SPRINGFIELD, ILLINOIS, December 26, 2012 - Many families would like to get an iPhone for their whole family, but the problem is the price. There are lots of families that have kids with iPods (which cost the same price as iPhones, excluding service plans) and lots of parents with phones. Many times, kids also have phones that are bundled in their parents’ service place.
But many consumers may not know that, because of recently introduced “mobile share” or "share everything" plans from major wireless carriers, kids could have iPhones for the same price that they are current paying for dumb phones. In fact, there are some pretty good family service plans available right now. Unfortunately, T-Mobile is not an option for the iPhone, but AT&T, Sprint and Verizon all offer service for the iPhone. Additionally, one can purchase an iPhone without a service contract for about double the price as with a service contract. But there's no point in doing so because to get service you still need to sign a two-year contract, and the iPhone is pretty much useless without a service plan.
AT&T offers the widest selection of service: they offer family, individual, and “mobile share.” Family plans deploy a pick and choose system with separate data for each person and texting and phone services combined.
The family plan and the individual plans use the pick-and-choose system. That is great for a single person, but this pick-and-choose system is the least cost-effective for multiple people. Until recently, this was the only choice for multiple users of iPhone. Families benefit more from the recently introduced "mobile share." This is the best because it automatically gives you unlimited calling and text messaging, and you simply pay for the amount of data that everyone in the family uses.
Sprint is the only carrier that provides unlimited data. However, their data transmission speeds are a bit on the slow side compared to AT&T and Verizon. Their plans are also very much simpler, with the only difference between plans being the amount of call minutes. Their service is cheaper.
Verizon’s new “share everything” plan replaces its family share and single-line plans, and can be used with between one and 10 lines. Share everything plans include a data allotment, unlimited voice minutes and unlimited messaging; the price ranges from $80 a month to a little under $200 per month.
There are significant differences between the three big competitors in price and plans and service. The addition of the “mobile share” and “share everything” plans by AT&T and Verizon open the option of getting iPhone service for more family members at cheaper prices.
Eli Clark is a 7th-grade home school student, with a strong interest in robotics, engineering and information technology. He is an early adopter of the iPhone 5.
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