You want to put your entire family on one cell phone plan, but you’re not sure which one to choose. Family plans are a great way to keep everyone connected and save money while you do. In this article, I’ll talk about the best cell phone family plans!
What Do I Need In A Family Plan?
There are a lot of different factors that go into choosing a cell phone family plan. So, before we dive into our favorite plans, we’d like to talk about some of those factors and help you make a more informed decision.
How Many Lines Do I Need?
This answer is pretty straightforward — you’ll want one line for each phone you want to include on your family plan. Most cell phone plans let you add 5–10 lines.
How Much Data Does My Family Need?
The average person uses less than 6 GB of cellular data per month. If you want to be sure your family won’t go over their monthly data allotment, seeking out a plan offering at least this amount of data per line will probably keep you safe from overage charges. However, every family’s different so there are still lots of other factors you can consider when looking into a plan
If you have an iPhone, you can track your data usage by going to Settings -> Cellular.
Shared Data vs. Fixed Data vs. Unlimited Data
On a similar note, it’s important to figure out whether you need a family plan with shared data, fixed data, or unlimited data. Here’s the difference between the three:
- Shared data: Your plan includes an allotment of data that is shared between all lines. If you had 20 GB of shared data on a three line plan, one line could use 14 GB, another could use 5 GB, and the third could use 1 GB.
- Fixed data: Every line has a set allotment of data that can only be used on that specific line. One line can’t borrow or use the data from another line. If everyone in your family has regular access to Wi-Fi, fixed data plans might save you some money without hurting anyone’s mobile experience.
- Unlimited data: If everyone in your family uses a lot of cellular data, you may be better off looking into plans that offer unlimited data for the whole family. If every line has access to unlimited data, you’ll never have to worry about running out early or encountering overage fees.
This isn’t exclusive to family plans. You’ll want reliable coverage from your mobile network no matter what type of cell phone plan you sign up for.
Make sure to check coverage in a few places — your neighborhood, a nearby relative’s home, your child’s college or university, and your family’s favorite vacation spot.
You’ll want to have reliable coverage in any place you visit frequently. You can compare the networks of every wireless carrier using our coverage maps!
If you want to add your younger child to your family plan, you’re probably interested in a plan that has some parental controls. Although some carriers do provide some parental control service included, you’ll actually have most control using the settings on the phone you get for your child.
The iPhone has a great feature known as Screen Time, which allows you to set time limits for apps, block certain content, and much more.
Android smartphones also have parental controls that you can set up in the Google Play Store. For more advanced Android parental controls, you’ll have to download a third-party app.
Do I Need To Sign A Contract?
You don’t have to sign a long-term contract to get a family plan anymore. Many wireless carriers offer no contract and prepaid family plans data plans. These plans are very flexible and give you the freedom to quickly change your plan or switch carriers if you feel that it’s necessary.
However, some family plans still require that you sign a contract. This is often true of premium unlimited data plans, which tend to have more features and less restrictive high-speed data caps.
Make sure to check the contract details of the plan you’re interested in before signing up!
Why Should I Put My Entire Family On One Plan?
There are a couple reasons why you would want to consider putting your entire family onto a single plan. First, it’s just easier to manage one account. You’ll get one bill rather than two or more. If there’s a problem with your account, you can resolve the problem quickly.
Many carriers offer special multi-line discounts when you sign up for a plan with more than one line. Typically, the amount you’ll save increases when you add more lines to your plan. Check out our other article to learn more about multi-line discounts!
Verizon Family Plans
|Prepaid 5 GB||Unlimited||Unlimited||5 GB per line||1–10||$25 / month||View Plan|
|Prepaid 15 GB||Unlimited||Unlimited||15 GB per line||1–10||$35 / month||View Plan|
|Do More Unlimited||Unlimited||Unlimited||Unlimited||1–10||$80 / month||View Plan|
|Just Kids||Unlimited||Unlimited||5 GB||1–9||$55 / month||View Plan|
Although the starting prices may seem high, Verizon offers multi-line discounts on family plans. You can save $10 or more for every line you add onto your Verizon family plan. Additionally, you can save on your bill by enrolling in Autopay and Paperless Billing.
5 GB Prepaid Plan
This plan includes unlimited minutes, unlimited messages, and 5 GB of high speed data. You can continue using data at slower speeds after you’ve used your high-speed data cap. Mobile hotspot, unlimited calling to Canada and Mexico, and unlimited texting to more than 100 countries.
15 GB Prepaid Plan
Verizon’s 15 GB Prepaid Plan is just like their 5 GB Prepaid Plan. It has the same international features and mobile hotspot data access.
Do More Unlimited Plan
The Do More Unlimited Plan includes unlimited data, 15 GB of 4G LTE mobile hotspot, and a 500 GB Verizon Cloud storage. The perks are great too — you’ll get a free year of Disney+ and a six-month Apple Music subscription. For an additional fee, users can access Verizon’s 5G networks as well.
