Best Cell Phone Plans for Seniors

Here are our top five picks for cell phone plans with a lot of options for older adults.

Overview

Best cell phone plans for seniors comparisons

PlanStarting price*Learn more
Verizon unlimited plans$200/mo. for 5 linesView plans
T-Mobile Pay As You Go$3/mo. for 1 lineView plans
TracFone 500 MB for 60 days$23.75/60 days ($11.88/mo.) for 1 lineView plans
GreatCall Health & Safety packages$19.99/mo. for 1 lineView plans
US Mobile$15.50/30 days for 1 lineView plans

* Prices include autopay, paperless billing, and multi-line discounts where applicable. Taxes and fees not included unless otherwise noted.

I remember trying to explain my unlimited data plan to my mom when she was looking to switch from TracFone. I’d talk about gigabytes (GBs) of data or mobile hotspots, and she’d reply that she didn’t need anything that fancy.

Staying connected is important, but as you grow older, chances are you’d rather not pay for all those extras. Finding a cell phone plan that fits your changing lifestyle can be difficult—but there are plans out there made with you in mind.

Here are our picks for the top five cell phone plans for older adults, plus a few extras we thought were worth mentioning.

Best family plan—Verizon

Verizon’s unlimited plans are enough to keep your whole family—young and old—connected.

Starts at $200/mo. for 5 lines

Verizon’s unlimited plans come with just enough oomph to keep kids and adults happy. You’ll get unlimited data—enough for the kids to stream Llama Llama on Netflix and for grandparents to download photos of your latest family vacation.

Here’s why we picked Verizon unlimited plans as our go-to for multiple generations of your family.

What we like

Verizon unlimited plans comparison

FeaturesGo UnlimitedBeyond UnlimitedAbove Unlimited
Data limitsYour speed may be throttled (slowed) during times of high traffic22 GB of unthrottled data each month75 GB of unthrottled data each month
Video streaming qualityStandard definitionHigh definitionHigh definition
Mobile hotspotUnlimited data at 600 Kbps speedsUnlimited data with 15 GB of 4G LTE hotspot data each monthUnlimited data with 20 GB of 4G LTE hotspot data each month
Unlimited talk, text, and data in Canada and MexicoYesYesYes
Learn moreView planView planView plan
  • Unlimited data means you don’t need to worry about meeting your data cap—or paying overage charges.
  • Top-rated coverage and speed sets Verizon apart from the rest.
  • Variety of mobile phones means everyone can pick an Apple, Samsung, or Google phone—or even a flip phone
  • Mix and match plans so everyone gets the features they need.

That’s right, you can pick the Verizon Go Unlimited plan for grandma and grandpa but upgrade to the Beyond Unlimited plan for you and your partner. (Or vice versa.) And if you’ve got a data hog in your family, you can even upgrade a line all the way to the Above Unlimited plan.

The world is your oyster.

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Learn more about Verizon cell phone plans

Make sure Verizon has the right cell phone plans for your family by checking out our full Verizon review.

Best pay-as-you-go plan—T-Mobile

If you’re more hands-off when it comes to cell phones. T-Mobile’s Pays As You Go plan could be a real money saver. 

t-mobile logo
Starts at $180/mo. for 5 lines

I’ll be frank: my dad only keeps a cell phone around because my mom and I insist. (He not-so-secretly despises the thing.) So instead of an unlimited or prepaid plan, I recommended that he look into a pay-as-you-go plan.

“Why?” you ask. Well, let’s break it down.

What we like

  • Pay for what you use—this could save you money in the long run.
  • Add data passes if you want to download photos or hop on Facebook to see what your family’s up to.
  • Get 30 minutes of talk or 30 texts for $3 (or a combination of talk and texts that adds up to 30, such as 15 minutes of talk and 15 texts). Now that’s an amount Goldilocks might call “just right.”

If you want to add minutes or texts to your plan, they cost just 10 cents each. That’s not a bad price if you don’t plan on using many minutes or texts in the first place.

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Find out more about T-Mobile

Interested in learning more about T-Mobile? Check out our full T-Mobile review.

