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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?

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

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.

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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