Best shared family data plans: Verizon vs AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint


Deciding which phone service plan is good for your expanding family to take advantage of together used not be for the faint of heart. The plans used to be convoluted and changing constantly. Thankfully, pricing for shared data plans got much, much simpler after the major US carriers ditched the venerable two-year contract, and it is now much clearer to figure out which one offers the best deals.

So, without further ado, here are the shared data plan charges for the proverbial family of four per month on the US majors. These all include unlimited talk and texts, often in the near and far abroad as well. We haven't considered plans with less than a 6 GB bucket, because... come on, you still want to be called the head of the family, right? 

As you can see, Sprint's unlimited plan can't be beat, if you are in a region with good coverage, as recent Nielsen data showed that its 4G network performs fastest on average, plus you can save 50% on most Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile rate plans when you bring your number to Sprint. Verizon is a pretty good value, too, with the current 2 GB extra per line promo, considering the power of its network coverage. T-Mobile's 10 GB each for $140 at the moment is a great offering for the carrier's speed/coverage combo, while AT&T is arguably the worst offender, unless you are also a DirecTV customer, and can hook your family up on its unlimited plan.


Plans6 GB12 GB 18 GB 20 GB 25 GB 30 GB 40 GB 50 GB 6080 GB100 GB
Monthly charge$60$80$100$120$175$225$300$375$450$600$750
Cost (4 people)$140$160$180$200$255$305$380$425$530$680$830

Perks: Each 12 GB and above shared plan now comes with 2 GB monthly bonus per device, so the 12 GB plan actually has 20 GB of data to share, for instance.

Overages: $15 per GB


Plans15 GB20 GB25 GB30 GB40 GB50 GB
Monthly charge$100$140$175$225$300$375
Cost for family of 4$160$200$235$285$360$435

Perks: Unused data gets rolled over each month. Unlimited talk and text to Canada and Mexico. If you are a DirecTV subscriber, you can sign up for a $60/month unlimited plan that may get throttled after the first 22 GB.

Overages
: $15 per GB


Plans4*2 GB4*6 GB4*10 GBUnlimited
Monthly charge for a family of four$100$140 ($120 for a limited time)$180 ($140 for a limited time)$220 

Perks: Unused data gets rolled over each month (up to 20 GB, on the 6 GB and 10 GB plans only). Unlimited talk and text to Canada and Mexico. Free Netflix, Hulu and HBO Now streaming with BingeOn. Free tune streaming with Music Freedom.


Plans12 GB24 GB40 GBUnlimited
Monthly charge$60$80$100$75 for first line
Cost for 4 lines$140$160$180$150 (limited time)

Perks: Nascar Mobile sports, Sprint TV video streaming, and free international texting and data (at 2G speeds) in most countries.

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18 Comments

1. Arch_Fiend

Posts: 3951; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

I'm on the cheapest Tmo plan, signed up when they were offering the $100 plan for 5 lines. Who needs more than 2gbs of 4G Lte data when they have wifi 24/7.

3. rdaex

Posts: 152; Member since: Oct 24, 2012

anyone who wants to actually be MOBILE with their mobile device. Besides, most public wifi is tragically slow

5. Arch_Fiend

Posts: 3951; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

Let's see, my mom, and grandma stay at home most of the time and don't use the internet that much, my sister really only uses her phone to get on facebook and she mostly stays at home. My bro works 12 hours a day so he's mostly at home when he uses his phone. Campus wifi is fast and covers everywhere with at least a 3 bar so i'm good. Yeah I don't think we need more than 2gbs of 4G Lte. Besides the reduced speed after 2gbs isn't that slow, I went over it on purpose the day before renewal just to see how reduced it was.

6. Acdc1a

Posts: 473; Member since: Jan 21, 2016

We've taken another approach. With Binge On we've been able to eliminate our home internet service. 4 lines, 10GB of non-streaming data each, $120.

7. Arch_Fiend

Posts: 3951; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

Yeah, I found out one weekend when I was home and the internet was down that using internet pass through to watch netflix on my PC is the same as watching on my Phone at least to Binge on it is because it was basically using zero data, watched the whole weekend and still had data to spare. When I was on At&t and did that, netflix on my PC ate though my data in an hour. We would get rid of internet like you did but my family are heavy PC users and we need a dedicated internet service. Charter is only $75 a month so its not so bad.

10. tedkord

Posts: 17357; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

You asked who needs more than 2gb per month. He answered.

13. Arch_Fiend

Posts: 3951; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

Yes, yes he did and I replied because I felt like it, not because I thought his statement was wrong or anything. Much like your reply to me.

12. Chidoro44

Posts: 52; Member since: Feb 03, 2015

Because people don't have WiFi 24/7. Pretty simple.

2. hitmantb

Posts: 79; Member since: Jul 26, 2012

Cricket easily destroys them all, 5 lines for $100 all taxes/fees included. 2.5GB each = 12.5 GB total.

14. logicsdude

Posts: 83; Member since: Jun 25, 2014

Tmo and cricket are very comparable for pricing, T-mo is faster and IF you have band 12, has better coverage, if you don't, cricket has the coverage edge. T-mo also has better free included features (BingeOn, Music Freedom)

4. ozgur781sen

Posts: 37; Member since: Mar 11, 2015

My plan with T-Mobile includes 10gb for each line and 4th line totally free all for $140

8. TmoRep

Posts: 107; Member since: Apr 20, 2016

The TMO plan 4 lines at 6gb is actually only 120$ a month for a limited time on promotion.

9. Ruturaj

Posts: 1484; Member since: Oct 16, 2014

At&t gives you 20% off if your employer (given you have job) is qualified.;

11. xocomaox

Posts: 200; Member since: Dec 14, 2015

Verizon has similar discounts off the data portion of the bill. 15% employee discount + 5% for paperless billing. I have two lines sharing 3GB a month. We typically use about 1.5gb - 2.5gb a month. We almost always have WiFi available (it's 2016!) so there is no issue. We pay $80/month total for this.

15. nnjerzy

Posts: 126; Member since: Jun 19, 2013

Tmobile 4 lines $150.00 unlimited everything on each and every line, 4th line free, and 14 GB Hotspot incl on every line as well.

16. Shauk

Posts: 33; Member since: Mar 29, 2016

that was a limited time promo, they don't offer it anymore though.

17. syed_itsa

Posts: 50; Member since: Feb 05, 2015

To get promotion is better than pay more. I have 3GB Value share Plan with 3GB Bonus Data. and Paying only 40 dollars. I have my Employee Discount of 18% -- I am pretty good. I travel a lot . If ATT is saying 4G OR 4Glte they are good in speed. I have tried T-Mobile too. They are ghost in their pricing. For me coverage matter than DATA. Why do we need Cellphone.? to keep in touch with fellows. If I am in dead zone and spending 15 days without keep in touch with my fellow I am paying for nothing. We should all comment on Coverage. Still in USA I visit most of places where people don't have full signal coverage for ALL 4 Big Giants of Cellular service provider.

18. bugsbunny00

Posts: 2264; Member since: Jun 07, 2013

tmo dont share thats why its better 10gigs is enough for me.

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