Consumer Cellular Plans
Consumer Cellular pros and cons
Consumer Cellular has decently priced plans overall that are great for seniors, but its pricing structure can be a bit overwhelming when there are so many variations of each plan. You can save money in most cases if you’re not in need of many minutes, as the 250 minute alternative to each plan in $5 less per month. But 250 minutes isn’t much at all, so this is only good if you hardly ever need to make phone calls.
Consumer Cellular also shines in the family plan department, and you’ll save money ($15 per line) as you add more lines to your account—up to 3. But data throttling can create a headache, particularly with multi-line accounts. Data is shared in the case of family plans, which means—best case scenario—you will have a 35GB pool to share from before your speeds slow for the remainder of the month.
|- Mix and match plan options|
- Great for seniors
- Great coverage
- Solid multi-line discount
|- Data throttling can be troublesome if you use a lot of data|
Consumer Cellular plans allow for a lot of flexibility, since you can mix and match based on only what you’ll need. All plans—excluding the $15/month 250 Minutes Plan and $20 Unlimited Minutes Plan—include unlimited texting, but you will still need to decide how much talk and data makes sense for your purposes. Data amounts range from 500MB to unlimited, however, the unlimited plan still has a 35GB deprioritization threshold—meaning your speeds may slow during times of congestion for the rest of your billing cycle once the amount is met.
Talk and text plans
If data isn’t your thing, Consumer Cellular offers plans that include talk or talk and text only, but be aware that these plans aren’t great in terms of value for price. For instance, the Unlimited Minutes Plan costs $20/month and doesn’t include texting, while the 500MB data plan costs only $5 more ($25/month) and includes unlimited talk and text. Because of this pricing structure, it’s tough to recommend talk or talk and text only plans from Consumer Cellular. You’d likely be better off picking a different Consumer Cellular plan, or an unlimited talk and text plan from a different carrier altogether
Compare unlimited data plans
For $60/month, you can opt for Consumer Cellular’s Unlimited Talk, Text, and Data Plan, but this comes with a 35GB deprioritization threshold—meaning your speeds will be slowed for the remainder of your billing cycle once you meet this monthly allotment. At the $60 price point, 35GB is decently competitive, but there are other carriers that offer more data for a similar price.
Choosing a different carrier would mean sacrificing Consumer Cellular’s AARP benefits, though, so it all comes down to how important data speeds are to you, and how frequently you use data-heavy apps—things such as social media, streaming, or video calls.
Compare limited data plans
Because Consumer Cellular offers mix and match plans, there are quite a few different limited plan varieties to choose from, ranging from $20/month for 250 minutes and 500MB of data, to $50/month for unlimited talk, text, and 15GB of data.
Limited plans are tricky due to their pricing, as you can get fairly decent amounts of data for a solid price if you pick Consumer Cellular’s 250 minute option—as opposed to unlimited minutes. 250 minutes is a very low amount, so this only makes sense if you find yourself favoring text messaging (texting is unlimited for 250 Minute plans) and don’t need to make many calls.
Consumer Cellular family plans
Consumer Cellular offers family plans with up to 3 lines at a discount of $15/month, per line. This makes family plans a much better overall value, as you can get 3 lines on Consumer Cellular’s unlimited data plan for just $90/month before any AARP discounts. $90/month is a great price when compared to most any other carrier, but keep in mind that data is shared with these family plans, which means that data (35GB in this case) is shared between all lines, as opposed to having 35GB per line.
Consumer Cellular phones and devices
If you’re looking for some of the latest and greatest cell phones and devices, Consumer Cellular carries many of today’s most popular phones, such as the newest iPhones, Samsung Galaxy phones, and select Motorola devices.
In addition to a solid phone selection, Consumer Cellular offers additional devices, such as its Wireless Phone Home Base and Grandpad. The Wireless Phone Home Base allows you to turn your home phone into a line on your Consumer Cellular account, and costs the same additional $15 that an additional cell phone line would cost. The Grandpad, on the other hand, is essentially a smaller version of an iPad, catering to the senior demographic with simple-to-use functionality, a stylus, and mobile access and communication for caregivers and loved ones. These devices may not be essential for most, but it is nice to know that they are there for you in the event that you need them.
Consumer Cellular vs other senior plans
While Consumer Cellular offers plans that are geared specifically towards seniors, it’s not the only carrier that does so. Major carriers such as Verizon and T-Mobile offer plans for seniors, however, many of these plans only offer discounted pricing as opposed to services and devices meant for seniors.
A more comparable carrier to Consumer Cellular would be GreatCall, which is an MVNO geared towards seniors even more so. GreatCall goes a step further than Consumer Cellular by offering exclusive phones—such as its JitterBug series—which includes integrated safety features, such as dedicated emergency service buttons, personal operators, and more.
If you need great coverage, solid customer service, and integrated AARP benefits, Consumer Cellular may be a worthwhile option for you to consider. But if you’re just in the market for the best-valued plan, minus the senior benefits, other MVNOs such as Visible, Mint Mobile, and Straight Talk Wireless offer much more competitive plans for the price.