The writing is on the wall: Your kids are going to need smartphones. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon -- and for the rest of their lives.
That means a big bump in your monthly bill, right? Not necessarily. Newcomer Krew Mobile has put together a family- and budget-friendly smartphone plan: three lines for $39.95 per month. And you'll pay $19.95 per month for the first two months as part of an introductory special.
It works like this: The "parent" line gets unlimited voice minutes and text messages, plus 2GB of 4G LTE data on an undisclosed GSM network. (I don't know why Krew doesn't specify which one, but there's at least some evidence to suggest it's T-Mobile.) Once you hit 2GB, the plan downshifts to unlimited 2G data -- not uncommon.
As for the "kid" lines, they get unlimited voice minutes and text messages -- and that's it. Whether or not you consider that a crazy limitation probably depends on the ages of your kids. If they're on the younger side, you might prefer this no-data-unless-it's-Wi-Fi option.
Krew also provides a hotspot option so you can share your phone's data if you want, along with parental controls that can limit the kids' phone usage to certain times of day.
All this is based on a BYO-phone arrangement; it's up to you to supply unlocked, GSM-compatible handsets. Krew charges $9.95 for its three-SIM starter kit.
If you're already paying $40/month or more for a single-line plan, this might prove an ideal option. However, there's one fairly important consideration: Because the kids' phones have no data, you can't leverage any find-my-phone (aka find-my-kid) apps.
That's probably a deal-breaker for some parents. Krew Mobile could easily remedy this by offering a pay-as-you-go data option for the kids' lines, allowing data to be used just during certain times of day or on an as-needed basis. For now, however, there's just the one plan, and no add-ons.