AT&T's name is synonymous with cell phone service. It is estimated that around 128.6 million people use AT&T for their cell phone service. But why do they choose AT&T so often over their competitors such as Verizon Wireless or T-Mobile? AT&T is actually considered the number two most popular cell phone service in the world, second only to Verizon service. But the name has been around for decades.
What Makes AT&T Great?
AT&T is well-liked for a number of reasons. One of their new slogan sports the saying, "more bars in more places," to illustrate the vast coverage you will get when you choose AT&T as your cell phone service carrier.
One of the things that gives AT&T its staying power is the fact that it has been around so long. It brings to mind the great Alexander Graham Bell, who was the original inventor of the telephone, long before cell phones even became an idea in the minds of modern day digital techies.
But, beyond that, AT&T has been able to consistently deliver quality in usable products to customers over and over again. Their products and their services are dependable, and people believe that they can count on their consistency.
You can compare AT&T plans below, or check out the AT&T plan comparison page. Read on for the rest of the review.
One of the most appealing traits of AT&T is that their service spans a vast array of places across the United States and other areas, such as Mexico. Their plethora of cell phone towers are so readily accessible that you don't have to drive very far to be able to get service, even if you do find yourself in an occasional "dead zone."
This is what the company means when they use the slogan, "more bars in more places."
For many users of their service, this alone is enough to convince them that no other service comes close to what they can get with AT&T. The company spends billions of their revenue each year in expanding their reach and putting in more towers in the places that will reach the most people.
Another reason AT&T stands out is the fact that their service is so reliable. Even in times of storms or power outages, AT&T works feverishly to restore access to their customers' phone service if there is an issue that affects their immediate area.
The level of reliability and connectivity that AT&T continues to offer their customers is unsurpassed. People value reliability and connectivity more than anything else when it comes to their cell phone service. They just don't want to take the risks involved in trusting that they can get service in remote areas with any type of carrier. When people go on vacations or drive far from home, the need for security motivates them to make sure they can trust their cell phone carrier to know it is reliable.
Is It Just About The Bars?
AT&T does put a lot of emphasis on the amount of bars that light up. But it's more than bars. It's about knowing that you can always trust your service to be up and running when you need it most! They also offer packages that transcend the normal cell phone service packages such as international calling and special deals.
As you can see, there are many reasons why millions of people like AT&T. But there are also a few factors that are not so attractive. One is their price. AT&T tends to charge more than the average carrier over all, and they only offer flat features that leave some wanting more.
While their data and voice plans are pretty essential, you won't find a whole lot of other features or services that you can add, other than adding more data or talk time.
That's why some other carriers such as Sprint and T-mobile have been trying to steal the show with additional perks that appeal to the young group of mobile users, who are quickly dominating the cell phone industry.
AT&T's Bundle Package Deals
AT&T has noticed the song and dance of the other "upstarts" and they've kicked it into high gear recently with their bundle packages such as DIRECTV and unlimited data plans, both of which are also offered as standalone products as well who those who don't like to bundle.
Some customers have complained that the AT&T bundle plans include too many options that are not needed such as roadside assistance and extra cloud storage. But the latest DIRECTV plan has become more appealing to potential subscribers due to its lower price tage and the convenience of watching TV on your phone.
AT&T Phone Plans
When it comes to shopping for new phones on the AT&T site, their phone payment plans are confusing to many customers. Many complain that the information they find about specific plans only lists the early upgrade options and device dates rather than showing the full contract payment period. Many subscribers and shoppers feel that AT&T is not completely transparent in their phones and phone plan ads on their site and it could use some cleaning up.
AT&T's customers also complain that they keep customers in the dark on the plans and options. When you are navigating their site, one sometimes feels overwhelmed because each item or service that is listed is met with a tier of other options, products, or services that further confuse the user. Perhaps this is why AT&T spends thousands of dollars per year training and recruiting new AT&T phone and chat assistants to help people make a selection on their site.
