AT&T's fees, voice quality, customer service and coverage drive its GoPhone service to the bottom of the prepaid ranks in major nationwide customer surveys, including J.D. Power and Associates' and PCMag.com's latest studies. AT&T gets low ratings from customers at PrepaidReviews.com, too -- but editors there highly recommend AT&T GoPhone, giving it a 4.5 star rating (out of 5).
Wide selection of plans. In two large prepaid cell phone customer surveys, AT&T's GoPhone receives low scores for its high prices. The Pay As You Go $2 Unlimited Daily Talk and Text plan includes free texting and calling anytime, but it charges a $2 access fee on days you use your phone. The cheapest monthly plan is $25 for 250 talk minutes and unlimited text. An unlimited monthly plan at $50 per month gives you unlimited talk, text and mobile web, and for $65 per month smartphone users can have all this plus 1 GB of data. For anyone wanting a phone only for emergencies, AT&T GoPhone has a Simple Rate Plan that skips the access fee but charges 10 cents a minute for all calls.
Nationwide coverage, but below-average
GoPhone uses the AT&T network,
which ensures nationwide coverage. However, its performance leaves something to be desired. In recent reviews AT&T's network speed comes in at below average. J.D. Power and Associates' extensive network performance customer survey awards AT&T 2 out of 5 stars. Editors at TopTenReviews.com like GoPhone's live chat feature and say that the free mobile-to-mobile calling within the AT&T network could save you money. However, user contributors to PrepaidReviews.com complain about poor reception throughout the network.
Customer service is lacking. Users complain that the quality of AT&T GoPhone customer service is poor. Some users state that customer service doesn't always answer their phones, which is significant as you'll probably have to call them at least once a month.
Adequate selection of AT&T phones. AT&T GoPhone offers a choice of 13 phones ranging from $20 to $200, including two Samsung models among the remaining AT&T phones. Editors at PrepaidReviews.com call this a good choice of handsets, while PCMag.com readers say the handset choice is just average.
Review Credibility: Excellent ConsumerReports.org ranks AT&T's prepaid wireless service against competitors from Consumer Cellular, T-Mobile, TracFone, Verizon and Virgin Mobile, based on feedback from more than 66,000 cell phone users.
Review: Prepaid Cell Phone Service Ratings, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, January 2011
2. J.D. Power & Associates
Review Credibility: Excellent In this survey of about 6,400 prepaid wireless cell phone users, AT&T GoPhone ranks in last place out of nine carriers reviewed, with a score below the industry average.
Review: 2011 Wireless Non-Contract Customer Satisfaction Index Study, Editors of J.D. Power and Associates, March 31, 2011
Review Credibility: Very Good This article addresses overall satisfaction with cell phones and cell phone service as reported by PCMag.com readers in 2012. AT&T is rated in last place out of the five carriers reviewed, with scores way below the industry average. A chart shows how each service stacks up in a dozen categories, such as price and handset choices.
Review: Readers' Choice Awards 2012: Smartphones and Mobile Carriers, Ben Gottesman, March 28, 2012
Review Credibility: Good AT&T's GoPhone prepaid service is rated fifth in TopTenReviews.com's roundup of cell phone services for 2013, with strong marks for its fees, features and phone selection. Editors like the live chat feature of GoPhone's customer support, though they don't indicate whether they actually tried it. Note that TopTenReviews.com's evaluation of prepaid cell phone providers is based only on features and doesn't look at how each phone service performs.
Review: 2013 Prepaid Cell Phones Comparisons, Editors of TopTenReviews.com, As of December 2012
Review Credibility: Fair Editors at PrepaidReviews.com give the AT&T GoPhone a 4-star (out of 5) rating based on coverage and plan options. They also like the great selection of handsets. Over 850 users, on the other hand, give the AT&T GoPhone a low 2-star rating, with poor reception and inadequate customer service among the most common complaints.
Review: AT&T Go Phone Prepaid Cellphone Plans, Editors of and Contributors to PrepaidReviews.com, As of December 2012