I broke away from my AT&T contract plan a few years ago. I have since used a few different prepaid services. The one that I have stuck with the longest is Cricket Wireless.
They offer reasonable rates and have basically the same service as postpaid (contract) AT&T. They are actually owned by AT&T.
The key differences are:
1. They do not offer roaming. So if you are in an AT&T dead spot, you will not have service. I have experienced this in very few locations.
2. Your data speed is throttled at 8MBps. This should be plenty fast for most people. I have no issues with browsing Facebook or watching YouTube videos.
3. Service is at a lower network priority than postpaid AT&T customers. So if you are in a congested area, you may little to no service because of the lower priority.
So there are a few caveats. But I am paying a flat $35 a month for service that includes 2.5GB of data. That includes taxes. Cricket has a referral system that can save you even more money by reducing your bill by $25.
You can use any AT&T branded or unlocked phone on Cricket. Just buy a SIM kit through their website or they are also available at Best Buy, Target, Amazon (affiliate link), GameStop, and Cricket retail stores. I personally bought mine at Target for $10 and activated my service through Cricket’s site at no extra cost. The process is pretty simple and fast.
I see no reason to ever go back to a postpaid plan. I can still get the latest phones if I want. I just buy them outright and still come out ahead. www.swappa.com is a good place to look for discounted phones if you need to upgrade.
I would be glad to PM you my referral link for Cricket if you decide to make the switch. We both get a $25 credit after 90 days of service.
There are many other prepaid services to check out depending on your needs. MetroPCS, Straight Talk, Page Plus, Consumer Cellular, and Boost Mobile to name a few. The beauty of prepaid is that you are free to switch services at any time. So if one service is unsatisfactory then you can switch whenever you please.