While AT&T customers may have to wait until 2023 (at the earliest) for their carrier of choice to start recovering some of the ground lost to Verizon and especially T-Mobile in the 5G speed and availability fields, the battle for US wireless value supremacy is an entirely different thing.
Although it's certainly not easy to objectively and definitively name one nationwide value champion, AT&T has repeatedly risen above the pack in the last few months with unparalleled new plans, features, add-ons, and promotions.
Speed junkies everywhere, rejoice!
The latest announcement includes three different changes, at least two of which are guaranteed to put a big smile on the faces of quite a few existing and prospective AT&T subscribers. First up, you've got something that feels like a natural progression of sorts after the operator's recent introduction of 5G roaming services in more than 35 international destinations.
Specifically, unlimited talk, text, and data across 19 Latin American countries, all at no extra cost whatsoever for folks on AT&T's top-of-the-line Unlimited Elite plan. Starting May 3, your $85 (and up) a month will cover, well, everything you could ever need to easily communicate and browse the web from your mobile device at the highest available speeds both in the US and international destinations like Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama (in Central America), Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay, and Venezuela (in South America).
To reiterate and clarify, "high-speed" data (up to and including 5G) is covered in addition to unlimited voice calls, unlike what T-Mobile, for instance, offers on its $85 a month (and up) Magenta Max plan, which is unlimited texting and 3G data across 210+ "destinations" around the world. Of course, "210+" is better than 19, but if you're a frequent Central or South America traveler, AT&T is clearly the smarter choice right now.
The same goes if you're on a tighter budget and care about high-speed mobile hotspot data, which AT&T offers 3GB of on its Unlimited Starter plan, setting you back $65 a month and up.
The competition is not that far behind
T-Mobile and Verizon's entry-level plans, dubbed Essentials and 5G Start, meanwhile, start at $60 and $70 respectively with no such perk, giving Ma Bell another small but precious win that could well help the third-largest US mobile network operator in terms of subscribers offset some of its 5G speed and coverage flaws.
Last (and least) on today's list of changes, AT&T is consolidating its somewhat confusing and redundant Mobile Security and Call Protect tools into a single, powerful, and hopefully more efficient than ever app (pompously) called ActiveArmor.
This is also set for a May 3 release, and for what it's worth, "all AT&T wireless customers" will be able to take advantage of it completely free of charge to stay safe (allegedly) from spam calls and data breaches (cough, T-Mobile, cough) with "simplified and enhanced customer experience."
Predictably enough, the AT&T ActiveArmor app will have a premium version of sorts too with "advanced" features like Public Wi-Fi Protection, Identity Monitoring, Caller ID, and Safe Browsing available for free only for Unlimited Elite and Unlimited Extra subscribers. That sounds a lot like T-Mobile's Scam Shield Premium package (give or take a couple of features), which the "Un-carrier" also keeps restricted to its costliest 5G unlimited plan, so this particular value battle looks essentially tied to us.