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Best family cell phone plan in 2022

best family cell phone plan
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The best family cell phone plan can help you get a handle on your monthly budget by keeping costs down on what you spend on your wireless service. And that's critical right now with so many prices on the rise. Turning to one of the plans below could help you cut down on what you and the rest of your family pay for unlimited data or at least get more value out your cell phone service through a plan packed with perks and benefits.

The best family cell phone plans at a glance

1. Best overall family plan: T-Mobile (opens in new tab)
2. Best for coverage and speeds: Verizon (opens in new tab)
3. Best group plan for non-families: Visible (opens in new tab)
4. Best family plan for streaming: AT&T (opens in new tab)

You have reasons other than inflation for considering the best family cell phone plan. Phone makers have released a spate of phones for the spring, from the Samsung Galaxy S22 to the iPhone SE 2022. Carriers often offer deals on these new phones that require you to commit to their wireless service, so examining what each plan delivers for families can help you find a great deal.

But even if you're not changing wireless carriers, it's helpful to see what options are out there. Phone carriers are often shaking up their options so the best family cell phone plan from a few months ago may have already been overtaken.

We can help you track down the right plan with multiple lines of data. We've studied all the different options from carriers big and small and can point your toward the best family cell phone plan based on your needs. Unlimited data is usually the way to go for families, so that you're not having to keep an eye on who's gobbling up all the data in your plan. Because carriers offer different perks and benefits with their best unlimited data plans, you'll want to consider how much you're willing to speed, if you need hotspot data and a number of other different factors.

Families of four can expect to pay between $120 to $220 a month for four lines from the major wireless carriers, with some discount services offering even lower prices. If that seems like a wide range, that’s because benefits can increase on higher-priced plans. Here’s a closer look at the best family cell phone plans depending on your needs.

The best family cell phone plans

Best overall value family plan

T-Mobile Magenta | 4-line family plan | $160/month - Best value family plan (opens in new tab)
T-Mobile is arguably the best overall value family plan you can get. That's because every family member will get unlimited 5G data on all the plans. And despite this, T-Mobile really isn't that expensive. The first line will cost $70 if you sign up for auto-pay then the second costs $50 and any extra lines costs just $20. That totals $160, which also reflects a discount for enrolling in autopay, and taxes and fees are included in the price as well. Note that T-Mobile occasionally waives the $20 monthly cost on the third line of data, allowing you to save on your monthly bill, so check to see if this deal is in place when shopping for the best family cell phone plan. On multi-line plans, T-Mobile will cover the cost of a $9 Netflix subscription and throw in a free year of both Apple TV Plus and Paramount Plus. You also get 5GB of LTE hotspot data with the Magenta plan.

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

Best family plan for coverage and speeds

Verizon 5G Play More | 4-line family plan | $180/month - Best family plan for coverage (opens in new tab)
It's not the least expensive plan Verizon offers, but the 5G Play More plan easily has the best perks. Play More subscribers get access to Disney's streaming services as part of their plan, along with an online gaming subscription from either Apple or Google. There's a six-month Apple Music trial, too. Even better, you get 5G coverage, which includes access to Verizon's faster Ultra Wideband service, which now reaches more customers with the launch of C-Band 5G (opens in new tab) this year. Verizon does reserve the right to throttle your data if you go over 50GB on this plan, so it that restriction is too much, sign up for 5G Get More, which offers truly unlimited data, plus other perks at a higher rate. The 5G Start Plan at Verizon lowers the total to $140/month for 4 lines, but with far fewer perks.

Pros: Excellent coverage, unlimited hotspot on all plans
Cons: T-Mobile's plan offers more value

An alternative option for families and friends

Visible Party Pay | 4-line plan | $100/month - A family plan for non-families (opens in new tab)
Visible's family plan stands out because it's not necessarily for families. Visible's Party Pay plan allows you to bundle up with multiple Visible users — whether they're related to you or not —getting a discount on all your lines. Each person gets their own bill which makes it very flexible for both families and groups of friends. The savings can get pretty impressive with prices dropping all the way down to just $25 a month. (For just a single line of unlimited data, Visible charges $40 and there's a free 15-day trial to test out Visible using your current phone (opens in new tab).) Under a Bring a Friend promotion, you can pay just $5 a month for the month after you refer a new customer to Visible.

Pros: Big discounts available, don't have to be a family
5G speeds are capped

Best family plan for Comcast customers

Xfinity Mobile | 4-line plan | $120/month - A good deal for Comcast customers (opens in new tab)
Xfinity Mobile just became a much more attractive option for families by offering discounts when you add multiple lines on its unlimited plan. A single line of unlimited data normally costs $45, but escalating discounts reduce the cost for a family of four to $30 per line, or $120 total each month. 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

Best family plan for streaming

AT&T | Unlimited Elite 4 line plan | $200/month - AT&Ts streaming family plan (opens in new tab)
This is a great option from AT&T if you don't mind spending a bit more on your family plan. The main benefit here is that you get HBO Max included. It also offers 5G service, 40GB of LTE hotspot data and HD video streaming — something a lot of unlimited plans limit. In fact, AT&T updated its plan to allow for 4K streaming when that option is available. Plus, AT&T no longer slows speeds for Unlimited Elite users regardless of how much data they consume. As of May, Unlimited Elite customers can use talk, text or data at no extra cost when traveling in 19 Latin America countries. A less expensive Starter option can secure you 4 lines for just $140 without a lot of perks. Like Verizon, AT&T lets you mix and match plans to come up with the best combination for your family.

Unlimited 5G data, free HBO Max, mix-and-match plans

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 (opens in new tab)
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 (opens in new tab). You get 15GB of hotspot data, and even HBO Max (though it's the tier of the streaming service with ads). It's 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 HBO Max
Cons: AT&T can slow data if there's lot of network traffic, HBO Max features ads

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 or HBO Max with AT&T's priciest plan) 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, just like three of Verizon's four unlimited plans. T-Mobile has doubled the cap on its Magenta plan to 100GB, while the more expensive Magenta Max plan does away with caps entirely for a truly unlimited plan; AT&T followed Magenta Max's lead with its Unlimited Elite plan.

The lowest-priced plans at Verizon (Start Unlimited) and AT&T (Unlimited Starter) allow your data speeds to be slowed whenever there's network congestion. As for Visible, we've noted that its speeds don't always match Verizon's in the same away, as traffic can be slowed when the Verizon network is congested; Visible no longer caps data speeds outside of hotspot usage and 5G.

We’ve focused on unlimited plans, but both AT&T and Verizon offer tiered data options, too. AT&T offers a single 4GB plan, while Verizon lets you choose between 5GB and 10GB tiers. Families draw from the same pool of data at both carriers. Unless you’re only adding two lines and don’t need a lot of data, the costs savings from unlimited data plans aren’t really substantial. For example, four lines of Verizon's 10GB data plan will cost you $140 a month, which is the same amount as four lines of the carrier's Start Unlimited plan.

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.