This is a new one for us this year. We have never looked at the value of multi-line plans in our survey before, but there has to be a first time for everything. We did a quick glance of 7 carrier’s 5 line plans and came out with some winners and some losers…
Loser: Verizon Wireless – Total 2 year cost = $9039.75
Verizon may have the fastest network and the most coverage nationwide, but at $2500 more than some of the competition, we found it impossible to continue to recommend their services. Sure, they have that ultra-fast LTE connection, but it has enough bugs to drive the average user insane with resets and SIM card swaps.
Loser: T-Mobile – Total 2 year cost – $8751.23
T-Mobile throws itself out there as a value carrier, but honestly we were shocked to see how un-valued they really are. The $8751.23 cost was within $13 a month of Verizon’s larger and faster LTE pricing. Sure, you get unlimited 2G data with this, but besides checking email and Facebook mobile, 2G data is about as useless today as an overpriced cellular plan.
Winner: Straight Talk – Total 2 year cost – $7439.95
If AT&T were a bit more expensive, we would totally ignore Straight Talk. Ok, we’re kidding, but the $45 per line cost on Straight Talk is quite the value. If you already own your handsets, this plan actually ranks higher than this, but if you have to purchase them, the slightly higher handset cost pushes the cost up a bit. The other negative to Straight Talk is that the refill cards are only available online or Wal-Mart stores.
Winner: AT&T Wireless – Total 2 year cost – $7411.95
AT&T is the only post paid carrier to get a winner ranking. Their simplistic share plans make it affordable for families to get new phones and plenty of data to share. Of course, if you live in one of those bad AT&T markets, just keep reading because you will filled with frustration. Otherwise, if you have to have that 2 year contract and a cheap out of pocket phone experience, AT&T gets the thumbs up from us.
Winner: Solavei – Total 2 year cost – $7155.95
Solavei allows users to set up trios for a discount. When you position your family plan correctly, you can earn $40 a month off your own family, bringing the cost down to a very manageable level. Actually, that trio bonus you get for just your family of 5 nets you $960 over that 24 months. When you work in that bonus cash and then add in the fact that you can earn even more with just a few more people added on, life becomes very good quickly with the Social Cellular Provider.
Winner: Net10 Wireless – Total 2 year cost – $6411.95
Net10 Wireless has it right. They set up a family plan for prepaid users and have marketed it aggressively. For $1000 you can load up on some uber-nice handsets and for another $4920 plus sales tax (unless you buy online) you can land yourself 2 years of cellular service on 2 great networks. It’s a win-win for you and your wallet.
So, who’s the champ of the prepaid family plan? Our nod goes to the lower cost, dual network powered Net10 Wireless. The $205 a month cost is just too low to pass up on. Their unlimited plan and great selection of hardware make getting the right phone for each member of the family amazingly inexpensive. So, check out the Net10 Wireless SIM pack if you already have a phone or visit www.net10wireless.com if you don’t.