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Finding Cell Phone Plans for Seniors : Comparing the Top Plans

In an unstable economy, where prices of goods, commodities and utilities move like a yoyo, choosing cheap cell phone plans for seniors seem to be the wisest decision. With just their pensions and a little help from their loved ones, seniors have to limit their expenditures – from food to phone bills. But how cheap is cheap? Does cheap really translate to best? We don’t think so. For us, and we guess for thousands, even millions of elder people out there, the best cell phone plans for seniors are the ones which provide good value at a reasonable price.

health management apps in cell phone plans for seniorsEvery year, phone providers are adding more “benefits” to their services. Clearer cameras, wider coverage, faster downloads, better functions with some models almost replacing the computer. But such plans have no place in most seniors’ lives. The phone providers were neglecting the fact that the things the seniors value are completely different than that of the younger generation. Services related to safety and health management are the ones that appeal to seniors. When it comes to cell phone plans for seniors, the less complicated the plan is, the better. To them, plans that enable them to call or text when and if they need to are enough. Read more about specific safety and health management services and apps available for cell phone plans for seniors here.

But with so many cell phone providers that offer cell phone plans for seniors, which should you choose?

Most cell phone plans for seniors have contracts that last for two years. This means that your parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle or other relatives will get stuck with a super-expensive yet low-yielding plan that might give them more headaches and worries in the long run. This is why you have to look for the most appropriate plan for them.

We’d like to make your search easier so we created a comprehensive comparison table. Take a glimpse at nine of the major and not so major cell phone plans for seniors in the country today.

 

Plan
AT&T
Senior Natl 200
Consumer Cellular Anywhere
GreatCall Basic 19
PureTalk Flex Plan
Sprint Basic
T-Mobile Classic 500 Talk
TracFone 50 Value Plan
Verizon 65 Plus Plan
Contract
2 yearsn/an/an/a2 yearsn/an/a2 years
Activation fee
$36$35$35No fee$36$35No fee$35
Monthly fee
$29.99$20$19.99$20$29.99$40.00$10$29.99
Minutes
200
Anytime

500 night
&
Weekends

Free of charge if mobile to mobile
300200325200
Anytime

Unlimited night &
Weekends
500 whenever

Unlimited night & weekend

Free of charge if mobile to mobile
50200
Anytime

500 night
&
Weekends

Free of charge if mobile to mobile
Overage charge
$0.45/min$0.25/min$0.35/min$.04/min$0.45/min$0.45/min$0.20/min$0.45/min
Network coverage
AT&T NetworkAT&T NetworkVerizon NetworkAT&T NetworkSprint NetworkT-Mobile NetworkAll major carriersVerizon Network
Other
Must be 65 and aboveAARP members get 5% offUnused minutes roll over up to 2 months$.03 for every text message;

Unused minutes can be used without expiration
Minute rollover; usesMust be 65 and above;

Other data plans offered

 

How to Choose the Best Plan for Seniors

choosing the cellphone that comes with cell phone plans for seniors

  1. Observe their phone usage. How many times does your loved one make calls on a daily basis? How long do most of his calls take? If he is a frequent user and loves to stay on the phone, then plans like AT&T Senior Natl 200, Sprint Basic, T-Mobile Classic 500 Talk or Verizon 65 Plus Plan which are all cell phone plans for seniors, may suit his needs. These providers offer anywhere from 200-500 minutes that he can use anytime. But take note – they come with activation charges and monthly fees.
  2.  Check the phone that comes with these cell phone plans for seniors. There are plans that include phones are there are those which don’t. If you are considering the first, make sure that the phone that comes with it is handy, lightweight and easy to use. Check the clarity and brightness of the screen. You don’t want to strain your loved one’s eyes, do you? How about the volume? Is it loud enough for everyone to hear? Can it be used with a hearing aid?
  3. Read reviews. This may seem cliché, but honest reviews from real-life users can make or break your decision to buy a plan. Sure, cell phone manufacturers can send you as many PDFs that carry their plan’s information, but chances are, those are all pros with no cons. Actual users, on the other hand, tell you their experience while using the plan – glitches, disadvantages, range of coverage and so on.
  4. Don’t miss the fine print. And finally, before you affix your signature to the contract, read. Especially the fine print because those may contain conditions that your seller doesn’t want you to know – extra charges, hidden rates, etc.
What to Look For

Here are some of the things that you should consider when looking for low cost cell phone plans for seniors:

  1. Inclusive features and rates

Check the plan carefully. How many minutes are they offering? Can you utilize unused minutes?  How about the rates? Are they reasonably charged? What about the pre-termination fee? How much will it cost in the event that you are not satisfied with the service and need to get a new one? How much is the overage charge?

