Go to Reviews.org AU Edition
Best Family Cell Phone Plans
We looked at dozens of family cell plans to find the best ones for parents, kids, penny pinchers, data hogs, and more.
Family plans have several big advantages over traditional cell phone plans: they can save you money, give you perks, and help you control what your kids are doing. In this article we’ll tell you everything you need to know about the four best family plans on the market.
Currently, US Mobile offers the best value and cheapest unlimited plan we've seen. You can get four lines of unlimited data for as cheap as $80/month.
The best-performing plan that will please the whole family is T-Mobile’s Magenta MAX plan.
If you need a lot of data, whether for work or for play (or both), then we recommend AT&T’s Unlimited Elite plan.
If you're sharing the plan with your children, the Just Kids Verizon Wireless plan has parental controls to keep your kids focused on the right things.
Read on for the details.
- : Best value
- : Best performance
- : Best for data hogs
- : Best for kids
What to look for in a family cell phone plan
There are dozens of cell phone companies out there with hundreds of family plans to choose from. Here are some things to look for to help you narrow down your search.
- Cost: Does it cost less per line than an individual plan?
- Data: Is data shared between lines or does each line have its own data cap?
- Parental controls: Can the parent account control the data usage and apps of other phones on the plan?
- Bill pay: Are prices all bundled together in a single bill or does each line pay separately?
- Perks: Are there any special features or perks for adding extra lines?
We’ll talk about these factors and others in our detailed review of the best family cell phone plans.
US Mobile Unlimited Basic: Best value
- Amazing price
- Strong coverage
- Simple and flexible
- Risk of data deprioritization
What we like
US Mobile is a relatively new mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) on the scene. MVNOs are smaller carriers that use another company’s network to provide service to customers. This allows the company to offer cheaper prices (but it also can mean slower data speeds).
We love US Mobile for its super affordable, but still robust, family plan. Here’s everything you need to know about it.
A single line on US Mobile’s basic unlimited data plan is just $35, which is already a steal. But when you start bundling multiple lines together the savings just get ludicrous. For four lines of unlimited talk, text, and data you’ll pay just $80! That’s $20 a line.
Currently, no other carrier comes close for price comparison. Look at how much US Mobile undercuts other "affordable" carrier for a 4-line family plan:
As we stated above, US Mobile is an MVNO that uses the Verizon network. That means customers on US Mobile will be on the nation’s largest network.
If you want to see how good coverage is in your specific area, take a peek at this coverage map.
What we don't like
You don’t end up with a plan this cheap without cutting the fat somewhere. The biggest problem with US Mobile's family plan is data speeds.
Data deprioritization and data throttling
MVNOs like US Mobile rent mobile bandwidth from other networks. In this case, US Mobile uses Verizon’s network, and that means Verizon customers get priority when it comes to data speeds.
So US Mobile customers may notice data slowdowns when the network is “congested.” You might experience deprioritization on your commute home from work for example, when everyone else is streaming podcasts on their drive. Generally, the more crowded an area you're in, the more likely your data speeds can get throttled.
T-Mobile Magenta MAX: Best performance
- Unlimited talk, text, and data
- Great network performance
- 5G coverage
- Free Netflix
- Free hotspot data
What we like
Choosing a restaurant that everyone in the family likes can be tough. It’s the same with cell phone plans. Some want tons of data while others would prefer hotspot capability. Well, with T-Mobile’s Magenta MAX family plan you don’t have to choose.
This plan has pretty much everything. Sure, it costs a pretty penny, but you’ll get a lot of bang for your buck.
Unlimited talk, text, and data
You don’t want to waste your precious time arguing with your brother about how much data he uses. And there are more important things to fight about over Thanksgiving dinner than the number of texts your niece is sending. So skip the drama by going unlimited.
T-Mobile’s Magenta MAX plan has enough talk, text, and data for everyone in the family. Each line comes with a 50 GB monthly data cap. That’s about enough to stream every single episode of Breaking Bad!
