Prepaid Data SIM Card Wiki

AT&T is the cellular provider in the US (by customers), rivaling head-to-head with Verizon and T-Mobile. It has a very large coverage area nationwide similar to Verizon, and well above T-Mobile.


As explained on the main country article, there is a network-wide policy in place that affects all AT&T network users, even the MVNOs listed on this page. If your phone is not on their small whitelist, it will not work on the network, even for data only. Your only solution is to either purchase a compatible device or switch to a different carrier if your device is not supported.

4G LTE is mainly on the following frequencies: Band 2 (1900 MHz), Band 4/66 (1700/2100 MHz), Band 12/17 (700 MHz), and Band 30 (2300 MHz) is available as well.

Even though it is not supported on most prepaid plans, 5G "Nationwide" is on n2 and n5, Their mid and high-band "5G+" is available on n77, n258, and n260.

AT&T Prepaid (formerly GoPhone)[]

Their main prepaid plans now are all called AT&T Prepaid. A starter pack is called “AT&T Prepaid SIM card kit”. The SIM card only is referred as “Bring your own” (device). The SIM card is available for up to $20 from AT&T stores (locator) or for $9.99 online to be sent to an US postal address or at other stores such as Best Buy, Target, Walmart,7-Eleven,Walgreens,and Rite-Aid (also for $9.99). Mini-, micro- and nano-SIMs are available. Take care that some mall kiosks like to charge you more for the SIM card. But some waive the SIM fee if you buy a top up at the same time.

Alternatively, you can buy at online dealers e.g. on eBay to be shipped overseas for a surcharge. Commercial vendors like them here ship it worldwide for a steep surcharge: For instance the $45 plan with SIM is sold at £71 (= $88) which constitutes an almost 100% surcharge.

There are two different kinds of plans on offer: one with voice, texts and data for phones and another with data-only for tablets, routers and modems. The data-only plans work in phones and modems too, but are intended for tablet use and your phone will not send/receive calls or text messages with a data-only SIM (even though it still has a phone number). To avoid confusion in shops, state that you want to use it in a tablet, even if you plan to put the data-only SIM into a phone. There is no need to conceal anymore that you bring an iPhone from overseas. This caused problems until some years ago, but AT&T now welcomes foreign iPhones too.

The SIM cards sold in stores like Target, Best Buy, and Walmart work with both the data-only and phone plans, you decide when activating the SIM which kind of plan to use and you can change from one type to another later. The instructions with the SIM explain how to activate it, which is done differently for the plans.

If you buy the SIM in an AT&T store, then keep your receipt, it shows the phone number of the SIM card. If you activate the SIM yourself, you will receive an SMS message showing your phone number after activation. SIM cards bought in their stores normally don't have any instructions or other information and you get only the plain SIM card.


Activation can be done in three ways:

  • from your GoPhone (phones only): place card in phone, turn it on, select rate plan, type activation code, select ZIP code, send, turn it off and turn it on after 10 minutes to be activated.
  • from any phone: call 877 426 0525 and follow instructions

When you are not in the US and want to activate your SIM before (e.g. to know your number ahead) follow this procedure: Use the online link (see above), as IMEI enter in the form (Any IMEI will work), you can add a non US-based credit card, but choose USA as country and use any US address you can think of. AT&T uses the entered IMEI number to determine, if device is AT&T branded. If the system determines that the IMEI is not an AT&T branded device, select one of the following options from the drop down menu. (Phone,Tablet,Hotspot,Data Device). LTE is enabled on all devices now by default. As ZIP code take any US ZIP code, the ZIP code is needed so the carrier can assign a phone number based on the area code. Then you can recharge, but can’t choose your plan though, because the verification SMS won’t be forwarded roaming abroad. For that you have to call customer service at +1-800-331-0500 to add your data plan manually. Have in mind, that the plan starts from this moment on.

