Following the unlimited trend that has been sweeping both pre- and postpaid offerings over the past few weeks, AT&T announced a new $60 (with AutoPay) unlimited plan for its GoPhone prepaid service. But there’s one big catch.
As with other “unlimited” plans, GoPhone’s option will come without caps on talk, text, and data. It will also come with the ability to use data, make calls, and send texts from both Mexico and Canada for no extra charge. So far so good.
“AT&T GoPhone customers now have even more flexibility to pick the plan that fits their needs as well as the perfect device from a selection of premium smartphones they really want,” Bob Bickerstaff, AT&T vice president of wireless voice and prepaid products, commented.
While Bickerstaff called the plan “truly unlimited,” the big “but” comes in the same area where most other “unlimited” plans have their weakness: data speeds.
Right out front, AT&T said GoPhone users will be limited to maximum data speeds of 3 Mbps, with maximum standard definition video (i.e. 480p) streaming speeds of 1.5 Mbps. For context, and as pointed out by The Verge, AT&T’s average 4G download speed clocked in at 7.93 Mbps in OpenSignal’s latest “State of Mobile Networks” report last month. The speeds offered on the GoPhone unlimited plan are actually more in line with the carrier’s 3G results from the report, which noted average speeds of 2.22 Mbps.
But the carrier reserves the right to slow speeds even further (presumably to 2G speed) in instances of network congestion once customers crawl past AT&T’s 22 GB prioritization threshold.
Oh, and there’s no mention of the plan including mobile hotspot capabilities.
Interestingly, the GoPhone Unlimited plan was rolled out alongside a freshly beefed up $40 ($45 without AutoPay) tiered plan that offers 6 GB of high-speed data. That plan also offers unlimited usage, though speeds will slow to 128 Kbps after the high-speed allowance is tapped out.
With all the limits on its “Unlimited” plan, it seems almost as if AT&T is trying to both appease the desire for an option with the unlimited moniker and push customers toward its tiered plans with high-speed data.