Consumer Cellular Review 2020

Cellular aimed for seniors, but honestly, it can work for anybody.
Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Affordable plans
Full LTE speeds
No unlimited data options
No prepaid options
Recent Updates: Less than 6 months
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Consumer Cellular agreed to take the following actions for at least the next 60 days:

  • Waive overages and data caps
  • Not terminate service to any residential or small business customers because of their inability to pay their bills due to the disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic
  • Waive any late fees that any residential or small business customers incur because of their economic circumstances related to the coronavirus pandemic
  • Open its Wi-Fi hotspots to any American who needs them
  • Increase its 25 GB data plan to a 55 GB data plan
  • Consumer Cellular is not your grandma’s cell phone provider—but it probably should be. Assuming grandma doesn’t use heaps of data to stream YouTube while training for her next marathon, of course. (You have a very impressive grandma.)

    Consumer Cellular specializes in offering low-cost, low-data cell phone plans—perfect for those of you who don’t find yourself using much data.

    If low data limits sound scary to you, you’d be better off spending your time checking out alternative providers who offer a little more firepower.

    But for those of you looking for one of the best senior-focused plans, you should stick around.

    Money icon
    SENIOR DISCOUNT
    If you have the honor of being a senior citizen with 50 years of experience (and good for you, frankly), you can enjoy an extra 5% off your cell phone bill.

    Consumer Cellular plans

    Expect straight-up pricing that covers the essentials.

    Consumer Cellular plans

    Pros

    • Affordable data plans
    • Mix and match options

    Cons

    • No unlimited data plans

    What we like

    If you choose the right data plan, you can get a really nice deal with Consumer Cellular. In this case, you’ll get the most value by opting for plans with lower data amounts.

    Affordable plans

    Here’s the dirty secret about Consumer Cellular you ought to know before you jump into anything—you’re getting the best deal if you opt for a plan with lower data.

    Consumer Cellular’s low-data options are what make it unique. You’ll be hard-pressed to find better deals than the 250 Mins + Unlimited Text + 2 GB Data Plan, for example.

    But Consumer Cellular plans lose their value the more expensive you go. Aim to stay below the $40 mark, or else you’re paying nearly as much as you would for a truly unlimited plan on T-Mobile, Sprint, or or Visible Wireless.

    Light Bulb icon
    DATA CAPS AND SPEED THROTTLING
    Your data cap depends on which plan you choose. If you go all-out with the 20 GB data plan (which we don’t recommend doing), you’ll probably experience slower, throttled speeds if you pass 20 GB of data in a month.

    All right, let’s put Consumer Cellular prices in context. How does Consumer Cellular stack up against plans for older adults from other providers?

    Consumer Cellular comparison

    We weren’t kidding when we said Consumer Cellular ends up being much cheaper than other providers. As of May 2020, Consumer Cellular’s plan is half of what you’d pay for Verizon’s senior plan. Sure,  you don’t have as much data every month, but you can always text and call your family whenever you want. We could all use a little less Facebook anyways, right?

    Light Bulb icon
    LOOKING FOR INTERNATIONAL COVERAGE?
    Consumer Cellular does have a per-minute international charge. Check out our best international plans if you plan on making lots of international calls.

    Consumer Cellular family plans

    Consumer Cellular family plans are pretty straightforward. You’ll save an average of $5 per line that you add to your family plan.

    Hey, $5 less a month can certainly add up over the course of a year.

    Consumer Cellular family plans

    Every Consumer Cellular plan can work as a family plan. Just pick the one you want, add extra lines, save bucks every month, and you’ve got a (hopefully) happy family.

    So what do other comparable family plans looks like? Well, there’s only one, currently. Take a look at what it would cost you at T-Mobile to get a similar plan.

    Consumer Cellular family plan comparison

    The above table is sorted according to price, and look at who’s confidently at the top of the list. That’s right, it’s Consumer Cellular. Notice that the data is considerably lower with Consumer Cellular compared to the other providers, but the price is lower to match.

    It’s the same story with family plans. If “low data, cheap prices” is your mantra, Consumer Cellular was made for you.

    Light Bulb icon
    WHAT IF I WANT A PREPAID CELL PHONE PLAN?
    Consumer Cellular doesn’t offer any prepaid cell phone plans at the moment. But if prepaid is your jam, check out these wireless alternatives.

    Mix and match your plan

    Good news—you can mix and match Consumer Cellular phone plans to suit your needs. These are the two main components to consider in your plan:

    1. Talk plans: You can either have unlimited chatting time or limit yourself to 250 minutes a month.
    2. Connect plans: How much data do you need? It depends on how much you’ll use apps on the go. You can take your pick of the following data allotments:
      • 250 MB
      • 2 GB
      • 5 GB
      • 10 GB
      • 20 GB

    So you can basically decide if you want unlimited talking minutes or max out at 250, and then you can choose how much data you want.

