Which Mobile Provider Has the Best Family Plan?

A family plan from a mobile provider can be a source of huge savings. The cost of a plan for one person can easily be cut by half if there are enough people on a family plan. It costs more overall, but doesn't practically everyone need a smartphone these days? That is why it's often not just families but groups of friends who go in on a "family" plan for everyone to save money collectively. And this is practically encouraged.

And please note that practically every major provider (and most non-major ones) has a family plan available under some name or another. Yet they are not all equal. Each has its pros and cons, and understanding them as well as understanding what you are looking for is key to 

Therefore, let's go over some of the most well-known mobile provider family plans and what each can do for your family. Note that these are listed in no particular order:

1. T-Mobile Magenta

One of the most well-known family plans and often considered the best for general purposes, T-Mobile has an excellent family plan that might be the one to beat. In general, you'll get the following features in the plan:

  • Unlimited talk and text, which you should consider a dealbreaker if a provider doesn't have it.
  • 5GB of mobile hotspot data is included as part of the plan. This isn't much, but it will help in a pinch. After this is used up, you'll get unlimited 3G mobile hotspot data, which is much slower and useless for some tasks.
  • No annual service contract, allowing you to change providers more quickly if you desire.
  • Free WiFi calling.
  • 5G access across the country, but only where T-Mobile can support it. You'll need a phone that supports 5G technology (increasingly common). The good news is that 5G is becoming more prevalent across the country, and the total coverage will only grow in the coming years.
  • The taxes and fees are included. This brings the total price as of this writing for most people to $120 a month with three lines and if you use autopay. Lines four and five will only cost $20 each.
  • A basic Netflix subscription (1 screen SD, not the best plan and not one most people will want to consider) is included.
  • Both Apple TV+ and Paramount+ included free for a year. This is more of a promotion than something you should be considering seriously.
  • Video streaming quality up to 480p. However, with a MAXUp data plan, someone can stream up to 4K UHD video.
  • Fair international option. International texting is unlimited. There is unlimited talk and text in Mexico and Canada alongside 5GB of high-speed data. A promotional 1-year AAA membership is included. Flat rate calling is 25 cents per minute in 210 countries, though there are alternatives for calling people internationally in today's world.

If your family uses a lot of data, then you might want to look at what T-Mobile offers. Specifically, the Magenta plan has a generous 100GB data monthly allowance and will meet the needs of most families as long as they use WiFi at home.

There are a couple of different family plans in the form of Magenta Max and Essentials to provide you with other options from T-Mobile. 

  • Magenta Max has an even better situation with unlimited data (though some deprioritization after 100GB), more mobile hot spot data, and a better included Netflix subscription. It is a bit more expensive, so only families planning to use those features should consider it, and everyone else should be happy with Magenta.
  • Essentials go the opposite, being cheaper ($90 a mo. for three lines as of this writing) while providing a bit less. There's no included Netflix subscription, unlimited 3G hotspot data (not nearly as helpful), and only 50GB of premium mobile data.

The only actual problem we could find with it is that according to their website, you can only have up to five lines on one plan. This could be a problem because some families are larger than five people. Also, remember that some of the plan's details might change over time or be more relevant based on your area, so do your research if you're sure you want to go with T-Mobile.

T-mobile is the best family plan for you if:

  • You still want to work with a big carrier and enjoy excellent value for your money.
  • Your family uses a ton of data, and you do not want to feel restricted in its use, no matter where you are.
  • If you have a family size of five or fewer, you want to provide a phone line.

2. Verizon 5G Get More Unlimited

Being one of the major providers, naturally, Verizon would have a competitive family plan. However, Verizon is a bit more expensive than other options, so many families might shy away from it on cost alone. However, you often get what you pay for, and in the case of the Verizon 5G Get More Unlimited Plan, it might be worth it.

Verizon does have a reputation for clear call quality and fast data. If quality matters more than price, look more at Verizon. It can vary, of course, so take this as a reminder to check coverage in your area before signing up for a family plan.

