at&t tablet plan

$20 AT&T Tablet Plan

A popular plan for cellular internet, explained.

The Plan Details

> This plan is one of the most popular plans for cellular internet due to it being unlimited AT&T high speed data, relatively easier to use than other carriers' "Untraditional" plans, and for only $20/month. So, if you started here with Step 1 and discovered that AT&T is a good carrier in your area, this is a good option for a cellular internet plan.

> This $20/month AT&T Postpaid Unlimited Tablet/iPad Plan we are referring to is specifically the unadvertised standalone tablet plan, not the advertised normal add-on tablet plan (view differences in chart below). The name “standalone” is not an AT&T official name of the plan - it is just the unofficial name the community uses to distinguish the plans.

> The current name of this plan is "AT&T Unlimited Tablet" - it has gone by different names in the past and sometimes the name itself refers to both the standalone and the add-on tablet plans, so that sometimes adds to the confusion. View the recent history of this plan below.

> The plan is completely unlimited & unthrottled data.

> The only thing is that there may be possible deprioritization after 22GB. Which just means that your speeds may slow down some depending on the cell tower traffic (not due to throttling, but due to being lower on the tower's priority list for available bandwidth). However, on AT&T, most people don't even notice the depri, either because it rarely happens or, even when it does, it is still usable speeds. Of course, this all depends on your specific location and specific currently connected cell tower traffic. (You may get a text from AT&T after using 16.5 GB of data like this, but this is an ignorable standard text that usually doesn’t mean anything when it comes to depri, since AT&T depri usually isn’t noticeable or impactful for most users.)

> The plan also includes 10 GB of high speed hotspot data, then it is throttled to 128 Kbps afterwards. It does not mention this info anywhere in the plan descriptions. Also, the hotspot data usage will not show up on the myAT&T online account until hotspot data is actually used (then it will look something like this). However, this only affects people using the SIM in a tablet. If they use the SIM in a device that can change the APN (ie. cellular router), then they can avoid using hotspot data to remain unthrottled.

> It is a completely standalone plan, and you do not need a phone plan to get it at the $20/month price (unlike the other carriers). Although, you can also get it if you do have a phone plan with AT&T. So, this plan is available to new and current AT&T customers both with phone plans or without.

> This plan includes the Stream Saver (SS) feature that “lets” you throttle video streaming or not (sometimes now called "Video Management"). If you don’t want the video throttle, you can turn off SS. (The plan description on the myAT&T account actually says that the plan only has SD video streaming, but the description is wrong and the plan actually does include the SS feature to turn off and get HD+ video.) Unfortunately, some people have reported still getting video throttled after turning off Stream Saver, but there are fixes - View Note #9 

> The plan is $20/month plus taxes & fees. These vary by location, but most people report that the taxes & fees are less than $5. The average we have found is around $3.50 (here's an example). When you first get the plan, AT&T will send something to you called the "Customer Service Summary" (CSS). More than likely it will have a bunch of charges on it that make this $20 plan look closer to $30-40/month. But the CSS is absolutely inaccurate and a waste of time - so completely ignore it and wait for your actual first bill. Be aware that the first bill usually has a prorated charge for the first few days of using the plan + the first full billing cycle month + a possible activation fee.

> Why does this standalone plan exist? View Note #1 (below).

> Unfortunately, $20/month AT&T Postpaid Standalone Unlimited Tablet Plan is not listed on the website/online nor advertised in any way. The add-on tablet plan is listed on the website and advertised, but not the standalone plan (view differences in chart below).

> The main thing that you need to get this plan is a LTE and/or 5G tablet/iPad IMEI. How you get that IMEI is up to you. So some people buy a new tablet. Some buy an old/used/broken tablet. Some find an IMEI on eBay. Some use an IMEI generator. (Note: the IMEI needs to be of a tablet that is either unlocked or AT&T locked and most tablets are allowed, but there are some that won't pass the IMEI check, like some "phablets". The best option is to get a tablet on the AT&T Whitelist. One other thing is that if you are wanting 5G on this plan, you will have to give AT&T a 5G tablet IMEI for them to provision the SIM with 5G. Otherwise, they will only provision the SIM with LTE.). However, even if you are going to put the SIM in a cellular router, we do recommend getting a LTE/5G tablet (if you don't already have one) - mainly so you can own the IMEI and avoid the potential issues with other methods. Where can I get a cheap tablet? View Note #2.

