The Best Cell Phone Plans and Deals for Your Family

The Best Cell Phone Plans and Deals for Your Family

Have a family of four or more who can’t live without the internet? We break down the price, benefits, and coverage offered by the most highly regarded phone providers to help you choose the perfect plan (as painlessly as possible).

Verizon

cell phone plans: Verizon

The Phone Deal

Currently, iPhone 8s, Xs, and other popular smartphones cost between $29.16 to $41.66 per month on a two-year contract. Sales include 50 percent off iPhones and Androids with select trade in.

The Payment Plan

Verizon offers three unlimited phone plans:

—The “Go Unlimited” provides unlimited text, talk, and data, unlimited hotspot connection, and DVD-quality video streaming on your mobile device at $40 per line for four family members. Totals come up to $160 per month.

—”Beyond Unlimited” includes all features on the “Go Unlimited” plan, but with better streaming music and video HD quality (720p) and faster hotspot internet speed at $50 per line for four lines. Totals come up to $200 per month.

—”Above Unlimited” includes all the features for the “Beyond Unlimited” plan while providing faster internet speed. It also includes five TravelPasses per month to use in 130 different countries for $60 per line for four lines. Totals come up to $240 per month. 

Verizon offers other shared data plans on their website.

The Coverage

Verizon has the best coverage known to man, providing data in over 81 percent of the U.S. territory. To check the service in your area, type your address into Verizon’s coverage locator. (In case any Bay Area folks are wondering, the 4G LTE quality scores as “excellent” for cities like San Francisco, Berkeley, and San Jose.)

cell phone plans: Verizon map

Is It For You?

Is the wife an Instagram enthusiast? Do the kids need Netflix for long road trips? Verizon’s unlimited plans will help you avoid endless data charges while hosting a high level of internet activity at a reasonable price. For parents who want to instill a healthy tech environment at home, Verizon also provides a bonus guide about kids and technology.

Sprint

cell phone plans: Sprint

The Phone Deal

Sprint offers a great variety of phone payment plans through their new “Sprint Flex Lease” program. Right now, you can lease any iPhone 8 at $29.17 per month for 18 months. The iPhone X costs $41.67 per month for 18 months.

Another option is “Sprint Forever,” which allows a family member to upgrade their smartphone to the newest model after 12 payments. Another option is to pay at your own rate per month for as long as you’d like or make one final payment to own the phone after paying 18 installments.

The Payment Plan

Exciting flash deals happen all the time with Sprint. For a limited time, members can save $20 per month per line on the “Unlimited Plus” plan if they bring their own phone or buy a device at the full retail price. And did we mention the free Hulu subscription that’s included? Quite the steal.

The Coverage

Sprint’s network covers 29 percent of the United States, coming in 4th place behind Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile. You may struggle to get a signal in a rural area, but double-check the map to determine the Sprint coverage in your region.

Is It For You?

While Sprint offers even more affordable data plans with fewer online capabilities, their unlimited plan is the most ideal option for large families who need to get online often. As long as Sprint provides decent coverage in your area, their services are definitely worth the low cost.

Credo Mobile

cell phone plans: CREDO Mobile

The Phone Deal

Credo Mobile offers a generous $0 initial payment option for the Samsung Galaxy S8, Apple iPhone X, Apple iPhone 8, and more of the hottest smartphones in today’s market. Members can choose from a two-year contract, no contract, or installment plan. For example, the Samsung Galaxy 9 costs $33.33 per month paid in 24 monthly installments. Totals amount to $799.92. The Apple iPhone X costs $41.62 per month paid in 24 monthly installments. Totals amount to $998.88. 

Find a phone and pricing option for your budget and needs online.

The Coverage

Credo uses Verizon’s network, which means stellar internet coverage. Double-check the coverage in your area on their website.

The Payment Plan

The monthly fee for each line in your family is $52.50 to cover all four smartphones. The unlimited plan then charges each person a $20 “line fee” per smartphone purchased with the installment plan and $40 for a smartphone on a two-year contract. Each device also gets unlimited talk and text, plus a personal Wi-Fi hotspot, but keep in mind that data usage is capped at 20 GB per person.

See more plan details.

Is It For You?

Credo provides a cost-efficient option for large households that charges minimal fees for extra phone lines and the latest smartphones. While some providers will offer one or two standardized pay rates, Credo Mobile offers a flexible way to add or deduct costs from your monthly fees by using different contracts models.

