AT&T announces Nokia Lumia 520 as their first pre-paid Windows Phone for $99

We heard rumblings that AT&T was set to launch the low-cost but nicely featured Nokia Lumia 520 (read our full review here), though we didn’t see them launching it on their pre-paid GoPhone system (opens in new tab). Indeed the device will launch this Friday, July 26th for the super low $99 with GoPhone plans starting at $25 for basic access and up to $60 with 2GB of 4G data.

Interestingly, this is exactly what a lot of folks were hoping Nokia and AT&T would do: launch the well-received Lumia 520 on the lucrative, but Android-dominated, pre-paid system. We saw just yesterday the Lumia 521 headed to MetroPCS and now with the Lumia 520 on AT&T, there’s a good chance the 52x may just explode in numbers in the coming weeks.

The cost for the 4” WVGA device is $99, which is the ideal price-point for such a device as it keeps what is essentially a fully capable smartphone within reach for a lot of consumers. The Lumia 520 on AT&T also supports “4G” but not evidently 4G LTE, though once again considering who this is geared towards, that’s not a bad trade off.

Read the full press release after the break.

AT&T Launches First Windows Smartphone for GoPhone, the Nokia Lumia 520, on July 26

DALLAS, July 22, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Beginning July 26, AT&T* will offer customers even more choice with the launch of the Nokia Lumia 520, the first Windows Phone in the AT&T GoPhone portfolio. The 4G-capable Nokia Lumia 520 will be available for $99.99.The Lumia 520 offers the intuitive functionality of the Windows Operating System and the outstanding imaging capabilities found on other smartphones in the Nokia Lumia family, all in a more affordable package. You can take great photos with the 5-megapixel camera and Nokia digital camera lenses, add motion to your pictures with Cinemagraph, or capture super-wide-angled pictures to take in more of the scene. In addition, you can use Smart Shoot to capture five sequential images and select different faces and portions of the photos to compile into one final group picture.The super sensitive 4-inch IPS LCD WVGA display allows you to use the phone with fingernails or while wearing gloves."We are excited to launch the first 4G Windows Phone 8 smartphone in our GoPhone portfolio," said Jeff Bradley, senior vice president - Devices. "A diverse device ecosystem benefits everyone, and the addition of an affordable Windows device gives our customers yet another choice that fits their needs."AT&T GoPhone customers can enjoy the affordability and simplicity of no annual contract wireless plans on the nation's largest 4G network. AT&T 4G service is available with any GoPhone smartphone plans.The Nokia Lumia 520 comes with access to free** global HERE Maps which provide information, photos and reviews on popular nearby places including directions or use HERE Drive to access turn-by-turn navigation, even when offline... To make getting around even easier, HERE Transit provides instant access to the best way across town using public transportation, offering a detailed overview of stations and stops, departure and arrival times, and estimations on your walking times.Like our other Nokia smartphones, the Lumia 520 comes with Nokia Music that lets you stream unlimited music for free***. Tap into the latest tracks or create your own channels based on the artists you love. Accessing your favorite things is easy with this Windows Phone 8 smartphone. Customers can pin playlists, HERE routes, web pages and documents directly to the start screen as Live Tiles to get to your favorite content quickly. Select from various apps to be placed as Live Tiles and resize to reflect 

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.

