Consumer Cellular Review 2019
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 Game of Thrones 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.
Consumer Cellular plans
Expect straight-up pricing that covers the essentials.
Now let’s get into prices. Check out all the Consumer Cellular plans:
Consumer Cellular 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 even Verizon.
WHERE ARE THE UNLIMITED PLANS?
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:
- Talk plans: You can either have unlimited chatting time or limit yourself to 250 minutes a month.
- 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 about 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.
DATA CAPS AND SPEED THROTTLING
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. 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?
LOOKING FOR INTERNATIONAL COVERAGE?
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.
WHAT IF I WANT A PREPAID CELL PHONE PLAN?
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.)
Which top phones does Consumer Cellular have?*
- iPhone X
- iPhone XS
- iPhone XR
- iPhone 8/8 Plus
- iPhone 7/7 Plus
- Galaxy S9/S9+
- Galaxy S8/S8+
*Not all phones listed here
Sorry to those of you looking for a new Google Pixel. But Consumer Cellular does provide you with a SIM card that you could insert into a unlocked Google phone.
Our advice? Talk with a Consumer Cellular rep beforehand and get some help setting up your Google phone.
How good is Consumer Cellular performance?
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 coverage1,2 across the country—but expect your service to dip or altogether drop in more rural areas.
This is the kind of coverage you can expect with Consumer Cellular:
Source: Consumer Cellular
Keeping to the theme of “surprisingly good,” Consumer Cellular also has decent 4G data speeds.1, 2, 3 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.
1. OpenSignal, “State of Mobile Networks: USA (January 2018)”
2. RootMetrics, “Mobile Performance in the US Part 1: Performance across the Entire US – 2H 2017”
3. Speedtest, “Reports—United States—Mobile”