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Kim Komando / Special for the United States today

Q. My parents were Asked to start paying for my part of our family wireless plan.I should get mine before going back to school?

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A. Your clean can save real money, but you can cost your parents in m This is because the shared plans offered by the four national wireless operators – as well as many virtual mobile network operators reselling their networks – really work as tools for customer loyalty.

That is, although they offer substantial savings for putting multiple lines on a single bill, having so many services on one account complicates the take part of this activity elsewhere. And subtracting a line from a shared plan will increase the cost for the people who will stay there.

Think of the fact that unlimited data plans ( really, not measured ) cost per line (including discounts for automatic payments) to the four major carriers:


  • At AT & T you pay $ 46.25 per line for four lines, $ 55 for three and $ 72.50 for two
  • The current promotion of Sprint charges you $ 22.50 for each of the four lines, $ 30 for each of the three lines, and $ 45 for each of the two lines.
  • T-Mobile charges $ 40 a line for four, $ 47 each for three lines, and $ 50 each for two. All cases come with only standard definition streaming video and use of mobile hotspot capped at 3G speeds
  • Verizon Wireless charges $ 45 a line for four lines, 54 $ each for three lines, and $ 70 a touch for two

Withdrawing from your parents' plan can free them to go on a cheaper diet. If they agree to pay a little more for not having to worry about their own use, you can start looking for cheaper options by yourself.

Related: When our smart phones leave us out of touch

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In a WiFi environment like a college campus, the largest economies will come a WiFi-first service that routes calls and SMS via this wireless network instead of the cell phone. service (usually AT & T or T-Mobile ) resold.

A service that has dominated recent surveys of reader choices at Consumer Reports and PCMag ] Was Project Fi Service ] Google launched in 2015 . Unlimited calls and texting via Sprint, T-Mobile and US Cellular cost $ 20 per month, after which the data costs $ 10 per gigabyte (with the fraction of a gig that you do not use after each month) .

(Photo: T-Mobile)

The capture: Project Fi only supports Google's Nexus and Pixel phones of which only Pixel and Pixel XL are for sale

Another WiFi-first service, Republic Wireless did well in the CR survey and is even cheaper than Fi. Unlimited calls and texting run $ 15 per month (with Sprint and T-Mobile coverage), and adding 1GB Data increases the rate to $ 20., with support limited to a set of recent Android models.

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For more information: Zing! Sprint Opens the Store & # 39; Twice th e Price & # 39; next to the Verizon dealer

For more information: Seniors packages offer more service, lighter data

A more traditional reseller, Consumer Cellular also scored well in these reader surveys. This AT & T and T-Mobile reseller allows you to mix voice and text-plus-data plans to match your usage. For example, 250 minutes of calls, unlimited texting and 1.5 GB of data would cost $ 45. And it is much more accepting of material, so you can bring your unlocked iPhone there or buy one from the company.

Do not exclude the four major carriers either; you may find that your school has a reduction program offering substantial savings unavailable in terms of your parents.

Whatever you do and whatever service you finish, please remember to call your people at least once a week, agree ?

Rob Pegoraro is a technology writer based in Washington, DC To submit a technical question , send an email to Rob at Follow him on Twitter at

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