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Contributor

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2 Messages

Wed, Mar 28, 2018 1:05 AM

AT&T PREPAID vs Postpaid coverage

I've read such conflicting comments regarding coverage comparison between prepaid and postpaid plans. 

 

If the coverage is really the same then why don't all postpaid customers switch to prepaid unless they just don't want to pay for the phone upfront?

 

Are there roaming fees with prepaid and does the prepaid plan allow you to access towers besides AT&T?

 

Is the data speed relatively the same?

 

Does AT&T give it's postpaid customers first priority and if so does this have a significant impact on the quality of prepaid service?

 

Are there many dropped calls with prepaid?

 

If you do try prepaid and find you don't have good coverage with it is it easy to switch back to postpaid? 

 

I'm concerned because the fine print states that once you activate a prepaid phone you can only use it with prepaid plans so how would I be able to switch back to postpaid if I had to?

 

Because of this caveat is it better to purchase my own unlocked phone through ebay and use it?

 

Thanks!

 

Emily

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sandblaster

ACE - Expert

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33.9K Messages

2 years ago


@Mimidebecca73 wrote:

I've read such conflicting comments regarding coverage comparison between prepaid and postpaid plans. 

 

If the coverage is really the same then why don't all postpaid customers switch to prepaid unless they just don't want to pay for the phone upfront? There are features and services available on postpaid not available on prepaid such as HD Voice, WiFi calling and international roaming.

 

Are there roaming fees with prepaid and does the prepaid plan allow you to access towers besides AT&T? There are no roaming fees. My understanding is prepaid is limited to ATT towers only.

 

Is the data speed relatively the same? All things equal, speed should be the same but all things are never equal. We do know that prepaid customers get a lower priority than postpaid customers. What that translates to speed wise, I’m not sure anyone but ATT network managers know.

 

Does AT&T give it's postpaid customers first priority and if so does this have a significant impact on the quality of prepaid service? See above.

 

Are there many dropped calls with prepaid? Don’t know.

 

If you do try prepaid and find you don't have good coverage with it is it easy to switch back to postpaid? Switching back is possible, don’t know how easy, though.

 

I'm concerned because the fine print states that once you activate a prepaid phone you can only use it with prepaid plans so how would I be able to switch back to postpaid if I had to? Any phone you use on prepaid will also work on postpaid.

 

Because of this caveat is it better to purchase my own unlocked phone through ebay and use it? Personal choice. Just be aware that those postpaid features such as HD Voice and WiFi calling ate only supported on ATT branded phones, except iPhones.

 


 

Award for Community Excellence 2019 Achiever*
*I am not an AT&T employee, and the views and opinions expressed on this forum are purely my own. Any product claim, statistic, quote, or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider, or party.

Contributor

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2 Messages

2 years ago

Thank you. I really appreciate your input. Do you have a prepaid plan? If
so have you been happy with it or do you know anyone who has one who is
happy with it?

Tutor

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2 Messages

2 years ago

My husband and I had prepaid for roughly 5 years as well as 4 of our kids. He was Military and it never seemed like a good idea to get into a contract situation with a phone company! Anyways, we never had any issues with connectivity, web, or any type of data uploads or downloads UNLESS we were out in the woods, mountains or places like that. I loved it. Now we are on postpaid and still have no issues what so ever.

Contributor

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1 Message

2 years ago

If the above answers are correct regarding prepaid plans using AT&T towers only with no ability to force a roaming situation, and no option to use wifi for other services like SMS messaging, then prepaid has some issues. There is also no online chat support for prepaid services. I'm currently in a part of the US with no AT&T tower. My prepaid AT&T phone won't roam. I have access to wifi off a Verizon hotspot. I could get by for a few days with the Messages App on a tablet over wifi, but AT&T sends the PIN to verify identity to your phone on their network, which obviously won't help me.  

 

I may be able to call AT&T on a borrowed phone, on the Verizon network, to verify my identity, to get a PIN, to at least access my texts. Maybe.

lizdance40

ACE - Sage

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69.4K Messages

2 years ago

@superdiff

Nope.  Pin is sent by text to your phone only.  

You will have to relocate to have access.

 FYI....  Verizon prepaid has WiFi talk and text.  They also have a double data promotion.  I got the $60 plan with 20 gigs

 

(The following is included after all posts to save typing) I don’t work for AT&T. My replies are based on experience and reading content available on the website. Our answers are honest, but not always appreciated. If you posted personal information, please edit and remove.
Award for Community Excellence 2019 Achiever*
*I am not an AT&T employee, and the views and opinions expressed on this forum are purely my own. Any product claim, statistic, quote, or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider, or party.

Tutor

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7 Messages

2 years ago

Also be aware that prepaid customers can not use VoLTE, only HSPA.  HSPA does not have the same coverage footprint as LTE so there are areas where one can experience a strong LTE signal and yet not be able to place a voice call because there is no usable HSPA signal.  My home is in one of these areas.

