Best Cell Phone Family Plans in 2018: AT&T, Verizon & Sprint

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AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon offer family plans that can save families hundreds of dollars per year, but they’re all a little bit different — and that can be confusing. In this article, we’ll compare the prices of AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon’s family plans in 2018 and look at how much an average family of four might pay by carrier for light, moderate, and heavy, and super heavy data usage.

I sold a lot of iPhones before I became an Apple tech, so I’m familiar with how difficult it can be to weigh one plan against another. It’s my goal to provide easy-to-understand information so you can make the best decision about which family plan is right for you.

If you’re shopping for just one cell phone line, check out my comparison of single line cell phone plans to find the best plan for you. If you already have a family plan, try my brand new cell phone savings calculator to quickly find out how much your family could save by switching to another carrier.

You deserve to know that I may receive a referral fee if you click on one of the links on this page. It’s how I support my website, but I never allow money to influence my recommendations or the information I provide.

Compare AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon Family Plan Prices

CarrierDetailsTalk & TextDataLearn More
With AT&T, the first question to ask yourself is, “How much data would I like to share between all my phones?”, because the amount you’ll pay for talk and text depends on how much data you buy. You’ll also notice that AT&T offers no data plans between 5GB and 15GB – that’s not an omission.$25 / line for unlimited talk and text if you buy the 5GB or lower data plan.
$15 / line for unlimited talk and text if you buy the 15GB or higher data plan, and you get free talk and text to Canada and Mexico.
300 MB for $20
2 GB for $30
5 GB for $50
15 GB for $100
20 GB for $140
25 GB for $175
30 GB for $225
40 GB for $300
50 GB for $375

Overage charges
$20 for each additional 300MB on the 300MB data plan
$15 for each additional GB on all other data plans

View Plan
on AT&T’s website

AT&T is currently offering up to a $650 credit per line if you switch.

All Sprint plans include unlimited talk and text. Sprint offers two types of shared data plans—one with unlimited data, and one where you choose how much data you want. The access charge for talk and text varies according to the plan you choose.

Here’s the catch with the unlimited data plan: You can only use 3GB of mobile hotspot data per month. (Mobile hotspot connects your computer or other device to the internet through your phone.)

“Limited” data plans
$20 / line if you choose Sprint Installments or Lease for phone payments
$45 / line if you choose a 24-month contract (and Sprint subsidizes the phone cost up front)

Unlimited data plan
Includes unlimited talk, text, and data.
$75 for 1st line
$45 for 2nd line
$30 for lines 3-10

“Limited” data plans
1 GB for $20
3 GB for $30
6 GB for $45
12 GB for $60
24 GB for $80
40 GB for $100

Unlimited data plan
Unlimited data included with talk and text. Data slows to 2G speeds after 23GB usage / month, and there is a 3 GB limit on mobile hotspot. (Data slows to 2G speeds after hotspot data is used up.)

Overage charges
Sprint has no data overage charges—data slows to 2G speeds when you go over the limit.

View Plan
on Sprint’s website

Sprint is currently offering a 50% discount off your current rate and $725 back in contract termination fees if you switch.

All Verizon family plans include unlimited talk and text. Data is shared between all lines on the plan, so you choose how many gigabytes of data you’d like to share with your entire family.$20 / line for unlimited talk and text1 GB for $30
3 GB for $45
6 GB for $60
12 GB for $80 plus 2GB bonus data per line / month
18 GB for $100 plus 2GB bonus data per line / month

Overage charges
$15 for each additional GB

View Plan
on Verizon’s website

Verizon is currently offering to waive all activation fees, but only if you purchase online.

T-Mobile’s stock plan includes unlimited talk, text, and data. You pay a flat rate per line and you get unlimited everything — with a few exceptions.

For instance, T-Mobile offers unlimited streaming from a slew of carriers, but not at full resolution. HD streaming is a paid upgrade. And like other “unlimited” carriers, after you go over 26 GB of data usage for your plan, you are “prioritized below other traffic” (T-Mobile’s words, not mine) and may experience slower speeds.

All lines include unlimited talk, text, and data

$70 for 1st line
$50 for 2nd line
$20 for lines 3-10

Unlimited data included. After 26 GB of usage, your usage is “prioritized below other customers” and you may experience slower speeds.

Overage Charges
T-Mobile has no overage charges.

Binge On
T-Mobile allows you to stream unlimited video and music from YouTube, Netflix, Spotify, and a slew of other sources without using any of your high speed data allowance. However, Binge On video is streamed at lower quality (480p), not 720p or 1080p HD quality like the other carriers. HD video streaming is available as a paid upgrade.

View Plan
on T-Mobile’s website

T-Mobile is currently offering the new T-Mobile ONE plan.

Family Plan Prices For 4 Lines With Light Data Usage

In this example, we’ll look at how much a family of four would pay for talk, text, and data with AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon. It’s difficult to make a perfect one-to-one comparison between the carriers because they all offer different price points on data – but we can get pretty close.

