Best AT&T phone plans in 2024: What's right for you?

The best AT&T phone plans offer a mix of prices — some plans come cheaply, others not so much — so finding wireless coverage that fits in with your budget may seem daunting. Still, it's worth seeing if there's an AT&T plan that appeals to you, as the carrier offers extensive coverage and a growing 5G presence. 

Even better, AT&T routinely offers great deals on phones, whether you're an existing customer or planning on switching service, and we've got a range of AT&T Mobility promo codes to make those prices even better. So you've got plenty of incentive to find an appealing phone plan with the carrier.

It helps to look beyond AT&T's marquee offerings if you want to find some of the best cell phone plans on offer at the carrier. For instance, AT&T provides one of the best unlimited data plans we've found in our research into the best phone carriers, though it's only available to single-line customers. There's also a very good unlimited option through AT&T's prepaid service that comes with a low monthly rate — if you're willing to pay for a year of service up front.

We've looked at every option available through AT&T — both postpaid and prepaid — to find the best AT&T phone plans for both individuals and families. Whether it's unlimited data or a lower-cost plan, we can point you in the right direction.

The quick list

The best AT&T phone plan overall

AT&T Value Plus VL | unlimited data | $50.99/month - AT&T's best phone planPros: Cons:

AT&T Value Plus VL | unlimited data | $50.99/month - AT&T's best phone plan
AT&T's best phone plan gives you unlimited data for the lowest possible rate — just $50.99 per month. There are some caveats to Value Plus, however. First, you can only have one line of data on the plan, so families will have to look elsewhere. Perks are also minimal — you get 5G coverage and unlimited talk, text and data between the U.S., Canada and Mexico plus free texting to 200-plus countries, but that's it. And AT&T can slow your speeds whenever its network gets congested. But if those are acceptable terms, you won't find a cheaper way to enjoy all the data you can consume.

Pros: Cheapest unlimited plan at AT&T; Includes 5G
Cons: Available for just one person; Speeds can slow at any time

Best AT&T phone plan value

AT&T Prepaid | unlimited data | $25/month — Low monthly prepaid rate

AT&T Prepaid | unlimited data | $25/month — Low monthly prepaid rate
AT&T's best prepaid phone plan shows how you can save by paying upfront. By paying $300 for a full year of service, you get an unlimited data plan that breaks down to just $25 a month for coverage on AT&T's network. There is a 16GB cap on high-speed data including 5G, and if you go over that, your speeds slow down to a pokey 1.5Mbps  for the remainder of the billing cycle. But 16GB is a pretty generous chunk of data, and you can enjoy 10GB of hotspot data with your plan, too.

Pros: Hotspot data; Low monthly rate
Cons: Big upfront payment; Speeds slow down after 16GB of use

Best AT&T family plan

AT&T Unlimited Extra UL | unlimited data | $163.96/month (four lines) — Best option for familiesPros:Cons:

AT&T Unlimited Extra UL | unlimited data | $163.96/month (four lines) — Best option for families
The AT&T Unlimited Extra plan offers the best mix of price and features for families who want unlimited data through AT&T. A single line of Unlimited Extra costs $75.99, but escalating discounts as you add lines bring the per-line cost down to $40.99 for a family of four. For that you get 75GB of high-speed data before AT&T slows down your speeds, and each line can use 30GB of data for hotspotting.

Pros: Big data cap; Hotspot data for each line
Cons: T-Mobile offers better pricing; No streaming perks

Best AT&T phone plan for travelers

AT&T Unlimited Premium PL | Unlimited data | $85.99/month - Free coverage in Latin AmericaPros:Cons:

AT&T Unlimited Premium PL | Unlimited data | $85.99/month - Free coverage in Latin America
At $85.99, Unlimited Premium is AT&T's most expensive plan. But travelers will appreciate that it includes talk, text and data coverage in 20 Latin American countries at no additional cost. Other perks to Unlimited Premium include 60GB of hotspot data and 4K video streaming support. Also, AT&T won't slow down your data speeds no matter how much data you use each month.

Pros: No data caps at all; Coverage in 20 Latin American countries
Cons: AT&T's most expensive plan

Best AT&T phone plan with tiered data

AT&T Prepaid | 15GB data | $40/month — Big bucket of prepaid dataPros:Cons:

AT&T Prepaid | 15GB data | $40/month — Big bucket of prepaid data
Most of AT&T's plans offer unlimited data, but if you turn to the carrier's prepaid options, you can find this 15GB plan that gives you more than enough data for just $40 a month. You can use that data to turn your phone into a hotspot, and you can count on 5G access where available. Unused data rolls over into the next month.