> The only way to get this plan is directly from an AT&T representative - in store (preferably an AT&T corporate store), over the phone, or via online chat. And you have to get a SIM from AT&T for this plan during sign up, you cannot bring your own SIM.

> The main issue with getting the plan is that not all the reps know about this plan or will give out this plan. So wherever you go to get the plan, it just depends on which rep you get, if they know about the plan, & will give it out. Just keep trying until you find a rep that will help. 

> If you continue to have issues finding a rep that can give you this plan, one thing you can try is to ask the rep to look up available plans by IMEI. Then give them the LTE/5G tablet IMEI and this plan should show up in their system. (Some reps may deny that this will work, but just politely ask them to try it. Sometimes they will find the plan and actually be surprised that it shows up.) Another tip that may help is that AT&T uses Service Order Codes (SOC, pronounced "sock") for certain plans and features. There are reports that this plan's SOC is "SDGUNLSA" - sometimes this can be helpful to reps that know how to use SOCs. 

> If you want to try over the phone, you should just be able to call them up and ask them for the standalone tablet plan (NOT the add-on plan, and don't mention hotspot, as that seems to cause the reps confusion sometimes). They will ask for the IMEI of your tablet and then your personal info (SSN, DL, etc - Why do they ask for this? View Note #3). The number to call is 1-855-593-1430 (or 1-800-288-2020 has been reported to work too) and most people suggest calling during normal business hours (Eastern time). If you get a rep that doesn't know about the standalone plan, then just call back until you find one. However, most people that call that number are able to sign up relatively easy because the reps at the 855 number usually know about the standalone plan. Also, they may offer to waive the $30 activation fee. If they don't offer to waive the fee, then you can ask them before you sign up. If they won't waive the fee, some people have been able to waive the fee via their online account after getting the plan (How do I do this? View Note #4). They usually ship the SIM overnight via FedEx. Some have even gotten theirs in about 18 hours after they called. (By the way, since the 855 number is the number to an AT&T contracted sales vendor, they might offer you other services & products, but just say no if you aren’t interested. Also, we have received community reports that an in-store rep confirmed that the 855 number is a real AT&T sales vendor direct number - even though sometimes the number redirects to the sales vendor's international call centers with sometimes less trained reps.) [UPDATE: We are getting reports that aquiring this plan is becoming more difficult through this number. This is probably due to the sales vendor being more strict with their reps in selling this plan for the $20/month wihtout a phone line. However, what has worked at times is what some of the reps say about this. They say they will sign you up for this plan, but it will show $75/month. Once you receive your SIM, then you can call AT&T Customer Service and ask for them to switch this plan to the $20/month. We have multiple reports that this does indeed work.]

> If you decide to get the plan at a corporate store, we recommend calling the store before wasting your time going to one - call to confirm that they know about the $20 standalone tablet plan and that they can sign you up for it. Also, some reps don't care if you bring just the IMEI number, but other reps do want you to have the tablet in hand to get the plan.

> If you decide to get the plan via online chat, just be aware that this is the least successful option. There are reports that some people have been able to get it via chat, but there are also a lot of reports of unsuccessful attempts. 

> Sometimes when people sign up for this plan, there is a requirement about accepting the Terms & Conditions (T&C) for the plan. This sometimes causes glitches in their system. What glitches can happen with the T&C? View Note #5

> Sometimes people get a rep who claims to know this plan and will claim to sign them up for this standalone tablet plan, but end up signing them up for the add-on tablet plan instead of the standalone tablet plan. On the rare occasion that this happens to you, you have two options: 1. Call AT&T and see if you can get a rep to switch the plan to the standalone tablet plan (some people have reported success with this). 2. Call AT&T to cancel the add-on tablet plan, then try again to get the standalone tablet plan.

> Once you receive the SIM for the plan, the SIM usually comes pre-activated. However, if it does not, you should be able to activate the SIM on AT&T's website here or by calling in. 

