The 5 Best Family Cell Phone Plans

Family cell phone plans help you save money on multiple lines while still receiving essential benefits like unlimited talk, text, and data. Some plans even offer extra perks, like a free Netflix subscription or customizable data per line.

What to Look for in a Family Cell Phone Plan

There are multiple cell phone plans and providers to choose from, but it’s easy to narrow down your search when you know exactly what you’re looking for. Your biggest deciding factor should be which network features the best coverage in your area, but you’ll also want to consider how much data you want, whether you want to pay monthly or all at once for some savings, and which add-on perks might be worth it for your family.

To find the network with the best coverage in your area, you can use the FCC’s 5G coverage map and 4G LTE coverage map. You can zoom into your area and toggle different networks on and off to get a clearer picture of each network’s coverage around where you live. The three biggest networks—AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile—cover most of the United States, but some rural areas may only be supported by a single network or may not have any 5G coverage at all.

Many family cell phone plans offer unlimited data for the whole family. But pay attention to the fine print. More expensive plans offer unlimited premium data with no slowdowns, but you’ll often find affordable family plans offer unlimited data that slows down after you hit a certain amount of data used. Consider how much data each person in your family uses and whether throttled data after a set amount would impact your family.

Cost is a huge factor when it comes to choosing the best family cell phone plan. Most cell phone providers offer a discount for multiple lines, and you’ll often find family-specific plans that provide extra savings.

When comparing different phone plans, it’s important to remember that some plans include taxes and government fees in the monthly price-per-line amount you see, while others add in taxes and fees once you’re ready to check out. If you’re able to, paying upfront for some prepaid plans (as opposed to paying monthly, with or without an annual contract) can often save you quite a bit of money.

You’ll also want to think about which special features your family might need in a phone plan. If someone works remotely often, finding a plan with a mobile hotspot might be important. Or maybe your family travels internationally a lot, and it’s worth it to find a cell phone plan with great international perks for talk, text, and data.

Some cell phone plans also come with a free Netflix subscription or other add-ons that make a service cheaper than it’d usually be. While these perks can feel gimmicky, they can often save you quite a bit of money every month if you’re already paying for add-on services separately.

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T-Mobile

Pros

Cons

Unlimited talk, text, premium data, and speedy 5G

International data is throttled after 5GB in most countries

Great perks (Netflix, Apple TV+, in-flight data, and more)

50GB of high-speed mobile hotspot data

Monthly prices include taxes and fees

The T-Mobile Go5G Plus phone plan is the best option for most families because it offers unlimited premium data, a ton of special perks, and no annual service contract. For four lines, this plan costs $185/month with an AutoPay discount, and that includes taxes and fees. If you need five lines in your plan, Go5G Plus would cost $220/month with an AutoPay discount.

With Go5G Plus, everyone on the plan will receive unlimited talk, text, and 5G and 4G LTE data, and support for 5G nationwide coverage. Each person will also have 50GB of high-speed mobile hotspot data and unlimited mobile hotspot data at max 3G speeds after 50GB.

While many cell phone plans limit video streaming quality to 480p, T-Mobile’s Go5G Plus plan features up to 4K UHD video streaming. This plan also includes a free Apple TV+ subscription and a free Netflix Standard subscription that allows 2 screens to stream within one household.

This plan offers a ton of in-flight and international perks as well, perfect for families who travel a lot. Everyone receives full-flight texting and Wi-Fi with streaming where available on flights, unlimited text and data while abroad in over 215 countries, and unlimited international texting from the US. The Go5G Plus plan includes a one-year AAA membership as well as special T-Mobile TRAVEL benefits that can save you up to 40% on hotels and rental cars.

T-Mobile has the largest and fastest 5G network, but it’s a smart idea to check your area on T-Mobile’s coverage map just in case. It’s worth noting that T-Mobile also offers the Go5G plan for $155/month for four lines, but with all the advantages and special add-ons offered in the Go5G Plus plan for only $30 extra every month, the Go5G Plus plan is a better value.

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T-Mobile Go5G Plus

Best Overall

For most families, the T-Mobile Go5G Plus phone plan is the best option because it offers unlimited premium data, no annual service contract, and plenty of special perks at $185/month for four lines.

