The Best Family Cell Phone Plans


WhistleOut
11 August 2017

best family cell phone plans

With almost half a million cell phone plan combinations out there, trying to find a family plan that meets everyone's needs can be challenging.

To make it easier, we've searched through over 30 carriers' plans and came up with our top picks for family cell phone plans with 2, 3, 4 and 5 lines. 

Benefits of Family Plans: 
  • Bulk discounts: get better deals for signing up multiple phone lines at once
  • Friends can join too: Most plans will allow you to add up to nine lines — but there’s just one bill
  • No credit check for additional users: Only the main account must pass a credit check

How to Buy Family Plans

There are two ways data is allotted on family plans. 

  • all the lines on the plan SHARE data
  • each line is assigned a FIXED amount of data

Shared Data Family Plan:

How it works: All the lines can use as much data as they like until the TOTAL of data usage for all the lines reaches the plan's data allotment. 

Example: 6GB shared data family plan with 3 lines

Each of the 3 lines can use any amount of data until the total of data usage for all three line reaches 6 GB.When the data amount is used, ALL 3 of the lines' data will either be slowed or stopped (depending on your carrier) until the end of the billing cycle.

Fixed Data Family Plan:

How it works: Each of the lines is allotted a certain amount of data. 

Example: 6GB fixed data family plan with 3 lines

Each of the 3 lines has only 2GB of data. (3 lines x 2GB/each = 6GB total) When the data amount is used,only the data speed on that line that exceeded its data allotment will be slowed or stopped until the end of the billing cycle.

Best Family Plans 2017

Best forCarrierTotal Data
Cheapest 2 lines Boost Mobile 6GB shared
Unlimited data 2 linesSprintUnlimited on all lines
Cheapest 3 lines Total Wireless12GB shared
Unlimited data 3 lines Boost MobileUnlimited on all lines
Cheapest 4 lines Cricket16GB (4GB per line)
Unlimited data 4 lines T-MobileUnlimited on all lines
Cheapest 5 lines Cricket20GB (4GB per line)
Unlimited data 5 lines SprintUnlimited on all lines  

2-Lines Best Family Plan, Average data

Boost Unlimited Family 

Why we like it: Boost's plan offers solid coverage (runs off Sprint's 4G LTE network) and a generous data amount at a low cost.

Shared plan with 2 lines

Bring Your Own Phone Bring Your Own Phone
Carrier Inclusions
Boost Mobile
Boost Mobile
  • Unlimited Family with 3 GIGS
  • 6GB Full Speed Data
  • $60

This prepaid plan includes 30 days of Unlimited Nationwide Talk, Text, and Data, with decent amount of high speed data to be shared between the two lines. Video streams at standard definition, 480p+ If you exceed your allotment of high-speed data, your data speed will be slowed to 3G (throttled) until your next billing cycle. It also includes unlimited Music Streaming which allows you to listen to Boost's streaming partners without using any of your plan's data.   Also, sign up for Auto Re-boost (autopay) and you save $5 per month and there is no activation fee for service.

2-Lines Best Family Plan, Unlimited data

Sprint Unlimited Freedom Plan

Why we like it:  This is a great deal which gives you unlimited data running of Sprint's strong network coverage.

Shared plan with 2 lines

Bring Your Own Phone Bring Your Own Phone
Carrier Inclusions
Sprint
Sprint
  • Unlimited Plan - Free for 1 Year if you Switch
  • Unlimited Data
  • $0/mo

This plan includes Unlimited Talk, Text and High-Speed Data which will slow after 23GB during times of high network traffic due to data deprioritization. It also includes 10GB of data usage for mobile hotspot and a virtual private network (VPN) -- an awesome safety feature to use to protect your information while using public WiFi.

You can bring any unlocked CDMA (i.e. phones from Sprint or Verizon) and use this service. 

3-Lines Best Family Plan, Average data

Total Wireless Shared* Plan

Why we like it: This carrier uses Verizon's superior 4G LTE network and offers great plans for a fraction of the price. In fact,  it's an unbeatable data deal for a trio -- a shared 12GB data plan with unlimited calls and text in the US for $85. Phones,though, need to be compatible with CDMA network. (Sprint or Verizon purchased phones)

Shared plan with 3 lines

Bring Your Own Phone Bring Your Own Phone Bring Your Own Phone
Carrier Inclusions
Total Wireless
Total Wireless
  • $85 Shared* Plan
  • 20GB Data
  • $85/mo

With this plan, there are no activation fees! Plus no credit check. Refill your service plan every 30 days to keep your phone active online or at a participating WalMart store. You can also enroll in Auto-Refill to automatically refill your service plan on the end date and save 5% on your refill. 

3-Lines Best Family Plan, Unlimited data

Boost Unlimited Family with Unlimited Gigs

 Why we like it: Boost's plan offers solid coverage (runs off Sprint's 4G LTE network)  and some of the data-saving perks offered by the bigger carriers.