> There are 3 common SIM sizes (Standard/Mini, Micro, Nano), and the SIM size they send you is based on the size of the SIM of the device IMEI given to the AT&T to sign up for the plan. This may be relevant to the size of the SIM slot of the device that you want to put the SIM in. What if you have the wrong size SIM? View Note #6

> If you purchase a tablet from AT&T when you sign up for the plan and depending on the specific tablet, it may come with the plan on an eSIM. What if you have the plan on an eSIM? View Note #7

> Once you get the plan/SIM:

1. Make sure to register for and/or login to myAT&T to get familiar with the online account management. Unfortunately, sometimes there are issues with this. What if I have issues logging into my account? View Note #8

2. Turn off Stream Saver on your myAT&T account (to avoid video throttle). Instructions here. Unfortunately, some people have reported still getting video throttled after turning off Stream Saver - View Note #9

3. Use cases:

   A. Normal Tablet - If you want to use the SIM inside of your tablet as a normal tablet, go ahead and use away like normal. You could also connect your tablet to a TV or monitor with specific adapters or wirelessly ("casting", "Airplay", etc) - this allows some people to stream video onto their TV from their tablet without using hotspot data. 

   B. Tablet As A Hotspot - If you want to use the SIM inside of your tablet, but use the hotspot/tethering feature (maybe even USB tether to a WiFi router), it is possible, but the plan only includes 10 GB of high speed hotspot data, then throttled to nearly unusable speeds. So, you will have to mask hotspot data, which is against the TOS (Terms of Service).
   In order to do this on an iPad, you will need to Jailbreak and then install a Jailbreak Tweak called TetherMe - which will let you use WiFi hotspot and USB tethering while masking hotspot data usage. Unfortunately, not all iPads are able to be Jailbroken on all iOS versions - here's a chart to help figure that out. Jailbreaking is not usually that difficult, but it is all dependent on what specific model and iOS version you have. Each one is different and there are multiple different Jailbreaking tools out there. Additionally, sometimes it is easier to Jailbreak when you have a Mac. Therefore, we recommend using the chart linked above to help point you in the right direction. Another option that may work is PairVPN (no Jailbreak required).
   In order to mask hotspot data on an Android tablet, there are a few options. First, you can use an app that will mask hotspot data, like PDANet or EasyTether. Unfortunately, these only work with a companion app that has to be installed on a computer/router/device that supports the companion app. Second, you might be able to try messing with some APN settings in the Settings app - something having to do with DUN values or adding ",dun" to the APN. This may only work on unlocked devices and some people report that this method is no longer working. Third, you can look into Rooting your Android, which is like iOS Jailbreaking. This should unlock access to certain parts of the tablet's settings in order to mask hotspot data, or at least allow you to install an app to do this.

   C. Cellular Router - If you want to use the SIM inside of a cellular router/hotspot device there are a few settings that need to be changed.
   APN = "broadband", or if the SIM has been provisioned for 5G, "nrbroadband" (this will avoid using hotspot data)
   IMEI modification (this will protect from shutdown, but it is a little tricky)
   IMEI modification is important because if you want to use this plan in in an unapproved device for the plan (a non-tablet/iPad), that is against the TOS. Therefore, AT&T will detect this in an unmodified cellular router and eventually shut down the line. In order to avoid getting shut down, IMEI modification is necessary.

   Learn more details about IMEI modification and resources on how to do it.


Additional Info


Chart

at&t tablet plans chart
Click image to zoom in high quality.

Notes

The standalone tablet plan technically isn’t "supposed" to be sold to people without a phone plan. The purpose of the standalone vs the add-on tablet plan is to allow a customer that has the max 10 lines to get another tablet plan. If a customer has 10 lines, but they want a tablet plan, the system will not allow a rep to add the add-on tablet plan. However, the rep is then supposed to use the system to add the standalone tablet plan so the customer can have another tablet line, even though they have the max 10 lines. There is nothing in the system to prevent a rep to sell this standalone tablet plan to someone who doesn’t have a phone plan. But some reps are not trained properly or they don’t care and want to make the sale.

If you do choose to get a tablet, there are cheaper options than just buying a new one - like buying a broken/used/refurb one on the private market or 3rd party sellers. The tablet doesn’t need to function. However, keep in mind that with some tablets, the only way to get the IMEI is to turn it on. Some do have it on the box or on the back of the device.

So, we usually recommend these places.

