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What Military Families Should Look for in a Mobile Phone Plan

Discover what military families should look for in a mobile phone plan, including essential features, best providers, military/veteran discounts, and more.

Military service often requires frequent relocations, which makes staying connected with family and friends challenging, but not impossible. As such, most service members (Army, National Guard, Navy, Marines, etc.) understand that having the right cell phone plan is absolutely necessary.

In this guide, we’ll explore the ins and outs of the best service providers for active duty members, including key features to look for, how to choose a plan, and the best plans for your needs.

Understanding the Needs of Your Military Family

From specific military plans, to unlimited talk and text capabilities, to family lines, military families usually require specific features. Here are a few to consider:

  • International Calling and Roaming: May be needed if you’re stationed outside of America.
  • Reliable Coverage: Military bases are often in remote areas, so you will need a strong connection no matter where you are.
  • Flexible Plans: Frequent relocations can incur hefty penalties if you don’t have a flexible phone plan.
  • Calls Over WiFi: Some carriers offer free calls over WiFi, which can come in handy in many situations.

Key Mobile Features to Look For

With so many plans, it can be difficult to choose the one that’s best for you and your family. Here’s a list of some of the most popular plan features those with active military status opt for:

  • Flexibility and Scalability: Plans that adapt to changing needs can save a lot of headaches.
  • Security Features: Protecting your data is especially important when you’re in the military.
  • Military Discounts: Some carriers offer special pricing for eligible military members and even veteran discounts.
  • Family Plans: Shave some costs off your expenses with an affordable family plan.
  • Unlimited Data Plans: No worries about going over your data allowance with unlimited data.
  • International Features: Look for plans that offer free or low-cost international call and data allowances.
  • Great Customer Support: Bad customer support only adds more stress, so look for the company with the best support for your needs.
  • Additional Services: Extras like streaming services (i.e., Apple TV, Netflix, Hulu Plus, etc.), mobile hotspot data, and device insurance.
  • Strong Network Coverage: Reliable 4G LTE and 5G access.

Learn more about these key features below.

Flexibility and Scalability

The best plans adjust to your career and familial needs. All carriers must adhere to the Military Clause. However, some offer more flexibility than others. Be sure to look for plans that enable you to easily add or remove lines and/or adjust your data usage without penalties.

Security Features

Data encryption, a robust cyber security team, and identity theft protection are all necessary to protect your personal information. Without these strong security features, you, your family, and potentially, the nation, could be victim to unnecessary data leaks, hacks, malware, etc.

Military Discounts and Eligibility

Many providers offer discounts for veterans, active duty military members, and eligible family members. Some providers perpetually offer discounts, while others offer special promotions at certain times of the year.

You’ll need to check with each to see who has the best offers for your situation. Some providers that are well known for supporting military families include:

Make sure to call or visit their websites to check the eligibility requirements, which typically include presenting a military ID, veteran ID card, and/or driver’s license.

Unlimited Plans and Family Plans

Providers like Spectrum and Comcast Xfinity offer unlimited plans that include unlimited data, talk, and text, which are ideal for military families. Most also offer family plans, providing for additional lines and making it easier to manage family communications under one primary account holder.

International Features and Mobile Hotspot Data

Whether you’re temporarily stationed overseas, on frequent deployments, or have just received for first deployment orders, international features that include free or low-cost calling to overseas locations (Mexico, Canada, Japan, Germany, etc.) are absolutely essential.

Depending on the carrier, many plans also offer mobile hotspot data, which allows you to share your phone’s Internet connection with your laptop, tablet, and other devices.

Additional Services and Customer Support

Basic phone, text, and Internet capabilities are all must haves. However, many carriers offer added benefits like streaming, discounted devices, smart phone number capabilities, etc. Further, be sure to check reviews and with other service members to find a company that offers responsive customer service via phone, live chat, or at a retail store.

Coverage and Network Quality

There are few things worse than slow or spotty Internet. Ensure your provider has robust and reliable 4G LTE and 5G network coverage, which is especially helpful if you’re stationed in a remote area. Choose a provider that offers extensive coverage and reliable high-speed data options, ensuring you have the service you need when you need it.

By considering these features and using SmartMove to compare providers, military families can find the best cell phone plans to help them stay connected, save money, and meet their unique needs.

How to Compare and Choose a Plan

Comparing mobile plans is about more than price. You’ll need to evaluate the details of the features offered by each provider based on your circumstances, budget, and family needs. Consider the following before choosing your next mobile plan:

  • Coverage maps to ensure reliable service
  • Plan flexibility and ease of modification
  • Total cost, including potential discounts and additional fees
  • Customer service reviews and ratings

The Best Phone Plans to Consider

Provider Unlimited Data Family Plans International Features Military Benefits Additional Services U.S. Coverage
Xfinity Mobile Yes Yes Yes Yes (No Discount) Yes 98%
Spectrum Mobile Yes Yes Yes No Yes 99%
Optimum Mobile Yes Yes Yes No Yes 91%
GCI Yes Yes Yes Yes (up to 20% off) Yes Most of Alaska & 98% of the U.S. 
Cox Mobile Yes Yes Yes No Yes 70% of the U.S.

How SmartMove Can Help You Find the Right Plan

SmartMove simplifies the process of finding the best cell phone and Internet plans for military families. Whether you need robust coverage, flexible plans, additional services, or all of the above, we’re here to help you compare and choose the best mobile phone service for your needs and budget.

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