Shared plan with 3 lines

Bring Your Own Phone Bring Your Own Phone Bring Your Own Phone
Carrier Inclusions
Boost Mobile
Boost Mobile
  • Unlimited Family with Unlimited GIGS
  • Unlimited Data
  • $100

This plan offers unlimited gigs which will slow after 23GB during times of high network traffic due to data deprioritization. It also includes data-free Unlimited Music Streaming from select music services including Pandora, iHeartRadio, Slacker Radio, 8tracks and Napster. Music streaming is optimized at extreme quality (up to 500kbps). Also you can save $5 per month on the primary line of a family plan when you sign up for Auto Re-boost which allows you to auto-pay your monthly bill. 

Phones, though, need to be compatible with CDMA network. (Sprint or Verizon purchased phones)

4-Lines Best Family Plan, Average data

Cricket Basic Group Save

Why we like it: Small prices for big coverage. This carrier uses AT&T's infrastructure and offers bargain prices, especially for families, so you can still meet your budget and expect great service. 

Shared plan with 4 lines

Bring Your Own Phone Bring Your Own Phone Bring Your Own Phone
+ 1 More
Carrier Inclusions
Cricket
Cricket
  • Group Save
  • 16GB Full Speed Data
  • $100/mo

With this prepaid plan, you won't see any surprises on your bill. Their All-in prices include taxes and surcharges. Speeds are slightly slower than their parent AT&T's at 8 Mbps -- which is mostly unnoticeable and should not effect streaming quality. Plan includes Unlimited Talk, Text and High-Speed Data. You can also add 1GB of data to your lines for $10/mo per line. All left-over data expires at the end of the monthly cycle. 

You can bring any unlocked GSM device (i.e. phones from T-Mobile or AT&T) and use this service. 

4-Lines Best Family Plan, Unlimited data

T-Mobile ONE Family Plan Unlimited Data

Why we like it: Everyone in your household, stream away!  The Un-Carrier offers a great deal on unlimited data with their All-In pricing. Plus, no activation or line access fees which can save a family of four almost a hundred dollars when you consider the average activation fee for a single line is of $20 then multiply that by 4.

Shared plan with 4 lines

Bring Your Own Phone Bring Your Own Phone Bring Your Own Phone
+ 1 More
Carrier Inclusions
T-Mobile
T-Mobile
  • ONE | Family Plan
  • Unlimited Data
  • $160/mo

Plan on giving everyone in your family unlimited data at a great price! Sure, speeds may slow a bit at 32GB during times of network congestion due to data deprioritization  but aside from the serious gamers and streamer addicts, most of us are not going to  notice. But we are going to notice all the fun little perks of this plan like data-free unlimited music streaming .  

5-Lines Best Family Plan, Average data

Cricket Basic Group Save

Why we like it:  In this plan, there are no sacrifices; you get top-notch coverage (from Cricket's parent AT&T infrastructure) at a great low cost. 

Shared plan with 5 lines

Bring Your Own Phone Bring Your Own Phone Bring Your Own Phone
+ 2 More
Carrier Inclusions
Cricket
Cricket
  • Group Save
  • 20GB Full Speed Data
  • $100/mo

With this pre-paid plan, you won't see any surprises on your bill. All-in prices include taxes and surcharges. Speeds are slightly slower than their parent AT&T's at 8 Mbps -- which is mostly unnoticeable and should not effect streaming quality. Plan includes Unlimited Talk, Text and High-Speed Data. You can also add 1GB of data to your lines for $10/mo per line. All left-over data expires at the end of the monthly cycle. 
You can bring any unlocked GSM device (i.e. phones from T-Mobile or AT&T) and use this service. 

5-Lines Best Family Plan, Unlimited data

Sprint Unlimited Freedom Plan

Why we like it:  This is a great deal which gives you unlimited data running off Sprint's strong network coverage.

Shared plan with 5 lines

Bring Your Own Phone Bring Your Own Phone Bring Your Own Phone
+ 2 More
Carrier Inclusions
Sprint
Sprint
  • Unlimited Plan - Free for 1 Year if you Switch
  • Unlimited Data
  • $0/mo

This plan includes Unlimited Talk, Text and High-Speed Data which will slow after 23GB during times of high network traffic due to data deprioritization. It also includes 10GB of data usage for mobile hotspot and a virtual private network (VPN) -- an awesome safety feature to use to protect your information while using public WiFi.
You can bring any unlocked CDMA (i.e. phones from Sprint or Verizon) and use this service. 

Other Things to Know:

Here are some great ways to save on your family plan:

  • With some shared plans you can actually set data limits per line to ensure that the primary account holder does not wake up to an empty bucket.
  • Cheap deals need a sharp eye: Some plans offer a great price yet have some elements removed to make them cheaper. For example, the coverage and speeds might only be 3G.
  • Auto pay will save you as every carrier offers discounts if you elect to auto renew  each month (typically $5/month discount).

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