US AT&T Prepaid SIM
1) Most widely used SIM in the US: Reliable, Fast Data and Good-Coverage Network
2) Best network compatible with foreign phones.
3) Great prepaid options that give unlimited local calls & SMS:
- USD$30 - no data
- USD$35 - 1GB data
- USD$50 - 8GB data
- USD$65 - unlimited data (capped at 3Mbps/no tethering)
- USD$85 - unlimited data (capped at 3Mbps/10GB US tethering)
AT&T is the best prepaid SIM for the USA, Canada and Mexico.
You must follow instructions (here) to activate (takes about 3 minutes to activate the SIM one of the plans and add the Credit PIN which covers the cost of the plan).
We recommend the most popular plan the SIM+USD$50 credit PIN
AT&T is the fastest and easiest network in the United States to be accessed by international phones (Most other US networks are slow, poor coverage or not fully compatible with international phones).
Great coverage and high speed 3G/4G/LTE data
USD$50, USD$65, USD$85 plans roam in Canada & Mexico
USD$50 plan - 8GB data (allows tethering/sharing data)
USD$65 plan - Unlimited data (but its speed is capped at 3Mbps & not allowed to tether/hotspot the data to other devices)
USD$85 plan - Unlimited data (allows tethering/sharing 10GB data in US)
International calls not included (but USD$5 call pack gives 250 min calling to international landlines). If you want the international call pack, add this direct in the AT&T portal AFTER you arrive in the States.
Activation takes a few steps, but we provide the most detailed step by step guide for you to activate prior to you leaving home, or alternatively we can activate for you (activation service costs AUD$20).
1) Buy SIM and credit/PIN on dataGO - receive SIM in post & PIN via email
2) Online (few days before departure):
- Activate SIM
- Choose plan
- Pay for plan with PIN (starts 30 days to use)
3) Land in US - activated SIM in an unlocked phone will auto connect on arrival
See activation summary in the tab above, or our detailed activation guide here.
Recommendation: The easiest way is to buy the SIM+PIN now, then activate and add credit/PIN online a few days before you leave. Simple :-)
SIM CARD SIZE
ALL SIMs are now TRIO SIMs - they pop out to any size required (Mini, Micro or Nano)
Aust Express Post flat $6
International tracked flat $14
International courier $29
See more details on shipping information here
Get the most from your smartphone we recommend the US$50 Smartphone Plan with Data (8 GB) - this is by far the most popular and best value plan for the average traveller spending a few weeks in the USA.
We don't recommend signing up for Auto-Pay as you need to enter you credit card, and get billed each month (hence why we use Credit PIN/top-up vouchers so you don't have to give AT&T your credit card and don't get any extra charges).
See plans below:
USD$30 - no included data
USD$35 - 1GB data
USD$50 - 8GB data (roams in Canada and Mexico)
USD$65 - Unlimited data (roams in Canada and Mexico/not hotspot)
USD$85 - Unlimited data (roams in Canada and Mexico/10GB hotspot US)
ADDITIONAL PREPAID DATA PACKS
Data packages are available .
- US$10 for 1 GB or $20 for 3 GB (with US$50 plan)
- US$5 for 250 MB (with US$30 plan)
International calls aren't included in the standard plans (national calls are, and local/international SMS is too). If you are planning to do lots of international calls with your AT&T prepaid plan, you get 250 minutes of calling from the U.S. to landlines in over 50 countries, including Mexico and Canada, from just $5 per month. See details on the international call packs available under the 'International Calling' tab on the AT&T site here.
If you would like a call pack it is easiest to add it once you have activated your SIM and are in the States. Login to the account portal (you have to be in US to do this the first time) and buy it direct with AT&T.
There are few call packs:
- USD$5 = 250 minutes of international calls
- USD$10 = 1,000 minutes of international calls
For Australia and New Zealand this only covers landline calls.
Packages are good for 30 days as long as your account balance is not expired. Standard rates apply if package is not renewed after 30 days. Also, feature package balance rolls over if renewed before expiration date.
If you don't use a long distance package, or are calling mobile numbers not included in the long distance package, you can see the applicable rates here. Calls to Australia are USD$1.09/min, same to New Zealand and to the UK USD$0.49/min.
AT&T has great network coverage and fast data speeds. This makes calling via VoIP Apps like Skype and Viber a real and popular alternative. These type of voice calls typically only use ~0.3/MB per minute (which if you have the $60 plan with 8GB data - works out at less than USD$0.01/min for data plus the small cost of the Skype call - typically AUD$0.02 - $0.10/min).
AT&T has one of the largest (& fastest) GSM networks in the US.
You can find more specific network coverage information direct with AT&T here.
An AT&T prepaid SIM will only connect to the network in the US, Canada and Mexico - not outside of these three countries.
SIM AND PLAN EXPIRY
For most people who activate on the USD$45 or 65 plan, the plan is valid for 30 days, and the SIM will expire 150 days (5 months) after first activated.
Detail: There are two issues here: i) expiry from credit, and ii) cancellation of SIM/number. They have two different drop-dead dates.
i) Expiry depends on the amount initially added:
From $10 to $24 30 days
From $25 to $99 90 days
$100 and higher 1 year
ii) While cancellation happens sixty days after expiry.
That means, for example, if you initially added USD$60 the SIM is good for 90 days, but the number remains yours for another 60 days (150 days total). As long as you add money before cancellation, the clock starts over again.
It was easy and convenient to setup prior to departure. Data limit was great. Unfortunately AT&T reception was mediocre. And speeds were extremely variable even with good reception- sometimes lightning fast but often very difficult to use at all. Several times public Wi-Fi was actually far better. Clearly AT&T network is not close to what it was a few years ago in NYC but sticking with 5 stars as our Wi-Fi was so dismal that the unlimited data ended up being a lifesaver, and the reduced hassle of being able to procure prior to trip (despite the increased cost) was good. Would be nice to see a T Mobile or other competitive option.