T-Mobile

cell phone plans: T-Mobile

Phone Payment

When it comes to payment, T-Mobile cares about credit. That said, if you have a stellar credit score, you or another family member can get a brand new Apple iPhone X (with a down payment of $0 and a monthly payment of $30 per month for two years) or a Samsung Galaxy S9 (for a down payment of $0 and $30 per month for two years).

Even without a great credit score, you can still join T-mobile ’s various phone payment plans, many of which cost $20 to $30 per month for a two-year contract. Special offers right now include the Samsung Galaxy S9, Samsung Galaxy S8, and the Apple iPhone 8 for $0 of downpayment. Check out their other smartphone offerings.

Payment Plan

T-mobile is head-to-head with Sprint in terms of affordability, offering a straightforward unlimited data plan at a newly low cost. T-mobile recently came out with a “Family No Credit Check” unlimited phone plan that costs $30 for each line in a family of four, coming up to $120 per month in total. The family plan we recommend provides unlimited talk, text, and data, free Netflix for two or more qualifying lines (take that Sprint), and available texting and data in over 140 countries. Features also include in-flight texting and one hour of data, unlimited data in Mexico and Canada, and mobile hotspot data at 3G speed.

Coverage

T-Mobile takes pride in its fast 4G network, given that you live in an urban area. While Verizon works better in rural areas, T-mobile’s speedy connection is the most ideal choice if your family lives in a big city.

Is It For You?

If your family is comprised of either globetrotters or Netflix-bingers, the T-Mobile unlimited plan offers benefits and features that are too good to turn down.

Boost Mobile

cell phone plans: Boost Mobile

Phone Payment

While Boost does not offer installment payment plans for phones, they do offer affordable prices for earlier iPhone and Android models up to $250 off the retail price. If your family does not mind using older phone models and appreciates a no-frills payment plan, Boost is a viable option with straightforward terms. Check out all their smartphone deals online.

Payment Plan

The Boost Unlimited Plus plan for four lines costs $180 per month in total, which includes unlimited data, talk, and text, a hotspot connection at 20 gigs, and HD digital streaming in 1080p. The price goes down to $140 for unlimited data and video streaming in 480p resolution and 8 Gigs for Hotspot, and then $120 for $30 per line without the HD video streaming. Find out how to further customize your plan using this FAQ page.

Coverage

We have reservations. Boost (while providing twice as much hotspot data as Sprint) offers prepaid cell service using Sprint’s more limited network. However, if you and your family members live or work in an urban area, Sprint will provide enough bars at an affordable value. Just switch to Verizon should your family suddenly relocate to Alaska.

AT&T

cell phone plans: AT&T

Phone Payment

AT&T lets members pay in monthly installments for all their latest smartphones. The prices start at $11 to $40 per month over 30 months at no interest.

Data Plan

To provide unlimited talk and text, AT&T has two options for you: “AT&T Unlimited Plus Enhanced” and “AT&T Unlimited Choice Enhanced.”

—”Plus Enhanced” (paid via Autopay) costs $48 per line. It promises unhindered 4G internet speed, 1080p video definition, 15G for your hotspot, and DirectTV and DirectTV NOW. Totals up to $190 per month for four lines.

—”Unlimited Choice Enhanced” (with Autopay) costs $40 per line. One step lower than “Plus Enhanced,” it provides Unlimited 4G LTE Data that may “temporarily experience slower speeds during busy times,” standard 480p video definition, DirectTV NOW, and no mobile hotspot data. Totals up to $160 per month for four lines.

Both plans include HBO, unlimited roaming in Mexico and Canada, unlimited talk and text in the U.S. and 150 other countries, and other benefits with AT&T THANKS. You can also add five to 10 lines for an additional $30 per line added to your bill every month, a great deal for larger families.

Coverage

Covering 66 percent of the country, AT&T is a close second behind Verizon. Their 4G network provides a reliable signal in populated cities, suburbs, and most rural locations, but we recommend that you type your exact address in the coverage map to check the strength in your area.

Is It For You?

If your family uses their phones for a variety of activities (or takes frequent vacations to Mexico and Canada), AT&T’s multi-purpose plan will provide you with quality video, network, and hotspot internet performance at a reasonable price point.

So for all the Netflix-watchers, globetrotters, and social media fanatics in search of a perfect family plan, we hope to have connected you to most the trusted and cost-efficient unlimited plans around. While the guide covers all the basics, you can find more details on the providers’ individual sites. Make sure to let us know if we missed anything and happy phone hunting!

 

Feature photo by Nigel Tadyanehondo on Unsplash.