AT&T Ends Certain Prepaid iPhone Plans, Updates Policy

Amidst ongoing discussions with an AT&T representative, we’re trying to clarify some conflicting details previously mentioned. Updates will be provided as they become available.

Recent clarifications from AT&T have highlighted that the new restrictions on iPhone usage for prepaid plans are not universally applicable. Brad Mays from AT&T has specified that the limitations will affect PayAsYouGo GoPhone users, whereas PickYourPlan GoPhone users will not experience any downgrade in service. Efforts are being made to ensure customer service representatives understand and communicate these distinctions clearly.

It appears that similar restrictions on prepaid services for iPhones are also being implemented outside the U.S.

A TUAW reader from the UK shared a screenshot directing users to this O2 information page, advising them to switch from regular prepaid plans to an approved O2 iPhone tariff.

Brad Mays further emphasized that PayAsYouGo customers do not have an official iPhone Data Plan, which is essential for the proper functioning of the 3.0 software on their devices. He directed these customers to this page for more information, confirming that the company’s representatives are now fully briefed on this policy.

Earlier today, a TUAW reader named Daniel B. contacted AT&T and was offered a prepaid PickYourPlan option with a $30 iPhone data plan, a service option we believed was no longer available. I have reached out to Mays for further clarification.

My recent conversation with AT&T left me quite astonished.

As a long-standing AT&T customer who has consistently paid for an official iPhone GoPhone plan, I was informed that I would need to either start a new contract with my existing phone or face a downgrade in data service quality.

This revelation came after receiving a text message about an impending software upgrade that could disrupt data services for those not on approved plans. Despite being on such a plan, I called AT&T to confirm my status and was told that they are phasing out support for prepaid data services, advising a switch to contract plans.

The representative confirmed that this change would specifically target GoPhone users, affecting their ability to access the internet and use data services effectively. They explained that the detection would be through SIM and account checks when accessing data services.

When I inquired about transitioning to a postpaid plan without a new contract, given my status as a long-term customer with fully owned equipment, I was told a new contract was mandatory. The representative mentioned that this was a firm AT&T policy aimed at moving all prepaid iPhone users to contract plans.

Despite requesting an official policy statement, I was told that only the text messages sent out were considered official communication at this time.

It’s disheartening to see AT&T handle the transition in this manner, especially with minimal notice and inadequate communication about the changes.


Brian is a dedicated writer for TUAW, where he shares his insights and expertise on all things Apple. With a deep love for technology, Brian covers a wide range of topics, from the latest iPhone and iPad releases to the intricacies of macOS and Apple Watch features. His clear and engaging writing style makes complex tech topics accessible to all readers. Brian’s enthusiasm for Apple products shines through in every article he writes.