By the BillXperts.com team
July 2015 reviews
Promotions and hot deals seem to come out every other day on the telecommunications market. And as a consumer, it’s become really hard to figure out what cell phone plan is best for your own consumption. Most people actually pay more than what they should, not only because they don’t have the right provider but also sometimes because they don’t have the right plan for them.
This month, we’ve decided to look specifically into the Family plans – sometimes called data sharing plans – that allow several devices to pay a lower price than if they were on separate individual plans.
Our team has therefore reviewed what the main cell phone carriers offer, as well as two “discounters” which offers are slightly more flexible and customized to your needs.
Verizon’s main family plan is The MORE Everything Plan: unlimited talk and text and 10GB of data to share for $80 per month, on top of a $15 line access fee per line.
For a family of four, that translates into a $140 monthly bill
The largest phone carrier in the US is therefore not the cheapest one but it offers a few neat options like international texting and 25GB of cloud storage.
To get a better price while benefiting from Verizon’s high quality network, we recommend taking a peek at Straight Talk, which use the same infrastructure but has cheapest rates.
The first line is $50 per month, the second line is $30 and then it’s $10 for additional lines under their Simple Choice Family plan (unlimited talk, text and data).
The monthly bill for a family of four would then be $100.
Beware of the fine prints though: the unlimited data is … not unlimited. Indeed, you will only get the full speed 4G LTE data up to 1GB. Speed gets reduced after that.
You can also take advantage of Data Stash, a feature that rolls your unused 4G LTE data into the next month
Share 10GB of data among 4 lines for $160 per month ($100 data plan + $15 access charge per line) with the AT&T Mobile Share Value plans. The second largest US provider is not the cheapest one but definitely a serious contender on the data share plans market.
With Rollover Data, the data you don't use this month rolls over to next month (for one billing period only).
5 lines, 20GB of shared data for only $100 a month seems like a great deal. It’s well enough data for most families.
The catch? After 12 months, an additional $15 monthly access fee gets added to each line. That ramps up your monthly rate by $75 per month if you have 5 lines.
As per most of the other carriers, your data speed gets reduced to 2GB after using 2.5GB of data per line.
Finally, Sprint makes it less painful to switch from another provider through their Contract Buyout program: they will pay off your old phone and contract so you can switch. Here again, read the fine print as there are obviously some conditions.
“Low bills and cell data available on demand!” Here is how they describe themselves.
Republic Wireless is one of these “discounters” with a very interesting concept: you pay $10 for the basic plan (unlimited text, voice and wi-fi data) and you buy On-Net Cell Data on top.
So for a family of 4 using 2GB of data on each device, you’ll pay $40 for the phone plans and $120 for the 10GB of data. Note this is not a data sharing plan, just an addition of four different individual plans.
Beside, at the end of the month, they’ll pay you back for however much cell data you didn't use.
They even claim their customers only pay $14.78 last month on average.
Also considered as a “discounter”, Ting’s offer is based on your usage: no unlimited voice, text nor data. You use your phone to call, text and surf the web and you pay at the end of the month for what you used.
If you have 4 devices, you called for up to 2,100 minutes, sent up to 4,800 messages and used up to 2GB of data, your monthly bill will only be $99.00.
Ting also helps you switch from another provider by paying you up to $75 of your early termination fees.
As per their website, the average monthly bill for their customer is only $23.
Image courtesy of nenetus at freedigitalphotos.net