AT&T Mobile Share Plans
AT&T is known for its extensive coverage and reliability - in fact, its coverage is second to Verizon. However, AT&T's Mobile Share Advantage packages are not exactly cheap; in fact, its plans are more expensive compared to the average carrier. That being said, AT&T's coverage may be worth the price for your family.
AT&T Family Plans
AT&T offers a couple types of family cell phone plans: prepaid, otherwise known as GoPhone, and AT&T Mobile Share Advantage.
AT&T's GoPhone is a prepaid cell phone plan, so you can either purchase a prepaid device directly from AT&T or bring your own phone! If you do plan to bring your own phone, you simply need to add an AT&T GoPhone SIM kit to your device for a small fee.
As for prepaid GoPhone plans, you can select the plan with only unlimited talk and text (though you can purchase a data package every 250MB), the plan with unlimited data but the first 4GB is at high speed, or the plan with unlimited data but with the first 8GB at high speed. However, you can also select 25 cents per minute or $2 per day for unlimited talk and text. That being said, you cannot apply multiple lines with the latter two plans.
In fact, the Multi-Line Discount only applies to the $45 per month plan and above. With the Multi-Line Discount, you will receive just $5 off the second line, $10 off the third line, $15 off the fourth line, and $20 off the fifth line. All prepaid monthly plans come with no activation fees, deposit, or overage charges. Also keep in mind that you can apply AT&T's AutoPay feature to the service, meaning that you can save a few dollars per month on your plan.
Mobile Share Advantage
Mobile Share Advantage, on the other hand, is what AT&T shines the spotlight on. AT&T Mobile Share Advantage features no overage charges whatsoever, truly shareable data for up to 10 phones, tablets, and other devices, rollover data in the case that you don't use all of your data in the current month, and Stream Saver, which allows video to stream at roughly 480p, so you will save more data. As a side note, you can turn Stream Saver on or off at any time. Furthermore, on 10GB plans or higher, you'll receive unlimited talk and text to Mexico and Canada, as well as no roaming charges for voice, text, and data plan usage while in Mexico.
Mobile Share Advantage plan data amounts range from 1GB to a whopping 100GB, but the 100GB plan is incredibly expensive. These prices exclude the device access charges, which range from $10 to $30 per device unless you're on a two-year agreement, then your monthly access charge for smartphones alone will be a little higher.
There is one other plan to consider, however. AT&T offers an unlimited cell phone plan for talk, text, and data, but it comes with one caveat: you'll need either DirecTV or U-verse TV. This doesn't mean that the unlimited plan will be included for free - you'll have to pay a plan fee on top of that.
However, if your family consists of data hogs, it may be a good idea to consider the unlimited package. If you're a cord-cutter and the idea of owning DirecTV in order to have AT&T Unlimited makes you cringe, then you should instead consider providers with unlimited plans that come with no strings attached.
AT&T Mobile Share
Sometimes, you may only want data as you and your family travels. AT&T's mobile share plans would then be right for your family. AT&T has a set of Mobile Share - Data plans. These plans include a shared data amount that can be used by up to 10 data-only devices, including tablets, laptops, netbooks, mobile hotspot devices, and gaming devices.
With AT&T's share plans - data only, you pay a monthly charge, plus a monthly device access charge for each data-only device - just like with the Mobile Share Advantage plans.
Mobile shared data amounts range from 4GB to 50GB. You can't order Mobile Share - Data plans online, however. To add an AT&T Mobile Share Data Plan, you simply need to either:
- Chat with AT&T using the Chat button whenever it's available
- Dial 611 from your AT&T phone
- Call 800-331-0500
- Visit an AT&T store
AT&T FamilyMap is AT&T's version of family locator. You'll be able to locate up to 10 lines for only $9.99 per month, though you can receive the first 30 days for free if you're a new subscriber.
With AT&T family locator, you'll be able to see your plans' devices on an interactive map, keep track of your family from your computer, tablet, or phone, and receive alerts when your children arrive at defined locations. FamilyMap also allows you to find a lost or stolen phone, as well as review the history location for each family member.
In the case of privacy becoming a major concern for a family member, phones will receive a text message from AT&T FamilyMap when they become locatable. Not only that but all locatable phones will receive notifications via text message that they can be located. These messages occur once every couple of months.
AT&T FamilyMap is compatible with the latest iOS, Android, Windows, and BlackBerry devices.
How Does AT&T Compare to the other Family Plans?
As mentioned lightly throughout this article, AT&T is a tad more expensive compared to the other carriers. In fact, it can be just as expensive as Verizon. That being said, AT&T offers some advantages, such as the following:
- A strong and speedy network. In fact, the coverage is second to Verizon's cell phone plans. However, its speed falls behind both Verizon and T-Mobile
- Data rollover, but Verizon and T-Mobile cell phone plans both offer the feature
- An unlimited plan, but it is considered pricey, and you are required to have either U-verse TV or DirecTV. Both T-Mobile and Sprint offer unlimited plans with no strings attached whatsoever
- AT&T FamilyMap, but it is more expensive compared to T-Mobile's and AT&T's family locator apps. It is the same price as T-Mobile's FamilyWhere app, however
Overall, AT&T is more expensive and features less incentives to switch on over. However, it does feature a strong network. You're better off going to Verizon if you want better coverage at similar prices, or T-Mobile or Sprint if you're craving an unlimited plan for your family.
Is an AT&T Family Plan Right for You?
AT&T's Family Plans, whether prepaid or through Mobile Share Advantage, may be right for you if your area is covered by AT&T's reliable and speedy service. That being said, AT&T is more expensive compared to the average carrier, and the unlimited plan requires either DirecTV or U-Verse TV, so unless you're okay with owning DirecTV or U-Verse TV, you should consider adopting another carrier.
And if you are considering switching to AT&T are worried about your current contract, then you should understand that AT&T will buy out existing contracts and devices. People within the family who have phones with other networks should acknowledge that they will not have an issue switching over to an AT&T cell phone plan.