As our kids spend more and more time away from home, being in contact is a must. But when it comes to family and cellphone plans, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the options.
We can help simplify the process. Whether you’ve got a data-hungry teen or a text-only tween, we’ve got some great tips and mobile plans that will give your kids and teenagers what they need at the right price.
Before you choose a plan for kids, ask yourself:
- What will your child be using his phone for? If your child only needs to call you to tell you where he is or in case of an emergency, a bare-bones or pay-as-you-go plan could be a great fit. But if he’s going to be streaming music or surfing the web, a plan with more data is needed. Our data guide can help you pick the right amount for your child.
- What happens if your child exceeds her data limit? The good news is that data overage charges are becoming a thing of the past. If your child goes over her data limit, mostly likely her data speed will slow to a 2G speeds — which makes anything more than text and web browsing painful slow until the end of the bill cycle. Even on the best unlimited data plan, there’s a point (usually between 22GB-30GB) where speeds may slow down temporarily during times of high network traffic.
- Who will be paying for it? Prepaid plans can teach teens the value of money if they pay for it themselves. By going with prepaid you eliminate bill shock — perfect for teenagers learning how to budget or parents wanting to avoid bill surprises. Plus, many prepaid deals offer unlimited music streaming which can save you on data and money!
Best pay-as-you-go plan for teens and kids
Ting: Pay only for what you use
This plan is great for kids who need a “just in case” cellphone with flexible texting and data options.
Choose Ting, and you don’t need to pick any plan. Just pay for what your child uses. Each month you can adjust the data, call and text buckets and only pay for your child’s actual usage. If you want to limit usage, Ting lets you set alerts and usage caps. You can also combine multiple phones on one plan for just $6 a month per device and share your minutes, messages and megabytes across multiple phones. All devices can be managed from one convenient dashboard.
Best prepaid plan for teens and kids
Virgin Mobile: $35 Data Love Plan
This plan is ideal for kids who text, web browse and love to stream music — and what kid doesn’t?
Go with Virgin and forget about data overage charges. Get unlimited talk and text and a generous 5GB of 4G LTE. Once your child has reached 5GB of data, speed will slow to 2G. Aside from Virgin being one of the cheapest prices in the market for 5GB of data, it also offers unlimited text / talk and data-free music. Your child can stream away on Spotify, Pandora, Napster or any of its streaming partners without it cutting into the 5GB data allowance.
Best unlimited data plan for teens and kids
T-Mobile One: Unlimited Plan
This plan is ideal for kids with the biggest data appetites who seriously love to stream music and video alike and primarily use their cellular networks not their home’s or school’s Wi-Fi.
Because of T-Mobile’s all-in pricing which includes taxes and surcharges, it’s definitely one of the best values in the market. Aside from offering unlimited talk and text and data, the plan also provides 10GB of mobile hot spots and data-free music streaming so your teen can rock out without touching his data allowance.
What is your experience with cellphone plans for kids? Share with us in comments below or on our Facebook page.