AT&T and prepaid subsidiary Cricket Wireless opened enrolment for a government subsidy programme covering internet and mobile service costs, bringing the operator broadly in line with rivals Verizon and T-Mobile US.
Customers approved for the Affordable Connectivity Programme (ACP) will gain access to a free prepaid mobile plan offering 5GB of data per month, with AT&T also offering 15GB for $10 a month or unlimited data for $20.
Cricket Wireless offers data plans for $30 per month, with less expensive packages for customers who take more than one line.
Subscribers to AT&T’s fibre internet service can also participate in the ACP.
The $14.2 billion ACP is part of a $1 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act signed by President Joe Biden in November 2021. The scheme replaced the $3.2 trillion Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) at the end of 2021 and will remain under the remit of the Federal Communications Commission.
Funds available each month are reduced from $50 under the EBB to $30 in the ACP.
Subscribers can apply the ACP to their existing services once approved for the programme by the government.
Verizon is also offering the ACP benefit, while T-Mobile is participating through its Assurance Wireless brand.