Great network performance
T-Mobile has taken great strides in recent years. It used to be the sort of backwater of the mobile industry, a smaller company that couldn’t keep up in terms of coverage or data speeds. Not anymore.
In 2020, T-Mobile acquired Sprint in an historic merger, boosting coverage. It’s also upped its data speeds significantly. In fact, we surveyed over 120,000 mobile customers and found that T-Mobile’s data speeds are the fastest in the industry.
One other way that T-Mobile has built up its network recently is with the widespread implementation of 5G technology. The company claims that “with [its] Extended Range 5G, [it has] America’s largest 5G network—covering over 8,300 cities and towns. That’s more than twice the 5G coverage area of Verizon or AT&T.”
Free Netflix, HD video, hotspot data, and more
Sure, this plan covers all the basics. But that’s not all. There’s plenty that the Magenta Max Plan has to offer. Here’s a look at a few of the best perks that you’ll get with this family plan.
- 20 GB of high-speed 4G LTE mobile hotspot data, plus unlimited hotspot at 3G speeds
- Unlimited in-flight Wi-Fi on domestic flights
- A free Netflix subscription (2-screen)
- Unlimited minutes international texting in over 210 different countries, plus data and calling benefits in Canada and Mexico
- Free giveaways and discounts with T-Mobile Tuesdays
What we don't like
We love the Magenta MAX Plan (obviously), but no one is perfect. Here are a few of the flaws we found when researching this family plan.
A single line on T-Mobile’s Magenta MAX Plan will cost you $85 a month. If that sounds like a lot, it’s because it is a lot. But the plan actually gets cheaper when you add lines. For two lines it’s $140, or $70 per line. Once you get up to four lines it’s just $170, or $42.50 per line.
Paying more than $150 a month may seem steep, even if you are getting a premium plan with four lines. And it is significantly pricier than the cheapest plans on the market, like this one from US Mobile, which costs just $100 a month for four unlimited lines.
T-Mobile’s data speeds may be the fastest. But the company’s coverage range is less impressive. Of the three large networks, T-Mobile actually has the worst 4G coverage.
That said, the company’s coverage map still looks pretty good. Check it out.
If you live in a metropolitan or suburban area, you should get full bars most of the time with T-Mobile.
Magenta MAX is a powerful plan. But it’s not the only one. One of these other premium family plans may be even better for you.
AT&T Unlimited Elite: Best for data hogs
- Tons and tons of data
- Good network
- Great perks
- More expensive than other plans
What we like
I’ll let you in on a little secret: this AT&T plan (or some variation of it) is what my family and I have been on for years. I just Venmo the money to my dad every (well … almost every) month and in exchange I get more data than I could ever realistically use.
Let me tell you everything that I (and my family) love about this plan.
Tons and tons of data
All unlimited data plans give you unlimited data, right? Well, not really. If you read the fine print you’ll see that most unlimited data plans come with one of two caveats: either your data can be deprioritized at any time, or there’s a hard cap on how much full-speed data you can use.
With most unlimited plans the data cap is somewhere between 25–50 GB. That’s enough data to stream about 25–50 hours of video (in standard definition). That may sound like a lot, but for many gamers, serious working professionals, and influencers, it’s chump change.
So how much data does the Unlimited Elite plan come with? Try 100 GB of high-speed 4G LTE data (or 5G data where available). I dare you to try to use it all up (I’ve never gotten close).
Our handy guide will help you figure out how much data you really need.
AT&T may not win the gold medal when it comes to coverage or data speeds. But it does take the silver medal in both of those categories, which is nothing to scoff at. I’ve personally never had issues with coverage or data speeds on this plan. I often have more bars than my friends in remote areas.
If you want to see how AT&T’s coverage stacks up in your area, zoom in on this interactive map.
AT&T’s Unlimited Elite plan gives you more than just talk, text, and data. Here are a few of the perks you’ll get:
- A free subscription to Max
- 30 GB of mobile hotspot data
- Unlimited HD streaming
What we don't like
There’s one glaring problem with this plan that you probably already noticed: it’s expensive.
$200 a month for four lines! That makes this the priciest plan on our list.
