Best Family Cell Phone Plans

We looked at some of the top wireless plans to find the best options for families—and anyone else who wants to save money and share data.
  • Best Overall
    4.5 out of 5 overall
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  • Best Perks
    4 out of 5 overall
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  • Best for Bundling
    4 out of 5 overall
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  • Best for Kids
    3 out of 5 overall
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Overview

Family plans can knock some dollars off your monthly cell phone bill and make your kids stop complaining that their friends can reach them only by smoke signals. But if you want to get the whole crew (or even just you and your partner) on a single plan, then you need one that’ll meet your needs and budget.

We looked over the major wireless carriers’ plans to find the best ones for families who share data. Or heck, just the best one for you and your YouTube-streaming best friend.

Best family plan price comparison

ProviderOur plan pickPrice*Best forLearn more
T-MobileONE$70OverallView plan
AT&TUnlimited &More Premium$80**Media loversView plan
VerizonM (4 GB)$50**CouplesView plan
SprintUnlimited Freedom$60BudgetersView plan

* Includes autopay and paperless billing discounts.
** Does not include line access fees. 

Best overall—T-Mobile ONE

T-Mobile’s unlimited ONE plan is an obvious choice thanks to lots of fast data and a Netflix subscription included.

T-Mobile ONE plan prices and features*

T-Mobile ONE
1 line$70/mo.
2 lines$120/mo.
3 lines$140/mo.
4 lines$160/mo.
Features50 GB data, Netflix subscription incl., Unlimited international texting/data, 480p video quality
Learn moreView plan

*Price includes autopay, paperless billing, and multi-line discounts where applicable.

What we like

Lots of LTE data

Surprise! Even unlimited data plans have some limits. Most cell phone carriers, T-Mobile included, give you some super fast LTE data but then slow down your speeds after you’ve used a certain amount. If you stream enough YouTube videos, your binge-watch session is going to slow to a crawl.

Megaphone icon

Data-lovers tip

If your family doesn’t use much Wi-Fi and you really want the most unlimited data plan, then Verizon’s Above Unlimited plan is unbeatable at 75 GB of LTE data per month. It’s expensive, but you don’t have to worry about being throttled.

But that’s not such a concern with T-Mobile ONE because it’s pretty generous. T-Mobile ONE gives you 50 GB of LTE data per month. That’s more than twice what you’d get from any other provider except Verizon.

So even if your kid insists on streaming Riverdale on the school bus, you don’t have to worry too much about it slowing down the whole family’s data speeds.

If you want something a bit more supreme, for just $10/mo. you can get T-Mobile ONE Plus plan, which has features like HD video.

T-Mobile ONE vs. T-Mobile ONE Plus features

T-Mobile ONET-Mobile ONE Plus
4G LTE speedsYesYes
Netflix subscriptionYesYes
Unlimited international data and textingYesYes
HD video streamingNoYes
Mobile hotspot dataYes*Yes
In-flight Wi-FiNoYes
Voicemail transcriptionNoYes
4G LTE international data speedsNo**Yes
See planSee plan

* Limited to 3G speeds. Data effective 7/30/18.
** 5 GB of 4G LTE data available in Mexico and Canada and then speeds will be reduced.

Included Netflix subscription

If you already have a monthly Netflix plan, then T-Mobile can save you some money. T-Mobile ONE comes with the Standard Netflix subscription included. (It’s normally $10.99 per month.)

We still recommend upgrading to the Premium Netflix subscription, which lets you watch four screens at the same time instead of two. If you have T-Mobile, then it’s just a $3-per-month upgrade, and you won’t get locked out of your account when both your kids are already watching Netflix on separate tablets.

Fast speeds nationwide

T-Mobile has some of the fastest speeds in the country (depending on who you ask).1 Some studies rank T-Mobile as neck and neck with Verizon for fastest speeds nationwide,2 while others place it third out of four companies.3

Like most things with wireless service, it might depend on where you live. But it’s safe to say your speeds with T-Mobile will always be faster than with Sprint.

What we don’t like

Low coverage in some areas

T-Mobile doesn’t win first prize for coverage. That doesn’t mean it’s bad, though—and especially if you live in a fairly populated place, like a city or suburb, you shouldn’t have to worry too much about getting a signal.

That said, if your family lives somewhere more rural or just outside T-Mobile’s coverage zones, then you might want to go for a plan from Verizon, or maybe AT&T, instead.

Best for media-lovers—AT&T

AT&T’s Unlimited &More Premium plan comes with a slew of extra TV and music perks.

AT&T ONE plan prices and features*

ATT LogoUnlimited &More Premium
1 line$80/mo.
2 lines$150/mo.
3 lines$170/mo.
4 lines$190/mo.
Features22 GB data, 15 GB mobile hotspot, 1080p video, Premium TV or music streaming subscription incl.
Learn moreView plan

*Price includes autopay, paperless billing, and multi-line discounts where applicable.
**Does not include line access fees.

What we like

TV/music streaming

If you’re in a family of TV lovers and music fanatics, then AT&T Unlimited &More Premium plan seems like a pretty good deal. It comes with access to the WatchTV app, which lets you stream over 30 channels and includes some movies as well.

This plan also lets you include either one premium TV channel (think HBO or STARZ) or one music subscription, like Pandora Premium. If you already subscribe to these services on your own, then the AT&T deal could save you one more monthly bill. These services normally cost between $8.99 and $14.99 per month.

