The Best Cell Phone Family Plans

The Best Cell Phone Family Plans

You want to put your entire family on one cell phone plan, but you're not sure which one to choose. Family plans are 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 for 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 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
  • Unlimited data: If everyone in your family uses a lot of cellular data, you may be better off choosing an unlimited data family plan. Every line will have access to unlimited data.

Reliable Coverage

This isn't exclusive to family plans. You'll want reliable coverage no matter what type of cell phone plan you sign up for.

No matter what type of  cell phone plan you sign up for, you'll want reliable coverage.

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!

Parental Controls

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 controls, 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.

screen time on iphone

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 singe 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

Plan Name Minutes Messages Data Lines Price
Prepaid 5 GB Unlimited Unlimited 5 GB per line 1–10 $40 / month View Plan
Prepaid 15 GB Unlimited Unlimited 15 GB per line 1–10 $50 / 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 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.

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

Plan Name Minutes Messages Data Lines Price
Mobile Share Plus Unlimited Unlimited 3 GB 1–10 $50 / month View Plan
Prepaid Unlimited Unlimited 8 GB 1 $25 / 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 here between these two 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!

Check out our comparison tool to compare more AT&T family plans.

Sprint Family Plans

Plan Name Minutes Messages Data Lines Price
Unlimited Kickstart Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited 1–5 $35 / month View Plan
Unlimited Plus Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited 1–5 $70 / month View Plan
Unlimited Premium Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited 1–5 $80 / month View Plan

Sprint Unlimited Kickstart Plan

Sprint's Unlimited Kickstart plan is one of your best options if you're thinking of switching carriers. This online exclusive is Sprint's cheapest unlimited data plan. Unlimited minutes and messages are included as well. Unfortunately, you can't use mobile hotspot with this plan.

Sprint Unlimited Plus Plan

This is Sprint's middle-tier unlimited plan. It includes unlimited minutes, messages, and data. Although it's double the price of the Unlimited Kickstart, it includes much more! You can enjoy 50 GB of 4G LTE mobile hotspot and subscriptions to Hulu and TIDAL.

Sprint Unlimited Premium Plan

The Unlimited Premium Plan is Sprint's most expensive plan, and you certainly get your money's worth. On top of unlimited minutes, messages, and data, you'll get 100 GB of 4G LTE mobile hotspot and subscriptions to Amazon Prime, Hulu, TIDAL, and Lookout Premium.

Discover more Sprint plans using our cell phone plan comparison tool!

T-Mobile Family Plans

Plan Name Minutes Messages Data Lines Price
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.

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

Carrier Plan Name Minutes Messages Data Lines Price
Sprint Unlimited Kickstart Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited 1–5 $35 / month View Plan
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

Carrier Plan Name Minutes Messages Data Lines Price
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

Carrier Plan Name Minutes Messages Data Lines Price
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

Mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) are wireless carriers that lease coverage from Verizon, Sprint, 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.

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 price 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.

The Best Cell Phone Family Plan

So, what is the best cell phone family plan? Our pick is the Verizon Prepaid Plan with 6 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 6 GB monthly allotment, but the speeds are throttled down to 600 kbps.

The Best Cell Phone Family Plan In 2019

The 6 GB Verizon Prepaid Plan

Each line gets unlimited minutes, unlimited messages, 6 GB of cellular data, mobile hotspot, unlimited calling to Mexico and Canada, and unlimited texting to more than 100 countries.

Save $15 / line on each line you add with the multi-line discount and AutoPay discount!

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!

AUTHOR

David Lynch

Hi, I'm David! I'm here to help you fix problems with your iPhone and help you find a better cell phone plan.

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