Costs for family cell phone plans have gone down in recent months here in the Cleveland area; if your family uses multiple phones on separate plans it’s worth taking a look at the family options. Here are some deals available now.
The best family deal we found is from T-Mobile: $49.99 per person, per month, for unlimited text, data, and voice coverage, for at least 2 people with smartphones (Android or iPhone type phones). Additional cell phones can be added to the family plan for $15 per month — these $15 plans include 500 talk minutes and unlimited data, but not unlimited texting, and won’t provide the service needed for an iPhone, Droid or other smartphone. Note there’s an activation fee of $35.
T-Mobile doesn’t offer the iPhone; however, if you have an AT&T iPhone and you’ve completed the 2-year commitment on your AT&T contract, you can convert to T-Mobile service. T-Mobile’s network won’t support phones used today with Verizon or Sprint service.
The reasons T-Mobile is offering such a good deal is that its potential merger with AT&T causes uncertainty; if the merger goes through, T-Mobile will definitely continue to provide the service offered in any contract signed with you. See this article for more.
Unlimited texting: Both Sprint and T-Mobile offer plans with unlimited texting; currently, Sprint’s unlimited family plan is about $190/month for 2 people — nearly twice the T-Mobile deal. We have not seen unlimited texting offered by AT&T or Verizon — AT&T doesn’t offer unlimited data, either.
Walmart has its own family plan that looks like a good deal — powered by T-Mobile — with unlimited talk and text (no data) $45 for 1 line, $70 for 2, $95 for 3, $120 for 4, $145 for 5.
The monthly service is less fun to shop for than a new phone but the service contract demands more attention — a family plan will probably cost thousands over a 2 year period. Much more than the $0 to $500 for an iPhone, Droid or Blackberry. See this article for more issues to consider when buying wireless service.
Sound advice: Stop into a couple of local stores for input. You can sign up for a family plan at Target, BestBuy, or Radio Shack as well as at the stores of the local carriers T-Mobile, Sprint, Verizon and AT&T. Taking the time to talk with a salesperson at BestBuy or Radio Shack can be well worth your time — these stores offer multiple plans and are a good place to compare different carriers’ options. And stores of the major carriers usually have staffs of knowledgable, energetic people who can help.
Each major carrier has a few dozen stores in NorthEast Ohio; T-Mobile and Sprint have over 20 local stores; Radio Shack has over 50 local stores. There are over 20 AT&T stores plus many AT&T affiliates in the Cleveland area. Verizon has over 50 stores here.
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