  • Oh man❕ its on now...
    And, the back of that phone closely resembles the big secret photo that Nokia is teasing us with.
  • Yep! Game on Android :D
  • Let's do this❗ ;)
  • A phone like this is the perfect backup device. At $99 if someone loses their phone this is the phone they should get as a temp until their contract runs out.
  • +1...I'm seriously considering picking one up to replace my 900 until I can get a WP8 flagship.
  • I highly recommend doing that.  The build and screen quality on the 900 are much better than the 520, but the features you get with WP8 trump that in my opinion.  Also I think the 5mp no flash camera may actually perform better than the 900's "Carl Ziess" camera.  Besides, they share the same Micro SIM card, so you can just swap between them as you please.  Great backup phone.
  • There are def some drawbacks to the 520, but I'm tired of seeing the "Windows Phone 8 only" on apps that I want to try. At least with the 520, its pretty much only certain games that I wouldn't be able to play. And for $99, if I don't like it, it can go in the drawer as a backup for when I inevitably drop my 900 into a pool or something. :-)
  • I am pretty sure I am going to pick one of these up.
    The only issue is switching between my 920 and this.  I did this previously between my 900 and 920 and it caused some aggravating data issues that I had to call AT&T to have them change something so my 920 worked well again.  I don't remember the exact situation but they said it can happen when switching phones often.
    These are also great iPod Touch replacements (at least for my kids).
  • Yes, but it sounds like you have to take their $25 monthly plan for some period of time to use it? If it's just $99 with no commitment and can be used on at&t's regular network I will buy one immediately!
  • You should be able to pick it up and use on ATT proper with no problems or issues.
  • I hope so... great budget phone!
  • At $99, this is a great deal for a back-up or even a teenager. If I can find one at Target or Wal Mart, it's headed with me to checkout.
  • +1,000,000,000,000,0000 lol
  • Yep, even with insurance ATT sent my wife through a 3rd party company who wanted $125 to replace her busted 8x.
  • Been waiting for this. Awesome!!
  • Great news.
  • Interesting. It's essentially the same phone as T-Mobile's Nokia Lumia 521 but $50 cheaper.
  • At&t must be taking T-mobile as a competitor quite seriously, they are trying to steal their thunder, good news for all of us
  • Just like the WalMart employee told me while purchasing the 521 for a nephew "great and cheap device, can't seem to have enough in inventory. Perfect for kids, older folks and drug dealers". Never laughed so hard but I have to agree with him.
  • Drug dealers? They use tracfones n simple mobile. Something they can toss away quick.
  • Your knowledge of this area is quite interesting...
  • He should have added...And it's the only thing right now seperating the alligators from Nokia's ass LOL
  • Same experience for me.  The 521 was soldout at most of the Walmarts closeby in the Bay Area.  I was lucky enough to find it during a trip to Napa.
  • I almost drove from Sonoma to that same Napa Wal Mart, but figured the gas and time wouldn't be worth the $20 savings over heading into the local T-Mobile.
  • "Windows Phone, the phone OS of choice for drug dealers"
  • Is this is actual full no contract price?
  • Yes, it seems like it as this is a prepaid carrier.
  • Yes
  • Any idea when we can start preordering? It says its suppose to release on July 26 or is that the preordering date?
  • Ditto. I am interested in pre-order as well. Any links? Can't find it on ATT website.
  • Wait was this the Nokia announcement today? The red image jives with the red teaser pic Nokia released?
    I was assuming Nokia was hinting at some kind of red version of the 1020 coming to some carrier in some country across the world, or a Microsoft exclusive color.
  • No thats tomorrow morning
  • Funny, This not one month after I was told by an AT&T rep that they would never put a Nokia on GoPhone after commenting about how much better the Lumia 521 was then their Android offerings. (I was lucky enough to have Nokia SIM unlock mine and added it to my AT&T account).
    More great training on and information about WP from those responsible for selling the platform. Go figure.
  • You're giving the reps far too much credit. I have a close, trusted friend that is a manager at a Verizon store and he never knows anything about upcoming devices (or is under NDA). Even if they knew otherwise, they probably couldn't tell you if they wanted to.
  • This is great news for Nokia and Windows Phone. Attack the low end market and get devices in people's hands, this is the way to break into North America.. (and the world really...)
  • free GLOBAL Here maps?  I call bullshit.
    This also puts a damper on getting a good UNBRANDED 520 here in the US.
  • On what world do you live where you ever thought that was a possibility in the US?  It wasn't.
  • Lol @ 2GB of data for 60
  • That's pretty standard for most prepaid plans and, unless you stream a lot, it is usually enough. I have even less bandwidth on my plan but I also only pay $40 and have little need for the extra bandwidth as I'm always in reach of WiFi. Different strokes for different folks I guess.
  • For the US maybe.. Over here I have unlimited data for €20/mo
  • You know that's not typical either.
    On my time on AT&T with my Lumia 900, I never went above 1.5GB, with completely average use - and that was for like $90/month on contract, and with LTE. $60 is a good deal.
  • Thats 2gb data plus ultd calling and texting
  • It just looks bad compared to t-mobiles pre-paid plans 
    T-mobile does unlimited texting and unlimited data (first 5GB at 4G LTE speed) for $30/mo pre-paid
