Note: After I posted this entry, a reader in the comments pointed out that I misread some details on the Cingular site so I’ve edited the entry to reflect that.
Eric and I both have our own identical Cingular plans. Both of us have the 450 minutes w/Rollover plans for $39.99 per month. Both of us have the unlimited Data Connect plan for $39.99 per month (discounted because we have voice plans). Our bills are about $90 each on average when you factor in the text message here and there and assorted taxes and fees.
I was thinking that maybe, just maybe, we’d save a little money by combining our phones into a Family Plan. Um, not so much.
We both actually use 250-300 minutes in an average month, the rest going to rollover. We already don’t pay for calls to each other, so no savings to factor in there. We’d need the 700 minute plan, not the lowest 550 minute plan. Looking at the Cingular family plan rates, the 700 minute plan is $69.99. If we keep our separate plans, that’s $80 (data plans can’t be shared). Not sure it’s worth it just for the convenience of paying one bill at a time instead of two, which would be the only benefit.
The value comes in once the girls get phones they use regularly, which is not that far off in the distant future. The 1400 minute plan doubles the minutes but only adds $20 per month .Makes much more sense then to pay $90 for 4 lines than $160 individually ($40 X 4). We might even get away with the 700 minute plan for all 4 of us if there was a way that I could limit how many minutes the kids use.
I won’t give the girls “real” cell phones (they have Firefly phones in their school backpacks to use in emergencies) until Cingular puts Disney-like parental controls on their family plans or my kids can pay their own bills, whichever comes first.