Best family cell phone plan in 2022

Now’s the time to make sure you have the best family cell phone plan for providing your loved ones with reliable — and affordable — cell phone coverage. Tracking down the best plan amid all the options out there can be a challenge, but we’re here to lend our expertise.

The best family cell phone plans at a glance

1. Best overall family plan: T-Mobile
2. Best for coverage and speeds: Verizon
3. Best group plan for non-families: Visible
4. Best family plan for streaming: AT&T

We’ve studied over all the different options from carriers big and small and can point your toward the best family cell phone plan based on your needs. That includes the perks carriers through into their plans as well as 5G coverage now that the best 5G phones are become more affordable and more ubiquitous.

Unlimited data is usually the way to go for families, so that you’re not having to keep an eye on who’s gobbling up all the data in your plan. Because carriers offer different perks and benefits with their best unlimited data plans, you’ll want to consider how much you’re willing to speed, if you need hotspot data and a number of other different factors. (For instance, if streaming services are important to you, we have a breakdown of which unlimited data plans offer free access to which streaming services.)

You’re not necessarily stuck getting service from the big carriers. Look beyond AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon, and you’ll see that discount carriers have rolled out unlimited options that are among the best family cell phone plans out there precisely because they don’t charge a lot.

Families of four can expect to pay between $120 to $220 a month for four lines from the major wireless carriers. If that seems like a wide range, that’s because benefits can increase on higher-priced plans. 

Here’s a closer look at the best family cell phone plans depending on your needs.

The best family cell phone plans

Best overall value family plan

Best family plan for coverage and speeds

An alternative option for families and friends

Best family plan for Comcast customers

Best family plan for streaming

How to pick the best family cell phone plans

Picking the right cell phone plan comes down to balancing the costs of multiple lines of data with the perks each carrier offers. If you do a lot of video streaming, for example, you’ll want to pick a plan that not only throws in a streaming service as a perk (Netflix with T-Mobile, multiple streaming services with Verizon or HBO Max with AT&T’s priciest plan) but also doesn’t slow your data if you consume a lot of data in a given month.

Because the thing about unlimited data is that, with the exception of one plan, it’s not truly unlimited. AT&T’s Unlimited Extra customers will enjoy a 50GB cap, just like three of Verizon’s four unlimited plans. T-Mobile has doubled the cap on its Magenta plan to 100GB, while the more expensive Magenta Max plan does away with caps entirely for a truly unlimited plan; AT&T followed Magenta Max’s lead with its Unlimited Elite plan.

The lowest-priced plans at Verizon (Start Unlimited) and AT&T (Unlimited Starter) allow your data speeds to be slowed whenever there’s network congestion. As for Visible, we’ve noted that its speeds don’t always match Verizon’s in the same away, as traffic can be slowed when the Verizon network is congested; Visible no longer caps data speeds outside of hotspot usage and 5G.

We’ve focused on unlimited plans, but both AT&T and Verizon offer tiered data options, too. AT&T offers a single 4GB plan, while Verizon lets you choose between 5GB and 10GB tiers. Families draw from the same pool of data at both carriers. Unless you’re only adding two lines and don’t need a lot of data, the costs savings from unlimited data plans aren’t really substantial. For example, four lines of Verizon’s 10GB data plan will cost you $140 a month, which is the same amount as four lines of the carrier’s Start Unlimited plan.

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