ATT’s $20/month unlimited HSDPA Pay As You GO

Update: As of Nov. 2008, this package is no longer available! AT&T’s $20/moth prepaid data add-on now includes only100 MB. See AT&T Pulling the Plug on Unlimited Prepaid Data! for more details.

GoPhone Logo

It looks like we finally have unlimited data in the US on a prepaid plan, and it includes 3G. ATT is now offering an unlimited data Feature Pack at $19.99 per month to GoPhone Pay As You Go users. This particular option was previously only available to customers on the carrier’s Pick Your Plan hybrid offering which, with the data add on, costs a minimum of $50 month plus taxes and requires a US credit card. Pay As You Go is a traditional prepaid that you top up online or with a PIN card from a convenience store making it international traveler friendly.

I haven’t seen any official confirmation from ATT, but the new offer has been confirmed by several users at HowardForums who signed up for it, and the story is also on Phone News and The Mobile Technology Weblog. The $19.99 comes out of your prepaid balance so the total monthly cost is indeed a penny less than $20 dollars plus the cost of calls and texts, if any.

Speaking of which GoPhone is still a little pricey if you actually talk (or text) on your phone. Texts are 15 cents each to send or receive although for heavy texters there are bundles of 200 texts for $4.99 or1000 for $9.99 with unlimited texting going for $19.99 per month. Voice calls are 25 cents per minute or $1.00 per day for unlimited “mobile to mobile” calls to ATT numbers plus 10 cents per minute for all other calls. The dollar is only charged on days that calls are made. International calls are more expensive but not terribly so with rates of $0.49/min to the Western Europe and $0.89/min to Asia, for example, on top of the 10 or 25 cents domestic rate.

ATT’s terms of service prohibit tethering and “downloading movies using P2P file sharing services” but seem to allow all normal browsing and phone applications including legal streaming. Unlimited 3G data for $20/month on prepaid on any compatible phone is an unbeatable deal. The only other US GSM carriers that offer unlimited data on prepaid all severly restrict you handset choices. Boost Mobile charges $10.50 per month for slow 19 Kbps on IDEN, T-Mobile’s prepaid Sidekick-only Plan with Edge is $30/month and Verizon’s $1.00/day EVDO, is only available on non-smartphones.

A minor annoyance with ATT prepaid and the unlimited data Feature Pack is that you have purchase it each month by dialing 611 and choosing “buy features” and then “Medianet” from the automated system. When the month runs out, data reverts to .01 cents per KB ($10.00/MB) until you purchase another Feature Pack.

I wonder what this means for iPhone users on Pick Your Plan, will they be able to switch to Pay As You Go and keep Visual Voicemail?

In a bit of related mobile data news, today Vodafone UK announced that postpaid customers on £40/ month and higher plans will get unlimited data (with a 500 MB “fair use” cap) at no extra charge. I like this trend of more and more carriers offering reasonably priced unlimited data. High data prices and price uncertainty are the two biggest deterrents to increased usage of the mobile web and and data centric mobile applications.

I’m also hoping that ATT’s new found willinness to offer unlimited data on prepaid with no handset restrictions will spur the competition, particularly T-Mobile, to do the same.

Related: YouTube – Hilarious Meatloaf GoPhone Video Ad

14 thoughts on “ATT’s $20/month unlimited HSDPA Pay As You GO

  1. first of all at&t is a rip off .I don’t see why people continue to deal with them.if you want the best prepaid plan boost mobile is the way to has been ripping people off left and right and if you continue to purchase then they will continue.lets make a chain and get at&t out of buisness.seriously why bother with at&t when all they keep doing is raising their rates.even on prepaid phones.WHAT A RIPOFF AND WHAT A JOKE THEY ARE!

  2. Data plan or no data plan, Gophone or any other prepaid phone is the way to go in a crappy economy man. You never know when you are going to be in the unemployment line. With a contract phone you are screwed whether you cut back usage or not, with prepaid you can cut back if you need to or discontinue the plan. Guess you could keep barebones plan for interview call backs…if you get any that is.

  3. yes they did have a 19.99 a month unlimited paln but as of november this is gone because the blood hungry SOB want to steal a little more of your hard earned money.

    bite me AT&T

  4. Absolutely the Best Pricing combined with acceptable performance for power users.

    I just lucked (stuck w/o Internet Service while moving) on to this and I find it far superior to T-mobiles Flex plan with unltd data (minimum of $65 per month with 1000 voice minutes). Right now I am using the AT&T $20 unltd Internet option with a balance of .07 (yes seven cents) on my account.
    Since I also paid for the 3000 minute package I can still make virtually unlimited voice calls during the Nights & weekends time. No $1 a day charge because I cant/dont make daytime calls. So $20 for unltd data or $40 for almost unltd night/weekend voice is a heck of a deal.

    Performance vs T-mobile (data speed & coverage)

    While testing performance with I could never get more than 120Kbps on T-mobiile (T-Mo branded HTC Touch ), tethering was useless, this was in Phoenix, San Antonio & Houston. I am consistently getting 300-400k upload/download speed with AT&T using a V3XX in Phoenix. I saw somewhere that AT&T’s terms prohibited tethering, if they enforce it then this plan would be of little use to me.

    I traveled with my V3xx go-phone and the t-mobile touch from Houston to Phoenix last month and had no data coverage with TMO from San Antonio to PHX and very little voice coverage. My ATT phone(s) had voice coverage 95% of the way (but I wasn’t testing AT&T data

    I have tested EVDO inthe PHX area with Sprint and Alltel (briefly) and it is two to three times faster than the GSM UMTS service. Now I will check the non contract EVDO data plans and see what has a better combination of high performance and price.

  5. Go phone coverage is too limited. HSDPA coverage is too limited. Using an ATT 8525 (w/Windows Mobile 6 ATT ROM Unreleased) using USB net sharing I am lucky to push 20Kb in Wichita KS. The service should be called hope you dont have to travel, buy our unlimited or pay everyone else to talk. 60MB dls take about an hour. I am happy with the general web surfing ability however. Yet it does kill me to hear others are getting 1mbit p/s for the same price with the same service. They should be smarter and limit everyones speed to save bucks until they can roll out a complete infrastructure.

    Now, lets see if skype over EDGE can get me my $30 bucks worth.

  6. I have mediaNet on my blackjack phone and use it as modem for my laptop when on the road. I get approx 1MBit/s down and 400kbit/s up when running in DC, NYC or BOS. This is when connected with USB cable – bluetooth slower.

  7. Can anyone confirm, or are their speed test results published somewhere ( URL? ) that show people are really getting HSDPA speed with the $20 unlimited Media Net? Sounds too good to be true.

  8. Pingback: Near Future Laboratory » Blog Archive » Unlimited Data

  9. matt,

    I’ll agree that ATT’s UMTS/HSDPA 3g service is inferior to Sprint and Verizon’s EVDO both in coverage and speed. But $20/month for unlimited on prepaid is still quite a deal.

    The biggest problem with Sprint and Verizon is the lousy phone selection; no Symbian, iPhone or unbranded handsets which admittedly is not an issue for datacard users.

  10. There is one problem. AT&T offers horrific cell service and painfully slow internet speeds in the U.S.
    We have tested them and will not offer AT&T to our customers.

    Matt Walsh
    COO RoVAir

  11. >>> Vodafone UK announced that postpaid customers on £40/ month and higher plans will get unlimited data (with a 500 MB “fair use” cap)

    But that is NOT UNLIMITED, always the same with offers data… :

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