“Unlimited” data plans are all the rage again with cell phone companies. The last time we saw this was back around the time the first iPhone came out. Yeah, it has been that long ago. The thing is, while the plans are “unlimted” you are only getting high speed data transfer rates up to a certain about of gigabytes per month. After you use that allotment of high speed data up, you are then throttled but not cut off or charged overages. Technically they are giving customers what they are promising, just in a rather backhanded kind of way. That was if you got in on a contract with pretty much all of the carriers. AT&T just announced that their GoPhone, prepaid plan, customers can now get “unlimited” data too.
The kicker is, the unlimited GoPhone plan is just $65 per month ($5 discount if you use auto-pay). That is versus $100 per month (for one line) for contract customers. You may be wondering why people would pay more for basically the same thing. Read on.
Contract customers, or post-paid, receive 22 gigabytes of high speed data and then get throttled after that. That is 22 gigabytes of data at 4G LTE speed.
Pre-paid, GoPhone customers, receive 22 gigabytes of data at varying speeds depending on what you are doing. Watching video is throttled at 1.5Mbps and everything else (general web surfing) is throttled at 3Mbps. Basically “fast” 3G service.
If you are watching video in standard definition, then this is fine but if you want to view high definition video (not sure why you would on a cell phone screen) then it will probably suck. Hard. 3Mbps for surfing the web, checking Facebook, etc is not that bad – it is going to be slower than your friends but for the price, it is decent.
If you just have to have 4G LTE and cannot live without that speed, then AT&T has a 6 gigabyte $45 per month GoPhone plan available.