cricket, then you can also consider its 5GB plan for only $30 per month for a single line.

Galaxy S20+ connected to a 5G network with SIM cards above

(Image credit: Samuel Contreras / Android Central)

AT&T Prepaid 16GB 12-month plan

Savings in bulk

Reasons to buy

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16GB of high-speed data per month
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Rollover data
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Mexico and Canada service
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HD video streaming
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Mobile hotspot included

Reasons to avoid

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No multi-line savings
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No 5G access

AT&T's Prepaid plans have gone under the knife in recent months and have come out a little odd. Nevertheless, AT&T Prepaid has some solid values for those willing to pay for 12 months of service upfront. Its 8GB prepaid plan has been upgraded to 16GB for those that buy the whole year at $300. That works out to around $25 per month undercutting the 15GB monthly plan by $15 per month.

While 16GB may not sound like a ton, for most people, it's more than enough if you connect your phone to home Wi-Fi. On top of that, AT&T includes rollover data meaning that any of your 16GB data pool you haven't used in a month gets added to the next month. If you have a month of light usage, you can actually build a buffer for times when you'll need more data. Remember that AT&T bizarrely doesn't include 5G access with this plan, however, so you'll be using LTE.

The obvious drawback to this plan is that you have to pay for it all upfront plus taxes and fees. If you've got the cash, paying for a year of service can be a great way to save but if you're looking for something cheap with a smaller initial cost, the 8GB 3-month plan or the 5GB plan will be a better fit. Even if you have to curb your data consumption a bit.

Get the coverage you need without wasting money

AT&T's network has a lot of things going for it, starting with its vast LTE coverage. AT&T's network is also likely to be one of the most consistent for those in rural areas. While its 5G network is struggling to get off the ground with its mid-band expansion in the early stages of development, LTE coverage is still strong and fast enough for the time being. AT&T's network also has strong support for the best Android phones unlocked, though some models, such as OnePlus phones, won't get 5G access.

While AT&T's postpaid plans generally favor multi-line discounts, those looking to keep their postpaid benefits but with better savings should consider the AT&T Value Plus Plan. This plan drops hotspot data but keeps unlimited data for $50 per month.

If you're looking to get the most out of AT&T's network, Unlimited Premium is the way to go. While it's the most expensive plan, the international features, unlimited premium data, and tons of hotspot data make it the ultimate companion for someone that needs to get work done on the go. It's also eligible for family discounts and further discounts from partner workplaces via AT&T's Signature Program.

When Samuel is not writing about networking or 5G at Android Central, he spends most of his time researching computer components and obsessing over what CPU goes into the ultimate Windows 98 computer. It's the Pentium 3.