 

Tutor

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8 Messages

2 years ago

I’m also having this issue on prepaid. I’m not recieving incoming calls... I have full bars HSPA and I have good LTE. Anywhere from 1 to 4 bars. Sometimes it seems like my phone switches towers and possibly there is no HSPA on one of them, causing calls not to come through on the network. Someone with postpaid has the same service and switching of signal, but remains on LTE for calls and there are none amiss. AT&T simply refuses to provision prepaid accounts for proper voice communication, resulting in failed and missed calls as HSPA degrades. I’m just hoping no emergency calls are missed or work calls. I tell everyone to leave a voicemail. Kind of messed up for being the second wireless carrier... Verizon is sounding better 

lizdance40

ACE - Sage

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69.4K Messages

2 years ago

@bkehrer

At&t has no inventive to improve if customers use and pay for a sunstandard service.   Verizon Prepaid has voLTE and Wifi calling as long as you have a compatible device (iPhone or Verizon android)

 

(The following is included after all posts to save typing) I don’t work for AT&T. My replies are based on experience and reading content available on the website. Our answers are honest, but not always appreciated. If you posted personal information, please edit and remove.
Award for Community Excellence 2019 Achiever*
*I am not an AT&T employee, and the views and opinions expressed on this forum are purely my own. Any product claim, statistic, quote, or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider, or party.

Tutor

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8 Messages

2 years ago

Hello, 

 

i wanted to let anyone here know that I talked to a rep in detail after much issue with my reception and calls. It seems they have fixed my issue for now. The rep informed me that WiFi calling and VoLTE would be coming to Prepaid some time between January-March 2019. It’s the only reason I’m holding out and have not ported to Verizon. Let’s hope AT&T implements these features asap 

Contributor

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1 Message

9 months ago

There are MAJOR differences between AT&T postpaid and prepaid service including network differentials, service availability functions, and call detail limitations. A few specific considerations:

 

1.) Network tower restrictions - you will not be able to use AT&T prepaid in many areas where postpaid works. For example, between the southern fringes of the Boise ID MSA and Fernley, NV (eastern edge of Reno MSA) you will not be able to use your AT&T prepaid service. Period. That's roughly 5 hours of drive time at 80mph without a cell signal.  These types of differences are commonly found across the country, especially within the Great Basin region. 

 

2.) Call detail limitations. Using postpaid AT&T service allows customers the benefit of access to text conversation history - a feature not available (or even permitted by statute) on prepaid plans. Prepaid plans will only allow its users identify to which numbers texts are traded, a major drawback if you need access to important conversations for some critical reason. If you use AT&T prepaid or any other prepaid plan, be sure to back up your phone to an SD card frequently if you want to securely save your text history. 

 

3.) Family functions - Operating a family type plan on AT&T prepaid isn't very practical, especially if you're looking for centralized oversight via a single user. While more expensive, if you want family type features out of your cell phone service with AT&T, I strongly recommend postpaid.

 

 

lizdance40

ACE - Sage

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69.4K Messages

9 months ago


@whitte84 wrote:

There are MAJOR differences between AT&T postpaid and prepaid service including network differentials, service availability functions, and call detail limitations. A few specific considerations:

 

1.) Network tower restrictions - you will not be able to use AT&T prepaid in many areas where postpaid works. For example, between the southern fringes of the Boise ID MSA and Fernley, NV (eastern edge of Reno MSA) you will not be able to use your AT&T prepaid service. Period. That's roughly 5 hours of drive time at 80mph without a cell signal.  These types of differences are commonly found across the country, especially within the Great Basin region. 

There are coverage differences which you can see in the coverage maps.  I cannot verify your information.  

 

2.) Call detail limitations. Using postpaid AT&T service allows customers the benefit of access to text conversation history - a feature not available (or even permitted by statute) on prepaid plans. Prepaid plans will only allow its users identify to which numbers texts are traded, a major drawback if you need access to important conversations for some critical reason. If you use AT&T prepaid or any other prepaid plan, be sure to back up your phone to an SD card frequently if you want to securely save your text history. 

That is incorrect.   Postpaid accounts include a text log, just like prepaid.  The content of messages is not in the account, it’s private.  

What you may be referring to is At&t messages back up and sync, which has only been available to postpaid as it required advanced calling features not available on prepaid.  

 

3.) Family functions - Operating a family type plan on AT&T prepaid isn't very practical, especially if you're looking for centralized oversight via a single user. While more expensive, if you want family type features out of your cell phone service with AT&T, I strongly recommend postpaid.