If you’re looking for a more affordable unlimited data plan from Verizon, there are plenty of other options as well. Start Unlimited is the most basic unlimited data plan Verizon has to offer. While this lacks some of the bells and whistles that come with something like Do More Unlimited, your family will still have unlimited access to the widest-reaching cellular network in the United States!
Just Kids Plan
The Just Kids Plan is an excellent startup plan for your child’s first smartphone. It includes 5 GB of 4G LTE data as well as unlimited talk and text for 20 approved contacts. You have access to some parental controls, but you’ll find more comprehensive features already built into your child’s cell phone.
You can explore other Verizon cell phone plans using our comparison tool!
AT&T Family Plans
|Mobile Share Plus||Unlimited||Unlimited||3 GB||1–10||$50 / month||View Plan|
|Prepaid||Unlimited||Unlimited||8 GB||1||$50 / month||View Plan|
|Unlimited & More Premium||Unlimited||Unlimited||Unlimited||1–10||$85 / month||View Plan|
You can save a lot of money on your plan with AT&T’s multi-line and autopay discounts. An important distinction to make between these plans is that Mobile Share Plus has shared data, while the Prepaid and Unlimited & More plans have fixed data amount.
Mobile Share Plus Plan
The Mobile Share Plus Plan includes 3 GB or 9 GB of shared data across 1–10 lines. This plan is a better fit for small families, as there probably won’t be enough data to go around for large families. Any data that isn’t used rolls over to the next month.
Unlimited minutes and messages are also included with this plan.
8 GB Prepaid Plan
This plan includes 8 GB of 4G LTE data, unlimited minutes, and unlimited messages. You can continue using data at reduced speeds after you’ve used up the 8 GB of high-speed data.
This plan is an online exclusive, and you have to pay for 12 months of services upfront. This works out to approximately $300.
Unlimited Elite Plan
The Unlimited Elite Plan includes high-speed unlimited data usage, 30 GB of mobile hotspot, and international roaming in Canada and Mexico. This is AT&T’s most expensive plan, but it’s well worth the price!
Thanks to the AT&T exclusive Stream Saver, videos stream over the minimum amount of data on this plan. However, if you’re interested in HD video streams, you’ll most likely need to connect to a Wi-Fi network to achieve that level of quality.
Check out our comparison tool to compare more AT&T family plans.
T-Mobile Family Plans
|Essentials||Unlimited||Unlimited||Unlimited||1–5||$60 / month||View Plan|
|Simply Prepaid||Unlimited||Unlimited||10 GB||1–5||$40 / month||View Plan|
|Magenta Plus||Unlimited||Unlimited||Unlimited||1–10||$85 / month||View Plan|
T-Mobile offers big discounts on family plans. You’ll get a multi-line discount when you add lines to your plan and you can save even more by signing up for Autopay.
For example, you can get a four-line Essentials plan for just $120 / month. This brings your monthly price per line down from $60 to $30.
Another benefit to signing up for a T-Mobile plan is that, recently, Sprint and T-Mobile merged. Thanks to this partnership, there are more rewards and variety available from T-Mobile’s coverage than ever before!
T-Mobile Essentials Plan
The Essentials Plan gives customers just that — unlimited talk, text, and data. The plan also comes with a 3G mobile hotspot that can be upgraded to include an additional 10 GB for just $10 / month.
T-Mobile Simply Prepaid 10 GB Plan
The Simply Prepaid Plan is a great fit for those who want to be on T-Mobile’s network, but don’t need unlimited data. This plan includes 10 GB of 4G LTE data, unlimited minutes, and unlimited messages. You can continue to use cellular data at reduced speeds if you exceed your 10 GB high-speed data cap.
T-Mobile Magenta Plus Plan
The Magenta Plus Plan is T-Mobile’s top-of-the-line unlimited plan. In addition to unlimited minutes, messages, and data, you’ll also get 20 GB of 4G LTE mobile hotspot and a one-year membership to Netflix and Quibi.
Use our comparison tools to learn about more T-Mobile plans.
Best Family Cell Phone Plans With Unlimited Data
|Verizon||Do More Unlimited||Unlimited||Unlimited||Unlimited||1–10||$80 / month||View Plan|
|AT&T||Unlimited & More Premium||Unlimited||Unlimited||Unlimited||1–10||$90 / month||View Plan|
|T-Mobile||Essentials||Unlimited||Unlimited||Unlimited||1–5||$60 / month||View Plan|
Cheap Cell Phone Family Plans
|Verizon||Prepaid||Unlimited||Unlimited||5 GB||1–10||$40 / month||View Plan|
|AT&T||Prepaid||Unlimited||Unlimited||1 GB||1–5||$35 / month||View Plan|
|TextNow||Unlimited LTE||Unlimited||Unlimited||Unlimited||1–10||$39 / month||View Plan|
Don’t be fooled by the word “cheap” — a cell phone family can be affordable and excellent. You’ll save even more on the Verizon, AT&T, and TextNow plans with their multi-line and autopay discounts.