We should note that while most T-Mobile plans do include taxes and fees in the pricing, the Pay As You Go plan doesn’t. And you’re limited to one line per Pay As You Go plan, so if your partner wants to hop on the bandwagon, they’ll need to open a separate account.

But this pay-as-you-go plan is still perfect if you, like my dad, rarely ever touch your cell phone. After all, it’s nice to have in case of emergency—especially if it gives the rest of your family some peace of mind, right?

Best prepaid plan—TracFone

If you’re not big on data, TracFone has plenty of prepaid plans at low prices.

Get 1 line at $23.75 for 60 days

TracFone’s pretty well-known when it comes to prepaid plans, and there’s a reason why. We like it for anyone who doesn’t need a lot of data, among other reasons.

What we like

  • Low prices—that can get even lower when you consider some cover periods of 60, 90, or even 365 days.
  • Multiple networks to hop on—including Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, and US Cellular.

TracFone smartphone plans comparison

Plan price*Service daysTalk and textData
$14.2530 days200 minutes, 500 texts500 MB
$2030 days300 minutes, 1,000 texts1 GB
$23.7560 days500 minutes, 1,000 texts500 MB
$33.2560 days750 minutes, 1,000 texts1 GB
$4590 days750 minutes, 1,000 texts1.5 GB
$5090 days750 minutes, 1,000 texts2 GB
$118365 days1,500 minutes, 1,500 texts1.5 GB
See plansSee plansSee plansSee plans

* Prices include autopay, paperless billing, and multi-line discounts where applicable. Taxes and fees not included.

Our pick out of all the TracFone plans available is the one that offers 500 MB of data for 60 service days (along with 500 minutes and 1,000 texts). The price of $23.75 for 60 service days isn’t bad considering that breaks down to about $11.88 per month. It’s hard—if not impossible—to beat that price.

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More tips on TracFone

Get all you need to know in our full TracFone review.

Best emergency plan—GreatCall

Big buttons, emergency calls, and dozens of features make GreatCall our favorite pick for an emergency plan.

greatcall-logo
Starts at $19.99/mo.

Chances are you’ve heard of GreatCall before—it’s the maker of the infamous Jitterbug phone. You know—the one with buttons big enough to keep you from hitting 15 of them simultaneously when all you want to do is press “1” to tell Walgreens to check on your prescription refill status. (Can you tell we have lots of experience with this issue?)

While you can build your own plan based on how many minutes, texts, and GB of data you want, we recommend building your plan around GreatCall’s Health & Safety packages.

What we like

  • Jitterbug phones feature large icons, text, and buttons, so you won’t get frustrated trying to read your messages or menus. (And the new Jitterbug Flip and Jitterbug Smartphones allow you to send and receive text messages.)
  • Health & Safety packages offer a wide range of features to help keep you healthy—and keep your family in the loop.
  • Prices for talk, text, and data go down if you build your plan around a Health & Safety package.
  • No cancellation fees mean you won’t be punished if you change your mind.

GreatCall talk, text, and data prices

FeaturesAmountPrice range*
Talk200–3,000 minutes$14.99–$39.99/mo.
Texts300–2,500 texts$3–$15/mo.
Data40 MB–2.5 GB$2.49–$30/mo.
Unlimited planUnlimited talk and text with 100 MB of data$49.99/mo.
View plansView plansView plans

* Prices include autopay, paperless billing, and multi-line discounts where applicable. Taxes and fees not included.

While we picked GreatCall for the variety of emergency and health services included in its Health & Safety packages, the company also offers talk, text, and data at pretty reasonable prices. Plus, you can mix and match to get the talk, text, and data you want.

We really like that the Health & Safety packages make it easy for you to keep family members in the loop, not to mention ask for assistance when and where you need it.

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 without you having to tell them.

We also love that MedCoach feature will send you medication and prescription refill reminders.

We also love that 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.

Another bonus: you’ll save up to 50% if you build your plan around a Health & Safety package. Those Health & Safety packages come in three tiers, as well, so you can choose one that best fits your needs.

Basic Health & Safety package, $19.99/mo.

  • 5Star Urgent Response: Press the button and connect to an IAED-certified 5Star agent.
  • MedCoach: Get medication and prescription refill reminders.
  • Wellness call: Get a call each week from a wellness expert.
  • Daily health tips: Tips from the American Heart Association to keep you in tip-top condition.
  • Daily check-ins: Get an automated call every day to see how you’re doing.
  • Brain games: Play games to improve your memory and focus.