Honestly, my family has considered dumping this plan because of the price. It costs as much or more than other top-tier cell phone plans, even when you’re bundling multiple lines together. So it’s probably only worth it for those families that really do want all the data.
Let’s take a quick look at some other family cell phone plans that offer tons of data.
Verizon Just Kids: Best for kids
- Strong parental controls
- Unlimited talk and text plus 5 GB of full-speed data
- Verizon’s network
- Must already have Verizon unlimited plan
- Pricier than other family plans
What we like
Phones can be amazing tools for kids. A phone can help your little ones learn, build friendships, and have fun. Having a phone also means your kids have no excuse not to call you.
But phones can also be a bit of a Pandora’s box for your kids, opening them up to a whole big world that they’re not ready for. This is why parental controls exist, and Verizon’s Just Kids plan has the best parental controls in the industry.
The Just Kids plan has plenty of nice features, but the one that really sets it apart from other family plans is the parental controls. This plan allows you to pick your kid’s contacts, block inappropriate content, reduce access to chosen apps, and even track phone locations.
You can use the Verizon Smart Family app to control these filters and settings from your own phone. That way you don’t have to confiscate your kid’s device to make sure they aren’t getting up to no good.
With the Just Kids plan you can stop worrying about what your kid is looking at on their phone and instead concentrate on the more important questions, like why your kid keeps saying weird words like “wig” and “snatched.”
Unlimited talk and text plus 5 GB of full-speed data
Your kids will get unlimited talk and text on this plan. But there’s a catch: they are limited to 20 contacts. This is a good way to keep your kid from texting random strangers they met on TikTok (or whatever the new cool app is).
Each of your kids’ lines on this plan will also come with 5 GB of full-speed data. That’s plenty for everyday activities, like using Google Maps, streaming a little bit of music, and posting a photo to Instagram. After the 5 GB data cap has been reached, the data speeds will be reduced (which, again, might be a good thing).
Of the three major networks, Verizon’s has the biggest reach. That means your kid should never have an excuse for not calling you. They’d basically have to be in the middle of the Grand Canyon to lose service.
Just look at this service map.
What we don't like
There are a few significant drawbacks to this plan, which mean that it won’t be perfect for every family. Here are the things we don’t love about Verizon’s Just Kids plan.
Must already have Verizon unlimited plan
Unfortunately, you can’t just sign your kids up for this plan on their own. Instead, the kids’ lines need to be connected to an existing unlimited data plan from Verizon. If you’ve already got one of those, it shouldn’t be a problem. If you don’t, you can easily sign up for one. Here are the options.
Verizon unlimited data cell phone plans
At $160 for four lines, the Verizon Just Kids plan isn’t the priciest on this list, but it’s definitely not the cheapest either. Especially when you consider the fact that your kids won’t be getting unlimited talk, text, and data with this plan.
There are tons of other kid-friendly plans out there. But we really like the mix of affordability and utility offered by Mint Mobile’s mix & match family plan. It will give your kids just enough data (not too much) and it won’t break the bank.
Recap: Which plan is right for you and your family?
We hope that this detailed review has helped you find the best cell phone plan for your family. If you got bored and just skimmed it, we understand. Here’s the TL;DR recap for you.
- Best value: US Mobile only charges $20/line for unlimited talk, text, and data if you get up to four lines on the same family plan. That price beats out every other carrier. You also get access to Verizon's awesome network.
- Best performance: If you want a powerful, well-rounded plan that will please everyone in the family, then check out T-Mobile’s Magenta MAX plan.
- Best for data hogs: If you’ve got a family of gamers, streamers, and other data hogs, then AT&T’s Unlimited Elite plan is the way to go.
- Best for kids: With the Just Kids Verizon Wireless plan you can use parental controls to keep your kids focused on the right things.
The experts at Reviews.org looked at dozens of different cell phone plans before deciding which ones would make the cut for the best family plans. We evaluated each plan based on its price, data speeds, data caps, network coverage, and other factors. Our speed test data comes from our own independent survey of more than 100,000 mobile users.