 

Unless you have an iPhone.  iPhone have parental control built in for free.  And prepaid allows you to budget data per user, rather than share a pool with a pre teen who can’t seem to moderate their own use.   As for which is cheaper, it’s a toss up depending on the plans chosen.  Pricing both is the way to go.   Both add tax and postpaid does tax a bit more.   


Verizon Prepaid is full function and often cheaper.   I have a line on Verizon prepaid, and my family is on AT&T postpaid (5 lines).   

 

(The following is included after all posts to save typing) I don’t work for AT&T. My replies are based on experience and reading content available on the website. Our answers are honest, but not always appreciated. If you posted personal information, please edit and remove.
Award for Community Excellence 2019 Achiever*
*I am not an AT&T employee, and the views and opinions expressed on this forum are purely my own. Any product claim, statistic, quote, or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider, or party.

Contributor

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1 Message

8 months ago

Thank you all, helpful

Contributor

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1 Message

8 months ago

Hello,

 

I hope all is well. Some of the information from the following post is not correct or has since changed. The maps are very similar. I have a work post ATT and I use my person ATT prepaid with a iPhone X. The prepaid can call international and the phone can be used in Mexico and Canada. My prepaid also have access to the allege 5Ge and LTE.  With the iPhone I can use wifi calling and HD voice.  Currently they have $50 ($40 after autopay) a month with 8 GB and additional 8 GB Promotion for 16 GB,  it really unlimited it just drops to 128 kbps after the allotment which I haven't had any issues. I use my phone all the time for data and haven't hit 16 GB yet. I really enjoy ATT prepaid and the price is great. The only limitation I see if going International outside of Mexico or Candada.  I want to go to Spain. The ATT postpaid will be fine, but the prepaid won't work . I will just buy an International SIM.  The best part of prepaid is you don't have to deal with ATT gotcha charges and crazy new fees and surprises I see on my company phone charges online. I love ATT over Sprint and the savings the prepaid currently have are amazing. ATT has really step up on the prepaid side. I really wish they would add affordable add on's for iPad, and Apple Watch.  The IPAD plans are crazy so I use t-mobile for their $10 a month IPad plan. Would be nice if ATT added a multi user prepaid discount for additional items. I would be more than happy to bring my Apple Watch and iPad over from t-mobile if the price was right. Other than that ATT prepaid is awesome.   

lizdance40

ACE - Sage

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69.4K Messages

8 months ago


@preepaid2018 wrote:

Hello,

 

I hope all is well. Some of the information from the following post is not correct or has since changed. The maps are very similar. I have a work post ATT and I use my person ATT prepaid with a iPhone X. The prepaid can call international and the phone can be used in Mexico and Canada. My prepaid also have access to the allege 5Ge and LTE.  With the iPhone I can use wifi calling and HD voice.  Currently they have $50 ($40 after autopay) a month with 8 GB and additional 8 GB Promotion for 16 GB,  it really unlimited it just drops to 128 kbps after the allotment which I haven't had any issues. I use my phone all the time for data and haven't hit 16 GB yet. I really enjoy ATT prepaid and the price is great. The only limitation I see if going International outside of Mexico or Candada.  I want to go to Spain. The ATT postpaid will be fine, but the prepaid won't work . I will just buy an International SIM.  You need to make sure your phone is unlocked.

 

The best part of prepaid is you don't have to deal with ATT gotcha charges and crazy new fees and surprises I see on my company phone charges online.  What charges?  What crazy surprise fees do you think I pay, that you do not?

I’ve been on post paid 5+ years, I use unlocked phones, not purchased from At&t, no installments, no contracts.  I can leave At&t anytime with no charges other than my service bill of $168 for 5 lines.  

 

I love ATT over Sprint and the savings the prepaid currently have are amazing. ATT has really step up on the prepaid side. I really wish they would add affordable add on's for iPad, and Apple Watch.

There is a data connect option for tablet.  Smart watches require the ability to spoof the phones number to work, which cannot be achieved on prepaid.  

 The IPAD plans are crazy so I use t-mobile for their $10 a month IPad plan. Would be nice if ATT added a multi user prepaid discount for additional items.

I would be more than happy to bring my Apple Watch and iPad over from t-mobile if the price was right. Other than that ATT prepaid is awesome.   How are you able to use your Apple Watch?  


 

(The following is included after all posts to save typing) I don’t work for AT&T. My replies are based on experience and reading content available on the website. Our answers are honest, but not always appreciated. If you posted personal information, please edit and remove.
Award for Community Excellence 2019 Achiever*
*I am not an AT&T employee, and the views and opinions expressed on this forum are purely my own. Any product claim, statistic, quote, or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider, or party.

Contributor

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1 Message

6 months ago

Review July 24, 2019. .I have prepaid and have not had any problems at all. 2 months ago I bought an iPhone 6s outright for about $200. I use autopay so I save $5 a month. Service just as good, $45 monthly. Happy customer  😊