Preferred Health & Safety package, $24.99/mo.

All the features of the Basic package, plus . . .

  • Urgent care: 24/7 access to board-certified doctors and registered nurses.
  • GreatCall Link: An app that updates your family about your health and safety—including emergency alerts if you call 5Star Urgent Response.

Ultimate Health & Safety package, $34.99/mo.

All the features of the Basic and Preferred packages, plus . . .

  • Personal operator: Helps you look up phone numbers, make calls, update your phone book, and more.
  • Product replacement: Replace your Jitterbug phone if it’s lost, stolen, or broken.

Best flexible plan—US Mobile

Low prices, lots of options, and a risk-free trial period make US Mobile our favorite for flexible plans.

us mobile logo
Starts at $15.50 for 30 days

Not everyone needs an unlimited data plan, just like not everyone needs 1,000 minutes of talk each month.

Maybe you need only a few hundred minutes to keep in touch with your children and grandchildren who live down the road. Or you like to have more minutes because your grandchildren live in another state—or country.

That’s the great thing about US Mobile, though—you get to pick and choose how much talk, text, and data you want.

What we like

  • Hundreds of options give you the freedom to pick a plan that fits you snug like a bug in a rug.
  • Competitive prices for talk, text, and data plus a low $4 per month service fee.
  • Unlimited data plan options in case you want to look at all those photos of your child’s newborn, watch a video of your granddaughter’s talent show, or chat with family on Skype or FaceTime.

Heads up, you will need to buy a SIM card starter kit to get your phone hooked up to the US Mobile network. Rest easy, though, because that’s a one-time fee of only $3.99.

A big bonus about US Mobile is that it offers a trial period that’s up after 14 days (or 300 minutes, 300 texts, or 300 MB of data, whichever comes first). If you’re not happy after you’ve reached that limit or those 14 days, US Mobile will refund you everything except the cost of your SIM card starter kit and shipping fees.

That’s a pretty sweet deal, if you ask us.

Recap

Best familyBest pay-as-you-goBest prepaidBest emergencyBest flexible
t-mobile logogreatcall-logous mobile logo
View plansView plansView plansView plansView plans

To quickly sum it up, here are our favorite cell phone plans for older adults.

  • Best family plan: Verizon unlimited plans let you mix and match features so everyone in the family is happy.
  • Best pay-as-you-go plan: T-Mobile Pay As You Go starts at $3 a month and can save you big money if you don’t use your phone a lot.
  • Best prepaid plan: TracFone offers lots of plans if you don’t need a lot of data—some with the option to pay for 60, 90, or 365 days at a time.
  • Best emergency plan: GreatCall offers Health & Safety packages that provide some peace of mind for you and your family.
  • Best flexible plan: US Mobile lets you build hundreds of plans at low prices—oh, and there’s a 14-day risk-free trial.

And while the following options didn’t quite make the cut for top five, we still think they’re worth taking a look at.

Other notable cell phone plans for seniors

ProviderPrice*Learn more
T-Mobile ONEStarts at $70/mo.View plans
Boost Mobile Unlimited Gigs plan$50/mo.View plans
Consumer CellularStarts at $15/mo.View plans
Cricket Wireless 5 GB plan$35/mo.View plans
Straight Talk 10 GB plan$44/30 daysView plans

* For single-line plan unless otherwise noted. Prices include autopay, paperless billing, and multi-line discounts where applicable. Taxes and fees not included unless otherwise noted.

That about sums it up for cell phone plan options—and boy, are there a lot of them.

Hopefully, our recommendations helped you choose. After all, a cell phone plan that keeps you connected to family, friends, and medical services is well worth it, even if you don’t consider yourself a “senior” just yet. (Don’t worry—these cell phone plans work just as well for the young at heart.)

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.

Best cell phone plan discounts for seniors

Are you looking for AARP discounts or help paying your monthly cell phone plan? Here’s a quick look at what’s available to you.

Senior cell phone plan subsidies & discounts

  • 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 benefits programs