Info Box icon

Plan tip

AT&T has a lower-priced plan called Unlimited &More that still offers access to the WatchTV app but does not include a premium channel/music option.

Premium channel options

  • HBO
  • SHOWTIME
  • STARZ
  • CINEMAX
  • VRV

Music streaming options

  • Amazon Music
  • Pandora Premium

TV discounts

If you already have (or want to have) DIRECTV, DIRECTV NOW, or AT&T U-verse TV, then AT&T’s Unlimited &More Premium plan has a perk for that too. You’ll get a $15 credit to use toward your monthly TV bill.

Good coverage

AT&T usually comes in second just behind Verizon for nationwide coverage.4 If you live in a place where not all carriers have service, then AT&T’s coverage is a pretty good bet.

What we don’t like

The price

AT&T costs more than both Sprint and T-Mobile. It tends to be one of the more expensive cell phone carriers—especially if you get the Unlimited &More Premium plan.

But if you already subscribe to something like HBO NOW and you use DIRECTV, then AT&T’s perks can save you a good chunk of money every month, which makes the price pretty reasonable.

Best for couples—Verizon M (4 GB)

If you don’t need a ton of data but you do want the best coverage, then Verizon is an easy pick.

Verizon plan prices and features*

Verizon M (4 GB)
1 line$50/mo.
2 lines$90/mo.
3 lines$110/mo.
4 lines$130/mo.
FeaturesCarryover data, Unlimited talk and text
Learn moreView plan

*Price includes autopay, paperless billing, and multi-line discounts where applicable.
**Does not include line access fees.

Want even more data for a better price? If you prefer to go with a Verizon prepaid plan, you can get two lines and 6 GB of data for less than the price of Verizon M.

What we like

Excellent coverage

Verizon’s coverage tops the charts in the US.5 It doesn’t always rank first for speed,6 but if what you want is reliable coverage and fast data, then Verizon is your friend—especially if you live in a rural area, or even just if you like hiking and prefer having service on the mountain.

Good price

Verizon’s plans tend to be pretty pricey—especially its unlimited plans. But the benefit of going with a smaller data plan like the M (4 GB) is you get Verizon’s top-notch service for way less money.

Even if you want to add more than two lines of service, Verizon’s M shared data plan is pretty affordable.

What we don’t like

Low data cap

Depending on how you use your phone, 4 GB is not that much data—especially for a family plan. That’s why we say the Verizon M plan is best for couples. If both of you use Wi-Fi most of the time, then two lines of service should keep you comfortably under the 4 GB limit.

That said, we can’t imagine 4 GB would work very well for more than 2–3 lines. If you have a big family or just want four lines where no one has to worry about data limits, then go with an unlimited plan, or even something like the Verizon L plan, which has 8 GB.

Best for budgeters—Sprint

If you want unlimited data without the high cost, Sprint is your best bet for a low monthly bill.

Sprint plan prices and features*

sprint logoUnlimited Basic
1 line$60/mo.
2 lines$100/mo.
3 lines$120/mo.
4-5 lines$120/mo.
Features480p SD streaming, 500MB LTE mobile hotspot followed by unlimited 3G
Learn moreView plan

*Price includes autopay, paperless billing, and multi-line discounts where applicable.
**Does not include line access fees.
Savings thru 1/31/2020; then pay $60/mo for line 1, $40/mo for line 2 and $20/mo/line for lines 3-5. with AutoPay.

What we like

Low prices

Sprint has the cheapest prices on the unlimited plan market. You’ll pay less each month for Sprint than you would for an unlimited plan from AT&T, T-Mobile, or Verizon.

If Sprint phones get good service in your area, then Sprint’s Unlimited Basic plan is a great way to still get unlimited data for your family without the high cost.

What we don’t like

Not-so-great service

Sprint is less expensive for a reason—its service isn’t as reliable as the other three major cell phone companies. Case in point: Sprint ranks fourth of four providers for countrywide coverage.7

It has improved its network over the last few years, and it’s definitely better than it used to be. But that doesn’t mean your family can take your Sprint phones on a camping trip and still expect full—or any, really—bars.

We’ve found Sprint works pretty well in cities, although not always. (We ran into some annoying service issues in Chicago.) But for the most part, Sprint service in well-populated areas will work okay.

Recap

Best cell phone plans for families

Best overallBest for mediaBest for couplesBest for budget
t-mobile logoATT Logosprint logo
View PlansView PlansView PlansView Plans
  • Best overall: T-Mobile gives you lots of fast, unthrottled data with pretty good coverage and decent prices. Its ONE plan will work well for basically any family.
  • Best for media lovers: AT&T is expensive, but it sweetens the deal with media perks, like access to the WatchTV app and an included premium channel or music streaming service. Its Unlimited &More Premium plan also lets you take $15 off DIRECTV, DIRECTV NOW, or U-verse TV.
  • Best for couples: Verizon’s M (4 GB) plan gives you just enough data to keep two (or maybe three) people happy as long as you use Wi-Fi most of the time. Plus, you get Verizon’s reliable service for an affordable price—and way less than you’d pay for an unlimited plan.
  • Best for budgeters: Sprint’s prices are hard to beat, especially for a plan that gives your family unlimited data. But make sure Sprint’s service works well in your area before you sign on.