Consumer Cellular is a cell phone network operating using AT&T’s network, so that they can provide national coverage for seniors who are looking for an affordable cell phone plans.
In addition, Consumer Cellular has a relationship with AARP [along with discounts for AARP members]…and now over 50% of their customers are senior citizens.
So what I am going to do is give you an overview of the Consumer Cellular program, their services, cell phone plan options and the types of phones that are offered with service from Consumer Cellular.
Consumer Cellular Services
Let’s talk first about an overview of the service. Consumer Cellular has optimized their business model around catering to baby boomers and senior citizens. This in itself is good business. After all, the baby boomers are the largest demographic in history.
In particular, the idea has been to build a quality company and service around seniors who want a cell phone without the ‘bells-and-whistles’ that are attached to many cell phone plans today.
All Consumer Cellular Plans offer the same basic fees associated with them…and these fees include:
- A one-time activation fee of $35
- NO Contract!!! The best part about Consumer Cellular.
- No change fee to switch between their plans.
- No long distance fees apply…you can call all of the 50 states [international charges do apply]
The plans that Consumer Cellular offers, while not specifically optimized for seniors, are nonetheless senior-friendly plans as they are cost-effective. However, I do need to caution you that some of the plans do not come with a large number of minutes.
The first one I want to discuss is the Anywhere Casual plan. It functions very similar to those pre-paid phones, but you don’t have to throw the phone away after 90 days. I think that the Anywhere Casual Plan is very innovative because there is nothing like it in the industry that I have found.
For $10 a month, you have access to a cell phone in the event of emergencies…meaning that the plan does not come with any minutes, but you have access to a phone if you need it. You are charged $.25 per minute that you use the phone. That’s it. So if this is just an emergency phone for you and you don’t use it…you only pay $10.
It is the ideal plan for those who do not need access to a cell phone on a regular basis and only need it for emergencies.
All of the other plans that Consumer Cellular offers come with a pre-determined number of minutes. The number of minutes…plus the monthly fees, are below:
- Anywhere Casual … $10.00
- Anywhere 100 plan [100 minutes per month]…$15.00
- Anywhere 300 plan [300 minutes per month]…$20.00
- Anywhere 700 plan [700 minutes per month]…$30.00
- Anywhere 1200 plan [1200 minutes per month]…$40.00
- Anywhere 1800 plan [1800 minutes per month]…$50.00
- Anywhere 2400 plan [2400 minutes per month]…$60.00
Note: These fees do change from time to time. I will do my best to keep them updated but if you notice they are out-of-date contact me and I will update this information.
Additional minutes are $.25 a minute with all plans. And once you choose the best plan for you and your family, the Family Share program allows you to share that number of minutes with your family…and to add a line to your plan for an additional $10 a month.
All members of AARP currently receive a 5% discount off of all fees.
All of these plans are interchangeable and you have the ability to switch from plan to plan without a fee depending upon your overall usage.
Data Plans and Texting
Now, if you are interested in texting, Consumer Cellular has options for you as well through their line of Connect! Plans. And the plans allow you to send and receive texts, pictures, etc…
The plans and the rates that Consumer Cellular offers are below:
Plan Messages Data (Web) Fee
Connect! Lite 100 10MB $2.50
Connect! Ready 500 50MB $5.00
Connect! Active 1,000 100MB $10.00
Connect! Complete 2,000 250MB $20.00
Complete! Max 5,000 500MB $30.00
The AARP 5% discount applies these additional features as well.
What this unique feature does is helps you to avoid the shock of getting a HUGE bill at the end of the month because you went over your data or messaging limit.
The way it works is simple…you can manage these settings in your Account page on the Consumer Cellular website. From there, you can set either by a percentage or by the number of texts you send and receive when to receive the alert.
As an example, if you signed up for ‘Connect! Lite’, with 100 permitted messages, and you have hit 75 texts in this current billing cycle, Consumer Cellular’s Usage Alert will send you a text message letting you know that you are close to your limit.
And the best part about this feature is that Consumer Cellular allows you to upgrade your plan at any time to avoid the overage fees. I think that is great customer service and shows a company with a social conscious.
Phones Offered by Consumer Cellular
Now I want to discuss the phones, and Consumer Cellular offers 7 phones at the moment. So I am going to discuss the two phones which are at the opposite ends of the spectrum that Consumer Cellular offers.
The first, for the tech-savvy senior they do offer a smart phone, the Motorola Bravo, that operates using the Android platform, so you can use it and get all of the services that you would expect from any other cell phone, such as…
- 3G speed
- WiFi enabled
- Web Browsing [I would recommend that you get the ‘Connect! Complete’ or ‘Connect! Max’ plans above if you get the Motorola Bravo because you could quickly go over your data limits with the other plans.].
And when you look at the Bravo, it has a great big touch screen [3.7”] and can do anything that any other smart phone can do.
The other phone that Consumer Cellular offers that I wanted to discuss was the Doro PhoneEasy 410, which is a specifically designed, Senior-friendly cell phone. It is…as my 71-year old father would describe…‘A brick with an antenna.’
As you can see, it is a phone with large buttons that are separated, so it is easier for those with arthritis to use. It features a loud speaker phone and comes with an Emergency SOS button to call for help, yet you can still use a Bluetooth headset with it if you wish.
And finally, the phone was ergonomically designed so that those suffering from arthritis or other joint disorders can operate the phone more easily.
How To Order
The way to order a phone…or get more information…is to call Consumer cellular’s customer service line at 1-888-345-5509. They will take you through the steps and arrange for the shipping of your phone to you, which is free of charge.
Consumer Cellular Review
Overall, as I go through this Consumer Cellular review, let me give you my own take on Consumer Cellular:
- Phones optimized for seniors
- Affordable plans
- Switching to one plan from another with no additional fees
- Free shipping of your phone
- Usage Alerts allowing you to avoid overages on your messaging and data plans
- Only 7 phones to choose from [not a big deal for seniors but had to point it out]
- Customer service is not 24/7. Consumer Cellular’s customer service is available 5:00am to 8:00pm only.
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