Best Cell Phone Plans for Seniors 2020

Check out these cell phone plans for the most experienced individuals.
  • Best Value
    Unlimited talk and text
    Customizable data plans
  • Best Family Plan
    Excellent coverage
    Unlimited data
  • Best Prepaid
    Plenty of low data options
    Unlimited talk and text
  • Best Senior-Friendly Plan
    Emergency features
    User-friendly setup

Whether you want to stream your favorite shows, find the best deals shopping online, or FaceTime the grandkids as much as possible, there’s a cell phone plan out there with you in mind. And that’s not even the best part . . . you can also get awesome discounts as part of the 55+ community.

Here are the best cell phone plans for seniors, plus some alternatives that might fit you even better.

Best cell phone plans for seniors
ProviderBest ForOur Plan PickLearn More
Consumer CellularValueUnlimited Talk & Text + 2 GB Data PlanView Plans
VerizonFamily plansUnlimited Plan for 55+View Plans
TracFonePrepaid plansUnlimited Talk, Text & 1 GB Data Smartphone PlanView Plans
GreatCallSenior-friendlinessUnlimited Talk & Text Plan for Jitterbug SmartView Plans

Consumer Cellular: Best value

The star here is affordable, customizable plans for seniors.

Pros

  • Affordable plans
  • Unlimited talk and text

Cons

  • Less reliable coverage

Consumer Cellular focuses on low-cost, low-data cell phone plans. You also get a 5% discount on your cell phone bill if you have over 50 years of experience on this earth.

What we like

Affordable plans

To make a long story short, Consumer Cellular gives you the most bang for your buck. But let’s tell the whole story anyway.

You’ve got four different options for Consumer Cellular data plans, and they range from 2 GB to 20 GB of data. As you can imagine, the price increases as your data limit increases.

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What do I use data for?
Data is the currency for basically everything you do on your mobile device. It costs data to FaceTime the family, download apps, and browse the internet. The more data you have, the more you can do those things on the go.

We recommend the 2 GB plan for most users because it hits that sweet spot between affordability and data flexibility. With 2 GB of data, you should have no problem FaceTiming with loved ones, playing Candy Crush, or using your GPS app to find that new restaurant everyone’s talking about.

Consumer Cellular’s 2 GB plan also costs $10–$30 less a month than you would pay with Sprint, GreatCall, or Verizon.

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What if I want more data?
If you plan on watching YouTube when you’re not on Wi-Fi, or you like to use a mobile hotspot for your laptop, here are the other Consumer Cellular plans that offer more data. Good news: compared to other wireless providers, you get a good deal no matter what with Consumer Cellular.

Consumer Cellular alternative plans

Unlimited talk and text

Whichever Consumer Cellular plan you decide on, we recommend making sure it includes unlimited talk and text. Listen, you have enough to stress about in your life—you don’t want to count texts and minutes on the phone, worrying you may exceed your limit.

If you want to call your daughter and dish about the latest episode of The Bachelor, do it. If you want to call your son and talk about whether the Lakers will go all the way this year (they won’t)—you should do that too. Unlimited talk and text means you don’t need to think twice about getting in touch.

What we don’t like

Less reliable coverage

Consumer Cellular doesn’t have its own network. It piggybacks off of both AT&T and T-Mobile networks to give you coverage. Translation: you should have coverage in most places, but watch out in rural areas,

Here’s a look at what kind of coverage you can expect with Consumer Cellular. You get coverage in the green areas.

Consumer Cellular Coverage Map

Source: Consumer Cellular

Your coverage won’t be quite reliable as a Verizon wireless signal, for example, but you should have no problem picking up a signal in most areas across the country.

Alternative value picks

If you don’t love the sound of Consumer Cellular, there are plenty of other carriers that offer senior discounts. Other providers will probably cost more than Consumer Cellular, but you might get better coverage as a result.

Verizon Wireless: Best family plan

Look forward to unlimited data on the best network. 

Pros

  • Most reliable coverage
  • Unlimited data

Cons

  • More pricey

Verizon Wireless delivers the most reliable coverage across the country, and that’s a big deal. The downside is, you’ll likely pay more for Verizon than you would with another provider. Thankfully, you get a pretty sweet discount for you and your partner if you’re both over 55.

What we like

Most reliable coverage

Out of all the cell phone providers out there, Verizon offers the most reliable coverage by a pretty significant margin. Why does excellent coverage matter, you ask? Have you ever been stranded on the side of the road with no coverage? Of course you have, and you probably remember just how awful that feels.

Take a look at the kind of coverage you can expect with Verizon. That’s a lot of red (which is a good thing).

Verizon Coverage Map

Source: Verizon

Reliable coverage means you can make calls whenever necessary, and as a plus, you should experience minimal glitches while streaming Downton Abbey on the go.

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What is the advantage of going with a family plan?
Discounts, my friend! It’s all about discounts. When you go for a family plan, you generally get a discount on how much you pay. It’s the same idea as buying in bulk at Costco.

Unlimited data

Verizon’s 55 and up plan offers unlimited data, which means you can enjoy an essentially stress-free phone experience.

Remember when you had your first cell phone and you somehow opened up an internet page despite not having any data, or when you accidentally exceeded your text limit? Those were stressful experiences. You won’t need to deal with any of that with unlimited data.

Stream what you want, play what you want, FaceTime who you want—you might as well, since you have unlimited data.

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Can I include my kids on my family plan?
You can, but they won’t enjoy the same discount you do. For their lines, you’ll have to pay the going rate for a regular Verizon line.

