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Thread: AT&T Prepaid vs. MVNOs for coverage and call quality

  1. #1
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    AT&T Prepaid vs. MVNOs for coverage and call quality

    Is there any difference between AT&T prepaid and any of the AT&T MVNOs as far as coverage, call quality, dropped calls, etc? What is the advantage of paying more for the genuine article? I am not concerned about customer service.
    My smartphone is a lot smarter than I am.

  2. #2
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    At this point, most MVNOs don't offer VoLTE yet (though VoLTE on the ATT network is limited mostly to iPhones, some Pixels, and generally phones with ATT branding).

    There are exceptions I've seen here, such as Boom.

    Coverage can vary. Mostly in what limited roaming is offered.

    And some features are limited on iPhones due to the way ATT SIMS work on MVNOs. I've had to use a modified carrier patch to get better LTE support on my ATT MVNO, but when on ATT Prepaid directly (with a supported plan), I had Hotspot support, WiFi calling (when enabled earlier this year), etc.
    iPhone 11 is my current primary phone. But I have more phones than lines. Back to only Prepaid with the changes in the economy.

  3. #3
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    I was also told this affects your "priority" in accessing tower services like data... AT&T postpaid is given the highest priority, AT&T Prepaid is next, MVNO's are third, data contract services (like corporate vehicle location services or Blulink/OnStar type services) are next to last, and 3rd party roamers are last...

    What does that mean in reality? In most areas not much, but if you are in a high density, congested, or under-serviced area, you service on Straight Talk might be slower or a much latency than on AT&T Prepaid or Postpaid.

    Sent from my Pixel 3a XL using Tapatalk
    - If ignorance is bliss, why are there not more happy people in the world?

    Current Personal Phone: Google Pixel 3a XL (AT&T PrePaid)

    Other phones "in the family": Nokia 6.1 (AT&T), Huawei P20

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    Coverage and call quality-wise the same as prepaid 99% of the time. Only postpaid gets better coverage due to roaming agreements.

    A few prepaid customers have access to VoLTE which provides excellent call quality & a slight coverage advantage in select areas.



    Sent from my Moto E (4) Plus using HoFo mobile app

  5. #5
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    My experience over the last year is that, in Oklahoma along I-44, voice coverage is a little more complete with VoLTE rather than 3G. A few more dropout areas on 3G.

    But if coverage in your desired areas are good for ATT, likely the main difference is more choices for plans on MVNOs. Especially if you aren't a heavy user of voice and data.

    My "home" phone is a cell phone on an ATT MVNO where I pay $0.05/minute for usage. Averages to just over $3/month to keep active and my balance grows. For regular use, 10GB or more would handle my use case. 3G coverage seems better overall than CDMA voice on Verizon networks.

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