    Meanwhile this is over 2-3X less (ignoring the fact that tmobile's is actually unlimited) for double the price. Meaning you get close to 4X as much the data for the price by simply going to tmobile, which largely has service that tends to excell in populated areas, where the majority of the population in the US regularly spends their time.
    Its just silly to me. I have no idea why anyone would ever choose AT&T if they wanted to actually save money because cheaper carriers like Tmobile and cricket do prepaid much cheaper and better for what you get. The only people I know who use AT&T are those who have money to blow, only have AT&T in their area, or are super-consumers and must get the hottest phones which AT&T tends to somehow get a stronghold over.
  • There is a very good reason to choose AT&t's plan: their network is significantly better.  Also, T-Mobile's $30 plan is only a lot better if you don't talk much.  These two things make a lot of difference.
  • I'd LOL too...T-Mo had their $30 plan for 100 mins/unlimited text/5GB data
  • I didn't think that the 520 was 4G ready.
  • "4G" here means HSPA+ not LTE
  • Ah, thanks for clearing that up Daniel.
  • Test
  • Yeah, it's confusing as in Oz I'd refer to HSPA+ as 3G+ and say "4G LTE" as one and the same. I'm sure other countries have their own variations
  • Sorry, I meant other Indian device manufacturers, anything that explodes WP popularity anywhere is good
  • Question: if I were to buy this, could I use it on a "normal" contracted plan to replace my 900 until I can afford a 1020 or other flagship?
  • Dont see why not, but they may make you buy a plan with the device. Call ATT to be certain
  • Yes, as long as it's on AT&T.
  • Pay 100 bucks and its yours. Its prepaid.
  • Because T-mobile seems to make you sign up for a while... But maybe that was just to unlock it. Regardless, many of us have never had no contract phones and find the concept a bit confusing at first (is that ironic?).
  • Yeah T-Mobile just requires you to use the phone for some time before they'll unlock it. But it can be used on a postpaid account and then get unlocked. Just go to the store and buy the 520, put your existing SIM in and go. If your existing sim is a mini SIM, activate the micro SIM included in the box on your account.
  • I used Lumia 521 on t-mobile existing number without any problem. The only thing that I had to do was call t-mobile to activate Wi-Fi calling. So no, you don't need to touch the SIM card that comes with the phone if you don't want to.
    I don't know how AT&T works though.
  • $100 and it is "yours" but branded to ATT and still at their mercy for updates.
  • I hope so, I'm planning on doing exactly that...
  • Maybe try getting your 900 unlocked first so it's value foes a little higher if you plan to sell it or move to tmo. ATT doesn't seem yo like to unlock unused phones. Once you get that you should get the 520 then you'll be able to sell or give the 900 away unlocked.
  •   The 520 has free Global here maps preinstalled, Here Drive+ only has regional navigation out of the box with an additional global license to be bought separately for I believe $20.   See also     The 520 Supports '4G' HSDPA+ Cat 14 (21.1 Mbps) as best speed which at the price would seem quite reasonable to me.    
  • If this had come out 1 month ago (when I bought my T-Mobile 521) I probably would've gone back to AT&T... 
    Also, LTE is wasted on capped plans. I never understand why us Americans (who mostly are on capped plans) care if we use LTE or not, other than because we pay for it. Usually, all it means is that we can max out our plan's monthly allotment in 2 hours instead of 6 (if we use it at its full bandwith).
  • You couldn't be more correct. You can have Ferrari but if I limit you that you have only 100 meters to race then what's the point of having a Ferrari. Given the steep prices of most data plans for what you get, makes it worthless.
  • Assuming your usage doesn't change, you're using the same amount of bandwidth, just waiting less time for it to arrive.
  • I literally "whooped" out load after reading the headline. This is what we've been hoping for for quite sine time. Whoo hoo!!
  • Adding fuel into the fire.
  • Fabs!!! I was actually going to pick up a 521 at my local Msft store at lunch break today but, truth be told, I have a Tmo Android phone and I hate the hardware but hate the service even more. I've had Tmo for prepaid for 3 yrs now and really disliked the service the whole time. I'm soooooo freakin' happy I can now port over to ATT and get a shiny new 52x!!! Thank you WPC for making my day!
  • Super price but how much cost to manufacture a phone like Lumia 520 ?
    Nokia make money on this phone ?
    My guess is the 520 would be around $30 to produce. All the tech in there was paid for and they cut whatever material and quality corner they could to make the cheapest but still full on Windows Phone they could. If you hold it to the 620 and 720 it shows quite clearly it's a cheaper device, but on it's own it holds up quite well..
  • Yeah, this thing is cheap - and it feels like it. But I use it as my main phone and really like it.
    Plus, there's something to be said for a user replaceable battery.
  • The margins on these types of devices are usually much slimmer. I'd guess Nokia is making about $10-20 per phone sold.
  • At&t is really putting alot of support in to Windows Phones. Hopefully the other carriers put in as much effort as At&t are.
  • only lip service.  WHen it comes to updates and carrier OS hacks they still FAIL IT.
  • Nice, but I'd still love to know how or why Nokia can provide microSD storage on these cheaper, smaller low end phones and not the "flagship" devices? 
  • I agree. It's pretty annoying actually.
