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Cell Phone Plans for the Whole Family

written by: Faith Oh•edited by: Simon Hill•updated: 7/26/2010

Family cell phones are quite popular because they help streamline managing your phone bills as well as cut down costs. How do you figure out which are the best family cell phone plans? This article will help you figure it out.

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    Overview

    When choosing a family plan you need to consider a number of things such as how many additional lines can be added and at what cost, how many minutes you are allowed to share, how much extra you are charged if you go over your minute allocation, the other calling features that come with the plan and of course, coverage. Looking at the major carriers in the U.S., the providers listed below emerge as the ones with the best cell phone family plans on the market today (as of July 2010).

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    T-Mobile

    Rating Average

    T-Mobile is the only provider that offers family plans without a contract obligation. They cost less than their equivalents that come with a contract but the catch is that you will have to pay full price for the phones as they are not discounted, and it also costs more to add an additional line. T-Mobile offers three main types of family plans: Family Talk, Family Talk + Text and Family Talk + Text + Web. All plans come with unlimited T-Mobile to T-Mobile calling, unlimited nights and weekends and free overage alerts. No more than five lines are allowed for each plan. Basic pricing covers the first two lines and each additional line costs extra. The various plans for basic family talk, which will apply to most families are listed below.

    1. Even More Plus for Families Unlimited Talk ($80/month): This plan does not have a contract obligation, comes with unlimited talk time for all members on the plan and pricing includes the first two lines. Each additional line costs $30 per month. The total cost for a family of five is $170 per month.
    2. Even More for Families Unlimited Talk ($100/month): This plan offers the same benefits as the above plan but comes with a two-year contract. Each additional line costs $40 per month but the phones are heavily discounted. The total cost for a family of five is $220 per month.
    3. Even More Plus for Families 3000 Talk ($80/month): This plan does not require a contract, phones are full price and it comes with 3000 anytime minutes to be shared among all members of the plan. Each additional line costs $25 a month, putting the total monthly cost for a family of five at $155.
    4. Even More for Families 3000 Talk ($100/month): This plan offers the same benefits as the above plan but comes with a two-year contract. Each additional line costs $5 per month but the phones are heavily discounted. The total cost for a family of five is $115 per month.
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    Best Family Cell Phone Plans: AT&T and VerizonAT&T and Verizon Wireless are among three of the best providers with cell phone family plans. Read on to find out more about their plan details and why their's are ranked as some of the best family cell phone plans on the market.
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    AT&T

    Rating Average

    AT&T offers the most options for family plans with 11 plans to choose from. Five of them are nationwide plans and six are nationwide with Canada plans. There are no separate text plans and texting can be added as an additional feature with extra costs. All plans come with unlimited night and weekend minutes, unlimited calls to AT&T Wireless customers and the opportunity to roll unused minutes over to the next month. Some plans also come with the opportunity to call a particular number of favorite phone numbers on any network, land line or cell phone for free as part of your A-list. The basic price covers the first two lines and each additional line costs extra. All AT&T family plans require a two-year contract. Below are the details of the basic family nationwide plans, which will apply to most families.

    1. 550 Minutes Plan ($60/month): This plan comes with 550 anytime minutes to be shared among members of the plan. No more than three lines are allowed on this plan and each additional line costs $10 per month.
    2. 700 Minutes Plan ($70/month): This plan comes with 700 anytime minutes to be shared among members of the plan. No more than five lines are allowed on this plan and each additional line costs $10 per month. The total monthly cost for a family of five is $100.
    3. 1400 Minutes Plan ($90/month): This plan comes with 1400 anytime minutes to be shared among members of the plan and 10 A-list numbers. No more than five lines are allowed on this plan and each additional line costs $10 per month. The total monthly cost for a family of five is $120.
    4. 2100 Minutes Plan ($110/month): This plan comes with 2100 anytime minutes to be shared among members of the plan and 10 A-list numbers. No more than five lines are allowed on this plan and each additional line costs $10 per month. The total monthly cost for a family of five is $140.
    5. Unlimited Plan ($120/month): This plan comes with unlimited talk time for all members of the plan. No more than five lines are allowed on this plan and each additional line costs $50 per month. The total monthly cost for a family of five is $270.
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    Verizon

    Rating Average

    Verizon's family plans come as talk, or talk and text plans. All family members on the plan share the allocated number of minutes. Basic pricing covers the first two lines and no more than three additional lines are allowed on each plan, each line costing $10 a month for most plans. All family plans come with unlimited calling to all Verizon Wirelsss customers, unlimited night and weekend minutes and require a two-year contract.

    1. 700 Minutes Plan ($70/month): This plan comes with 700 anytime minutes to be shared among members of the plan. The total monthly cost for a family of five is $100.
    2. 1400 Minutes Plan ($90/month): This plan comes with 1400 anytime minutes to be shared among members of the plan and unlimited calls to and from a total of 10 family and friends phone numbers, which can be either cell phones or land lines in the U.S. The total monthly cost for a family of five is $120.
    3. 2000 Minutes Plan ($100/month): This plan comes with 2000 anytime minutes to be shared among members of the plan as well as unlimited calls to and from a total of 10 family and friends phone numbers. The total monthly cost for a family of five is $130.
    4. Unlimited Plan ($120/month): This plan comes with unlimited talk time for all members of the plan and each additional line costs $50 a month. The total monthly cost for a family of five is $270.