With the 5G Get More plan, you can expect the following perks and features for your family: 

  • Unlimited premium network access in the form of 5G Ultra Wideband. This is purported to be even faster than regular 5G and is excellent for watching movies or doing practically anything online on your phone while on the go. 
  • Your connection will not slow down based on how much data you use. It's the closest thing to an unlimited high-speed plan you can find for your family at a reasonable rate.
  • 50 GB per month of premium (5G) mobile hotspot data. It makes other mobile hotspot perks look like a pittance in comparison. After this allowance, users will have unlimited lower-speed data. You can do a lot of work with this amount of data.
  • An option to get a 50 percent discount on 5G Home or LTE Home Internet plans from Verizon. It might not be for everyone, but it does keep options open.
  • A bunch of included subscriptions. Disney+, Hulu, ESPN+, Apple Arcade or Google Play Pass, and Apple Music. This is a lot and can easily cover the cost of one phone line if you use and would want these services regardless.
  • One TravelPass day per month, accumulating to 12 days per year. This allows unlimited talk, text, and data in over 185 countries at no extra cost and is excellent for that yearly vacation.
  • Access to 600GB of Verizon Cloud Storage. However, Cloud Storage plans are so cheap across the board now that this shouldn't be a major consideration.

For a group of four people, the 5G Get More Unlimited Plan costs $55 per line per month. Taxes and fees are not included in this price. We recommend putting at least four people on the plan, as less than this gets prohibitively expensive.

The 5G Get More plan is the most expensive and comprehensive option but not the only option. We considered recommending the 5G Play More option, but they only have 50GB of Premium Access data compared to Get More's Unlimited Option. There is also a 5G Do More Plan for people with more business intentions for their smartphone, equal in cost to the Play More plan. Additionally, there is the 5G Start plan for even cheaper, but in truth, we find it lacking in features and options, and there are better options for the price.

Verizon is the best family plan for you if:

  • You don't mind paying a little bit more for the perks and quality connection that Verizon can offer to most users.
  • You actually plan on using the perks on offer, or at least some of them. If not, you might be best served by one of their cheaper plans, albeit they have less data to work with.
  • You are already used to a Verizon plan and have phones locked to that network.
  • You and your family often use your phones and consider them a truly central part of your lives. If you actually use the unlimited data beyond what other providers offer, this might be the best deal despite its cost.

3. AT&T Plans

We cannot leave out the last of the big three, AT&T, from talks about the best family plans available. And they deserve their spot on this list from the quality of their network and offerings. However, they do their family plans in a style where you add lines and select how many lines you want on each of their plans.

When determining your family bundle, there are three plans to pick from, and you can get up to five lines on one plan, each line added, making the rest cheaper. We recommend including at least three lines and ideally four for good savings. Their differences come down to streaming quality, the amount of prioritized data received, Hotspot data, and a few other small perks.

However, to run down the features and options, let's review their top plan, the AT&T Unlimited Premium Plan. On it, you will get:

  • Unlimited Talk, Text, and High-Speed Data that will not be deprioritized. If you constantly use your data plan, it doesn't get much better than this.
  • A mobile security app that can be helpful with protection on public networks and monitoring for identity theft. Other options can help, so don't let this perk influence your decision.
  • 50GB of mobile hotspot data per month per line. This is a lot in total and a fortune in mobile hotspot data if only one or two members of your group actually plan on using it. Even a base 50GB is enough to get a fair bit done.
  • Unlimited international texting and unlimited talk, text, and high-speed data in 19 Latin American countries. If you travel there often, this benefit is absolutely worth getting the highest level plan for that line.
  • Certain groups of people or people in some professions might be able to get a nice discount on their plan. It is worth looking into, and their site has more information.

If you get four lines on the plan, each line at the AT&T Unlimited Premium level will cost $50 monthly, plus taxes and fees. This is assuming you sign up for AutoPay and paperless billing. For what you are getting, this is quite affordable. The other plans are a bit less per month, and it will be up to you to decide how much data everyone needs.

AT&T is the best family plan for you if:

  • You see that AT&T has great coverage in your area, or you are already signed up with them and would like to make a change.
  • You want to be able to mix and match plans for different family members depending on their needs.
  • You want something a little cheaper than Verizon but still want a plan that's as comprehensive when it comes to the data plan.
  • You don't care so much about extra perks and potential discounts in your family phone plan. You care merely about the service offered by a major carrier.

4. Visible Party Pay

There are several additional lower-priced options than the big three that effectively work off of the infrastructure of those big three, without as many perks. Visible will work off of the Verizon infrastructure and presents itself as a much cheaper alternative while still creating a reliable service for people. It comes directly from Verizon and is owned by Verizon, however. This separates it from other plans.

