With a large number of cell phone carriers all vying for your business with promises of great deals and service, it can be a daunting task trying to decide which cell phone plan is best for your family. Sure, you can spend a great deal of time conducting research, but this can be time-consuming and confusing. Consider these guidelines instead, and you can quickly narrow down your options and make an informed decision.
How Many Lines Does Your Family Need?
By figuring out how many lines your family needs, you can quickly eliminate carriers that don’t offer family plans. And while you are obviously concerned about cost, don’t be so quick to eliminate the more expensive plans, as quality and extra features that you need might be a part of those plans.
How Much Data Do You Need?
Next, you need to determine how much data your family needs as a whole. You might not need much if all you intend to do is make phone calls, check email, and occasionally browse the Internet. But a child who streams video and music uses social media a lot, and engages in a lot of texting will definitely need more.
You can choose a plan that has a total allotment of data that is shared amongst the whole family, or a plan that gives each phone user a specific amount of data. When data is used up, that doesn’t mean you can no longer use your phones. It just means that until the next billing cycle, data-using activity will be slowed considerably.
You can also opt for an unlimited data plan, which could be more expensive, but worthwhile if you expect to use a large amount of data each month. You can also enact parental controls to cap data usage for your children.
The major carriers such as Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile all offer various family plan and data options. Other carriers such as US Mobile or Ting give you even more options through build-your-own plans, which let you further customize data usage for each line. Click on each carrier above to read our reviews.
Pre-Paid vs. Post-Paid Plans
With pre-paid plans, you pay for the service at the beginning of the month. Many carriers offer this option, and you can definitely find great family deals. With a post-paid plan, you pay at the end of your month and, based on your data usage, you can pay more or less each month.
Before making a final decision, check for features such as free music, and ask about additional taxes and fees that can make what seemed like a good deal more expensive than you thought.