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Every family has technology enthusiasts and technology, well, curmudgeons. The enthusiasts buy all the latest gadgets the moment they come out. They can easily use up 2,500 minutes of call time a month (and they MUST have unlimited texting!). The curmudgeons are proud of the fact that they haven’t caved in to the cell phone craze (yet!).

One of the best ways to satisfy all varying perspectives on technology in your family is with a free cell phone family plan. This way, the enthusiasts can enjoy their phones to their heart’s content and still be able to reach the curmudgeons in an emergency. The curmudgeons are willing to go along because, well, it’s free! Win-win for everyone.

In considering options for a free cell phone family plan, there are several issues you’ll want to consider, including:

What’s free?: Obviously, no one is out there handing out 100% free cell service and phones (or, if they are, let us know!). Different providers offer different “free” aspects. In most cases, the phone itself will be free, while the addition of a line on the cell plan will cost a nominal amount. Or, the program will be packaged as a “two lines for X amount” deal, with free phones. You’ll also want to consider whether the phones are free up front, or
after a rebate. If you’re the type of person who forgets to send in rebate forms, your “free” plan will be, well, not so free.

Type of phone: Sometimes a free cell phone family plan comes with a great phone – sometimes not so much. If members of your family are going to need certain capabilities, such as e-mailing or listening to music, you’ll want to take that into account when looking at options. On the other hand, the ability to mix and match phones might be important, especially if you have a curmudgeon in your life. They usually want phones with limited capabilities
(you’ll often hear the refrain “I just want a phone that makes calls.”)

Type of plan: Can you call between phones on the plan without using minutes? If you want to change one of the phones on the plan will you be charged as if you were changing all of them? Do any unused minutes get carried over to the next month? What is the charge for calls once minutes are used up? Is voicemail included? Data transmission? What’s the coverage area like? All of these are important considerations when choosing a free cell phone family
plan. You’ll need to determine which of these factors are important for your situation

Overall Need for Minutes: The teenagers in your household probably live on the phone, while people more used to, well, regular telephones tend to use cell phones less. In assessing the free cell phone family plan that’s right for you, you’ll want to factor these differences into your decision-making process. You’ll want to strike the right balance – in other words, don’t pay for minutes you don’t need – but don’t wind up paying for overages either.

For great resources on comparing one free cell phone family plan with another, check out
http://www.myrateplan.com/2free/ or http://www.point.com/plans/family.php. Both sites keep track of the deals on family plans being offered by cellular companies around the nation.

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