AT&T's nationwide coverage and wide selection of prepaid monthly and pay-as-you-go plans are attractive. But so-so network quality, relatively high cost and meager phone selection leave experts and users disappointed.
Wide selection of plans. AT&T offers both pay-as-you-go and monthly plans. Pay-as-you-go users can choose between a $2 plan that allows unlimited talk and text, but charges you $2 on any day you use your phone. Otherwise, calls are 10 cents per minute, while texts are 20 cents each, though frequent texters can lower the cost by selecting a text package (Est. $4.99 per month and up). Basic-feature phone monthly plans start at $25 for 250 minutes of talk and unlimited texts and run to $50 per month for unlimited calls, unlimited texts and unlimited data/mobile web. Smartphone users can choose between a $60 monthly plan that includes unlimited calls and texts, plus 2 GB of data, or a $40 plan that caps data at 200 MB. Extra data is pricey, especially for the $40 plan ($5 per 100 MB). Also available is a $50 plan that includes unlimited talk and text, but Wi-Fi access only for data. Finally, a $25 smartphone plan includes 250 minutes and unlimited text, with data packages an add-on at $5 per 50 MB.
Nationwide coverage, but only average quality. AT&T GoPhone uses the AT&T network, which ensures nationwide coverage. However, its performance receives average reviews and leaves something to be desired. 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.
For prepaid users, customer service still lags. AT&T's traditional plans have seen some improvement in customer service surveys, but that's yet to be reflected in surveys that concentrate on the carrier's prepaid offerings. In user reviews, complaints that the quality of AT&T GoPhone customer service is poor are commonplace.
Modest selection. AT&T GoPhone offers only a limited selection of smartphones and basic phones, and some are refurbished or certified like new. There are no iPhones, but some LTE-capable Android phones, like the Samsung Galaxy Note II (Est. $650), and Windows 8 phones, like the Nokia Lumia 520 (Est. $100), are available.
Segan identifies Kajeet as being Sprint-based and billing itself as "the smart phone for kids." He continues that's it's the only carrier that filters the Internet, whitelisting or blacklisting sites for your children. Kajeet's phones can be a bit expensive, but you can also use out-of-contract Sprint feature or Android phones.
Review: The Best Cheap Prepaid Phone Plans You've Never Heard Of, Sascha Segan, Nov. 22, 2013
Kajeet doesn't do well in this review of prepaid phone services, coming in 11th out of 16 carriers reviewed. Editors do say that Kajeet has parental control features that aren't generally offered by other carriers. Its prices are higher than those of other services, but some plans offer unlimited text messaging. This review doesn't look at how the phone service performs.
Review: 2014 Best Prepaid Cell Phone Reviews and Comparisons, Editors of TopTenReviews.com, Not Dated
Editors here give Kajeet 3.5 stars out of 5. They appreciate that parents can track what their kids are doing on the phone, but say some of the lower-tier plans can cost a lot per minute. About 170 users have posted reviews, earning Kajeet an overall user rating of 3 stars out of 5.
Review: Kajeet Prepaid Cell Phone Service, Editors of and Contributors to PrepaidReviews.com, Not Dated