I would like a family plan with 4 phones (three smart, one not smart, whatever you call that). I would like the phones to have 2GB data and unlimited messaging. My main concern is monthly cost. Currently we are paying $145 for unlimited everything, but Verizon is screwing us over to get us off that plan. I'm thinking its going to be over $200 a month for 4 phones with those things which is ok.
What's the best phone/family plan out there? What's the best way to sign up: wirefly, the carrier store, the carrier online page, or other?
By your statement, I take it that you don't have major issues with data use. If you are even close, you might put some value into your current data plans. With 4G data rates, usage could go up.
Also, talk to people you know about signal and coverage in your area. After all, different carries to have differing coverage and you need to prioritize having a working phone.
For me, personally, I just went to VZW with a Motorola Bionic for myself and 1 texting phone. I really like Android...far better than iOS in my opinion (I have an iPad for work), but that's a personal opinion. I also happen to like the lighter modern version of Blur that Moto is using atop Android better than Samsung's TouchWiz or HTC's Sense. My strong recommendation: go to a store and look at the phones in person. After all, you've got to be reasonably happy with them for 2 years!
I got my phones and plan through Amazon wireless during one of their recent penny sales. You can definitely save some money -- if you are sure of your phone selections -- by not going through the carrier story. I paid activation ($35/phone) + 2 cents for two phones. Right now, I have 700 minutes and individual text plans...because with free in network messaging -- and a lot of friends are with VZW because of coverage in my area -- I will never go over the limit and two phones don't warrant the cost of the unlimited Family messaging. If I added two phones, two data plans, and it would be something like $220 (I've got a discount through my company that I'm trying to back out in my head).
If you've got a data plan in your old Grandfathered plan, you might consider buying phones that are not subsidized...depending on what you want...and maintaining your old plan. It is easy enough to crunch the numbers. I've done that before until AT&T, my previous carrier, flatly stopped offering my grandfathered plan.