Recharges and validity[]

At least some credit cards not issued in the US can be added to the account (see above). If you don’t succeed in adding yours, just buy vouchers, called refill cards in the US. They are available at AT&T stores, many supermarkets, gas stations, Walgreen’s and CVS drugstores, 7-Eleven and many other outlets. You can also add credits online with 3rd party agency, they accept all type of bank cards and crypto currencies. Minimum value is $15. A refill of $15 is valid for 30 days, up to $50 for 90 days and from $100 for 365 days. Take care: If not used up and extended in time, your credit will be lost, the account closed and the SIM card terminated. The account closure time differs between phone and data-only plans. As of 2015 the phone plans close 60 days after last credit expiry and data plans 365 days after last expiry.

Voice plans with data[]

These following monthly packages for 30 days are offered for smartphones:

Price Auto-pay Voice & SMS Data Hotspot (US only)
$30 $25 unlimited to US 5 GB included in US, roll-over Included
$40 $35 unlimited to USA, MEX, CAN 15 GB included in US/MEX/CAN, roll-over
$50 $45 30 GB at 3 Mbit/s cap in US/MEX, then throttled to 1.5 Mbit/s; 25 GB in CAN, then throttled to 512 Kbit/s
$65 $50 Unlimited data in US/MEX (depriorization during network congestion, 480p streaming (max. 2 Mbps)), 25 GB in CAN, then throttled to 512 Kbit/s 5 GB
$70 $55 Unlimited data in US/MEX (50 GB before subject to depriorization during network congestion, 4K streaming (= uncapped)), 25 GB in CAN, then throttled to 512 Kbit/s 25 GB
$80 $65 Unlimited data in US/MEX (unlimited priority data, 4K streaming (= uncapped)), 25 GB in CAN, then throttled to 512 Kbit/s 35 GB

All plans includes unlimited domestic SMS and MMS and international SMS to more than 100 countries. Upsizes can be made up to three times per month and may roll over to the next month. When data/hotspot volume is used up, speed will be reduced to 128 Kbps. Data default rate outside the mentioned packages is 1c per 5 KB which amounts to $2 per MB. If you link your plan to a credit card by auto-pay, a discount will be applied.

AT&T considers one month to be 30 days, including the day of activation. Monthly plans expire at 11:59pm Central Standard Time on the 30th day of service. If you link it to auto-pay on your credit card, the plans are discounted by $5, but you need to cancel later.

For more data on the limited plans you can add 1 GB for $10 or 3 GB for $20 valid for the rest of the running time of the base plan.

Unused data on the $30 and $40 plans rolls over to the next month when the plan renews. However, plan data is used before rollover data and rollover data expires after 30 days. That means that unless your data usage alternates from low one month to high the next you are unlikely to be able to use much of your rollover data. 

Daily plans[]

$2 per day for unlimited domestic voice and text, charged only on the days used. Outgoing call or SMS, or accepting an incoming call, activates the plan for the day. $8.33 is the minimum monthly cost. A $0.25 to $2.50 per month "911" fee is deducted from your prepaid balance in some states. This daily plan expires at 11:59pm in the time zone, where it was activated.

Default data rate on this plan is 1c per 5 KB (= $2/MB), but AT&T actively blocks this default rate on smartphones to avoid bill shock. However, in case AT&T doesn't accurately detect your device type, use caution to avoid accidentally emptying your balance.

Instead a new $1 per day 100 MB Data Day Pass is now available to users on the $2 Day Plan. The new Data Day Pass for Daily plan users is good, since using data doesn't trigger the $2 daily fee, which is only charged if a call is made or received or a text sent. $1 per day for data-only use is a pretty good deal for short-term international visitors or anyone who needs data only occasionally. Visit this site to activate this data pass, or free call 611 from the device.

This $1/day 100 MB day pass expires 24 hours from the time of purchase. Once you have used at least 90 MB you may purchase another pass manually, it doesn't auto-renew. Purchasing a new pass does not expire the remaining MB from the previous pass. To check remaining data enter *777*3#.