  • One reason is that there is a lot more room for it in the 520/521. With less tech and less of a focus on making things as thin as possible, you can put a slot in there a lot easier.
  • Cheap phone to manufacture and this is also a "marketshare move". Sacrifice some profit to gain badly needed marketshare here in the US. This should work very well in terms of increasing awareness in the sales channel. :-)
  • I've never purchased a phone for Go Phone, will this be available in a regular AT&T store?
  • So since its the 520(not 521), will the battery covers for the original 520 fit?
  • No surprise that AT&T is picking up this device. They see how well the 521 is doing for T-Mo. If Chevy built a car that ran on Mac n Cheese and it sold well, you can bet the wife and kids that Ford would soon follow with a car that ran  on Mac, Cheese & Bacon Bits. In business, it's as important to know when to hop on the Trend Train as it is to be the Conductor.
  • This is pretty awesome. Devs really need to pay attention to the memory requirements for their apps.
    I might pick one up down the road for instances when I don't want to be carrying my 920 around.
  • Question:  After I buy one, can I simply insert  my AT&T Sim card and will it work?  (currenlty have an AT&T Samsung focus)
  • Yes
  • How come lumia 5xx in usa is only a half price in asia? Nokia is really trying to make a break through here at all cost. MS should not let them down, release more big things with wp please
  • We let everyone and their grandpa take a peek at our private emails, SMS, nude self portraits etc. etc. in exchange.
  • Windows phone is gonna spread like wild fire now. Hopefully AT&T keeps up with demand.
  • Comments from anyone that bought the 521 at HSN for 99 (or 79) over the weekend? I now really wish I had waited and got the ATT version instead. But of course didn't know ATT was coming...
    I like ATT but got sick of waiting for a budget WP to show up so decided to switch to TMO with the 521
  • I am in the same boat. 
    I may sell the Tmo 521 and hope to break even.
    I am hoping the ATT version will work with my strigh talk ATT SIM.
  • I think a lot of people might have buyers regret actually. I seem to remember the "how many sales" counter on the page being like 20k+, which I'm assuming was for that 48 hour offer only. Wonder how many frustrated ATT customers got sick of waiting :-)
  • Yeah I'm wondering what to do too. Will the TMo 521 only get 3G on ATT? Whereas the ATT 520 gets "4G" (non LTE)??? This may help me decide. Any thoughts??
  • a
  • So my mom uses an old flat rate GoPhone plan where she just pays $100/year for a block of minutes with no texting or data (using a dumb flip phone that is still branded "Cingular" lol). Could I cut that SIM into a microSIM and put it into this phone and not get charged more? Or even get AT&T to transfer her current plan to a microSIM for use with this phone? She would just leave data off and use wifi.
  • This is good news for Nokia. I think there low cost devises are much better quality than android low end. I've could have sold 10 of these things. Tmobile coverage sucks here and access to low end WP none existent.
  • My 13yr old son is about to get his first smart phone.
  • I hope TMo cuts the 521 price to compete with at&t. I missed the hsn deal, and a permanent price cut to $99 would be awesome.
  • Going to replace my 900 with this for college
  • Very nice!!
  •  I can see a lot of people on post-paid contracts picking these up to use as backups/replacements. Paying a $100.00 for a brand new phone is a steal especially when you consider that everyone with insurance has to pay a monthly fee and then $100.00 deductible on top of that. Then there's also the fact that you're not getting locked into a two-year contract.  
  • I will use this to upgrade from my Dell Venue Pro until a suitable flagship phone Comes out.
  • Would older phones already cover the low-end market? Buying an iPhone4, Galaxy2, etc?
    These are the cheap phones now, and still provide the consumer with a sense of fitting in with the high-enders. How will the consumer see the Lumia 520 as a better option than these older phones?  Right now I'm thinking in terms of "contract" price and not non-contract price. Not sure what these oldies go for off-contract.
  • Why would you bother comparing contract to non-contract price? Totally different. iPhone 4 8GB from AT&T is $451 off contract. They don't seem to offer S2 anymore, but the S3 is $465. Compare those prices to the $99 Lumia 520. Granted, these have better screens and whatnot, but if you compare what you get with the 520 vs similarly priced Androids it's a bloodbath, with the 520 easily victorious. The only issues are mindshare, investment in eco-systems, and marketing...
  • Will the TMo 521 only get 3G on ATT? Whereas the ATT 520 gets "4G" (non LTE)??? This may help me decide. Any thoughts??
  • wow what an awesome Deal
    This Phone is R1999 in South Africa (about $200) Pre-Paid (No contract)
    which they would drop the Price here as well
  • Why did they give AT&T the 520 with multiple colors while T-Mobile only has White!  And since the 521 is slightly longer then the 520 the back covers cannot be used on the 521!  Ugh!
  • I'm currently on NET10(ATT) with a Nexus 4 and have been looking at and thinking about getting a 520 as an inexpesnive way ($200 or less) to get a WP8 phone unlocked to use on NET10. I was looking at some on sale on Amazon and had a question about are those that are shown as "international version" , the ones I want to be looking to get to use on NET10, if anyone could answer that for me who are familiar with the window phones?
  • On a side note AT&T only has *BLACK* Nokia Lumia 520s. grrrrrh Why not realse all colors? I was wanting a Yellow or Red or Cyan not black.
  • will i be able to unlock this ATT Lumia 520. Pls let me know.