    Oh, and if you bit off more than you can chew data-wise, Consumer Cellular lets you downgrade whenever you want. That way, you won’t pay for things you aren’t using.

    What we don’t like

    You’ll need to worry about data overages no matter what plan you choose.

    No unlimited data plans

    Currently, Consumer Cellular doesn’t offer any unlimited plans. Besides, if it did offer unlimited plans, you’d probably want to look elsewhere because Cellular’s best deals have less data.

    If you go over your data allotment for the month, Consumer Cellular will charge you $5 for every additional GB of data you use. Think of it like paying an extra $5 for every hour of streaming Netflix on your wireless data.

    Light Bulb icon
    WHERE ARE THE UNLIMITED PLANS?
    Consumer Cellular doesn’t offer unlimited data plans. Don’t worry—we can still help you find the best unlimited providers.

    Consumer Cellular cell phones and devices

    Want the latest Apple or Samsung phone? You’ll likely find it here.

    Consumer Cellular phones range from basic flip phones to the latest iPhone or Samsung device.

    You can pay for the phone over time with an “easy pay” plan that adds to your monthly phone bill, or you can pay for a new phone outright. (Just be warned, the newest phones can cost well over $1,000.)

    Here are the top five most popular devices on Consumer Cellular right now:

    How good is Consumer Cellular coverage?

    Better service than you’d expect for the price

    Consumer Cellular piggybacks on AT&T and T-Mobile’s networks to provide you with good service. Both AT&T and T-Mobile offer pretty strong coverage across the country—but expect your service to dip or altogether drop in more rural areas. Below you can check out both AT&T and T-Mobile’s coverage maps. If your neck of the woods looks coverage with either map, you can depend on Consumer Cellular.

    AT&T coverage map

    T-Mobile coverage map

    Keeping to the theme of “surprisingly good,” Consumer Cellular also has decent 4G data speeds.2 Keep in mind your speeds won’t be quite as good as they would be on T-Mobile or AT&T, but it should be comparable.

    Long story short, your service and coverage are better than you’d expect for such a cheap wireless provider.

    Consumer Cellular customer service

    Especially friendly to the non-tech-savvy person

    Consumer Cellular has two options for customer service: you can chat online or call a representative over the phone.

    In both cases, the reps should be patient and understanding. Consumer Cellular was intended for an older audience who may not have a ton of tech knowledge.

    We’re happy to report our experiences with customer service were positive. We asked about using SIM cards with Google phones (you can), and the rep seemed genuinely interested in helping us.

    Of course, we might have just caught someone on a good day. But you should expect a generally positive experience.

    Recap: Is Consumer Cellular any good?

    If you’re the type of person who needs just a little data and low prices, Consumer Cellular is a home run. You can still have the latest phones but pay minimal prices for your low-data plan.

    Plans: Mix and match your minutes and data. You can choose between unlimited minutes or 250 minutes, and then choose a data option from there. The flexibility is great, and the prices are even better.

    Performance: Consumer Cellular uses T-Mobile and AT&T networks, so you can expect decent coverage and speeds. Just watch out when you wander to more rural areas (like Nebraska).

    Customer service: It feels like these customer service reps are trained to help folks who are less technologically savvy. Expect friendly and helpful support.

    Overall: Consumer Cellular doesn’t compete with the big providers (like Verizon, AT&T, and Metro by T-Mobile) in terms of data, but it does offer affordable low-data plans with surprisingly good coverage and speeds.

    Any lingering questions before you switch over to Consumer Cellular? Or maybe you want a place to vent your frustrations if your experience hasn’t been as good? Let us know in the comments below.

    • Tina Caugherty

      Overall happy with the price of service and coverage is great however, the lowest price phone is horrible. I have had nothing but problems with it. It doesn’t offer an indicator light on the face of the phone like all others. The monitor indicator is on the phone by it gives you no option to use. A very stupid make of phone. I’m so unsatisfied with the phone that I’m going back to Verizon.

    • Monica Graff

      I was sent an email for a past due payment and possible service interruption a few days ago. I called and explained about the Covid-19 situation not being able to work and asked if they can not shut my service off. They could only offer me to pay part of the overdue payment within 2 weeks and then I would have to check back to see what else can be offered. Mind you they insisted I had to pay 17 dollars to keep my service on. All companies are waiving cancellations until at least April 30th as of now, but this company is demanding payments. I personally do not recommend this company. The calls are very bad and almost everyone cannot hear me when I call them. After this situation settles and hopefully, we all overcome the pandemic I plan to switch companies. Very disappointed as they do not show concern for the economic situation we are all facing.