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Best Family Cell Phone Plans 2019

Sept. 10, 2019
Cell Phones, Utilities
Best Family Cell Phone Plans
At NerdWallet, we strive to help you make financial decisions with confidence. To do this, many or all of the products featured here are from our partners. However, this doesn’t influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own.

Finding the right cell phone plan for your family is key to keeping costs down. We scoped out the best family cell phone plans in several categories. Prices don’t include phones, taxes, fees or other charges, such as insurance.

 

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Best family plans: family of four

  • Plan name: Boost Mobile Unlimited
  • Price (monthly, four lines): $120
  • Plan at a glance: Unlimited talk, text and data, plus 30GB of mobile hot spot and HD video streaming
  • Why we like it: An unbelievable prepaid deal that’s too good to last. This limited time offer from Boost is available for new and existing customers.
  • Plan name: T-Mobile Essentials
  • Price (monthly, four lines): $140; $120 with autopay discount
  • Plan at a glance: Unlimited data, minutes and text messages
  • Why we like it: An affordable, entry-level unlimited plan with bonuses like mobile hot spot (at 3G speeds) and unlimited texting from more than 200 countries.

 

THINGS TO KNOW

Boost is owned by Sprint and uses its network. Sprint struck a deal to merge with T-Mobile that includes selling its prepaid service (including Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile) to Dish Network, but the agreement still has several hurdles to clear before it is effective. Until then, it’s business as usual for Boost Mobile customers.
T-Mobile Essentials includes unlimited mobile hot spot data, but at 3G speeds, which is slightly slower than the 4G data speed you get on your smartphone. International features include unlimited texting while outside of the United States, plus talk, text and 2G data (read: slow) in Mexico and Canada. Unlike other T-Mobile plans, taxes and fees are not included in the price. T-Mobile is hoping to merge with Sprint, but the agreement still has several hurdles to clear. Until then, it’s business as usual for T-Mobile customers.

 

Best family plans: two people

Metro by T-Mobile
  • Plan name: Metro by T-Mobile 10GB
  • Price (monthly, two lines): $70
  • Plan at a glance: Unlimited talk and text; 10GB of data per line
  • Why we like it: Each line gets its own data package, for a total of 20GB, plus unlimited music streaming from select services. Mobile hot spot access is not included.
  • Plan name: Sprint Unlimited Basic
  • Price (monthly, two lines): $110; $100 with autopay discount
  • Plan at a glance: Unlimited data, minutes and text messages
  • Why we like it: An affordable, entry-level unlimited plan with bonuses like Hulu and 500MB of hot spot access per line.

 

THINGS TO KNOW:

MetroPCS is now called Metro by T-Mobile. As the name reflects, the prepaid provider is owned by T-Mobile and uses its network. T-Mobile is hoping to merge with Sprint, but the deal still has several hurdles to clear. Until then, it’s business as usual for Metro prepaid customers.
Sprint’s Unlimited Basic plan includes calls, texts and 5GB of high-speed data to use in Canada and Mexico. Video streams in standard definition. Sprint is hoping to merge with T-Mobile, but the agreement still has several hurdles to clear. Until then, it’s business as usual for Sprint customers.

 

» MORE: Best unlimited data plans

Best family plans: prepaid

  • Plan name: Boost Mobile Unlimited
  • Price (monthly, four lines): $120
  • Plan at a glance: Unlimited talk, text and data, plus 30GB of mobile hot spot and HD video streaming
  • Why we like it: An unbelievable prepaid deal that’s too good to last. This limited time offer from Boost is available for new and existing customers.
  • Plan name: Cricket Core Unlimited (with Group Save discount)
  • Price (monthly, four lines): $100
  • At a glance: Unlimited talk, text and data
  • Why we like it: An excellent deal for a family of four that includes texting from the U.S. to nearly 40 other countries.

 

Things to know:

Boost is owned by Sprint and uses its network. Sprint struck a deal to merge with T-Mobile that includes selling its prepaid service (including Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile) to Dish Network, but the agreement still has several hurdles to clear before it is effective. Until then, it’s business as usual for Boost Mobile customers.
Data speeds on the Core unlimited plan are capped at 3Mbps, which is slower than the 4G LTE speeds most smartphone users expect but still fast enough for most smartphone activities. Video streaming is in standard definition. Cricket is owned by AT&T and uses its network.

 

» MORE: Best prepaid cell phone plans

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Best family cell phone plans: summary

CarrierDetailsGet started
Plan: Boost Mobile Unlimited

Best for: Family of four

Monthly cost: $120 (four lines)

Plan: T-Mobile Essentials

Best for: Family of four

Monthly cost: $140; $120 with autopay discount (four lines)
Plan: Metro by T-Mobile 10GB

Best for: Two people

Monthly cost: $70 (two lines)
Plan: Sprint Unlimited Basic

Best for: Two people

Monthly cost: $110; $100 with autopay discount (two lines)
Plan: Boost Mobile Unlimited

Best for: Prepaid family plan

Monthly cost: $120 (four lines)
Plan: Cricket Core Unlimited

Best for: Prepaid family plan

Monthly cost: $100 (4 lines)

METHODOLOGY

To determine the best plans, we looked at the monthly plan price before taxes and fees, the price per gigabyte and features such as international calling, mobile hot spot and complimentary subscriptions. We considered only national carriers, which ruled out regional providers like U.S. Cellular. For family plans, we looked at plans with at least 6 GB of data and calculated pricing for a family of four.

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