Watch enough TV and you’re bound to see an ad for Consumer Cellular. This is a cellphone company that targets retirees and seniors who want an affordable smartphone or cell phone plan and the company works directly with AARP.
We’ll walk through what you need to know before you sign up, or what you need to know before you help your parents sign up for Consumer Cellular. We’ll also help you decide if Consumer Cellular is worth it.
With plans that start at $20 a month for one line and $35 a month for two lines, Consumer Cellular is an attractive option. There’s a 5% discount for AARP members as well.
From Consumer Cellular reviews and Consumer Cellular coverage to the phones and features that the company offers, this overview will help you decide if Consumer Cellular is worth it in 2019.
The Consumer Cellular ads mention the cheap prices and feature users who cannot stop proclaiming how much they love the service. You can buy Consumer Cellular online, on the phone or at Target, Sears and some AAA stores. There are a variety of phones and plans t o choose from. You can also bring your own phone to Consumer Cellular, which is great if you buy a cheap iPhone.
The AARP discount offers 5% off your monthly bill and 30% off select accessories. It also extends the satisfaction guarantee to 45 days. There is a 30-day guarantee when you sign up and there is no contract to sign, so you aren’t locked in, but like all services, there are some catches to keep in mind.
One thing that many users will appreciate is that the company offers U.S. based customer support if you do have issues that need to be resolved or you need help with the service.
Consumer Cellular Coverage
One of the great parts of Consumer Cellular coverage is that it is nationwide and it uses the same towers as the big names you already know in wireless service. The company basically leases tower use for Consumer Cellular customers from companies that already have coverage.
The Consumer Cellular coverage map shows coverage for most of the U.S., which is on par with what you see on many competing services. When you are out west there are some blank spots, but this is something that you will find on many services due to the areas being sparsely populated.
You will need to enter your zip code to see which carrier your phone will use. There are multiple coverage maps on their website. You can also check specific places to see if you will have coverage where you travel often.
Consumer Cellular Plans
The Consumer Cellular plans start at $15 a month and adding on texting and data only costs an additional $5 for the base plan. That means you could get a smartphone with mobile web and texting for as little as $20 a month.
Consumer Cellular Plans Cost
250 Minutes $15 a Month
Unlimited Minutes $20 a Month
Before you sign up you should keep in mind that most users will need more data than that. Even if you only look up a few things and use a phone for directions while traveling you will likely need more than 250MB of Data. You can share the data with another phone on your plan.
We recommend looking at the $10 per month 1GB data plan if you are going to use Consumer Cellular while traveling or outside of your home. At home, if you connect to WiFi, you don’t use the data on your plan.
|Consumer Cellular Data Plans||Texts||Cost|
|250MB||Unlimited Texts||$5 a Month|
|1GB||Unlimited Texts||$10 a Month|
|3GB||Unlimited Texts||$20 a Month|
|5GB||Unlimited Texts||$30 a Month|
|10GB||Unlimited Texts||$40 a Month|
If you go over the data on the plan you choose, the company automatically upgrades you to the next plan. This avoids nasty overage charges, but you may still end up paying an extra $10 that month. This method gives you more data and helps you avoid overages month after month. You can always go back to a smaller plan.
The most data you can buy is 10GB, which is a lot lower than the maximum at traditional carriers, but it is going to be enough for many users.
Consumer Cellular Reviews
The Consumer Cellular Reviews are quite varied with some users singing praises of the service while others share cautionary tales.
We recommend asking friends and family who may already use the service if that is possible.
Read Consumer Affairs to learn what Consumer Cellular reviews have to say. Most of these are on the low-end of the spectrum.
Consumer Cellular Phones & iPhone
You can buy a Consumer Cellular iPhone as well as many other phone options. The base models include a normal flip phone, but you can buy the newest iPhone Xs and Xs Max or iPhone Xr and iPhone 8 Plus as well as the iPhone SE and older iPhones. The selection of Consumer Cellular Android smartphones is on par with what you will find at Verizon or AT&T. Consumer Cellular offers 9, S9+, S9 and a range of older Samsung phones as well as Motorola and ZTE devices.
You can bring your own phone to Consumer Cellular if it is for AT&T or T-Mobile, which opens up a lot of options. There are also tablet and a mobile hotspot options. The mobile hotspot could deliver WiFi access to your laptop or a WiFi only tablet while you are traveling, even while you are driving down the road.
Some of the Consumer Cellular phones are a one-time purchase of $50 to $100 while others including the Consumer Cellular iPhones are $50 to $150 upfront and then monthly payments on top of the service you pay for.
You can buy a phone protection plan from SquareTrade for $2 to $6 a month depending on the model and if you buy an iPhone you can buy AppleCare+ for protection.
Consumer Cellular Contracts vs Payment Plans
There are no Consumer Cellular contracts that keep you with the service. However, you can buy a phone on a payment plan that you need to pay off before you can switch or leave.
Sometimes consumers end up looking to switch, and find out they have to pay off the phone before they can leave. This is fairly common with carriers these days. You may be able to work with a carrier you are switching to, to get money to pay off your old phone.
Consumer Cellular Features
Consumer Cellular offers 4G LTE service, which means you also get same speeds as on the big brands, so you don’t have to wait longer to load a webpage just because you choose this service.
Based on our research you cannot use your iPhone or Android as a personal hotspot, although at least one user complained that his phone used too much data while it was a mobile hotspot. Consumer Cellular sells a standalone mobile hotspot for $80.
Is Consumer Cellular Worth It?
If you’re looking for a reliable carrier with good coverage and U.S. based customer support, Consumer Cellular is a great option. You can’t walk into a local store for help, like you can with a big carrier, but you can get phone based support to help you with issues.
With Consumer Cellular, you can choose the latest phones or bring your own. This makes it an affordable choice as well as an option if you love your tech and want the latest devices.
Shoppers looking for affordable cellular plans, features that you expect from the big carriers and good support should check out Consumer Cellular.
iPhone 8 Plus
The iPhone 8 Plus is one of the best smartphones for seniors because it is easy to use, it has an amazing screen and a ton of handy features that make it a great first smartphone.
The large 5.5-inch display is the same size as the iPhone 7 Plus, but it now features a True-Tone Display. That's a fancy way of saying the screen looks much better in all light conditions. We love this change and we think it's great for people who are going to use a phone indoors and out.
Apple makes the iPhone 8 Plus water resistant, so if you drop it into water for a short period it will be fine. You can also charge the iPhone wirelessly. If you hate fumbling with cords to charge up, this will be an awesome feature for you.
The Touch ID sensor lets you log into your iPhone without your passcode, and you can also use built in tools to remember all of your other passwords that you need. You can backup photos to iCloud and backup your iPhone to iCloud which means everything is safe if you break your phone, without the need to plug into a computer.
Inside the iPhone 8 Plus is an amazing camera that you can use to take pictures of grandkids, vacations and anything you enjoy without bringing a bigger camera with you.
The iPhone 8 Plus is available on all major carriers for as little as $23 a month or $699 outright at Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile, AT&T and Best Buy. You can also find deals on certified refurbished iPhone 8 Plus models at Gazelle.
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