Friends Team Up For “Smartphone Family Plans”

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Brian Lee, a student at UCLA, recently signed up for a Verizon family plan with a group of friends. With an unlimited plan ($75 per month), he is paying $110 monthly as he is also paying for his smartphone. Then, Lee’s friend suggested that switching to a family plan could save him considerable money. Lee soon formed a six-man “family” with his friends for the plan, which is now saving him about $40 a month.

The form of paying for a family plan has also changed. Previously, a subscriber would receive a monthly bill to make a payment. Recently, the friends often use Venmo to pay for the bill with only one of them acting as the plan owner.

More smartphone users are now gathering up with friends or sometimes even strangers to take advantage of the family plan’s benefits.

The main reason is due to the high cost of paying for individual mobile phone bills. As smartphone users are using more data in recent years, most young people are demanding an unlimited plan. The cost of the unlimited plan varies depending on the provider, but it is usually $60 to $80 per line. However, taking advantage of the family plan can save consumers a considerable amount of money.

Moreover, the insurance is also less costly. An individual plan would usually require $11, but a family plan requires just $33 for everyone who is a part of the subscription. For example, a family plan for 10 people would mean that each one would have to pay just $3.30 for insurance.

“Signing up for a family plan is a lot easier than it used to be,” said Welcome Telecom president Peter Jeong. “It can be done among friends or even strangers who recently moved from Korea. As mobile apps like Venmo keeps growing, it’s also becoming more convenient for people to pay for the family plan as they can take care of it among themselves.”

However, that does not mean that family plans are flawless. In some cases, there are conflicts between those involved in the same plan. For example, when using a family plan with strangers, there is always a chance that someone does not make the payment promptly.

Specifics of a family plan vary depending on the provider. The least expensive family plan is offered by Sprint, while Verizon provides the best way to save for everyone involved.

▶Verizon = Up to 10 “friends” can sign up for a single plan. The cost is $65 per line for a plan for two, $50 per line for a plan for three and $40 per line for a plan for four or more.
▶AT&T = Single line unlimited plan is $60 per month. A family plan is $40 per line for up to four people.
▶T Mobile = Single line plan is $70 per month. Family plan is $60 per line for two, $47 per line for three and $40 per line for four. A Netflix subscription is also offered.
▶Sprint = Sprint offers the least expensive plans. Single line plan is $50 per month. Family plan is $90 for up to five people.

By Hyunwoo Kim