The Best Phone Plans for Two — or Three or More
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Unlike healthcare and taxes, you don’t have to tie the knot to enjoy some great benefits on your phone bills. All you need is a pal (or multiple pals) to save money on your cell phone plans. With an open mind, friends with benefits can take on a whole new meaning.
The not-so-secret secret we’re about to reveal here is that many carriers, like AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile offer something called “multi-line discounts.” This is also sometimes referred to as a family plan. The idea is that while a single line on a cell phone plan costs a set amount, the second, third, and further lines (up to 5 lines on average) can be added at a lower price. With each additional line, the per-line cost goes down.
Luckily, you don’t need to live at the same address to take advantage of multi-line discount plan pricing. All you need is a basic level of trust and a group of people who value the same things in a phone plan.
Let’s talk about the best phone plans for two (or more!), what you should consider when coupling up for phone savings, and how to pick the right cell phone plan for your group.
Is an Unlimited Data Family Plan Right for You?
Before you jump right into the savings, take a moment to consider a few key factors. While it’s not as binding a commitment as marriage, setting up a group phone plan does call for some thought.
Who Pays the Bills?
Remember that just one person will pay the bills. If you’ve got trustworthy friends, that’s not an issue, but make a point to set up a recurring payment using a tool like Zelle to make sure you don’t have to chase people down every month to be reimbursed. Venmo is another option, but it doesn't allow you to set up recurring payments, which can be a hassle in this situation.
You should also check if the plan is a prepaid plan or a postpaid plan. With prepaid plans, you pay in advance of your billing cycle, while postpaid plans let you pay for the service you got last month, not in advance of the billing cycle. Postpaid plans used to lock you into long 24- or 36-month contracts, but many carriers now offer postpaid month-by-month contracts. We’ve got an article that walks through all the postpaid vs prepaid plan pros and cons if you’d like to learn more.
Check the Coverage
While carriers are actively expanding their networks to improve 4G LTE and 5G coverage all the time, not all networks cover all areas equally. Check to ensure that everyone on the plan gets strong coverage with the carrier you’re considering.
You can check coverage maps, but we always recommend asking a friend or neighbor close to where you live and work to see what network they use, and if they get good service.
What Kind of Data Do You Need?
There are many different kinds of cell phone plans out there, serving all different levels of data requirements. If you’re looking for the best phone plans for two, and you’re a light data user who works from home, but your friend is a heavy data user who travels for work, that’s something you’ll want to consider.
It’s worth pointing out that many carriers on this list offer Mix and Match plan options, so you can get a By the Gig line while your friend stays connected with an Unlimited plan, and you both still save money.
What Perks Matter to You?
Netflix, anyone? Nowadays, cell phone plans come with an assortment of perks and benefits bundled in. Some offer great travel perks, while others offer streaming service add-ons included or at a discounted price.
We recommend that everyone you’re thinking about having in your “Family Plan” makes a list of the benefits they’d like to have. Here’s a short list to think about:
- What streaming services do you use, or would you like?
- How much do you travel?
- Do you need hotspot data?
- Do you care about early phone upgrades?
Use that list to find a phone plan that includes the majority of your must-have perks. Keep in mind that some streaming service plans are only accessible on one screen at a time, but anyone can access the login.
If you and your friend are willing to commit to a long-term cellular plan, you can get some great savings on new phones, too. Carriers frequently run promotions on new devices when you trade in an eligible phone and sign up for a qualifying unlimited plan.
This does mean extra complications if someone moves away, or if you decide to go for early termination and switch to a new carrier. But if you’re confident that you’re in it for the long haul, it’s a great way to get the latest Apple iPhone 15 deals or Samsung Galaxy S24 at an unbeatable price.
If neither you nor your friend is in the market for a new phone, you can also BYOD, aka bring your own device. This gives you more freedom to dissolve your phone marriage of convenience if the need arises.
Who Could These Cell Phone Plans Work For?
There’s no limit on who this could work for. While phone plans for two or more are typically designed for families, you can get a little creative. Roommates, couples, or friends – everyone can benefit from saving money on a phone plan for two.
The main thing to keep in mind is that the more people on your plan, typically the more money you save, up to around five lines. You should also remember that this works best for committed relationships, whether you’re just friends or something more. While there are low-commitment month-by-month plans available, it’s a bit of a hassle to go through the activation process multiple times.
Best Phone Plans for Two (or More)
If that all sounds good and you can see how you could save money on a phone plan for two, here’s our list of the best cell phone plans to consider from top providers.
T-Mobile Phone Plans for Two
T-Mobile offers some great discounts on multi-line plans. If you’re looking for a bare-bones budget plan with not many perks, check out the T-Mobile Essentials plan. The T-Mobile Go5G plans are better for groups looking for some mobile hotspot data, as well as some streaming and travel perks. For groups who need lots of high-speed data, a great selection of streaming and travel benefits, and 4K video streaming, you should check out the T-Mobile Go5G Plus plans.
