best- family cell phone plans

Best Family Cell Phone Plans

If you want a cell phone plan for multiple lines, unlimited data is the way to go. And the best choice for families comes down to T-Mobile. The Uncarrier offers a compelling mix of unlimited data at an affordable price, provided you’re willing to live with restrictions on video streaming.

Choosing the right carrier plan is one of the most important and daunting decisions you’ll make as a phone owner, especially when you’re picking a shared plan for your whole family.

While every family is different, for the sake of this article’s calculations, we’ll settle on a family of four comprised on two adults and two kids. I’m also calculating the plan price alone. If you’re buying any new phones, you’ll need to factor in handset costs — these vary.

The Best Family Cell Phone Plans Available in 2018

T-Mobile

t-mobile family plans

T-Mobile One offers unlimited talk, text, and high-speed data. Also included is unlimited mobile hotspot at data speeds that top out at 512kbps; unlimited 480p video streaming; unlimited talk, text, and 4G LTE data in Mexico and Canada; and unlimited text, unlimited 128kbps data, and $0.20 per minute calls in more than 140 countries and destinations. T-Mobile One customers will also get unlimited texting/messaging on their flights as well as one free hour of Gogo in-flight Wi-Fi.

Pricing for T-Mobile One starts at $140 for four lines ($35 per line) or $140 a month for a family of three ($47 per line), the lengthy list of T-Mobile perks makes it hard to pass up, although T-Mobile’s coverage in your area will certainly play a factor.

Keep in mind that those prices factor in AutoPay, which gets you a $5 per line per month discount when enabled. If you’re not enrolled in AutoPay, the monthly cost for each line increases $5 per month.

You can add a tablet to your T-Mobile One plan for $20 per month, or a wearable for $5 per month.

Each Line Gets:

  • Unlimited talk, text, and data.
  • Unlimited international texts
  • Unlimited in Mexico & Canada.
  • Unlimited video streaming
  • Free mobile hotspot data.
  • Netflix at no extra charge.

1 Line: $70/line

2 Lines:$60/line

($120/mo)

3 Lines:$50/line

($150/mo)

4 Lines:$40/line

($160/mo)

Sprint

sprint

Sprint has made picking the best mobile plan easier, much like T-Mobile’s plans. Front and center in Sprint’s current mobile plan offerings is the Unlimited Freedom plan, which extends to cover its family plan as well. So, what’s the deal? Well, Unlimited Freedom offers unlimited talk, text and data. That includes HD video streaming and 10GB of mobile hotspot data per line on the plan. Sprint is even throwing in a free Hulu subscription with the plan.

Sprint’s Unlimited Freedom plan offers the first and second line for $60 and $40 per month, respectively, with lines three to five coming at $30 each per month.

Still, there is one huge limitation carried over from the cheaper plan: the complete absence of tethering. If you are someone who often finds himself in need of internet connection in places where Wi-Fi isn’t widely available, Sprint may not be the right carrier for you.

On the other hand, if you rarely use tethering, the Sprint Unlimited Freedom Premium plan is a great way how to free yourself from the shackles of data restrictions.

Each Line Gets:

  • Unlimited talk, text, and data.
  • Unlimited video streaming
  • 10GB mobile hotspot data.
  • Hulu at no extra charge.

1 Line: $60/line

2 Lines:$50/line

($100/mo)

3 Lines:$33/line

($100/mo)

4 Lines:$25/line

($100/mo)

Cricket Wireless

cricket wireless

As MetroPCS is to T-Mobile, Cricket Wireless is to AT&T. This subsidiary has a wide variety of plans that starts at $25 for unlimited talk and text but no data. Add an extra $5 and you get 2GB of data. Cricket also offers tethering if you have an unlimited monthly plan and pay the extra $10 per month for the Mobile Hotspot feature. All data usage is capped at a speed of 8Mbps.

One distinguishing feature of Cricket’s plans is its discounts for autopay and for multiple lines. Autopay nets a $5 credit per month, while group discounts start at $10 for the first line and then jumps to $20 per line for the third through fifth persons on the plan. Autopay and group discounts cannot be combined.

Cricket supports BYOD and also offers a variety of phones for sale but no financing. It does offer discounted prices on lower-tier smartphones, however, if you transfer your number from another carrier. (Restrictions apply.)

Cricket also offers restricted domestic roaming, and international roaming in Mexico and Canada. The latter is available only if you have the $55-per-month plan or greater.

All Lines includes: Unlimited talk and text & mobile hotspot data.

  • 5 GB: 1er line/$40 – 2nd line/$30 –  $20 off each additional lines
  • Unlimited: 1er line/$55 – 2nd line/$45 –  $20 off each additional lines

MetroPCS

metropcs

Owned by T-Mobile, MetroPCS offers standard prepaid packages similar to the mainstream carriers. You can still save some money, however, as MetroPCS offers unlimited talk and text along with 2GB of LTE data for $30 per month. Any data usage after that is offered at slower network speeds. Plans with 5GB of LTE and unlimited LTE cost $40 and $50 per month, respectively. There’s also a $60 plan that offers similar features to the $50 plan but includes 10GB of dedicated hotspot tethering.

MetroPCS’s group plans offer aggressive discounts: As of this writing, the current promotion is four lines with unlimited data for $100 per month.

MetroPCS supports domestic roaming but at a cost, while international roaming is also supported in 21 countries at this writing. If you don’t bring your own phone, MetroPCS offers a variety of devices for purchase. There don’t appear to be any financing options, but many of the lower-tier phones have discounts available through rebates and other special offers.

As MetroPCS is part of the T-Mobile family, it offers a few perks similar to its parent company. The $30 plan, for example, offers Data Maximizer that scales down video streaming to “DVD quality” to save on data usage. The $40 and up plans also offer Music Unlimited allowing you to stream music from a variety of services without it counting against your data limit.

All Lines includes: Unlimited talk and text & Music unlimited & mobile hotspot data.

  • 5 GB: $40/1 line and $10 off each additional lines
  • Unlimited: $60/1 line and $20 off each additional lines

Other Cell Phone Carriers With Family Discount

Verizon Wireless prides itself on being the most profitable mobile carrier in the US. Based in Basking Ridge, New Jersey, it has a strong population of about 70 million customers. Its customer loyalty and low churn are notable as it continues to expand its network coverage across the country.

Boost Mobile is one of the most established low-cost unlimited cell phone plan company in the US. They offer a great selection of both smartphones and regular cell phones. Their unlimited plans cost $50 or $55 a month, but the costs will shrink with time, with on-time payments. Boost Mobile uses the Sprint network. They are a subsidiary of Sprint.

Ting boasts an average monthly cellphone cost of only $21 for its users. But how do they do it? Basically, Ting offers a wide range of pricing options and allows you to float between plans, while only requiring you to pay for what you use. So, if you only talk for 50 minutes and send 100 texts in one month, you are only required to pay for the plan that your usage falls into. Ting also lets you add family members to your plan for only $6 per device, though they must be Sprint devices.

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