Which Family Cell Phone Plan Comes Out on Top?

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With so many cell phone plans to choose from, it can be a bit overwhelming. Choosing the family plan that maximizes the money you spend while getting solid coverage and other perks is very important. Today, we will aim to make that task a bit easier for you. Let’s take a look at four of the largest wireless carriers and see what family plan is best.

In order to compare apples to apples, we’ve compared the 700 minute family plan across carriers. Each carrier does offer other family plans with more minutes, but for comparison purposes 700 was chosen.

Classic 1000 Minute Talk T Mobile

T Mobile offers a 1000 minute family plan, unlike Verizon, Sprint and AT&T all which offer 700 minute plans. For the additional 300 minutes, you pay a lower amount of only $59.98 a month. This plan includes unlimited calling to any T-Mobile wireless customer, unlimited nights and weekends, caller ID, call waiting, and no roaming charges. Lines 1 and 2 are included; above two and up to five lines is an additional $9.99 per month.

Customers must execute a 2-year contract and pay an early termination fee of up to $200 if that contract is canceled before the end of the period. There is also a a one-time activation fee of $35 for each phone line. Additionally, you must buy a texting package if you want to send text messages using this plan. There is a plan that is available for an additional $40 per month that provides unlimited texting.

Verizon Family Share Talk Plan 700 Minutes

The Verizon network is certainly comprehensive. The Verizon 700 minute family plan costs $69.99 per month plus applicable taxes.  For this price there are no roaming charges, unlimited calling to any Verizon wireless customer, unlimited nights and weekends (Monday to Friday 9:01pm – 5:59am and weekend hours 12:00am Saturday – 11:59pm Sun), voice mail, caller ID, and call waiting. Adding one additional line to this plan is free (more than one additional line will cost $9.99/month per line).

Customers must execute a 2-year contract and pay an early termination fee of up to $350 if the contract i canceled before the end of the contract term. There is a one-time activation fee per line of $30. If you should go over the 700 minute allotment, each additional minute is $0.45. Also, remember that text messaging and data are not included in this particular plan. Data sent or received is $1.99/MB (unless a data package is selected or required), 20 cents per text message or 25 cents for picture and video messages. Text packages are available such as the 500 text package which includes unlimited mobile to mobile texting and 500 texts outside the network for $10/month/line.

AT&T Family Talk Nation 700 Minutes with Rollover

The AT&T 700 minute family plan also costs $69.99 per month plus applicable taxes. However, in comparison to Verizon, the AT&T plan does not offer as many perks and appears to be more expensive. Similar to Verizon, there are no roaming charges, unlimited calling to any AT&T wireless customer, unlimited nights and weekends (Monday to Friday 9:01pm – 5:59am and weekend hours 12:00am Saturday – 11:59pm Sunday), voice mail, caller ID, and call waiting. The customer has the option of adding up to four additional lines each costing $9.99 per line per month and a $36 activation fee per line.

Customers must execute a 2-year contract and pay an early termination fee of up to $325 if that contract is canceled before the end of the period. If you should go over the 700 minute allotment, each additional minute is $0.45. The one great perk about this plan is that it provides rollover minutes–the extra minutes you do not use rollover to the next month. These rollover minutes expire after three months, however. This plan does not include text or data. Data sent or received is $2.00/MB (unless data package is selected or required), 20 cents per text/Instant Message; 30 cents per picture/video. Texting packages are available including 1,000 text, picture, video, and Instant Messaging (IM) for $10/month/line).

Sprint Talk 700 for Family

The Sprint 700 minute family plan also costs $69.99 per month plus applicable taxes. This Sprint plan includes unlimited calling to any Sprint wireless customer, unlimited night and weekends starting at 7pm to 7 am and weekends Friday 7pm to Monday 7 am, voice mail, caller ID, call waiting, and no roaming charges. Lines 1 and 2 are included; above two and up to 5 lines is an additional $9.99 per month. Customers must execute a 2-year contract and pay an early termination fee of up to $200 if that contract is canceled before the end of the period. A one-time activation fee of $36 for each phone line is also required. Additionally, you must buy a texting package if you are interested in texting using this plan.

Making a decision on a family cell phone plan is certainly not easy. What are you looking for? If it is strictly talking, it would appear that T-Mobile comes in first followed by Verizon and then AT&T and lastly, Sprint. You get the additional 50 minutes for the same price. If you consider texting important, it would seem wise to go with T-Mobile again and pay the additional $20 per month for unlimited texting capabilities. Although Sprint offers earlier night and weekend talk time and AT&T offers rollover minutes, in terms of peak talk time, T-Mobile is clearly the leader, followed by Verizon.

No matter which plan you choose, make sure you research the facts.  Lowering your cell phone bill can really help clean up a budget, allowing you more money for saving and investing.

Published or Updated: June 12, 2013

Comments

  1. I was with Sprint for a long time but just recently changed to AT&T. I got the Iphone finally. I didn’t want to believe the hype but I have to say I’m quite impressed with all the features it has. Now Verizon has it…didn’t expect that to happen so soon. I wonder if anyone is buying Virgin Mobile or not. I’ve heard they are quite cheap.

  2. linda says:

    wow, 700 minutes is far to much for me and the 2year contract with cancellation fees does not sound attractive to me either. i know it is all about your needs to find the perfect plan. for me, a mother of 2 kids tracfone’s prepaid family plan seems the best and cheapest option. for the 4 of us we pay less than $30 a month, providing the kids and myself with 40 minutes and my husband with 50. if he needs more, he can simply top up. for the kids i find 40 minutes to be plenty, that way they start learning to deal with a budget.i had to pay no activation fees and will not have to pay cancellation fees if the whole cellphone thing with the kids does not work out. after all i told them that they have to be on a trial period. so far, so good….tracfone prepaid family is the perfect plan for the young family, needing so save , that does not use their cellphones all that much

  3. The penny pincher says:

    All these big cell carriers cannot compare to Walmarts Family Mobile (NOT STRAIGHT TALK, so don’t get them confused) It’s not a prepaid, and for 2 lines, unlimited talk & Text to anyone on any carrier or landline it’s $70.00. You have to buy the data packs seperatly (that’s the only prepaid about it) I think they range from $10 – $50 (you get 100 MB free when you sign up, and it’s been 5 months and we still haven’t used it all up). Not the best and coolest phones out right now, but you can bring your own phone on to it. NO HIDDEN CHARGES! We left ATT, shopped FOREVER!! and came across this, it’s the best, coverage is great, we travel and never had problems, 4G, NO CONTRACTS. DUDE IT’S THE BEST!! I have no idea why I seem to be the only one on this planet that’s discovered it!!

    • Eva says:

      Can you tell me if there are taxes and fees in addition to the $70.00? Is your bill every month just the even $70 (assuming you don’t buy additional data packs), or do you have to pay anything that’s labeled taxes or fees? Thank you.

  4. Coral S says:

    Am curious to know-is the Walmart option cdma or gsm…and running off which carrier? My sister’s looking for something with substantially more minutes than I use-may be an option. Personally, having 4 kids, Tracfone’s deal suits my pocket somewhat better. I agree with Linda about the kids and minute allocation, and it only costs me $6/month/tween for those minutes. Nice thing about TF is their coverage off either AT&T or Verizon. Oh, and as with the Walmart option mentioned above, no contract!

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