3rd Party
• Amazon (refurb or cheap new)
• Walmart (refurb or cheap new)
• BestBuy (open box)
• Decluttr (cheap refurb)

Private Market
• Swappa
• OfferUp
• Facebook Marketplace
• Craigslist

Be careful on the private market, though. Lots of scammers. But if you are wise, you can get a great deal. In fact, in Summer 2020, one of our contributors bought an old LTE iPad Air 1 with non-functioning Bluetooth and WiFi for $40 on OfferUp!

Since this is a Postpaid plan, AT&T will need to do a credit check (this is standard practice with almost any Postpaid plan on any carrier). In order to do a credit check, they will need to ask you for your SSN (Social Security Number), possibly your DL (Driver's License number), address, etc. The good news is that, as of the end of July 2020, carriers have been required to no longer do hard credit checks and only do soft credit checks. If you are worried about your credit check, there are reports of people with bad credit still able to sign up for this plan, as long as they don't try to finance a device and only get the plan by itself.

If the rep doesn't waive the activation fee when you sign up for the plan, some people have been able to waive the fee via their myAT&T online account after getting the first bill. You can log in to view the bill. While viewing the bill, there should be a link next to the activation fee line item that says something like "Explain Fee." Then click on it and there should be a link to "Dispute" the fee. Just follow the prompts to most likely get the fee waived.

There have been reports about this whole T&C thing with signing up for this plan via phone or online chat.
> Sometimes they require people to accept the T&C and sometimes they don’t. 
> Sometimes when someone tries to accept the T&C, the system errors out and won't let them accept the T&C.
> Sometimes when someone doesn’t accept the T&C, the account gets suspended and they don’t ship the SIM. But sometimes they don't suspend the account and the SIM ships.

It’s super inconsistent and we haven’t yet figured out why this happens sometimes - other than a glitch in the AT&T system. Worst case scenario is that if you keep trying to get the plan over the phone, but the T&C issue keeps canceling the SIMs from being shipped, you can go into the store to get the SIM without having to worry about this T&C issue.

You have a few options:
> Sometimes the SIM they send is actually a multi-size SIM, you just need to "pop" out the right size. So, double check that the SIM doesn't already come pre-cut to be resized. 
> If the SIM is too big, you can either buy a cheap SIM puncher on Amazon or you can actually cut the SIM down to size. They have guides online on how to do this.
> If the SIM is too small, you can get some cheap SIM adapters
> You can also go into an AT&T corporate store and request for your plan to be switched onto a different size SIM.

You can call AT&T or contact via online chat and ask them to switch the plan from an eSIM to a physical SIM and then they will send you one. Or you can go into a corporate AT&T store and request them to switch the plan to a physical SIM.

This issue can be frustrating and annoying. This is a known issue for some, who have no other lines, to log into their myAT&T account. The reason for this is because of the Two Factor Authentication (2FA) security on the account. It’s not usually a problem because people will either have phone lines on the account that will receive the 2FA texts or they have the SIM in a tablet/device that receives texts.

However, if you are unable to get 2FA texts, what you need to do is call customer service and request that they disable 2FA on the account. Now, not many reps know how to do this, so it may take a few tries to get a competent rep (like always with AT&T...lol). They will either disable 2FA or figure out a different way to authenticate your account.

We do need to put a disclaimer that some people have reported that they tried contacting AT&T about the 2FA issue and had not been able to get it resolved for weeks. Hopefully you won't have to deal with this issue. 

Another option is to reset your password online by answering the security questions. Unfortunately, you would have to do this each time you want to log in.

*Note: 2FA does not happen every time you log in. Only on devices that you use for the first time (or in a while) to log in to your account and then verify with the 2FA code.

Unfortunately, there are some reports of people experiencing that odd behavior with SS off. For example, when observing a Fast.com speed test, it looks like AT&T allows a video burst and then throttles to 3.4 Mbps after the burst, even with SS off. Based on the reports, we believe that this may be regional or sporadically applied. Even then, some people see Fast.com get the throttle, but can still stream HD just fine with no issues. So, definitely check your streaming services to see if you actually experience a video throttle.

However, some have reported solving the issue by doing one of 2 things (may or may not work for you).

