A few years ago, tired of paying way too much for a 2 line family plan with AT&T, I switched over to Straight Talk. Now I’m in the search for a better deal again, but this time I need more phone lines. Straight Talk worked just fine for 2 lines, but once the family grew and I added 2 extra lines, the bill went up to about $190 (4 lines with their $45 unlimited plan). Straight Talk does not offer discounts for multiple phone lines and I noticed there are now better prices out there for prepaid family plans, so I had to let them go. As you will see, at the beginning I considered paying a little extra if the perks were worth it, I even considered going back to postpaid plans, but in the end I went back to my original plan: $100 for 4 lines including tax and fees for unlimited minutes, text and data. This post is for people that live on a budget and are on the look for a cheap family plan. This is a developing story, I am still in the process of switching to Cricket (check out the bottom of the post to see where I am).
These are the four plans I considered:
MetroPCS used to have a “4 lines for $100” deal. NOT ANYMORE. I went into a store to check out another deal I saw online: $80 for 2 lines plus $30 for each additional line, so $140 for 4 lines. After hearing about the extra fees I had to pay for activating the accounts, porting and bla, bla, bla, I said thank you and left. There was this lady there on speaker phone talking with MetroPCS about a problem she had with her phone. She had to called MetroPCS even though she was inside a MetroPCS store, haha. I suppose once they get your money in person, you have to deal with them over the phone (as everything has to be done at the store and you can’t buy these plans through their website).
I also got interested in T-Mobile’s “Get 4 lines of unlimited for just $35 each” deal, or in my case, $140 for 4 lines. This deal includes Netflix at no extra charge, texting & data abroad and mobile hotspot. Taxes & fees included. Wow, this sounded like a great deal. But again, I had to step into a T-mobile store and everything changed. The first thing the T-mobile guy told me was that it was going to be $150, not the $140 I saw online, plus they needed to check my credit since this is a postpaid plan. He also started offering me all these new phones I didn’t want or need. What a drag, plus I already have Netflix, I never use mobile hotspot and travel abroad maybe once every one/two years. so I finally realized paying extra for these perks was really unnecessary. I said thank you and left.
I don’t understand why these companies let their affiliated partners try to cheat you with hidden fees or bump up the price to their liking when you visit their stores. And every store is always a different story. I have no time for that! After this experience I don’t want to step foot in any more stores. T-mobile and MetroPCS remind me why I went prepaid in the first place and why I prefer ordering online: zero bullshit.
Boost Mobile also had 4 lines for $100 at some point, but now offers 3 for $100, or 4 for $140. I guess I was late to the party! The good thing is that with Boost I can do everything online, but at this point I’m thinking Cricket has a cheaper plan, so why not give it a shot. I can always switch to another company if Cricket sucks, plus I’m coming from Straight Talk so it can’t be worse than a Walmart plan. Cricket is owned by AT&T, and Straight Talk uses AT&T through a third-party company called Tracfone. I would be skipping the middle man and saving some money by doing this.
Cricket’s “4 lines of Unlimited Data for $100” is still available and can be purchased online, plus you can get 4 free budget phones with your plan, and for $25 more you can add a 5th line. Data speed for this plan is limited to a maximum of 3 Mbps but I do most of the heavy lifting at home connected to Wifi anyway, so I’m thinking this will not affect me, but lets see what my kids think. I’m not going to tell them to see if they notice anything different, plus I’m saving almost $100 dollars a month with the switch. If it’s unusable I can always switch to their high-speed data plan or try Boost Mobile or a different company. That’s the beauty of going prepaid.
This is a developing story. I am in the process of switching to Cricket and this is where I am right now:
– I have purchased Cricket’s “4 lines for $100” plan online. I was able to do everything through their website and it was easy: you pick a phone for the first line (you can select one of their free phones), I got the Motorola E5 Cruise, which was free. Then, you select the Unlimited Plan and follow the steps to port your number (don’t worry, numbers will not be ported until you get your phone and complete the activation, just don’t cancel your current plan just yet). I then selected to add more lines to the plan. I will be bringing 3 unlocked iPhones. You do have to pay for sim cards, which is expected.
– I paid a total of $132 ($100 for the 4 lines, plus $30 for the 3 sim cards, plus $2 for tax on the sim cards). The following bills after I activate the plan, should be $100 for 4 lines with unlimited calls, text and data, tax and fees included! Sweeet.
I’m still waiting for my new Cricket phone and sim cards to arrive (free 1-day shipping was included). I will do the Cricket activation once my current plan is close to its billing end date. Once this happens and I test the new phone and service I will report back. In the meantime, I would like to hear your feedback regarding any of these plans I mentioned or your experience with other low budget cell phone plans. I would like to hear if you’ve found the data speed on this Cricket plan to be usable.