Best Family Cell Phone Plans

Mobile family plans are a popular option, especially for parents with teenage or young adult children. When one person is paying for multiple phones, it just makes sense for them all to be on the same plan. 

It makes billing simpler. The person responsible just pays one bill rather than keeping track of a separate account for each. The family gets a discount for every additional phone line, so it is cheaper per person than it would be individually.

But it’s surprising that more people outside of the traditional nuclear family don’t use family plans. There is a large cost savings to max out a family plan as opposed to individual accounts, so it’s a great way to have the best plan for less money. It would make sense that a group of roommates or close friends might get together to save each other money, pooling their funds for a better deal. 

There are good reasons to hesitate. The whole group has to trust each other to pay, and individuals have to be on time. A family plan requires that each person contribute could cause friction if someone ends up being a deadbeat. 

Top 5 Mobile Family Plans Ranked

Either way, mobile family plans are a great way to save money over an individual plan, whether you’re a nuclear family with five phones or a bunch of friends. 

Which plan should you choose? There are lots of options, sometimes a dizzying array, so I’m here to help you sort through all the marketing.

Sprint

Sprint runs three different unlimited family plans. Here are the features you get with each one.

Unlimited BasicUnlimited PlusUnlimited Premium
Unlimited talk, text, and dataUnlimited talk, text, and dataUnlimited talk, text, and data
HuluHulu

Tidal

Hulu

Tidal

Amazon Prime

Lookout Premium Plus

5G Compatible5G Compatible5G Compatible
500 MB mobile hotspot50 GB mobile hotspot100 GB mobile hotspot
SD video streaming1080p Video streamingFull HD video streaming
Canada and Mexico: Unlimited talk, text, and 5GB dataCanada and Mexico: Unlimited talk, text, and 10GB dataCanada and Mexico: Unlimited talk, text, and data

Along with these features you get Sprint’s trusted network of 5G and 4G towers, so you get reliable calls and fast data speeds. Sprint offers a massive 5G network, so you don’t have to worry about 5G support waning.  

As of the time of this writing, Sprint is running a spectacular deal on their family plans for new customers. Unlimited basic is $60 a month for the first line and $100 a month, total, for up to five lines. You can get 5 lines for $20 a month with unlimited data. You’ll have to hustle to get it, though. The deal ends on April 30th, 2020.

The plus and premium plans also have decent deals. Plus starts at $70 a month and goes to $150 a month for five lines. Premium starts at $80 a month and goes to $200 a month for five lines. 

AT&T

AT&T is one of the most trusted names in the mobile business, and they have a great track record with high speed data and a reliable network. Their three unlimited plans offer these features.

Unlimited StarterUnlimited ExtraUnlimited Elite
Unlimited talk, text, and dataUnlimited talk, text, and dataUnlimited talk, text, and data
SD streaming 480pSD streaming 480pHD streaming
Unlimited texting in 120+ countriesUnlimited texting in 120+ countriesUnlimited texting in 120+ countries
Security features like spam and fraud blockingSecurity features like spam and fraud blockingSecurity features like spam and fraud blocking
15 GB mobile hotspot30 GB mobile hotspot
5G compatible5G compatible
HBO included

You can see that AT&T’s plans aren’t nearly as generous as Sprint’s. AT&T offers comparibally fewer options for more money. Plus, their 5G network is confined to only a few cities. They are rolling out their network slowly compared to other providers. They balance that out with one of the most reliable and highest quality networks. 

AT&T’s pricing starts at $65 a month, $75 a month, and $85 a month for Starter, Extra, and Elite respectively. With four lines, you can get each for $140 a month, $160 a month, and $200 a month respectively. 

Cricket

Cricket Wireless offers only one unlimited plan 

Cricket CoreCricket More
Unlimited talk, text, and dataUnlimited talk, text, and data
SD streaming
Data speeds limited to 3MbpsHigh speed data
May slow data with high network trafficNo traffic slowdown
Support for Canada and MexicoSupport for Canada and Mexico
10 GB of mobile hotspot data
promotion for the first two months of service
15 GB of mobile hotspot data

Addition 10GB for the first two months

Cricket’s Unlimited mobile plans mirror many of the big boys’ features. Cricket sets itself apart by offering both lower prices and may add-on features that you can’t get with the largest mobile providers. 

Cricket’s plans also start at lower prices. Cricket Core costs from $55 a month for one line to $125 a month total for five lines. This is not a promotional price, either. They won’t push the price up after your first year of service. Cricket More starts at $60 a month for one line and goes to $160 a month for five lines. If you don’t need the fastest speeds, Cricket is a more affordable way to get a family plan. 

T-Mobile

T-Mobile is another one of the big boys, and they offer some very popular deals to cover the whole family. One thing that sets T-Mobile apart from the competition: They offer discounts for up to eight lines on their top two unlimited plans.

EssentialsMagentaMagenta Plus
Unlimited talk, text, and dataUnlimited talk, text, and dataUnlimited talk, text, and data
Unlimited 3G mobile hotspot data3GB mobile hotspot 4G LTE data20GB mobile hotspot 4G LTE data
International text plus talk, text, and data in Canada and MexicoInternational text and 2G data plus talk, text, and data in Canada and MexicoInternational text and 2G data plus talk, text, and data in Canada and Mexico
SD streamingSD streamingHD streaming
After 50GB of data, speeds may slow during high traffic periodsAfter 50GB of data, speeds may slow during high traffic periodsAfter 50GB of data, speeds may slow during high traffic periods
Voicemail to text

T-Mobile has many of the standard features you’ll find in the other major carriers’ unlimited plans. Their prices and the number of lines make them different. For one line, the Essentials, Magenta, and Magenta plans cost $60 a month, $70 a month, and $85 a month respectively. For six lines the Essentials plan is $150 a month. Magenta and Magenta plus can go up to eight lines costing $220 a month and $290 a month respectively. 

That comes out to $36 per line for the top-tier plan, which is much lower than top tier plans with the other major carriers. 

Boost

Boost is well-known as a low-cost mobile carrier. They offer three unlimited plans.

3 GigsUnlimited GigsBoost Unlimited Plus
Unlimited Talk, Text, and DataUnlimited Talk, Text, and DataUnlimited Talk, Text, and Data
3GB high speed 4G LTE dataUnlimited 4G LTE dataUnlimited 4G LTE data
SD streaming videoSD streaming videoHD streaming video
Music stream up to 500kbps
Gaming up to 2Mbps
Music stream up to 500kbps
Gaming up to 2Mbps
Music streams up to 1.5 Mbps, gaming to 8 Mbps 
6 months Tidal included6 months Tidal included6 months Tidal included
Unlimited Music streaming through partner services5G compatible

Boost’s lowest cost offering is unusual for unlimited plans. It offers only 3GB of high speed data (you can add more) with unlimited slower speed data. This is a way to get an unlimited plan for much lower cost. This plan starts at $35 a month for one line and goes up to $150 a month for five lines. You also get unlimited music streaming through some select partners like Pandora, Spotify, and Tidal.

The Unlimited and Boost Unlimited Plus start at $50 a month and $60 a month up to $170 a month and $220 a month, respectively, for five lines. Pretty good deals for a low-cost provider. 

 

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