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Google Fi

Pros

Cons

Unlimited talk, text, and data in the US, Canada, and Mexico

Monthly prices don’t include taxes and fees

Incredibly affordable at $20/line

Data slows after 35GB used

5GB of hotspot tethering

No international data, text, or calls included

Full connectivity for select smartwatches

The Simply Unlimited plan from Google Fi is perfect for anyone looking for a no-frills option that’s affordable and offers unlimited data. At $20/line for four people, you’d only be spending $80/month before taxes and fees. This budget-friendly $20/line deal is good for families who need four, five, or six lines in total.

In Google Fi’s Simply Unlimited plan, everyone in your family will have unlimited calls, texts, and data in the US, Canada, and Mexico. Select smartwatches will also receive full connectivity through Google Fi, which means they’ll get data, calls, and texts at no extra cost. However, after anyone reaches 35GB of data used in a month, they’ll experience slower data speeds.

The Simply Unlimited Plan features 5GB of hotspot tethering every month, and it’s worth noting that hotspot tethering counts towards your total monthly data usage. This plan features affordable calls from the US to 200+ destinations, but calls are only free from the US to Mexico or Canada. With this plan, you won’t receive free data, texts, or calls while traveling outside the US, Canada, and Mexico.

Google Fi uses the T-Mobile network to supply coverage. You can check 4G LTE and 5G coverage in your area using Google Fi’s coverage map. There’s no annual service contract with any of Google Fi’s cell phone plans, as well as no fees for activation or cancellation.

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Google Fi Simply Unlimited

Best Value for Unlimited Data

If you’re looking for a no-frills family cell phone plan that offers unlimited data, look no further than the Google Fi Simply Unlimited Plan, priced at only $80/month for four lines.

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Mint Mobile

Pros

Cons

Customizable data amount per line (5GB to unlimited)

You have to pay for the plan upfront

Affordable plan for up to 5 lines

Monthly prices don’t include taxes and fees

Free mobile hotspot and international calls to Mexico and Canada

Data slows after 40GB used

Support for 5G and 4G LTE

Not the best international-perks plan

If there are people in your family who use a ton of data and people who rarely use any, Mint Mobile’s Modern Family plan might be the perfect solution. This is a prepaid plan that requires payment upfront for three, six, or twelve months, but for the features you get, it’s a great value.

A plan with four lines that each have unlimited data would cost $120/month, before taxes and fees. That price is fairly comparable with other family cell phone plans, but you can bring the price down if you know some people in your family don’t use much data. With the Modern Family plan, you can customize the data allowed for each line per month, choosing between 5GB for $15/month, 15GB for $20/month, 20GB for $25/month, or unlimited for $30/month.

The unlimited option for $30/month includes 40GB of 5G LTE data, and any data used after that limit will be slowed down. In addition to customizable data, the Modern Family plan also features unlimited nationwide talk and text, support for 5G and 4G LTE, free international calls to Mexico and Canada, and free mobile hotspot support. You can add up to five lines to Mint Mobile’s Modern Family plan.

Mint Mobile uses the T-Mobile network, and there’s a Mint Mobile 5G map to check coverage in your area. Because Mint Mobile plans are pay-as-you-go, you’re not locked into a contract, and you can choose to switch carriers as soon as your prepaid period ends. Switching carriers in the middle of a prepaid period would forfeit any service you’ve already paid for.

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Mint Mobile Modern Family

Best Prepaid

If you can pay upfront, Mint Mobile’s Modern Family prepaid plan will save you a hefty chunk of change, and you can customize the amount of data each person on your plan receives. If four people all had unlimited data through this plan, it’d cost $120/month.

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Verizon

Pros

Cons

Unlimited talk, text, and data in the US, Mexico, and Canada

No mobile hotspot data

Add extra perks for only $10/month (Netflix/Max, Walmart+, and more)

Data slowed after exceeding unspecified GB amount

Support for 5G and 4G LTE

Monthly prices don’t include taxes and fees

Unlimited international texting from the US to over 200 countries

Only built-in international perks for Mexico and Canada

If the area you’re in has strong Verizon coverage, check out the Verizon Unlimited Welcome plan. Four lines on this plan cost $120/month before taxes and fees, and everyone will get unlimited talk, text, and data, as well as 5G and 4G LTE support. This plan also offers unlimited talk, text, and data while abroad in Mexico and Canada, as well as free international texting from the US to Mexico and Canada.

