Best family cell phone plan in 2023

best family cell phone plan
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Finding the best family cell phone plan is a great way to save money on your monthly wireless bill. But when we research plans, we're looking for more than just a low monthly rate.

We also take perks into consideration. Some family plans offer complementary streaming service subscriptions that save you money elsewhere in your budget. Others include travel benefits or let you mix and match cheaper plans for different lines of data. In fact, our favorite plans feature generous discounts as you add more lines, lowering the cost per line for big families.

The best family cell phone plans at a glance

1. Best overall family plan: T-Mobile
2. Most flexible family plan: Verizon
3. Best plan for bargain hunters: Mint
4. Best plan for small families: Xfinity Mobile

Families will be best served by opting for unlimited data, which generally offers the best mix of price, perks, and per-line discounts. Also, the advantage to picking one of the best unlimited data plans instead of one with a set amount of data is that you don't have to worry about family members consuming too much of your pooled data each month. Carriers like Verizon, AT&T and Mint even let you mix and match plans for each line of data.

Families of four can expect to pay between $120 to $220 a month for four lines from the major wireless carriers — in fact, four lines for $120 per month seems to be the sweet spot for plans these days. As a rule of thumb, the more expensive the plan, the better the perks. (We've also compared the cheapest unlimited data plans from AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon if you're on a budget.)

Here’s a closer look at the best family cell phone plan options.

The best family cell phone plans

Best family cell phone plan value

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T-Mobile Go5G | 4-line family plan | $155/month - Best value family plan

T-Mobile Go5G | 4-line family plan | $155/month - Best value family plan
Normally, we'd steer you toward T-Mobile's Magenta plan for an affordable family cell phone plan that includes a fair share of perks. But T-Mobile is currently waiving the cost of a third line for its Go5G plan, so families with four lines of data can get this option for less than the cost of a Magenta plan. That means more hotspot data and a bigger data pool for use when traveling in Canada and Mexico than you would with Magenta. Otherwise, the perks are the same, including a free Netflix subscription and six months of access to Apple TV Plus. Opt for the more expensive Go5G Plus ($185/month for a family of four), and you get even more benefits, such as a full Apple TV Plus subscription.

Pros: Third line for free, free Netflix, 5G available
Cons: Can’t mix-and-match unlimited plans

Best family cell phone plan for coverage and speeds

Verizon Unlimited Plus | 4-line family plan | $180/month - Most flexible family plan

Verizon Unlimited Plus | 4-line family plan | $180/month - Most flexible family plan
Families would save more with Verizon's Welcome Unlimited plan, which costs $120/month for four lines. But that plan has few perks and only features 5G coverage from Verizon's slower nationwide network. With Verizon Unlimited Plus, you get Verizon's fastest Ultra Wideband 5G coverage, plus 30GB of hotspot data and a three-year price guarantee. You can also mix and match plans, opting for Welcome Unlimited on some lines to save money. Bring your own device to Verizon, and you can count on additional discounts to your monthly rate. Perks including Disney's streaming service bundle or travel passes to use overseas are available as $10 monthly add-ons that you can add and drop at any time.

Pros: Verizon's fastest 5G coverage, lots of hotspot data, ability to mix and match
Cons: $10 add-ons can add up quickly if you're not careful

Best family cell phone plan for bargain hunters

Mint Mobile | 4-line 5GB plan | $60/month - Cheapest family plan, with a catch

Mint Mobile | 4-line 5GB plan | $60/month - Cheapest family plan, with a catch
Mint doesn't offer escalating discounts as you add lines of data to your plan, making it different from most of the other best family cell phone plan options. Instead, each line of data gets the same discount for paying in advance. So a family that opts for Mint's 5GB plan can expect to pay $15 for each line. That's $60 a month, with $180 due up front to cover your first three months of service at the discounted rate. To keep that price after a three-month trial period, you need to commit (and pay for) a year of service. Mint also lets families mix and match its different plans so one line of data could include 5GB for $15/month, while another could opt for Mint's $30 unlimited plan. Right now, a Mint promotion has cut the price on every data plan to $15/month for the first three months, so everyone can enjoy low-cost unlimited data at the moment.

Pros: Big discounts relative to other family plans, you can mix and match plans
Cons: Requires a year commitment for best price

Best family plan for Comcast customers

Xfinity Mobile | 4-line Unlimited Intro plan | $120/month - A good deal for Comcast customers

Xfinity Mobile | 4-line Unlimited Intro plan | $120/month - A good deal for Comcast customers
Xfinity Mobile has established itself as an attractive option for families, with a discount on its unlimited data plan kicking in once you tack on additional lines. Multiple lines of the Unlimited Intro plan cost $30 each per month, so a two-line plan now costs $60 while a family of four plays $120. (Xfinity also has Plus and Premium tiers for its unlimited plan when you need more hotspot data or prefer high-resolution video streaming.) Xfinity uses Verizon's network, including that carrier's expanding 5G network, so you can expect fast coverage.

Pros: Discounts on multiple lines, uses Verizon's network
Cons: Only available to Xfinity internet customers

AT&T's best family cell phone plan

AT&T | Unlimited Extra 4 line plan | $160/month - AT&Ts best family plan

AT&T | Unlimited Extra 4 line plan | $160/month - AT&Ts best family plan
AT&T's Unlimited Extra plan offers the best balance of price and perks for the carrier's unlimited plans. Families save $40 each month from the more expensive Unlimited Elite plan, but they also enjoy perks like 15GB of hotspot data and the promise that your speeds won't be slowed unless you use more than 50GB of data in a month. AT&T's cheapest plan for families — Unlimited Starter, which costs a family of four $140/month — slows your speeds at any time.

