The average Australian uses 3 or more devices to access the internet. A single family owns anything from 4 to 7 devices such as tablets, phones and laptops. With staying connected is as much as necessity as staying informed, people are spending a lot of time living digital lives. Not having enough data to burn is not an option anymore, and sharing it is the ultimate way of ensuring that doesn’t happen.
What is a Family Plan?
Family plans work on the premise of data pooling. The key element of a family plan is a shared data allowance. The best way to understand it is to “think of data allowance as a milkshake the family can share”. Not only does it bundle your family’s plans under one account, it allows you to keep your family’s data consumption in check.
This means that a capped data allowance is shared by a finite number of people on a family plan to accommodate varying usage habits, without any single individual having to worry about exceeding their monthly data allowance or an increased mobile bill. A shared plan also has the added convenience of not having to deal with different service providers and their customer service terms and conditions.
We rely on our mobile phones as a source of entertainment, to stay informed and to stay connected. There is a lot of streaming that goes on in an average person’s day and kids tend to be bigger consumers that their adult counterparts. For this reason, network providers continue to innovate their service offerings to suit the varying needs of different people within a family unit.
Apps such as WhatsApp, Vber, Skype, iMessage and Facetime, to name a few, are popular communication tools that allow parents to stay connected with their children and children and adults with each other, thus validating our growing dependence on data.
As the account holder who is responsible for paying all bills, choosing a family mobile plan to suit every member of your household can be difficult, but you needn’t pay a premium for it. There is an informed approach to going about this. There are a variety of shared/family plans offered by most popular network providers and they’re all working hard to give you the best deal so that you choose them. Family plans are popular because they provide the data and the tools for people to stay connected, without forcing you to pay an exorbitant mobile bill.
On a family plan, all family members’ SIMs are serviced by the same network provider and they are all able to use data from a single data pool. This works well for families with older, more responsible kids who are not likely to reach their monthly data cap. Mobile service providers started offering family plans in the early 2000s and have evolved to accommodate consumer trends in an ever changing market. Parents need to be able to easily reach their kids, whether it is to check on them or stay in touch, regardless of their age – and this increased communication comes at an increased cost. The cost of a necessity needn’t be a barrier to having it though, and family plans are an economical way to manage mobile usage.
How do family plans work?
While single mobile plans are easy to understand, family plans can be a little more difficult. The main aspects of a family plan can be summarized in the following points:
You get what you pay for:
In addition to shared data, you get national voice and SMS services all included in a monthly cost. This means there is a fixed cost every month and no bill surprises.
Being on a family plan means that you’re dealing with a single entity for all bills and issues. You get a consolidated bill for all SIMs in the plan and administration of the account is easier.
Add more family members
Regardless of whose name the account is under, you can keep adding members to your family plan. However, there is a charge for every additional SIM you add to the family plan.
Unlimited SMS and Voice services:
Each SIM added to the family plan can make use of unlimited national SMS and call minutes to any network.
Top 5 Mobile Plans for Families
#1 Telstra Medium Plan: $49/month
Telstra allows postpaid customers to be billed under a single account where the total data allowance on each individual plan is used to create a shared data pool. You can add up to 5 Data Share SIMs to your account at a cost of $5 per SIM per month, and each can be used to access the shared data pool on a different device at no extra charge. What’s more is you can have pre-paid plans on a family sharing plan.
On Telstra’s Medium plan you get a conservative 15GB of data plus 15GB of bonus data. This would suit small families where mobile data consumption is streamlined.
#2 Yomojo Family Bundle
The Yomojo Family Bundle allows you to add up to six lines or family members — and what’s great is that you can go for a different plan for every family member. What’s even better is that you get discounts depending on the number of line that your family signs up for. You get 5% monthly discount for 2 lines, 7.5% for 3, 10% for 4, 12.5% for 5, and 15% for 6 lines. Then you can choose the right-sized plan for each service from Yomojo’s SIM-only family mobile plans. There is no lock-in contract so you can modify the plans enrolled every month as well.
It starts with the Kids Plan at $9.90/month with 1GB data and $15.90/month with 2GB data. For the adult members, you may want to get the $29.90/month for 8GB data or the $34.90/month that comes with 10GB data.
#3 Southern Phone Family Solution Plans
Southern Phone has also come up with the perfect mobile plans that are suitable for families with small kids. The Family Solution Plans comprise of plans with data inclusions ranging from 750MB to 7GB with prices starting at $12/month to $55/month.
What sets these plans apart from the rest is that it features the Family Zone App, which allows you to manage your kids’ use of social apps and in-app purchasing, remove adult content for safe searching, set routines for what the kids can access with time restrictions and give devices their very own sleep times.
#4 Boost $20 UNLTD Prepaid Plan
With Boost’s range of prepaid plans, parents would have complete control if you deem it necessary to load up your kids’ mobile phone for the month — or at least for 28 days.
The $20 UNLTD Prepaid plan gives you great value for your money with 3GB data plus standard unlimited calls and texts. It also comes with free Apple Music streaming, which is a perk that any kid would surely love to have and use on a daily basis.
#5 OVO Mobile – Mini and Miniplus
The Mini and Miniplus plans are hard to beat when it comes to basic mobile usage needs. Both plans allow for unlimited texts and OVOPlay and are valid for 30 days.
The point of difference between both plans is that OVO Mini gives you 1GB of data with $500 worth of talktime within Australia, while OVO Miniplus gives you 2GB of data and unlimited national talk time for an additional 5 bucks. Both plans are suitable for school goers whose main need is to stay in touch with friends and parent – a great way to get them manage their own usage and perhaps even pay for it themselves!
Family members can have different usage patterns, whereby some may only use a portion of their allowance and others may use a lot more. Family plans allow for better management by pooling low and high users, enabling more efficient usage of your data allocation.
While Family Plans allow you to track data usage for all SIMs under a single account, prepaid plans will help you create discipline around mobile usage. There are advantages to both family plans and prepaid plans. Which approach is more suitable for your family depends on how much administration you are willing to do, your family’s mobile usage habits and your budget.