Alternatively, jumping up to Verizon’s Unlimited Plus plan may offer perks that justify the $15/line increase every month. Whereas the Unlimited Welcome plan offers unlimited data that’s reduced from 5G to 2G after 0.5GB used in a day, the Unlimited Plus plan offers unlimited premium data using 5G Ultra Wideband. Both plans share the same international talk, text, and data perks, but the Unlimited Plus plan gains 30GB of mobile hotspot data per line.

With either plan, you can add on special perks for an extra $10/month to help you save money on the services you’re already using. The Disney Bundle includes Disney+ Premium (no ads), Hulu (with ads), and ESPN+ (with ads), and you’d save an estimated $8.99/month. There’s a perk for Netflix and Max, Apple One, Walmart+ membership, Apple Music, and more, and you can switch up your perks at any time.

Each Unlimited plan from Verizon requires a month-to-month or two-year contract. If you sign up for the two-year service agreement, there’s an early termination fee of up to $175, or possibly up to $350 if your contract term is the result of “your purchase of an advanced device,” according to Verizon.

Verizon Unlimited Welcome

Best on Verizon Network

Anyone living in an area where the Verizon network is the most reliable should consider Verizon’s Unlimited Welcome plan. For $120/month, you’ll get unlimited talk, text, data, and 5G or 4G LTE for four lines.

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Cricket Wireless

Pros

Cons

Unlimited talk, text, and data

No mobile hotspot support with the basic plan

Fast 5G support nationwide

Data slowed on basic plan during high congestion

Free international texting from the US to 37 countries

Monthly prices include taxes and fees

For families needing four or five lines on the AT&T network, the Cricket Wireless Unlimited phone plan is a fantastic choice. A family of four on the unlimited plan would pay $100/month, including taxes and fees, and five lines cost $125/month. You can check Cricket’s coverage map to see if your area would get service.

The Unlimited plan through Cricket Wireless is a very basic plan, but it comes with everything you need. Every line would receive unlimited talk and text, speedy nationwide 5G support, HD Voice and Wi-Fi calling with compatible phones, and, most importantly, unlimited data. During periods of high congestion, using data will be slower on this plan, though. Cricket’s Unlimited plan also features 2GB of included cloud storage, free calls to Mexico and Canada, and unlimited international texts from the US to 37 countries.

For some families, Cricket’s Unlimited + 15GB Mobile Hotspot plan might be a better deal. This plan costs $130/month for four lines or $160/month for five lines. Rather than unlimited data and 2GB of cloud storage, each line will receive unlimited premium data and 150GB of cloud storage. Additionally, this plan includes a 15GB mobile hotspot and a Max subscription with ads.

All Cricket Wireless plans are flexible and prepaid by the month, so you won’t be locked into any long-term service contract. If you ever want to move away from Cricket Wireless, you’d need to finish out the month you’d already paid for to get your money’s worth and then simply not pay for another month.

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Cricket Wireless Unlimited

Best on AT&T Network

Rather than paying a premium for AT&T’s unlimited plans, you can opt for Cricket Wireless’ Unlimited plan, which still utilizes the AT&T network at a fraction of the cost. Four lines with unlimited talk, text, and data on this plan would cost only $100/month.

FAQ

How do I figure out which provider offers the best service in my area?

The best way to find your optimal provider is to check coverage maps. There’s an interactive map from the FCC to compare 5G coverage among providers, as well as a map to compare 4G coverage.

Do I need 5G cell phone service?

5G isn’t even widely available for everyone in the US, so no, you don’t need it. That said, if your phone and your area support 5G service, it can provide quicker online access, faster download speeds, and better connections. A 5G-capable phone will use 4G LTE or 3G if you don’t have 5G cell phone service.

Can I use my mobile data with a mobile hotspot?

In most cases, a mobile hotspot uses mobile data to work. But some phone plans with mobile data may not support a mobile hotspot at all or may attach a data limit to mobile hotspots. You’ll want to check each plan for mobile hotspot support and data limits.


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