The plan includes for users:

  • Unlimited 5G/4G data alongside unlimited talk and text.
  • Unlimited calling to both Mexico and Canada.
  • Unlimited 5G/4G mobile hotspot data, though be warned that the speed will not be so fast. It will be good for email and basic browsing, but not so good for that 4K movie night.
  • The ability to bring your own phone and number to the network.
  • ESIM technology makes it, so you don't have to wait for a SIM card in the mail. If everyone has a phone, your family or friend group could probably be set up in an hour.

Note that the list is short compared to the previous three plans we covered, but that's ok. You'll find all the essentials there.

There is no activation fee, which can probably save you $35-50 per phone, depending on which provider you are comparing to.

Depending on the number of lines in the party, prices can get as low as $25 per line per month. Taxes and fees are included in this price. The price does not change with or without autopay. This is about as low as you can go while remaining reliable, and even if there is only one line, the price of Visible is an affordable $40 a month. Consider it a solid alternative to the starter packages major providers offer.

Although with all of the above and the great price, you might wonder what the catch is. The catch is that the data speeds will simply not be as fast as they would be on a major carrier plan with priority data. Whether on a 5G or 4G LTE network on Verizon, your connection will play second fiddle to those higher-paying customers. Visible might not be good for you and your family if you need the fastest speeds.

Visible Party Pay is the best family plan for you if:

  • You are working with less of a family unit and more of a group of friends or distant family that want to remain more independent in paying for their phone service.
  • Given that there is no cap on party members, Visible Party Pay is great for groups larger than five people, which is the limit with most other major plans. 
  • You are looking for a low-cost option that still provides decent service.
  • You do not need the absolute fastest data speeds.

5. Mint Mobile: Mint Modern Family Plan

Mint Mobile has been around for a while and has gained a reputation as one of the cheapest options for decent phone service among many imitators. These are MVNO plans, and we recommend reading a little more about them when you have the time. Essentially, you will pay less but be on a lower priority tier.

There are quite a few such plans available, but we generally think Mint Mobile is the best. The others might be tied to being a member of an organization or a customer of a particular company. These are too limited for us to review in earnest for a general audience, and as such, we think Mint Mobile is one of the strongest options for the average person.

Some of the things you can expect from Mint Mobile include:

  • Mint will provide new numbers or get everyone's existing numbers switched over as part of the activation process.
  • You will generally pay upfront for a period of service time, technically making this a prepaid plan in most cases. However, you probably won't notice the difference. Just keep your budget in mind for the upfront costs.
  • Unlimited data on the top plan, but you can expect deprioritization. Lower plans can expect either 4GB, 10GB, or 15GB per month. Given the price of data in general and the difference between the top and lowest plans is $15, we recommend the unlimited data plan with few exceptions. However, the unlimited plan user will experience lower data speeds after 35GB per month. Families that want top speeds will want to use another provider.
  • You can mix and match plans within a family group if you know someone isn't going to use their phone or data much.
  • There is no data sharing here, making worrying about someone else using too much data less hassle.

Prices will vary a bit depending on the plan you get and the length of time you prepay for. We recommend checking out their website and experimenting to see the final total cost for your family or group. It is not necessarily the most straightforward family plan to set up, but it's perfectly workable if you sit down for a bit.

Mint Mobile is the best family plan for you if:

  • You do not mind occasionally being a lower priority than users of a major network.
  • You want to keep things as affordable as possible while maintaining a modicum of decent service. Related to this, if you have a group of five people or less, Mint mobile is a great choice, even going down to two people.
  • You want a budget mobile plan that still provides a decent amount of data per user.

Offers, Deals, and Discounts

Of all these options, pricing differences will greatly affect you and your family's budget. However, there can be deals and discounts that are occasionally on offer from each provider. You'll know what they look like when you see them (they will be heavily focused on and advertised).

Sometimes the deals might be limited-time or locally based, in which case you want to glance while simultaneously not being trapped by the feeling of urgency. There will be other deals, and the discount is not worth picking the wrong provider or plan.

Note that while the deals are possible, they are not necessarily probable. Don't wait for one. The major providers have been using them less in recent years, and the deals on offer don't work out to be much less than what one would typically pay. One could say it's all marketing, and the substance is in the service quality and the average monthly bill.

Interestingly, in some (still relatively rare) cases, people can bundle smartphone service with a landline, cable, and internet services. It only happens with a few providers on each front, and you might not want to seek it out, but check to see if it is available and right for your family. You can save hundreds of dollars each year if all the services align with your needs.