We’ll base our pricing on the assumption that our family is leasing their phones through an installment plan with the carrier and not signing a 24-month contract, because that seems to be the most common arrangement these days.

In this comparison, we’ll pretend each family member uses around 1 GB of data per month, for a total of 4 GB. All of the plans include unlimited talk and text.

CarrierTalk & TextDataTotal (excluding taxes and fees)Learn More
$25 / line for unlimited talk and text = $100 for 4 lines5 GB shared data for $50$150View Plan
on AT&T’s website
$20 / line for unlimited talk and text = $80 for 4 lines6 GB shared data for $45$125View Plan
on Sprint’s website
$20 / line for unlimited talk and text = $80 for four lines6 GB shared data for $60$140View Plan
on Verizon’s website
$50 for 1st line
$30 for 2nd line
$10 for 3rd line
$10 for 4th line
Total: $100
All lines include 2 GB of high speed data$100View Plan
on T-Mobile’s website

Family Plan Prices For 4 Lines With Moderate Data Usage

This time, we’ll pretend that each member of our family of four uses around 3 GB of data per month, for a total of 12 GB.

CarrierTalk & TextDataTotal (excluding taxes and fees)Learn More
$15 / line for unlimited talk and text = $60 for 4 lines15 GB shared data for $100$160View Plan
on AT&T’s website
$20 / line for unlimited talk and text = $80 for 4 lines12 GB shared data for $60$140View Plan
on Sprint’s website
$20 / line for unlimited talk and text = $80 for four lines12 GB shared data for $80$160View Plan
on Verizon’s website
$50 for 1st line
$30 for 2nd line
$10 for 3rd line
$0 for 4th line (T-Mobile promotion!)
Total: $90
6GB of high speed data for $15 x 3 lines = $45$135View Plan
on T-Mobile’s website

Family Plan Prices For 4 Lines With Heavy Data Usage

In this example, each member of our family of four uses an average of 6 GB of data per month, for a total of 24 GB.

CarrierTalk & TextDataTotal (excluding taxes and fees)Learn More
$15 / line for unlimited talk and text = $60 for 4 lines25 GB shared data for $175$235View Plan
on AT&T’s website
$20 / line for unlimited talk and text = $80 for 4 lines24 GB shared data for $80$160View Plan
on Sprint’s website
$20 / line for unlimited talk and text = $80 for four lines18 GB for $100 plan plus 2GB bonus data for all 4 lines = 26 GB for $100$180View Plan
on Verizon’s website
$50 for 1st line
$30 for 2nd line
$10 for 3rd line
$10 for 4th line
Total: $100
6GB of high speed data for $15 x 4 lines = $60$160View Plan
on T-Mobile’s website

Family Plan Prices For 4 Lines With Super Heavy Data Usage

In our last example, each member of our family of four uses an average of 12 GB of data per month, for a total of 48GB.

CarrierTalk & TextDataTotal (excluding taxes and fees)Learn More
$15 / line for unlimited talk and text = $60 for 4 lines50GB shared data for $375$435View Plan
on AT&T’s website
$20 / line for unlimited talk and text = $80 for 4 linesUnlimited data for $175 ($70 for 1st line, $45 for 2nd, $30 for 3rd and 4th; mobile hotspot capped at 3GB per line per month)$255View Plan
on Sprint’s website
$20 / line for unlimited talk and text = $80 for four lines$430 total (18GB shared data plus 2GB bonus data per line for a total of 26GB plan data, plus $330 for 22GB in data overage charges.)$510View Plan
on Verizon’s website
$50 for 1st line
$30 for 2nd line
$10 for 3rd line
$10 for 4th line
Total: $100
Unlimited high speed data for $45 x 4 lines = $180$280View Plan
on T-Mobile’s website

Key Takeaways

For families that don’t use a lot of data, Verizon and Sprint are the winners. (You can knock Verizon’s price down to $125 / month if you use a little less data and go for the 3GB shared plan.)

For families that use a moderate amount of data, all of the carriers’ prices are in the same ballpark.

For families who use around 24 GB per month, the numbers start to separate. Sprint has the least-expensive option, Verizon is a little more, and AT&T is much more expensive than the other carriers.

The data hogs have a clear winner: Sprint. Over the course of a single year, a family of four that uses 48 GB of data per month would spend $3,060 with Sprint’s unlimited data plan, $5,220 with AT&T, or $6,120 with Verizon. That’s right: A family of data hogs could save $3,000 / year by switching to Sprint.

Wrapping It Up

Choosing a carrier isn’t just about the price: It’s about coverage, service, your experience, and your gut feeling. Run the numbers using my cell phone savings calculator and don’t be afraid to make a switch — you could end up saving a lot of money in the long run. And if you’re in the market for a new phone plan, check out my hand-picked list of the best offers from AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon in 2018.

Thanks so much for reading and I look forward to hearing from you,
David P.

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