As no-contract prepaid cell phones have begun to rise in popularity, the major carriers have started to offer no-contract options to consumers. GoPhone is AT&T's prepaid cell phone brand. It offers a variety of monthly, daily and pay-as-you-go plans that are split into two categories: smartphone plans and feature phone plans. While the smartphone options run on AT&T's 4G network, those prepaid cell phone plans tend to be slightly more expensive than the competition and are not the best because they are limited by the lack of roaming service.
GoPhone's four smartphone plans are all monthly, and they all include unlimited messaging. However, only one of those plans has a substantial, 2GB data allotment; the others are either Wi-Fi only or charge $5 for every 50MB or 100MB downloaded. When you buy a 4G smartphone, you probably intend to use it to access the internet on the go; if that's the case, your only viable option is the top-tiered $60 plan, which is a little more expensive than similar plans from other prepaid cell phone providers.
If you're only looking for feature phones, GoPhone's plans are much more flexible. The top-tier $50 option comes with unlimited everything – talk, text and data – while the cheaper monthly plans still offer decent prices, considering how few data features these phones tend to use. You have the option to pay $2 a day for unlimited talk and text and a 1-cent-per-5KB data rate, if you use your phone sparingly and only want to be charged for the days you need it. You can even pay per use through the service, spending a mere 10 cents a minute, 20 cents a text and 1 cent per 5KB of data.
GoPhone offers a number of smartphone options, but most are AT&T branded. For a price premium, you can buy a Samsung Galaxy Express or Galaxy Note II, though newer phones such as the Galaxy S III and Galaxy S4 are noticeably absent. You can, however, buy a Nokia Windows Phone, which is something of a rarity among prepaid providers. GoPhone's feature phone options are similar, in that most of its basic phones are AT&T branded. Fortunately, they're quite inexpensive. The majority of the phones cost less than $100, and you don't have to pay an activation fee for any of them.
All the major features you'd expect from a modern prepaid cell phone provider are here, from long-distance calling and voicemail service to call waiting and three-way calls. You'll just need to be sure to stay within AT&T's coverage map to make use of those features, since GoPhone doesn't offer roaming outside its network, even for an additional fee.
GoPhone is a comparatively average prepaid cell phone provider. Its smartphone selection is lackluster, and the plans that go with them are a little steep in price – and there are no unlimited plans. However, GoPhone's feature phones are inexpensive and have flexible plans to go with them. While GoPhone is disappointing if you're looking to browse the web from your mobile phone, if you just need a cheap feature phone, GoPhone's prices are tough to beat.
GoPhone offers daily, monthly and pay-as-you-go plans with no activation fees.
You lose all service if you leave AT&T's coverage area because the provider doesn't offer roaming.
With moderately priced plans and an unimaginative smartphone selection, GoPhone is best if you want a basic phone and a daily or pay-per-use plan.