Family mobile plans - what can I get?

ByKim Staples
Family using phones

Organising family life can be hectic, but one way you can make things a little easier is by taking out a family mobile plan - a special kind of shared plan that links all your family’s phones up into a single ecosystem.

It's a great way to help you keep on top of the kids' mobiles bills, avoid bill shock from teens who use too much data, share allowances across the whole family, and - most importantly - save money.

They're not just for families either: shared plans also work for groups of friends, housemates, couples, or just one person who wants a cheap SIM plan for their tablet.

Here's what you can get from the UK's main mobile networks.

The 5 best mobile phones for kids

BT Mobile

BT Mobile

Family SIM

How many phones?: Up to five, including one main account holder.

How it works: You have one, 12-month SIM-only plan which belongs to the main account holder. Onto that, you can then add up to four 30-day plans. They're all paid for on a single bill, and you can change the allowance on the 30-day SIMs whenever you want - they automatically roll over to the next month 'til you change or cancel them.

Why it's good: It's amazing value. Additional SIMs with the same allowance can cost half the price of the main account holder's, and each extra one you add gets a little bit cheaper. On top of that, BT broadband customers get an extra £5 off each month. 

As a bonus, it also means you can pay for your whole family's mobile plans - as well as your broadband, home phone, and even TV - on a single bill.

Compare BT deals



Shared Plans

How many phones?: Up to five.

How it works: All your family's phone plans are linked to a single account called a Shared Plan. Everyone on the Shared Plan gets unlimited minutes and texts, along with a big bank of data to share between the lot of you - which can be anything from 1GB to 50GB. Whenever one of you uses mobile internet, you'll use up a little of that shared allowance.

Why it's good: It's better value than getting five separate plans. And because a bunch of you are sharing the data tariff, it's more flexible - if one person has a particularly data-heavy month, they can avoid splashing out on an add-on by just taking it out of the shared pool.

Compare EE deals



Sharer Plans

How many phones?: Up to 10, including at least one 'lead device'.

How it works: You start off with one main 'lead device'. Onto that, you can connect up to nine other pay-monthly phones or tablets, which all share the lead device's data allowance. Tariffs range from 1GB to 20GB, but if you want even more than that, you can add another lead device.

Why it's good: It's a bit more flexible than most shared data plans: you can connect up to a whopping ten phones, and even have multiple lead devices. That way, Mum and Dad can have control.

Compare O2 deals

Tesco Mobile

Tesco Mobile logo

Family Perks

How many phones?: Up to five.

How it works: If someone in your family has a Tesco Mobile plan - or wants to sign up to one - they can simply add extra plans onto their account, which can then be shared with the family. 

Then, every single month, everyone connected to that account gets a free Family Perk. This can be extra data allowance, more minutes, more texts, additional Clubcard points, or just a cash discount. Exactly how much you can add depends on how much you're spending on the plan.

Why it's good: It's incredibly flexible, and good value. You can change what benefit you get each month - and everyone who's connected can do so too.

Compare Tesco Mobile deals



Vodafone has two kinds of shared or family plans: Red+ Plans, and Vodafone Family.

Red+ Plans

How many phones?: Up to 10.

How it works: With Red+ Plans, you can group together up to 10 phone plans on a single data allowance. Everyone gets unlimited calls and texts, but when you use mobile internet, it'll use up some of the shared allowance. Each phone you add to the plan will be a little cheaper.

One person is the 'leader', and they're able to choose how much data is in the pool, and how much of that data each SIM is allowed to use - perfect for younger kids who don't know how much data they're using. Leaders can manage the accounts online, with the app, or even by text.

Why it's good: You can connect a lot of phones, and it's ideal for making sure the kids don't overspend on data. It also works out decent value, since you get a little discount on each phone you add.

Compare Vodafone deals


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