Pros: Rollover data; Includes coverage in Mexico and Canada
Cons: Pricey compared to other prepaid plans; Speeds slowed to 128 Kbps when you hit your cap

Best AT&T phone plan for seniors

AT&T Unlimited 55+ Plan | unlimited data | $60/month — Great value for seniorsPros: Cons:

AT&T Unlimited 55+ Plan | unlimited data | $60/month — Great value for seniors
Customers 55 years and older can enjoy unlimited talk, text and data for just $60/month, which beats the price of AT&T's standard unlimited plans. If you need a second line, the total cost is only $80/month, and 5G access comes with your plan. You've got coverage in Mexico and Canada as well as the u.S. and you can text from the U.S. to 200-plus countries. Sadly, only Florida residents are eligible for AT&T's senior discount.

Pros: Low rate for two lines of unlimited data; 5G access included
Cons: Restricted to Florida residents

Other AT&T plans

Unlike the extensive options among T-Mobile phone plans and Verizon phone plans, our top picks for AT&T cover most of the different plans at that carrier. However, there are a few remaining plans you should know about as well.

The Unlimited Extra and Unlimited Premium options make up two-thirds of AT&T's three main plans. The third option is the cheapest of the trio — Unlimited Starter costs $65.99 for just one line.  It offers just 5GB of hotspot data and AT&T can slow your data at any time. Unless you need hotspot data or want the ability to add extra lines, Value Plus will cost you even less.

AT&T's prepaid plans include three tiered data options, plus a pair of unlimited offerings. With tiered data, you can get 5GB for $30 a month if the 15GB plan is too pricey. Pay for three months of service at once, and you can get an 8GB plan at $33/month. (That's $99 up front.) 

As for the unlimited prepaid plans, a $40 monthly caps your speeds at 3 Mbps for the first 30GB of data; after that, your speeds are cut in half for the rest of the billing cycle. Instead, we'd steer you toward the $50 prepaid unlimited plan which includes 5GB of hotspot data and only slows your speeds when there's heavy traffic. Note that those two plans reflect autopay discounts off their normal rate.

Low-cost AT&T alternatives

If you like AT&T's network, but don't care for AT&T's prices, there's more than one way to enjoy the carrier's extensive coverage. Mobile virtual network operators, or MVNOs, use AT&T's towers to provide their own service, usually at a lower rate than what AT&T charges. The trade-off is that AT&T gives priority to its own traffic so you may see slower data speeds.

The best-known AT&T MVNO is Cricket Wireless, which AT&T owns and operates. Cricket has a $40 monthly data plan that delivers 10GB of data. That's less than AT&T's best tiered data plan, but Cricket does offer an autopay discount to lower its cost to $35. An unlimited data plan at Cricket costs $65/month for one line but includes perks like the ad-supported tier of the Max streaming service — something you don't even get at AT&T.

Other AT&T MVNOs include the senior-friendly Consumer Cellular, Boost and Red Pocket Mobile.

Is AT&T a good carrier?

best at&t plans

(Image credit: 10'000 Hours)

In our guide to the best phone carriers, AT&T ranks behind Verizon and T-Mobile among the major carriers, as T-Mobile offers better perks and Verizon offers an extensive network. That said, AT&T has a strong reputation for its own coverage, as Rootmetrics split its award for best overall network between AT&T and Verizon for performance during the second half of 2023. The same reort says AT&T has the speediest performance overall.

However, AT&T is in a bit of a weird spot. It's not quite as large a network as Verizon and lacks its intensive coverage and it isn't as affordable as our top ranked carrier - T-Mobile. While some of AT&T's plans can be quite expensive, it offers ways around this, most noticeably through family plan discounts and savings for nurses, teachers, first responders, military and more; you can also save with some schools, organizations and employers.

Philip Michaels

Philip Michaels is a Managing Editor at Tom's Guide. He's been covering personal technology since 1999 and was in the building when Steve Jobs showed off the iPhone for the first time. He's been evaluating smartphones since that first iPhone debuted in 2007, and he's been following phone carriers and smartphone plans since 2015. He has strong opinions about Apple, the Oakland Athletics, old movies and proper butchery techniques. Follow him at @PhilipMichaels.