Data-only plans[]

These monthly packages called Data Connect are for tablets, but work on phones and modems too:

  • 15 GB: $35
  • 25 GB: $50
  • 100 GB: $55

Unused data will not roll over to the next month. Plans expire in 30 days and can be renewed prior to expiration as long as the account is active. They don’t renew automatically and there is no voice nor text on this line. Accounts can be managed online or by calling 866 707 5550. Accounts for data-only plans are cancelled 365 days after the last plan expires (i.e. if you have a plan for January 2019 and it expires on Feb 1st, 2019 then you can still renew the plan anytime until Feb 1st, 2020. After that time the account is closed and you must get a new SIM card). This expiry time is longer than for phone plans (which expire 60 days after the last plan expires). Overage rate is $10 per GB. You can buy additional 5 GB for $10.

Note that AT&T uses the device IMEI No. given during account setup to determine the type of device being connected to the network. If your device can't be ascertained by AT&T's system IMEI, the system will ask what the device is (Phone, Tablet, Data Hotspot), If you later try to go into AT&T's online account management system and change your plan from one of the above listed plans to another (say $50 to $75 data plan) you can only change to phone plans. In order to change the data plan, you must call AT&T and have it changed manually by a customer service representative.

If your device connects proper to the AT&T network, but can't get data connection (only a few AT&T sites), check the appropriate APN (see below). If you then get a message that you don't have any data credit available, even if you have topped up before, your account may have been switched to phone by default (see above). So call 1-800-331-0500 and talk to a technical support representative to activate your plan as data, not as phone.

Settings and info[]

  • APN for smartphones: NXTGENPHONE
  • APN for modem, routers and tablets: Broadband
  • APN for smartwatches: Phone
  • Customer Support for GoPhone: 800-901-9879
  • Website:

AirVoice Wireless[]


AirVoice Wireless is a MVNO on the AT&T network on 4G/LTE and 5G/5G+.

Start up[]

Their SIM cards are available only online as mini-, micro- or nano-SIMs for $4.99 to be sent to an US postal address. International customers can use vendors on eBay who do overseas shipping for a surcharge. Refills can be done offline at Western Union outlets (list). Available are top-ups of $10, 20 or 30 which keep the card active for 90 days each. Online you can use callingmart without surcharge via PayPal or credit card or is a great alternative. Activation is done online here or by calling 888 944 2355 from another phone.

The is a maintenance fee of $1 per month, and is usually billed on the 8th day of the month. If your account has less than $1, your remaining balance will be depleted.

Data packages[]

Default data rate is $0.066 per MB and the following packages are available:

  • Unlimited Plans: they come with unlimited domestic mins, text, MMS, international. SMS and data for 30 days:
    • $10: 1 GB
    • $15: 3 GB
    • $20: 6 GB
    • $30: 12 GB
    • $35: 16 GB
    • $45: unlimited (unlimited slowed data after 35 GB)
  • Pay as you go Plans: they come with an airtime allowance. These are actually refills in a given amount and validity. Data stays at the default rate of $0.066 per MB all the time:
    • $10 for 90 days
    • $20 plus $1 bonus for 120 days
    • $30 plus $2 bonus for 150 days

More info[]

Cricket Wireless[]


Cricket (Wireless) was acquired by AT&T, but is not sold at their stores as it is marketed separately from AT&T. As such, it uses the AT&T network. You can bring any AT&T compatible device.

Start up[]

The SIM is sold online or offline at various independent shops and authorized dealers (locator) Also available at Target and Best Buy chain stores. But not branded AT&T stores for $10, where refills can be found too. Activations can be made in stores for $25 or online for free.

Data packages[]

They have these monthly packages on offer. All packs include unlimited domestic calls and texts:

  • $30 - includes unlimited calls, texts and picture messages across the US and 5 GB high-speed data
  • $40 - includes unlimited calls, texts and picture messages across the US and 10 GB high-speed data
  • $55 - includes unlimited calls, texts and picture messages across the US, unlimited texts to 37 countries and unlimited high-speed data access (subject to network depriorization at all times, no moble hotspot use)
  • $60 - includes unlimited calls, texts and picture messages across the U.S., unlimited texts to 37 countries and unlimited high-speed data access (unlimited priority data) including 15 GB mobile hotspot use.