No doubt the company could save a lot of money in overhead by simply making their site simpler to understand and avoiding hiring so many shopping assistants.
Advantages and Disadvantages
When it comes to looking at the "pros" and "cons" of AT&T's phone service, the strengths seem to be the following:
Coast-to-coast coverage in rural and urban areas
High speed connectivity
Large selection of premium smartphones
International voice and texting
While there are a lot of reasons people prefer AT&T over the other carriers, many people do not. Perhaps that is due to their primary weaknesses (listed below).
Small selection of lower priced phones
High prices for service, extra charges, and taxes
High initial activation fees
Low user-friendliness and mobile-friendly navigation
AT&T: Yesterday and Today
AT&T started as a landmark business to mark the achievements of Alexander G. Bell, as well as to defend the patent of Bell and the history that went with it. In some ways, it is as American as "apple pie." In other ways, it is not friendly to Americans due to its increasing involvement in the globalist agenda to serve as the leading cell phone service that hopes to dominate an industry that still has plenty of room for competitors.
There are also questions about how much AT&T works to protect the privacy of individuals. Phone records and text messages are supposedly kept in a database for too long, which may inadvertently give others access to sensitive information that has no business in the hands of third parties.
Of equal concern is the fact that AT&T seems to think that it should stand as the number one phone service simply because it has connections to the first telephone patent. This is simply not true in a changing world where technology changes faster than the rising of the sun.
In essence, AT&T has created a global monopoly on cell phone service, as well as including other services and products such as DIRECTV, cable TV, and landline phone service. But, with the recent trend to ditch the home-based phones in favor of mobile only, it seems to have had to reach further into its bag of tricks to maintain its global elite status.
Not all customers are impressed. Some have opted to move to other services due to some of the practices of AT&T, including their political affiliations that draw them into question about their loyalty to the country. So, despite the fact that AT&T takes credit for the first transcontinental phone call between San Francisco and New York, as well as the first transatlantic phone radio, and the first telephone operators, AT&T is not necessarily a company that will stand forever as the most famous or infallible phone company in the world.
To add additional scrutiny to AT&T's activities, they have recently merged with Time Warner, the home of HBO and CNN, the latter of which is quickly losing credibility with a majority of Americans due to its questionable methods in reporting "news." This is not the first time the company has drawn negative attention to itself either. They are currently under continuing investigation as to some anti-trust FCC litigation that crosses over into many areas of the communications industry.
In short, AT&T's attempt to remain the giant of telecommunications and phone service has driven them into some partnerships and activities that have some customers questioning their motives. Some also resent paying one company for all of their services that include an enormous and expensive bundle that usually includes the internet, home phone (if any), mobile phone service, and TV, all in a single package. It is evident that AT&T seems to want to be the big guy on the block to meet the needs of all customers for all services and make it harder for others to compete with them.
One perk that AT&T offers on the positive side is the fact that people are preferring to go to "prepaid carriers" instead of paying a monthly bill that is sometimes much higher than they had expected each month. With the prepaid options, customers are not forced into paying for services that they do not want or have to deal with credit checks or other annoyances with the premium phone plans.
AT&T has recently acquired Cricket Wireless as a subsidiary company that they can use to offer their customers more options with the prepaid plans and free them from the need for credit checks and high monthly bills.
Cricket Wireless is more transparent than some of AT&T's other previous prepaid plans and offers a seamless price that lists all of the features that customers get in a streamlined way. There is a data speed cap of 8MBPS, but this is pretty average when it comes to most cell phone service plans.
The Bottom Line: AT&T's Price Wars
When it comes to price, AT&T evens out pretty well with its chief competitor, Verizon Wireless. They are both built around well-structured LTE networks with the fastest speeds. They are both pricey as far as mobile smart phones go. The price for the "family plans" is higher than single plans.
AT&T uses the "Apple" model that states you must pay more for a better quality of service. While this is true in general, AT&T continues to irritate some of its customers with some of their high or almost hidden fees as well as their affiliation with some companies and entities that are not respected in the eyes of many.