5G SIM Provisioning
First option is a fix that has been reported to work well. Basically, you just need to make sure your plan gets provisioned for 5G. Even if you don't have a 5G device. Once you make sure the plan is provisioned for 5G, you will be able to use the 5G APN (nrbroadband), instead of the pre-5G APN (broadband). It seems that the video throttle is not affecting the 5G APN. The easiest way to make sure your line is provisioned for 5G is to call AT&T customer service and give them an AT&T Whitelisted 5G tablet IMEI. Ask them to update the IMEI and make sure the line/SIM gets reprovisioned.

Stream Saver Toggle
The second option is one that is reported by some who have found that if you turn off and then turn on SS, it may fix the issue. Here's the steps to do that:
1. Turn on SS
2. Wait 5 mins
3. Completely reboot device
4. Wait 5 mins
5. Test Speedtest.net & Fast.com to confirm the video throttle is on
6. Turn off SS
7. Wait 5 mins
8. Completely reboot device
9. Wait 5 mins
10. Test Speedtest.net & Fast.com to confirm the video throttle is off

If you found this information useful, please consider supporting this website to help others to continue to have access to this information too.

AT&T Standalone Tablet Plan Recent History

Early May 2021 

Name Change

> The plan now has a new name: "AT&T Unlimited Tablet"
> Interestingly, it also has a new plan description on the myAT&T account website. This plan description is inaccurate because it states that there is only SD video streaming. However, it is confirmed that the plan still includes the Stream Saver feature and it can be turned off to remove the video throttle for HD+ video streaming.
> The plan description also indicates that there is now possible deprioritization from the beginning (instead of after 22 GB, as previously). But this is not accurate. Users of this plan have reported to getting the warning text at 16.5 GB that depri might happen after 22GB. Even then, this doesn't usually matter.

Early February 2021

Hotspot Data Change

> AT&T changed this plan from having unlimited and unthrottled hotspot data to only 10 GB of high speed hotspot data, then throttled to 128 Kbps after.
> It first started only with new signups, but then began to roll out to current users over the next few weeks/months. 
> This really only affected people using the SIM in a tablet while using WiFi hotspot or USB tethering. People using the SIM in a cellular router weren't affected because AT&T doesn't classify their usage as "hotspot data" due to their APN settings. 
> The hotspot data usage counter doesn't show up on the account until hotspot data is actually first used

Mid December 2020

Stream Saver Change

> The Stream Saver switch on myAT&T went from being greyed out to now being active and fully functional (before, the switch was displayed on the account, but it was grey out and in the "off" position).
> There was no video throttle before, just no way to turn on the Stream Saver feature (not that most people would anyways).
> With this change, Stream Saver was defaulted to the "on" position, causing users to have to log into myAT&T and turn it off to remove the video throttle.

September 25 2020

Name Change, 5G, & Unlimited Your Way Plans Introduced

> With AT&T introducing new UYW phone plans, that changed up the tablet plans. AT&T changed all tablet plans to a new name: "Unlimited For Tablet
> There is now only one add-on tablet plan available, which can experience deprioritization from the beginning, SD-only video streaming, and no hotspot data (even for UYW Elite customers). 
> The standalone tablet plan still had 22 GB of prioritized data, unlimited & unthrottled hotspot data, and no video throttle - Stream Saver showed up on myAT&T, but it was greyed out to the off position. 
> The plan now includes 5G access for compatible devices

Pre-Sept 25 2020

Standalone Tablet Plan

> Prior to the major changes on Sept 25, 2020, the name of the standalone and add-on tablet plans were: "Access For iPad 4G LTE
> The standalone tablet plan had 22 GB of prioritized data, Stream Saver to turn off video throttle, and unlimited & unthrottled hotspot data 
> This standalone tablet plan was reportedly around for a few years, but did not become well-known until about March 2020. In February 2020, AT&T shut down a popular cellular internet plan, the $35 Prepaid Unlimited iPad plan. So, users searched for a replacement, and this $20 AT&T Standalone Tablet plan filled the gap for many people.


Disclaimer:
  • Cellular internet has too many variables to predict with certainty what will work. There are no guarantees. Everything on this site has been complied from multiple resources and is provided for informational purposes only.

Disclosure:
  • Some links to 3rd party sites may be affiliate links. This does not influence the information shared on this website.

© Copyright 2021.
All Rights Reserved.

  • Website v1.2
  • (July 2022)