Pricier than other carriers

Even with your cool family plan, you’ll end up paying $30–$50 more than you would with another wireless carrier. If price matters most to you and you’re not worried about your coverage, check out our alternative picks below.

Alternative family plan picks

Check out the other plans that will give you and your partner a discount.

TracFone Wireless: Best prepaid plan

Customize your plan the way you want.

Pros

  • Plenty of low-data options
  • Unlimited talk and text

Cons

  • No high-data options
  • Not compatible with newer phones

TracFone specializes in prepaid cell phone plans that offer surprisingly good bang for your buck. You’ll have a hard time finding prepaid cell phone plans with decent coverage that are cheaper than TracFone.

What we like

Cheap low-data options

If you’re positive you don’t want anything to do with an unlimited plan, TracFone offers plenty of prepaid plans with varying amounts of data. You can choose from 1 GB of data all the way to 3 GB of data.

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What’s the difference between 1 GB and 3 GB of data?
With 1 GB of data, you should have no problem moderately browsing social media, watching funny videos on Wi-Fi, and FaceTiming with your family. With 3 GB of data, you can do all that stuff plus watch TV shows and movies on the go.

Take a look at some of your data options with TracFone. It all depends on how much data you tend to use in a given month.

Unlimited talk and text

Basically any plan you choose with TracFone will come with unlimited talk and text. Technically, there is a 300-minutes plan, but you should just ignore it because it costs the same as the unlimited talk and text option. (We’re as confused as you are that they even offer a 300-minute plan.)

As long as you pay in advance for your prepaid plan, you can rest assured that you can text and call family and friends to your heart’s content.

What we don’t like

No high data limit options

You won’t find any unlimited data with TracFone currently (it maxes out at 3 GB). Then again, if you want a prepaid phone, then you probably don’t care a ton about unlimited data. Just make sure to choose your TracFone data plan wisely and try not to go over your limits. You’ll have to pay extra for every bit of text, data, or minutes you go over your threshold.

Not compatible with newer cell phone models

Do you love having the latest and greatest devices? If so, then TracFone isn’t for you, my friend. TracFone only works with devices that are a few years out of date. Here are some of the devices compatible with TracFone:

  • iPhone 6
  • iPhone 6s
  • iPhone 7
  • Samsung Galaxy J3
  • Samsung Galaxy J7
  • Samsung Galaxy S7
  • LG Premier Pro LTE
  • Motorola Moto G6

On the plus side, you’ll save more money by going with a slightly older phone. You may not want to pay an expensive monthly rate for a new phone that basically does the same things your phone will do.

Alternative picks unlimited prepaid plans

If the lack of unlimited data and new devices has got you down, here are other prepaid plans that offer those two things in spades.

GreatCall: Best senior-friendly plan

Here’s a simple phone with plenty of health and safety features

Pros

  • Uses Jitterbug phones
  • Health and safety features

Cons

  • Not compatible with new phones

You may not have heard of GreatCall before—but you’ve probably heard about their famous Jitterbug phone. It’s designed to include large buttons and icons that makes navigating the phone super easy.

What we like

Jitterbug phones

We recommend going with the Jitterbug Smart2 cell phone. Here’s what it looks like:

Jitter Bug

The Jitterbug Smart2 works really well for tech-savvy seniors or for those of you who feel relatively new to smartphones. Let us explain why.

  • 5.5-inch screen with text that you won’t have to squint to read
  • Voice typing that lets you dictate your messages instead of typing them
  • Front-facing speakers that make your audio easier to hear
  • 13MP camera with LED flash
  • Urgent response button on the home screen

Health and safety features

Health and safety packages make it easy to keep family members in the loop and provide quick access for emergency help.

The 5Star Urgent Response button lets you get a hold of a service agent ASAP if you need help—whether you’ve fallen or have another medical emergency. And the GreatCall Link app will let your family know you used the urgent response button.

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What is MedCoach?
The MedCoach feature will send you medication and prescription refill reminders. Because—let’s be honest—who can stay on top of that, anyway? We could sure use that reminder on our phones too.

What we don’t like

No new Apple or Android devices

Currently, only Jitterbug devices work with GreatCall. That means you won’t have access to the latest and greatest from Apple and Android.

Alternative GreatCall plans

GreatCall has some options for plans that include unlimited talk, text, and data. You can mix and match whatever data, talk, and text amounts work for you.

Best cell phone plan discounts for seniors

Are you looking for AARP discounts or help with paying your monthly cell phone plan? Here’s a quick look at some senior cell phone plan subsidies and discounts available to you:

  • Many cell phone companies offer discounts to AARP members—you can join AARP here.
  • Certain cell phone companies like Verizon, T-Mobile, and AT&T offer discounts for active-duty military and veterans.
  • The federal Lifeline program might subsidize your cell phone bill if you meet one or more of the following requirements:
    • Your income falls at or below 135% of the federal poverty guideline.
    • You’re part of one of the following government programs:
      • Medicaid
      • Food stamps/SNAP
      • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
      • Supplemental Rental Assistance (Section 8)
      • Federal Public Housing Assistance (FPHA)
      • Veterans pension and survivors benefit programs

Best cell phone plans for seniors recap

That about sums it up for cell phone plan options—and boy, are there a lot of them. Overall, we recommend checking out Consumer Cellular for its mix-and-match data plans and cheap rates.

Here’s a breakdown of our top recommended cell phone plans for seniors:

Do you have a favorite cell phone plan or cell phone feature that you swear by? We’d love to hear about it. Let us know in the comments below.