What is a Family Cell Phone Plan?

Shopping for a cell phone plan can be overwhelming. If you have several people in your home, or want to connect with a group of people in your life, family plans are an option for allowing you to have several phones on one plan. Family cell phone plans may be used by any group of people, not just people in your home.

Family Cell Plan or Group Plan

Most family plans work by having a bucket of minutes that is shared and divided among the phones on the plan. Usually they allow you to talk to the other members on the plan without using any of your plan minutes. In other words, you talk to anyone with a cell phone on your bill for free.

Family plans can be useful for people who are not actually family members, or who don't live in the same home. If you, your husband, your sister, and your mother talk on the phone frequently, a family plan might be a great option. It can save money overall on your cell phone bill.

Billing Considerations

Family plans can also work for friends, but keep in mind that there will only be one name on the plan. Whoever opens the cell phone plan will be financially responsible for all of the charges, no matter which phone they were made on. They can also be a great option for small businesses that do not qualify for business plans.

Many companies offer family plans with a base charge. They add an additional charge of around $10 per line for additional lines. Basic cell phone plans for one person generally start between thirty and forty dollars and often include mobile equipment at discounted prices.

Shop for the Best Cell Phone Deal

Certain times of year you may be able to find the best cell phone deal for your needs. Companies often adjust the prices of their plans depending on the season. You're likely to find really great deals around Christmastime and during back to school time.

As for the cost of phones, most companies offer free or deeply discounted prices for new customers, or new contracts. New contracts are likely to include free or very deeply discounted mobile equipment. Usually any new phones going on your plan will be eligible for a discount.

Drawbacks to Consider

Family plans do have some drawbacks depending on the users. In most cases, the minutes are not divided among the phones. Each phone does not get its own minutes, so it is possible for one person to use up all available minutes. It's better to start high. If you don't use all your minutes, you can lower your plan, but if you go over, overage charges can be very expensive.

Make sure to ask the cell phone company you choose about text message charges, plans and features. Inquire about texts sent between the phones on the plan, and whether they'll count twice. If you have a plan with 100 text messages, and text your family plan member 50 times, your texts could be used up. Most phone companies charge for both outgoing and incoming text messages.

If you have a child or teenager, be realistic about how many minutes and text messages they're going to use. If you don't think your child can limit themselves effectively, a prepaid plan might be a better option to help ensure that your bill stays the same etc.

If you think a family cell phone plan is right for you, you still have shopping around to do. There are many factors to choosing a company including cost, coverage, and your personal experiences with different providers. Shop around before making a choice.

Create a List

Make a list of the questions you have, no matter how small you think they are because they are important to you. You can make a list comparing the important features from each company that matter to you. There are also websites that will allow you to compare plans from different companies side by side.

No matter what company you choose, a family plan can be a great way to save money. It's also an easy way to keep track of the phones in your household and their usage. Parental controls offer a great opportunity for the primary account holder to control the cell phone bill.


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