Best MVNO Family Plans
|Google Fi||Flexible||Unlimited||Unlimited||2 GB||1–6||$40 / month||View Plan|
|TextNow||Unlimited LTE||Unlimited||Unlimited||Unlimited||1–10||$39 / month||View Plan|
|Boost Mobile||3 Gigs 4G LTE||Unlimited||Unlimited||3 GB||1–10||$35 / month||View Plan|
|Metro by T-Mobile||10 GB High Speed||Unlimited||Unlimited||10 GB||1–5||$40 / month||View Plan|
|Visible Wireless||Single Line||Unlimited||Unlimited||Unlimited||1-4||$40 / month||View Plan|
|Ting Mobile||Set 5 GB||Unlimited||Unlimited||5 GB||1-10||$25 / month||View Plan|
Mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) are wireless carriers that lease coverage from Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and US Cellular. One big advantage of choosing an MVNO is that they typically offer plans at a lower price than the big carriers.
However, the larger carriers can distinguish between their subscribers and the subscribers of MVNOs who lease their coverage. This means that MVNO subscribers may have their data speeds throttled during times of network congestion.
Do MVNOs Have The Same Coverage?
You may be wondering if you’ll have the same coverage with an MVNO that you would with a major carrier. The answer is yes, MVNOs offer the exact same coverage. Since they don’t have to maintain their own networks, these smaller companies can pass the savings on to you.
Google Fi Flexible Plan
Google Fi Flexible Plans allow you to use varying amounts of data from month to month. You only get charged for what you use. Each line pays a base fee ($18 / month if you choose two lines), then an additional $10 / GB of data used. If you use 10 GB or more, your monthly bill gets capped, so you’d pay the same amount whether you used 10 or 15 GB.
TextNow Unlimited LTE Plan
TextNow’s Unlimited LTE Plan is for families that want all the benefits of unlimited plans offered by mainstream wireless companies at a cheaper price. Unlike the comparably priced Unlimited Kickstart Plan, this plan includes mobile hotspot. Your data speeds will be throttled if you exceed 23 GB in a given month.
Boost Mobile 3 Gigs 4G LTE Plan
Boost Mobile’s 3 Gigs Plan offers unlimited domestic talk and text with 4G LTE data capped at 3 GB. Once you exceed that high-speed data cap, your speeds will be reduced. Mobile hotspot access is included, but you probably won’t get much out of it with such a low high-speed data cap.
Metro By T-Mobile 10 GB Plan
This plan from Metro By T-Mobile includes unlimited messages, unlimited minutes, and 10 GB of high-speed data. There are no contracts, and mobile hotspot is not included.
Visible Wireless Single Line Plan
Visible’s single line plan features unlimited data, minutes, and messages for just $40 a month! However, this plan is eligible for significant monthly discounts if you register multiple lines. Visible’s Party Pay system allows up to 4 customers to sign up for a single plan. What’s more, all four party members are responsible for their own account and bill, so no one needs to shoulder the burden of making payments for multiple lines.
Coverage with Visible is top-tier, as they run on Verizon’s powerful nationwide network. New Visible customers can purchase a new phone when they switch, or keep their current device. Although there aren’t any physical Visible locations, the absence of overage charges and surprise fees makes a potential trip to the store less of a worry.
Ting Mobile Set 5 GB Plan
If you’re looking for an affordable MVNO plan with not too much data, be sure to check out Ting Mobile’s Set 5 GB plan. For $25 / month, Ting customers enjoy 5 GB of high-speed data and unlimited minutes and message. Ting allows users to add monthly data to their plan as needed, ensuring they’ll never need to worry about running out of data. Plus, any unused data each month will rollover.
This is a no-contract plan that doesn’t charge for overages. Ting users have access to both the 5G and 4G LTE networks, all powered by Sprint and T-Mobile. Data from you monthly allotment can be used toward mobile hotspot, and this plan includes international roaming after 3 months.
When switching to Ting Mobile, you can bring your current device, or switch to one from Ting’s excellent selection of the newest cell phones.
The Best Cell Phone Family Plan
So, what is the best cell phone family plan? Our pick is the Verizon Prepaid Plan with 5 GB of data. Every line gets unlimited minutes, unlimited messages, and plenty of cellular data every month. Even better, you don’t get charged overages on this plan. You can keep using cellular data beyond your 5 GB monthly allotment, but the speeds are throttled down to 600 kbps.
The Best Cell Phone Family Plan In 2020
The 5 GB Verizon Prepaid Plan
Each line gets unlimited minutes, unlimited messages, 5 GB of cellular data, mobile hotspot, unlimited calling to Mexico and Canada, and unlimited texting to more than 100 countries.
Up to 10 lines. No contracts. No overage charges.
It Runs In The Family
We hope this article helped you find a great new cell phone plan. Make sure to share this article on social media to tell your friends, family, and followers about the best cell phone family plans. If you have any other questions, feel free to leave us a comment down below!
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