Tech Made Simple

Hot Topics: Holiday Shopping & Gifts | Deep Web: Surfing the Dark SIde | GIVEAWAY: Win an HTC One! | Apple iPhone 6

Choose It

author photo

Choosing Between a Family Plan and a Shared Data Plan

posted by Suzanne Kantra on October 22, 2012 in Family and Parenting, Phones and Mobile, Phone Accessories, Cell Phones, Guides & Reviews, Money Savers :: 1 comment

Mother and daughter using mobile devicesBetween our smartphones, tablets and laptops, my family uses a lot of devices that connect to the Internet–inside and outside of our home. So would we be better off with a shared data plan, which gives us a big bucket of data to share between all of our various devices, or getting a separate data allowance for each line, which we would get with a traditional family plan? And which carrier is offering the specific combination of data and talk that best matches our usage?

It would be great if there were a clear answer, but it really comes down to how much time you talk on the phone versus the amount of data you consume. You probably know how many minutes you use, so it should be easy to narrow the choices to a talk-time cap or an unlimited plan, but calculating data is a little trickier.

According to NPD Connected Intelligence, the average Android user consumes about 870MB of their data plan per month. If you plan on using laptops or tablets, though, I would bump your estimate of future usage up to at least 2GB of data per person.

Ready to see which plan is for you? Below you'll find how the four major carriers stack up for a two-person and four-person household:

Two Person Plans

  Carrier Plan type Minutes per line Messages per line Data per line Monthly Fee 
AT&T Family Plan 550 Unlimited 3GB $150
  Family Plan 550 Unlimited 5GB with hotspot $190
  Family Plan Unlimited Unlimited 3GB $210
  Family Plan Unlimited Unlimited 5GB with hotspot $250
  Mobile Share Unlimited Unlimited 4GB shared $150
  Mobile Share (2 hotspots) Unlimited Unlimited 4GB shared $190
Sprint Family Plan 1500 Unlimited Unlimited $150
  Family Plan (2 hotspots) 1500 Unlimited Unlimited, 2GB hotspot per line $190
  Family Plan Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited $210
  Family Plan (2 hotspots) Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited, 2GB hotspot per line $250
T-Mobile Unlimited Nationwide 4G 1000 Unlimited Unlimited (5GB high speed) $150
  Unlimited - Premium with Smartphone Mobile Hotspot Service 1000 Unlimited Unlimited (5GB high speed) $160
  Unlimited Nationwide 4G Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited (5GB high speed) $160
  Unlimited - Premium with Smartphone Mobile Hotspot Service) Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited (5GB high speed) $170
Verizon Share Everything unlimited unlimited 4GB shared $150
  Share Everything (2 hotspots) unlimited unlimited 4GB shared $190

 

Four Person Plans

  Carrier Plan type Minutes per line Messages per line Data per line Monthly Fee 
AT&T Family Plan 700 Unlimited 3GB $240
  Family Plan Unlimited Unlimited 3GB $370
  Family Plan (2 hotspots) Unlimited Unlimited 5GB with hotspot $410
  Mobile Share Unlimited Unlimited 10GB shared $240
  Mobile Share (2 hotspots, 2 tablets) Unlimited Unlimited 10GB shared $300
Sprint Family Plan 1500 Unlimited Unlimited $210
  Family Plan (2 hotspots) 1500 Unlimited Unlimited, 2GB hotspot $250
  Family Plan Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited $410
  Family Plan (2 hotspots) Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited, 2GB hotspot $450
T-Mobile Unlimited Nationwide 4G 1000 Unlimited Unlimited (5GB high speed) $210
  Unlimited - Premium with Smartphone Mobile Hotspot Service 1000 Unlimited Unlimited (5GB high speed) $220
  Unlimited Nationwide 4G Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited (5GB high speed) $220
  Unlimited - Premium with Smartphone Mobile Hotspot Service Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited (5GB high speed) $230
Verizon Share Everything unlimited unlimited 10GB shared $260
  Share Everything (2 hotspots, 2 tablets) unlimited unlimited 10GB shared $320

 

Subscribe to the Techlicious Daily Email!

Get the Techlicious Guide to Great Photography as your FREE gift!

Discussion loading

gravatar

Family plan vs Shared

From Cassie on October 22, 2012 :: 8:38 pm

I could never see well any of the plans reasonable - especially when rollover has been eliminated.

Here is why accurately a large portion of users do use talk under 250hrs per month -

since VIOP phone service is an unregistered number - though illegal in the U.S. to tele-market repeatedly a cell number if requested do not call. If cheap VIOP calls are made via outside U.S. jurisdiction any consumer can receive robo-calling and continuous repeat calls - it has to be unlimited even on pay to go systems as there is no way to block non-existent numbers - the same goes with those stupid marketing or rate fee text messages! Or else it prevents loss for consumers to call out for emergency or receive emergency communications. Try blocking a VIOP almost impossible if outside U.S.

My concern about data caps is this mobile browsing is next as far as your data used and abused by marketing - why should a consumer pay any data if they can’t get some mobile sites ad free that consumes data! That’s my issue like owning a fax machine years ago and marketers wasted your paper and toner expense - why a portion of the fees you cell provider gets! well ads use your data!

Till phones come with data/text/call telemarketing reporting/blocking - to remove these charges and reverse then these aren’t reasonable deals…...Why should the average consumer pay for marketing businesses can write it off as an expense we as average users can’t! Marketing and advertising is a legitimate business expense that is deductible - why are the top guys permit their third parties or businesses rob you of minutes, data or text rates for years?????????? technically to date thousands of businesses owe me for my phone bill - for years! No sales call should ever cost anyone! Then you will find out the true data use is much lower!

Reply

© 2014 Techlicious LLC. :: Home | About | Meet the Team | Sponsorship Opportunities | Newsletter Archive | Contact Us :: Terms of Use | Privacy Policy

site design: Juxtaprose