Additional data is available at $10 per 1 GB extra. There is a further reduction on all plans of $5 on plans of $40+, when you enable auto-pay. Thus your prepaid turns to a contract, billed on a credit card. You have to have a MasterCard, VISA or Discover and at least in the US a good credit rating. Be aware, that you need to cancel auto-pay online, if you leave the country, or they will keep on charging your credit card.

Max. speed used to be throttled to 8 Mbps on LTE and 4 Mbps on 3G on all plans but the $60 plan. As of September 2018, this has changed. All plans streaming at whatever max speed AT&T's network allows. For data beyond the 5 GB and 10 GB plan's quota, speed will be throttled to 128 Kbps. All packages will renew automatically, if there is credit. If not, service will be suspended.

For tethering on the $30-$55 plans, they offer a "mobile hotspot" feature for $10 extra. Their "officially supported phone" list for this feature is very short and includes only several specific Android and Windows models. There are workarounds on the internet for other devices.

More info[]

H2O Wireless[]


H2O Wireless by Locus Communications is a MVNO on the AT&T network using 4G LTE & 5G.

Start up[]

H2O sells SIMs for $9.99 for tri SIM cards,or for $5 for SIM cards sold with an airtime bundle in a lot of retailers like Target, 7-Eleven, Best Buy or Family Dollar (locator) where refills can be too or online at without surcharge via PayPal or credit card or with, which accepts all type of bank cards and crypto currencies. It's also possible to buy SIMs on for less than $1, including shipping.

Top ups are available for $10, $20 and $30 keeping the account active for 90 days and for $100 active for one year. Activation is done online or by calling 800 643 4926 from another phone.

Data packages[]

Following monthly packages are available and include unlimited domestic calls, unlimited international texts, unlimited calls to 50 countries, these unthrottled 4G/LTE data allowances and some credit:

Rate Data Hotspot InternationalCall Credit International

Roaming Credit

$20 3 GB 2 GB $1.50 $5
$30 10 GB 5 GB $5 $10
$40 20 GB
$50 40 GB
$60 60 GB 20 GB $20

Default data rate is $0.10 per MB. All plans are soft-capped: speed will be capped to 256 kbps. Additional data is available at 5¢ per MB by adding a $10 "Feature Card". Unused Feature Card balances expire at the end of the plan month. All plans have rollover data, meaning that unused high-speed data rolls over to the next month. Rollover data never expires as long as the plan stays active but it's capped at a maximum of 5 GB. When using auto-pay all rates are discounted by 10%, but you will have to cancel. International call credit can be used for calls to 50+ countries.

More info[]

Red Pocket Mobile (on AT&T)[]

Red pocket

Red Pocket Mobile is a MVNO that has the choice between all 3 networks, but you have to decide which network to use and there is no roaming between them.

Start up []

The SIM cards are available for $9.99 online to be sent to an US postal address or offline at Red Pocket outlets. Take care which network you choose. Unfortunately they don’t have a retail outlet list, but on eBay vendors sell them as low as 99c plus postage with international shipping. Reload cards can be found in their stores, supermarkets or at without surcharges. Available top-ups are: $10 for 30 days, $25 for 90 days, $50 for 180 days, $100 for 365 days. If not topped up, account will be terminated and credit is lost. The SIMs can be activated online or by calling 888-993-3888 from another phone.

AT&T Plans[]

They include unlimited SMS and mins and unlimited calling to landlines in 72 countries and mobiles in 24 including China, Hong Kong, Canada, Israel, Mexico and UK all valid for one month:

  • $10: 1 GB
  • $20: 5 GB
  • $30: 20 GB
  • $40: unlimited (deprioritization after 30 GB)

Default data outside of plan is $0.10 per MB.

More info[]

  • APN for AT&T: att.mvno
  • Customer support: 888-993-3888
  • Websites: