T-Mobile places a heavy emphasis on family with its variety of family cell phone plans. While the network offers plenty of amazing perks, it's coverage is its weakest area. T-Mobile is known for having shoddy coverage outside of major urban areas, leading to a lack of service and dropped calls for users.
If you happen to live in a city, however, you and your family should consider what T-Mobile's family plans have to offer.
T-Mobile Family Plans
T-Mobile offers three types of family plans: prepaid family plans, Simple Choice plans, and T-Mobile One. According to T-Mobile, Simple Choice plans and T-Mobile One plans allow between five and 12 lines (depending on credit approval). Let's begin with a quick overview of T-Mobile's prepaid family plans.
T-Mobile Prepaid Family Plans
T-Mobile's family plans, prepaid or Simple Choice, aren't shared among users. Instead, you more or less receive discounts depending on the number of lines and data you select from.
With a prepaid cell phone plan, you'll receive multi-line discounts that offer up to 2GB of 4G LTE data per line.
Here are some of the perks T-Mobile offers when you subscribe to their service:
- You are able to either bring your own device or buy a new device directly from T-Mobile.
- You'll be able to take advantage of T-Mobile's Binge On service, which allows you to stream unlimited video with streaming services such as Netflix, HBO NOW, Hulu, and more at no charge. However, this is only included with the 6GB or higher plans.
- You can also utilize Music Freedom, which means unlimited music streaming without burning through your data.
- You'll be able to make unlimited calls and be able to text to and from the U.S., Mexico, and Canada. Not only that but you can use your 4G LTE data in Mexico and Canada for free.
- You'll have access to Data Stash, which lets you keep and use the data you paid for.
Keep in mind that with the Binge On service, the videos you stream will be at 480p quality.
Prepaid family plans are rather limited with T-Mobile. Each line will receive up to 2GB 4G LTE. The more lines you add, however, the cheaper it will become.
You can also add an international cell phone plan for just a specified fee per month. This includes unlimited calling to landlines in over 70 countries and to mobile numbers in over 30 countries, unlimited texting to virtually anywhere at no extra charge (excluding countries that block text messages), and discounted calling rates to all numbers in over 200 countries.
T-Mobile Simple Choice Plans
T-Mobile's Simple Choice plans also come in a family flavor. With Simple Choice plans, you'll receive free unlimited streaming for music and video, data carryover for up to 20GB (rolls forward for 12 whole months, but data carryover is only on the 6GB and 10GB plans), no overage fees, and unlimited calls and texts to and from the U.S., Mexico, and Canada.
T-Mobile's Simple Choice plans differ from typical plans in the sense that each family member will receive their own allotment of high-speed data.
For each line, you can select either 2GB per line, 6GB per line, or 10GB per line. However, it is recommended to switch to T-Mobile ONE's plan if you want more than 6GB per line, as it costs more with the 10GB per line option.
T-Mobile ONE Plan
T-Mobile has an unlimited plan that is hard to beat: T-Mobile One. You can choose your number of lines - all of which are equipped with unlimited talk, text, and 4G LTE data. The standard T-Mobile One service streams at a 480p resolution. Not only that, but you are only capable of tethering at a maximum of 3G speeds.
With T-Mobile ONE, you can add up to 12 lines to the service. These lines feature more talk, text, and data in over 140 countries and destinations around the world, unlimited in-flight texting and one hour of free data on Gogo-enabled flights, and unlimited talk, text, and data throughout Mexico, U.S., and Canada.
Of course, if you want more from T-Mobile ONE, you could always upgrade to T-Mobile ONE plus, which grants you with Gogo full flight unlimited Wi-Fi, two times the data speed when you are abroad, voicemail to text, name identification, and unlimited HD day passes for video streaming. However, the HD must be turned on daily.
As a side note, T-Mobile ONE tablet lines can also be added for a certain fee per line per month when you have a T-Mobile ONE voice line. However, without a T-Mobile ONE voice line, you are paying much more for a tablet line.
It's important to keep in mind that with T-Mobile ONE's plan, the top 3 percent of data users - or those who use more than 28GB of data per month - may face reduced speeds until the next billing cycle during congestion periods.
T-Mobile Shared Data Plan
Unfortunately, T-Mobile's family plans no longer shares data, but the service does offer data-only services at a certain fee per line. Here is some information regarding prepaid internet:
Prepaid internet is basically data only at T-Mobile. You can receive two times the 4G LTE data at the same price of the Simple Choice plan. With T-Mobile's prepaid internet, you are able to:
- Use your high-speed data in Canada, Mexico, and the U.S. at no charge
- Stream unlimited music, which will not affect your data consumption
- Grants you the freedom to either buy a new device or bring your own device.
- Unlimited 2G data with no overage fees or contracts.
High-speed plans range from 2GB of 4G LTE data to 22GB of 4G LTE data. Furthermore, you can also opt for a one-day pass featuring up to 500MB of 4G LTE data, a week pass with up to 1GB of 4G LTE data, or a 30-day pass with 3GB of 4G LTE data.
Like T-Mobile's rivals, all T-Mobile cell phone plans features a family locator that will help you find your family's devices.
With T-Mobile's FamilyWhere app, which is only available on Android devices and is priced at $9.99 per month (after a free 30-day trial), allows you to locate any phone on the T-Mobile 4G network.
With the app, you can:
- Quickly and accurately locate phones on your active T-Mobile account
- Allow family members to check in with you via text message or find them on a map in real-time
- Receive text notifications when your family members are visiting new areas or when your phone is scheduled to relay location checks
- Use any phone, tablet, or computer to track someone. FamilyWhere does require that GPS is enabled for tablets, however
How does T-Mobile Compare to the Other Family Cell Phone Plans?
T-Mobile's family plans are considered more affordable compared to Verizon and AT&T's cell phone plans but are more expensive than Sprint's plans. The service also contains more perks compared to all of the major carriers. Unlimited video and music streaming are two features that are non-existent with the other carriers.
However, T-Mobile has poor service in rural areas. If you live in an urban area, the service is fantastic, boasting the fastest 4G LTE speeds in the nation. However, if you live in a rural area, you may not receive the best speeds and coverage.
Another disadvantage is T-Mobile's FamilyWhere app, which is limited to Android devices. This means you won't be able to access the app if you're using a phone running on iOS. This can be a disadvantage for parents who would like to have peace of mind in concerns to their children's locations.
Is a T-Mobile Family Plan Right for You?
Is a T-Mobile family plan right for your family? Yes, T-Mobile may definitely be right for you, but only if you live in an urban area. The plans are affordable, you'll receive the best customer service among the Big Four carriers, and you'll have access to an unlimited plan. Not to mention you'll receive quite a few perks and a great loyalty program.
If you're concerned about switching to T-Mobile because you have an outstanding balance on your mobile device or are worried about the contract cancellation fees, then rest easy. As one of the best cell phone plans, T-Mobile has a contract buyout program that will protect you as you move over to the network.