I recently signed up for ATT’s Prepaid Wireless GoPhone service with a Bring Your Own Plan to see how well the service works. After reviewing many other prepaid wireless services that use the ATT network I have finally decided to try ATT’s own prepaid service and see how well that works.
Picking a Plan
I signed up for the $45 a month plan. the plan includes unlimited talk, text, and data. The plan supports nationwide calling, text, and picture and video messaging. The plan also supports international text messaging. The unlimited data includes 1.5GB of “high speed” data. After using 1.5GB, the data connection is throttled to 128Kbps Remember dialup modems, well not that slow, but pretty slow. Note that both my phones get 4G LTE data and speeds with this plan. I can buy additional data in 500MB increments for $10 more a month. My bill came out to $47.81 which is $45 plus 6.25% MA state sales tax. No other fees where added to my bill.
Getting a SIM card
While you can buy ATT Prepaid Wireless / Go Phone SIM cards in stores for about $10, I got mine for free. I walked into and AT&T Store to ask about prepaid service and wanted to know if I could sign up online because I still had time left on my current provider. They said yes, and I asked if I could get at SIM and the rep gave me one but didn’t charge me anything. I actually had that SIM sitting on my desk for over a year before getting around to using it.
Signing Up Online
Signing up for GoPhone service was easy. I did it online and I had my phone working in 15 minutes or so. Note, that for this review, I did not transfer a phone number. I usually like to transfer a number as part of a review because I think that is what most people do so it makes the review more accurately reflect the experience most people have. I transferred my test number to RedPocket for that review and let the account expire. I would have had to call RedPocket to see if I could reactivate that number and add service to the plan in order to be able to transfer the number. I decided to spare the time and expense.
Using GoPhone with my Nexus 5 (Android)
After putting the GoPhone SIM in my Nexus 5, I tested voice calls and SMS text messages. Both worked immediately and there were no issues. Cellular Data / Internet My Nexus 5 recognized the ATT SIM, added two APNs to the phone, and automatically set up the correct APN. I had a 4G HSPA+ data connection, and after a short wait the phone had an LTE connection. As for Cellular Data performance, I published the results and along with a YouTube Video. The speeds where the fastest I have seen on from any prepaid wireless company using the att network.
To learn more about the ATT Prepaid Wireless GoPhone Data speeds and performance, see AT&T Prepaid GoPhone Wireless SpeedTest Results – Part 1
Using GoPhone with My iPhone 6
Like the Nexus 5, I had no issues with the GoPhone service on my iPhone 6. I put the SIM in my iPhone 6, and I was able to make and receive voice calls and send and receive SMS text messages.
My iPhone 6 recognized the GoPhone SIM and automatically set up the APN settings. Like with all att network SIMS, the iPhone hides the Cellular Data Network page in Settings so you can’t view or edit the APN settings yourself. I quickly got a 4G LTE connection.
To learn more about the ATT Prepaid Wireless GoPhone Data speeds and performance, see AT&T Prepaid GoPhone Wireless SpeedTest Results – Part 2/a>
I tested MMS picture messages and was able to both send and receive messages without an issue. The same was true with group text messages.
I did a quick test to and confirmed that Visual Voicemail works. I haven’t used it extensively, I simply just called and left myself a couple of messages to see if it worked.
In summary, ATT’s GoPhone prepaid service worked extremely well. It was easy to set up, in fact it didn’t really require setting up the phones at all. I had no issues with MMS picture messages. I haven’t had any insolvable issues with MMS with Straight Talk, Net10, H20 or RedPocket either. but then can require set up. Many readers have left comments on smartphonematters sharing their problems getting MMS to work correctly with Straight Talk and Net10.
I would also mention once again, that I didn’t transfer a phone number and I do believe that is one of the things that causes people problems when transferring to prepaid wireless.
I was able to use Visual Voicemail with my iPhone 6. While it’s a nice feature, its not that important to me. Many smartphonematters readers have told me it is to them, so if you really want it, GoPhone might be right for you.
The only real downside to ATT GoPhone service vs Straight Talk or Net10 is the cost. Straight Talk and Net10 give you 3GB of data with their $45 and $50 plans respectively so with ATT your getting half the amount of high speed data for the money. If you don’t use that much data per month, or are one of the unlucky people who can’t seem to get MMS working right with Straight Talk then ATT Prepaid Wireless GoPhone service might be right for you.
I’d also like to point out that while I signed up online, but you can walk into any one of ATT’s retail stores and sign up for GoPhone service. You can also of the into the store if you have a problem and get help. So if you value this level of support ATT Prepaid Wireless might be for you too.
I was formerly with T-mobile and considered changing plans because of the constant bill changes and because the service in general was not great. I considered ATT prepaid as an option to save on my bill so I went ahead bought the phone online with the plan on Thursday selecting express shipping. I spoke with an agent online and they said that I can expect my order on Friday or Saturday. I received an email telling me that I wouldn’t receive the phone until Monday which is outside of the two-day express shipping. I tried to call the customer service number and that sucked because the call prompts are not set up where you can access an agent if you don’t have your new phone number. I got transferred 7 times. When I was able to get an agent who knew a little about the services and processes at ATT go-phone, he transferred to a supervisor. So, you would think a supervisor would be able to solve problems. She was in fact useless and horrible at her job. Her tone was rude and she offered no solutions. It’s sad because I have talked with customer service agents at ATT postpaid and they were excellent and knew their jobs. ATT gophone is lowering the reputation of ATT. They need to fix their flaws. As a prospective customer, I don’t feel comfortable as I don’t think that they would be able to help when I’m a real customer. I still do not know who to speak with as that supervisor offered zero solutions. Needless to say, I’m pissed and would never recommend ATT gophone. My two hours of waiting around to speak to someone was all a waste.
In my experience customer service on ALL prepaid wireless companies isn’t up to the same level as post paid support. I often tell my readers, not to expect that it will be. Prepaid wireless generally costs less than post paid plans, and that savings comes from somewhere. Perhaps one day a prepaid company will address the support issue and likely be very successful.
For me personally, I don’t expect or need a lot of support. I’d rather save the money.
I appreciate you taking the time to share your experience as it helps other readers make an informed decision.
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