15GB of hotspot data, unlimited data when traveling in Mexico and Canada
No streaming perks, speeds can be slowed after 50GB of use

Cheapest family plan on AT&T's network

Cricket Wireless | Unlimited + 15 GB Mobile Hotspot | $130/month - Unlimited data for less on AT&T's network

Cricket Wireless | Unlimited + 15 GB Mobile Hotspot | $130/month - Unlimited data for less on AT&T's network
Cricket Wireless is AT&T's prepaid subsidiary, meaning it uses the same network, including 5G coverage. But Cricket plans cost much less, as you can see with this unlimited offering, where four lines of data will cost you $33 per line. This plan even comes with perks, which is a rarity, even among the best prepaid phone plans. You get 15GB of hotspot data, and unlike AT&T, Cricket's plan still includes Max among its benefits. (Be aware it is the ad-supported tier of the streaming service formerly known as HBO Max.) Cricket is a great way to enjoy the benefits of AT&T but without paying for that carrier's most expensive plan.

Pros: 5G coverage included, cheaper than AT&T plans, includes Max
Cons: AT&T can slow data if there's lot of network traffic, Max subscription features ads

Best bargain unlimited plan for families

Metro by T-Mobile | 4-line plan | $100/month - Low-cost unlimited data

Metro by T-Mobile | 4-line plan | $100/month - Low-cost unlimited data
Metro stopped offering Amazon Prime memberships to new customers who signed up for its priciest unlimited plan, which removes one of the best perks for a prepaid carrier. But there's still value to be had for families who opt for the cheaper unlimited plan at Metro. Thanks to discounts on multiple lines, four lines of unlimited data currently cost $100 total — normally, it's a $160 monthly fee. Perks are limited to 5G coverage and Tuesday giveaways, but it's a great overall value available when you switch from another carrier.

Pros: Big discount on unlimited data, Tuesday giveaways from T-Mobile
Cons: In-store deal only

How to pick the best family cell phone plans

Picking the right cell phone plan comes down to balancing the costs of multiple lines of data with the perks each carrier offers. If you do a lot of video streaming, for example, you’ll want to pick a plan that not only throws in a streaming service as a perk (Netflix with T-Mobile, multiple streaming services with Verizon) but also doesn’t slow your data if you consume a lot of data in a given month.

Because the thing about unlimited data is that, with the exception of one plan, it’s not truly unlimited. AT&T's Unlimited Extra customers will enjoy a 50GB cap, while Unlimited Elite subscribers face no cap at all. Verizon can slow data for Unlimited Plus customers once they use more than 30GB of data, while Welcome Unlimited customers can see data speeds slowed down whenever there's too much traffic on Verizon's network. T-Mobile Magenta and Go5G customers can see data slowed when they use more than 100GB during a billing cycle; there's no throttling for Magenta Max and Go5G Plus customers.

Use an MVNO like Mint or Cricket, and you can see your data speeds deprioritized in favor of other customers on the parent company's network (T-Mobile and AT&T, respectively).

We’ve focused on unlimited plans, as only AT&T is the only major carrier that continues to offer a tiered data option (a 4GB in this case). If you prefer tiered data, you'd want to turn to service like Mint, which offers plans with different data allocations. 

Philip Michaels

Philip Michaels is a Managing Editor at Tom's Guide. He's been covering personal technology since 1999 and was in the building when Steve Jobs showed off the iPhone for the first time. He's been evaluating smartphones since that first iPhone debuted in 2007, and he's been following phone carriers and smartphone plans since 2015. He has strong opinions about Apple, the Oakland Athletics, old movies and proper butchery techniques. Follow him at @PhilipMichaels.

  • TGO
    Is that the car from Vacation??
  • Larry831
    admin said:
    Looking for the best family cell phone plan? We can help you find a smartphone plan that brings unlimited data to multiple people without breaking the bank.

    Best family cell phone plan in 2020 : Read more

    Great Read. The problem is that I don't have a family to get these deals! I'm debating on Visible or Circledin. Has anyone tried Circledin before? I know with Visible you can join a family plan, but i heard it's super slow.
  • Jwhite326
    This article says it was published 11 days ago. But it looks like maybe it was just reposted from two years ago.

    I love Tom's Guide and read it for all things tech-related. But if these are your "best" family plan suggestions in mid-2022, I'm a little underwhelmed. I need to move a family of four from Straight Talk, and was looking for alternatives. Anyway, I spent 2-3 hours digging and I came up with a few other MVNOs that seem to dominate these.

    For example, Google Fi's Simply Unlimited Family plan offers nearly identical service compared to the Magenta plan you're suggesting: the same prioritized data allocations and hotspot capability along with talk and text, but for $20 a line. That's HALF the price. This would save folks almost a grand a year.

    Similarly, US Mobile offers 30 GB of prioritized data on Verizon, plus unlimited talk and text for $20 a line. It's got the same speed as the Verizon Play More plan you're touting, and it costs $100 less PER MONTH, so people could save $1,200 a year. That's a huge chunk of change!

    I feel like with some more research you guys could come up with some better suggestions.