Which is Best? AT&T or Verizon?
AT&T and Verizon are so similar in many ways that it makes choosing between the two difficult. AT&T does not offer to switch promotions, and their pricing ads tend to promote new bundles for TV, the internet, and phone. Be sure to check out our full AT&T vs. Verizon comparison for more information.
One of the biggest complaints that people have about AT&T is the fact that their billing procedures are not transparent. They have been called into question on this issue in different contexts many times. This involves the issue of their bill format and the confusing way that they list charges, as well as the lack of simplicity their fee structure offers.
According to some sources, many customers are paying up to an additional 17% on their phone bill with AT&T that includes surcharges and taxes. This may be an advantage to some of the smaller carriers that are available to mobile customers where simplicity and lower pricing means major savings over the telecommunications giant's offerings.
Other customers complain about the extra line fee charge that they are forced to pay when they add another device to their bill. Additional line costs can add up when it comes to adding data, and it requires you to pay an extra $20 per device per month.
AT&T PREPAID (formerly AT&T GoPhone) is the prepaid option that AT&T offers, and many customers are choosing to opt into that plan, rather than deal with the confusing long bills they get each month by selecting a premium plan. However, the prepaid plan does not allow customers to choose a new device or be eligible for upgrades. AT&T PREPAID customers have to purchase their cell phone outside of AT&T and add it to their account later by registering it on the AT&T network.
The coverage that AT&T offers has been compared to the size of the Atlantic Ocean. They do have excellent coverage. They have dependable coverage in all major cities and most small or mid-sized towns, as well, due to their increasing number of cell phone towers available across the U.S.
The idea of security, even in some of the more remote areas in the country, may be the reason that many people decide on AT&T in the end. They are trailing Verizon in subscribers as of this writing, but many independent metrics monitors put them "neck-in-neck" with Verizon regarding speed and performance.
For Older Phone Users
One caveat that customers must consider if they are considering using AT&T phone service is the fact that older phones may not meet up to the standards required by AT&T's high-end, cutting edge technology to make the grade. This means that some functions on older phone models may not be able to work on the new 4G LTE formats that AT&T offers. This may inhibit service quality and coverage options in some cases.
In the final analysis, AT&T is a strong, gigantic phone company that likes to see itself as the one-stop shop for communications devices, plans, and products. They have merged with some of the biggest telecommunications companies in the world to do this, but they can only really take credit for one major aspect: their coverage area.
While they do have a huge coverage area, they have still not been able to offer customers a whole lot beyond this basic need, though they do offer bundles and a multiplicity of "hotspots" for wireless that the clients have come to love and rely on.
To date, AT&T sports some 40,000 wireless hotspots and 200,000 internationally featuring 4G LTE technology. This gives people the power to shop, browse, and socialize online anywhere they are using theirs including AT&T data plan. Some of the most well-known companies in the world have silently partnered with AT&T by allowing their wireless hotspots full access to AT&T's powerful cell phone network.
Another perk that AT&T offers is the ability to stream DIRECTV from your mobile devices that won't count against your data bank. It does require a postpaid data service on an eligible device.
AT&T's "Stream Saver" option is another perk, and it allows you to stream videos on your mobile device at 480p DVD quality.
For speed, accessibility, and convenience, AT&T is a natural choice. You will probably not likely be stuck somewhere without service unless you are in a remote area of the desert somewhere without a cell phone tower within a hundred miles. You will pay more than with the smaller carriers, though the price will be comparable to Verizon.
If you don't mind the extra charges on the premium bill, their plans may be okay for you. You can always opt for the simpler and more streamlined "GoPhone" Prepaid plans if you want to have more control over their features.
Some people, however, have decided to look elsewhere due to some of the vague practices and billing procedures that AT&T takes part in, which is still unclear to many customers.
Look into their policies and read the fine print and compare them to other services, then go with your gut. It's usually right. Jump to top
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