What is the advantage of a family plan?
Cell phone service providers want to encourage you to use their service for your entire family. As a result, you will find that a wireless family plan costs less than it would cost to buy several individual plans. This makes it more cost effective for you.
Cell phone services also allow you to share minutes on a family plan. Family plan shared minutes are a great way to save money, especially if minute use is uneven between the people in your household.
Consider the following: imagine that Claire likes to talk on the phone a lot, but Bob only uses his cell phone sometimes, while Jane uses her phone more than Bob but less than Claire. If they want to use AT&T for service, they could either buy 3 individual plans, or a family plan for 3.
The cheapest individual wireless plan with AT&T costs $65/month for 2 GB of data and unlimited tak and text. This is a total sum of $190/month. Meanwhile, a family plan for 3 costs $145/month for 10 GB of shared data and unlimited talk and text. So, with a family plan you can get more minutes while spending less money. You are also less likely to have one person who doesn’t have enough minutes and one person who has too many.
Generally, cell phone service providers will also give you discounts on new phones when you buy a phone alongside your family plan.
For example, if you buy a T-Mobile Samsung t159 Unlimited Value plan, you pay $119.99 for each Samsung t159. On Amazon, the same phone can go for as much as $480.
Family Plans and Data
Family plans usually involve shared minutes and shared data. Data refers to texting, emailing, picture messages, Internet access etc. on your cell phone.
You can get plans with unlimited minutes and data, unlimited minutes and limited data, or limited minutes and data. You can also get data only plans, but these are usually for devices like tablets rather than phones.
Like minute sharing, data sharing can solve the problem of uneven data use among family members. So if Jane does a lot of texting, but Claire rarely texts, and Bob texts sometimes, then a shared data plan will be a good deal for them.
Where can you get a wireless family plan?
Here are some of the most popular wireless family plans from top-rated mobile carriers:
AT&T: Plans start at $59.99/month for 2 users, and $9.99/additional user
T-Mobile: Plans start at $59.98/month. They do not list costs for additional users after first 2
Sprint: Plans start around $69.99 for 2 users, and $9.99/additional user
Who shouldn’t get a wireless family plan?
Wireless family plans are usually more cost effective when you need to have a lot of people on one plan. If there are only 2 people in your household, it may not make as much sense for you to get a wireless family plan. Compare cell phone family plan costs with wireless individual plan costs before making a decision.
Of course, a family plan can benefit just two people if it costs less than two individual plans. As always, review your costs, call time, and data usage carefully when shopping for a wireless plan to ensure you get the best deal. Or you can use our calculator.
You may also have different data needs than other people in your family. In that case, it may not make sense to get a single plan for every party.
There are also limits on certain plans. This means that there may be a maximum number of phone lines that a particular plan can cover. As a result, you may not be able to accommodate everyone in your family on a plan that is otherwise perfect.