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:
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:
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.
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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.