  1. Coverage

We all know how susceptible seniors are to accidents and worse, losing their way. If they have cell phone plans for seniors with good to excellent coverage, they can call you anytime, especially during emergencies.

  1. Customer service

The best cell phone plan for seniors must have a user-friendly website where you or your loved one can get more information and assistance. Search the company website of the plan you are considering to buy. Does it have a 24-hour customer service? Do they have FAQs and email support?

A More Detailed Look at the different cell phone plans for seniors

Helping with new technology
Because we want to give you honest reviews, we scoured far and wide not just for the advantages but more importantly, the disadvantages of each cell phone plans for seniors featured here. Below are some of their pros and cons.

AT&T Senior Natl 200

Consumers love AT&T Senior Natl 200 for its good coverage and clear reception. It’s also affordable at $29.99 which include 200 minutes that you can use anytime plus 500 minutes which you can use at nights and weekends. It boasts of basic voice mail; caller ID and call blocking; option to add roadside assistance and push to talk. It also has a user-friendly website where you can easily find basic product information and FAQs. However, the $36 activation fee is deemed a bit costly by some users. They also complain about the unused minutes which cannot be carried over to the next month. So, if your senior forgets to use his cell phone for one month, your monthly fee goes into thin air.

Consumer Cellular Anywhere

According to users, Consumer Cellular Anywhere is among the cheap cell phone plans for seniors that really work. It has good coverage and reception since it uses the AT&T network. It also has caller ID, call forwarding, call waiting, 3-way conference calling and voicemail. Plus, senior citizens who are members of AARP and AAA can get huge discounts. And here’s more – it offers a free 30-day trial and easy-to-use phones. And in case you no longer want the service, you can cancel anytime, at no extra cost – seems like the company is so confident with their plan that they can brave a no-cancellation fee, huh? But here’s the downside. You pay a one-time fee of $35 and a monthly fee of $20. Users also complain about slow customer service and limited styles of cell phones to choose from.

GreatCall Basic 19

Superb customer service is what makes GreatCall stand out among its competitors. There’s someone to assist your loved one 24 hours a day, 7 times a week. The phone that comes with the plan has an easy-to-locate button at the rear which your loved one can press anytime he needs assistance. The plan also includes LiveNurse which he can contact in case of medical issues. It also has a memory card slot so he can save more images and movies; games to ease his boredom; and for an additional fee, web browsing can be added.

old woman holding cell phone giving a thumb up

T-Mobile Classic 500 Talk:

T-Mobile boasts of 3-way calling, basic voice mail, call forwarding, call waiting; caller ID and caler ID blocking, unlimited video and photo messaging and unlimited text messages. And its new no-contract service plans can give users huge savings. But here’s the caveat: T-Mobile does not have good reception outside the Washington area and phone choices are limited to old-looking models.

PureTalk Flex Plan

PureTalk Flex Plan is a cheap pre-paid plan that allows users to bring his own cell phone. More importantly, it has good coverage and reception since it uses AT&T network. However, some users complain of slow customer service and questionable billing.

TracFone 50 Value Plan

If your parent is not a heavy cell phone user, then the TracFone 50 Value Plan may be the right one for him. It doesn’t have a contract so you can change providers anytime. It has a cheap monthly fee ($10) and low overage charge ($0.20). Reception and coverage are good since it works with all major networks. But make sure that your parent does not exceed the limited 50 minutes because the overage can really be a pain. Here’s the downside – their phones are old models and the plans are a bit hazy.

Verizon 65 Plus Plan

Now if your loved one is glued to the phone most of the time, the Verizon 65 Plus Plan might be the best senior mobile cell phone for him. For a monthly fee of $29.99, he gets as much as 5,000 messages and unlimited messaging to same network user. It has call forwarding, call waiting, caller ID and voicemail. However, you have to pay a one-time activation fee of $35 and unused minutes cannpt be rolled over to the next month.

So which of these cell phone plans for seniors will suit your loved one best?