Is shopping for a family wireless plan driving you crazy? We get it.
Finding the right blend of features, reliability, and good customer service - oh, and for a monthly cost that won't break the bank - can seem impossible. Add to that the ever-changing choice of new plans that are offered and the whole affair becomes a pain.
Finding the right wireless carrier for your family's needs doesn't have to be a hassle. Verizon family plans come with plenty of options - data buckets, unlimited plans, even family share plan for data only for devices like tablets. If you prefer to prepay plan charges so you can avoid overage fees, there's a Verizon no-contract plan option for that too.
Should you make the switch to Verizon? Next up: I'll cover the details so you can decide whether to join the roughly 146 million users on this popular 4G LTE network.
Verizon Wireless Family Plans
There are several Verizon family plans, which include unlimited talk and text, ranging from 2GB to 100GB. Between 2GB and 24GB, the amounts are labeled by sizes. For instance, 2GB is labeled as Small and 24GB is labeled as Extra-Extra Large.
The service recommends for families to begin with a Verizon cell phone plan of 8GB, otherwise known as the Large plan. Beginning with Large, each plan has an added incentive: an extra 2GB of data per line. Verizon allows up to 10 devices to be connected to the plan.
These plans, of course, start with the basics - unlimited calling and texting, plus features such as carryover data, which allows you to keep your unused data until the end of the following month. You'll also be able to use Safety Mode, which prevents you from encountering overage charges after your data is exceeded. New customers get Safety Mode for free, as the carrier no longer charges a fee for it.
Verizon offers an unlimited plan, just like its competitors, which is perfect if you're trying to get away from exorbitant overage charges.
Of course, there are additional fees on top of the plans you're paying for, like access charges. You need to pay this line access fee for any device (smartphone, tablet, hotspot, or other connected devices) you add to the service. If you're on a two-year contract and purchase a discounted phone, your access fee will be $40 until the contract expires. If you buy your new phone through the device payment program or pay full price upfront, your access charge will be $20.
As far as devices go, you can bring your own phone (as long as it's an approved device), or buy one from Verizon. There are two technologies on which cell phones operate - the CDMA network and GSM network. Verizon uses the CDMA network. If you bring your own phone - whether on a traditional or prepay plan - you will not pay an activation fee.
If you choose to buy your phone through Verizon, you may wish to finance it. This monthly cost has replaced the Verizon Edge program. Verizon Edge allowed you to upgrade any time after your device was paid off. Now, the carrier offers a 24-month payment plan with fees commensurate with the type of device - a lower end phone model will incur a smaller monthly cost than new phone models like the Samsung Galaxy S8. If you do finance your phone, however, you will pay a $30 activation fee. Naturally you'll be able to choose from your favorite devices, whether that means an android phone or iPhone.
Verizon Shared Data Plan
Verizon doesn't exactly have an exclusive family share plan, but the service does feature mobile share data-only plans, which is perfect for everyone. Though the data plans once fell into the Verizon Share Everything Plan, they now fall into the Data Only Plan.
You can choose between 2GB and 100GB per month - mind you, the 100GB option is incredibly expensive. However, with 100GB you can look at up to 300,000 web pages, check 1,300,000 emails, stream 300 hours of video, or use 20,000 hours of turn-by-turn navigation per month. Nevertheless, after you select your data amount, you can add tablets, hotspot, or a connected device to the plan. If the plan's size is too large, you can switch sizes at any time you wish.
Pro Tip: Like other wireless carriers, Verizon doesn't offer all of its plans online. If you want a mobile share data package over 8GB, but not unlimited, you'll need to call Verizon to request it.
Verizon Family Base
You're probably wondering: "What is Verizon family base?" That's a good question!
Let me illustrate a situation for you - say you have a 13-year-old child who attends a public school. Your child needs to be in bed by 9 PM in order to be up for school at 5 AM. Your child is in bed for the night, but you're concerned that your child may be staying up with their phone, texting their friends when they should be sleeping. Let's be frank: now that virtually everyone has unlimited talk and text, it's tough for kids to limit themselves.
82 percent of parents believe that it is an overwhelming issue to not always be able to monitor their kids' activity habits.
Surely, there is some way to ensure that he or she isn't texting? Maybe you just need a way to monitor his or her phone's usage without taking away your child's phone for the night.
Well, that's what FamilyBase is for, just like any other parental control app the competitive networks offer. FamilyBase (or Family Base) provides parents with insight and control over when, how, and with whom your son communicates. If you wish to control whom your child is in contact with, there is a feature that allows you to whitelist or blacklist new contacts added to their phone.
FamilyBase provides you with a dashboard of your child's wireless usage. You'll be able to know when and how your child uses their phone. Furthermore, you can set controls or limits on data, voice, and messaging usage. The data limits can be especially helpful, as a lot of children are known to devour data. If need be, you can restrict when or how long your child uses his or her phone or lock the phone on demand entirely.
FamilyBase is only $4.99 per month per account.
Verizon Family Locator
Here's another scenario for you to consider: you plan on picking up a child from a friend's house. You arrive at the friend's home at the time your child specified. However, neither your child nor your child's friend is at the home. In fact, no one is there. You knock on the door but receive no response. So you're a little worried about where the children are. In that case, you can always use the Verizon Wireless Family Locator.
You'll be able to track down your family quickly from your mobile phone, tablet, or PC. You'll be able to get the locations of your family members, including the address, a detailed map, and turn-by-turn directions.
Furthermore, Family Locator will text or email you when family members leave or arrive at locations that you choose. Pretty nifty feature, admittedly.
Additionally, you'll be able to schedule automatic updates. You'll be able to find your family members every day at the scheduled time and either text or email you with the members' directions. And finally, you'll be able to text family members after locating them with integrated messaging capability.
As the cherry on top, if you have a teen driver, you'll be able to receive an estimate of the child's driving speed whenever you locate his or her device. To activate Family Locator, which has a cost per month of $9.99 per account, you simply need to log into My Verizon and add Family Locator to your account. From there, you'll be able to set up your phones, sync with your family, et voila! You're secure.
Comparing Verizon Family Plans with Competitors
Verizon is expensive - there is no denying that. In fact, the cost per month is one of the highest available in the nation; it's up there in price with AT&T's family cell phone plans. That being said, you're paying for quality. You get reliable urban as well as rural wireless coverage, a high-speed network, and solid customer service.
However, Verizon's plans are only now catching up, as it has fairly recently adopted the rollover data and no overage fees features. That being said, it is still missing perks that T-Mobile's family cell phone plans include, such as unlimited music and video tied to its plans. However, it is a relief that Verizon has finally caught up - in terms of general offerings - to T-Mobile's, Sprint's, and AT&T's cell phone plans.
Overall, if you're not worried about affordability, then, by all means, you should consider Verizon because of its incredibly strong LTE network. Need proof? Check out our coverage map comparison.
Is a Verizon Family Plan Right for You?
Verizon's family plans are decent, particularly their new plans with added lines and options for unlimited data as well as unlimited voice and text. While the plans aren't exactly cheap, you will get the benefit of being on the most reliable network, which is especially helpful for rural wireless customers. Whether you've got a gaggle of Android phones like the popular Samsung Galaxy series, a family of Apple devotees, or you're a house divided, Verizon is a solid choice.
If you're considering switching to Verizon Wireless, which is generally a simple process, then you and your family members should know that Verizon will buy out your contract and pay off the remaining balances of your phones. In other words, switching to Verizon is easy, whether you're looking for a traditional wireless plan or a prepaid no-contract plan. One last tip: when you call Verizon to sign up, don't forget to ask about special offers for new customers!