The one thing to keep in mind about T-Mobile’s phone plans is that there’s no mix and matching of lines as there is with some of the other plans on this list, so everyone in the group will need to be on the same kind of plan.
Check out a full lineup of T-Mobile’s phone plans right here.
AT&T Phone Plans for Two
AT&T phone plans are better for folks who just want data and not much else. None of the multi-line plans include streaming service perks, but all come with some hotspot data and unlimited talk, text, and (very slow) data in Mexico and Canada. This tends to make it a little more cost-effective than plans loaded with perks, so if streaming services aren’t of interest to you, the following AT&T plans could be worth a look.
For light data users, we recommend AT&T Unlimited Value Plus VL. If you or your plan members want to be eligible for device deals, but still want a budget plan option, take a look at AT&T Unlimited Starter SL. For folks who want at least some high-speed data, AT&T Unlimited Extra EL is best. Finally, for heavy data usage, there’s AT&T Unlimited Premium PL.
If your group has varying data needs, that’s not a problem with AT&T plans. You can mix and match lines depending on who needs what data allotments -- except for AT&T Unlimited Value Plus VL, which is ineligible for mix and match.
Here’s where you can compare all of AT&T’s phone plans at a glance.
Verizon Phone Plans for Two
Verizon has a feature that sets it apart from other carriers: at Verizon, you can build your mobile plan. You can include as many or as few perks as you want. For each one you add, you include an extra amount to your monthly bill. This is great for groups who want lots of different streaming services or other perks included in the plan – at a discounted cost than from the streaming service directly!
We’ll cover the core plans here, but just keep in mind that you can bundle in hotspot and streaming perks as you need.
First up is Verizon’s Unlimited Welcome , best for data users who don’t need hotspot data and don’t require prioritized data. For slightly more serious mobile data users, Verizon Unlimited Plus makes the most sense – it provides more hotspot data and a generous allowance of premium data. For the heaviest of data users, Verizon Unlimited Ultimate is probably the best fit. It comes with unlimited premium data and more hotspot data than most people will use in a month.
As with AT&T, Verizon lets you mix and match lines, so if one of you needs more data than someone else, that’s not a problem. Want to check out all the plans in one place? We’ve got a handy comparison resource for Verizon Unlimited plans right here.
Xfinity Mobile Phone Plans for Two
Xfinity Mobile might not be as well known as the big three major carriers we covered above, but you can still get great multi-line savings with this provider. The only two caveats are that the bill payer must also be an Xfinity Home Internet customer and that as a customer with an MVNO (that’s short for Mobile Virtual Network Operator), you are not always guaranteed premium data, commonly referred to as high-speed data. This is because MVNOs lease from other networks, so at busy times, the primary network owner prioritizes direct customer traffic.
Xfinity Mobile leases from Verizon’s network, so check Verizon’s coverage map to get an idea of how well you’ll be covered.
While Xfinity Mobile’s unlimited plans don’t include any perks, the carrier does offer mixing and matching – not just for unlimited plans, but for By the Gig data plans, too. Let’s have a quick rundown of all the options.
First, it’s worth considering Xfinity’s By the Gig plans for people who use very little data while out and about. It can be restrictive to have a data cap, but it’s also very cost-effective. If you and your friends need a little more data in your lives, Xfinity Mobile Unlimited Intro is a good place to start. It doesn’t offer any premium data, but there’s unlimited deprioritized data. For an allowance of premium data included in your plan, go for Xfinity Mobile Unlimited Plus. And for the data fiends who don’t want to be slowed down, consider Xfinity Mobile Unlimited Premium.
Remember, you can mix and match lines, so if one person needs non-stop premium data, and the other plan member only needs a handful of GBs per month, you can still save money by going on the same plan. To check out all the Xfinity plans in one place, we’ve got an article about Xfinity Unlimited Plans right here.
Other Options for Two-Person Phone Plans
These major carriers are a safe bet for cost-effective multi-line plans, but feel free to check out other carriers, too. Beyond the carriers we’ve mentioned here, there are plenty of other MVNOs that offer multi-line discounts, too.
Optimum Mobile, Cox Mobile, and Google Fi are great phone carriers to consider. Sometimes carriers like Spectrum Mobile offer promotions with an extra line being added on for free. Just be sure to check whether “family plans” actually offer multi-line discounts. For example, as of the writing of this article, Boost Mobile and Cricket Wireless’s family plans do decrease the cost of each additional line, while Mint Mobile’s family plans do not offer multi-line discounts. They just allow you to manage all your lines in one plan.
Want to compare all your plan options in one place? Try our free and unbiased Plan Finder:
The Bottom Line
If you’ve never thought about the flexible definition of a “family” plan, hopefully, we’ve broadened your horizons with this article. You can find some great deals on phone plans for two (or more) – even if you’re not in the same household. So, go ahead, and grab a friend or partner to take advantage of this wireless family secret.
Need help picking the right plan based on your needs? Our free, unbiased Plan Finder can help. Just answer some basic questions, like what carrier you currently use, how many lines you need, and what perks you prefer. With that info, we search through thousands of plan options to find the best picks for you.