Just make sure you don't compromise service quality for the sake of a deal. The deals are usually more introductory offers; you'll be paying full price anyway after a year or two. 

The Number of Lines Matters

If you play around on each provider's website a little bit, you will be able to see the pricing. This type of pricing is why getting a family plan matters so much. A person trying to get a line alone might be spending $90 a month when, as part of a plan of four or more people, that same service for $55. One has to question the fairness of such a pricing scheme, but it is what it is. It is how mobile service providers keep people loyal to one service (by making it harder for individuals to leave a family plan).

So while we can talk about price as a general rule, in truth, it can vary based on the number of lines you are getting in your family plan. Check all your options for that many lines and compare the total price. And if you need an extra line (perhaps as a business line for one person in the family), you might as well get it on the family plan to save money.

So Which One Is The Best Overall?

In truth, it is not a clear-cut decision. All else being equal, in terms of service quality, the pricing and features might be better for one family than another, depending on that family's priorities. However, we think you may want to look at the offerings from the major providers first and then see what else is out there. You do not want to be deprioritized when you need data or a good connection the most, and you certainly don't want that for your family members. However, price plays a significant role; if smartphone use isn't constant, going for the cheaper option is perfectly valid.

After reading this article, we recommend narrowing the options to two or three maximum and seeing what is available and what deals you can get.

Check Your Coverage and Availability

While a provider might look like the absolute best option on paper, it might not be the best based on your area. While coverage has improved across the board across the three major providers in the United States, a few spots aren't covered.

On top of seeing what the providers have to say, you can read local reviews of the service providers. They can at least tell you what some people find wrong with the service. Don't necessarily let the reviews tell you everything about a provider, though. People who are content with their plan and service and not as likely to write a review as someone who is unhappy.

With just a few clicks, you can also use this site to see what options you have in your location. Of course, you will want to consider other factors, but you must rule out the best offers worldwide if coverage is lacking. There are also maps available to help you determine network coverage. If you're using a service such as Mint Mobile that effectively piggybacks off the infrastructure of one of the major providers, then check which network they work off and check the coverage of that provider.

Note That Things Can Change

As you have well-witnessed over time, mobile service is not static. Instead, it improves (or occasionally falls back a bit) over time. What is not available this year might be available next year. Prices can and will change with service changes. Speeds and consistency will improve over time, though things are pretty good as they stand. There is a sense that it is all too hard to keep track of regularly. Even reviewers and sites like this cannot cover every nuance in real-time. Yet the good news is that it doesn't necessarily matter, and the overall best provider for your family isn't likely to change with a tiny tweak in service.

However, while things can change, one warning is that you should not wait for things to improve to pick out a family plan. Your family needs mobile service in today's world, and there is no guarantee that something better is around the corner.

A Few Last Notes

  • This article is based on what is available in the United States, so people in other countries or who are usually in other countries might want to look at different and additional resources.
  • Depending on how old your family members are and what they use their phones for. You do not want to surprise them with a new phone number if they need it for business purposes. However, there might be ways to make sure someone keeps a number despite switching providers.
  • The experience you have with a smartphone is partially dependent on the service provider and plan but also partly dependent on the smartphone. A poor phone with excellent service will not make some satisfied. You can likely get a phone on a payment plan or at a discount with most of the service providers we discussed, but whether you want to go down that route is up to you. Note that the options for discounted phones are often limited, and you'll likely be locked to that provider on the phone.
  • If you switch providers from a previous plan, you might find yourself stuck in your current contract, unable to leave, or needing to pay a hefty amount to get out of it. However, if you sign up for a new plan, some providers will be perfectly willing to buy out the plan you have with your old provider. They want your business long-term, after all. The cost of buying out your contract is not much compared to the long-term profit they can make off your plan.
  • While we tried to mention the obvious things where possible, don't let the advertised price draw you in too much. You want to look at the long-term price after a year or two. You will also want to know about hidden fees, activation charges, and the like that can drive a bill up quickly.


While this article might not have an overall conclusive answer to which has the best family plan, what we hope is that by reading this article, you can answer the question of which mobile provider has the best family plan for you. Whatever the size of your family and how much you're willing to spend, we hope you have a better idea of what to expect and what to demand from your provider. You and your family deserve quality service, and we wish you luck in your search and the sign-up process.