Senior Cell Phone Discount Programs
There are cell phone and wireless plan options targeted to boomers and seniors that would like to have a cell phone but do not need all of the extras and high costs associated with many of the current cell plans and providers. These cell phone plans can be a great alternative for people who would like to have a cell phone in case of emergencies or while traveling.
We should note that while these plans are more affordable, they tend have a limited amount of usage minutes and features attached to the plans. People who may use a cell phone more often may find that other, more common plans may better fit their needs. It can be difficult to track the actual number of minutes used and as many of may have already found out, we tend to use our phone more often than we think.
National Wireless Plans and Cell Phones
AT&T Senior Nation 200
The plan is structured much like the other plans offered by AT&T, but provides fewer monthly minutes and not as many extras and features. The new plan includes 200 Anytime Minutes, 500 Night & Weekend Minutes and unlimited mobile-to-mobile calling for a $29.99 monthly access fee.
Included Plan Features:
For the complete details: AT&T Senior Nation 200 Rate Plan
Verizon Nationwide 65 Plus
The Verizon plan includes 200 Anytime Minutes, 500 Night & Weekend Minutes and unlimited Mobile to Mobile minutes for a $29.99 monthly access fee. You can also add extra lines, call internationally and have access to the Internet. Fees may apply.
Included Plan Features:
For the complete details: Verizon Nationwide 65 Plus Rate Plan
The advantage with Consumer Cellular is that there are no long term contracts and they offer a “Risk Free Satisfaction Guarantee.” This allows one to try the service for 30 days or 30 minutes of use (whichever comers first) and if you do not like the service you can cancel and pay nothing.
Consumer Cellular’s wireless plans are simple and easy to understand. The plans start at $10 per month and have no long distance or roaming charges. You can change your plan at anytime and you can add an additional phone to the same plan for $10. There is a $35 activation charge and they only have a variety of phones to choose from.
Plans Costs and Details:
For the complete details: Consumer Cellular Plans
Plans start at $15 per month with no long distance or roaming fees. The plans are all pay as you go and require no contact and thus no early termination fees. You can pay monthly or yearly and can add minutes to the plans at any time. There is a one tome set up fee of $35 for all plans. (Surcharges, government taxes and assessments are not included in their pricing and vary by state and municipality.)
Phones start at $99 and are designed to be easy to use and include larger numbers and buttons, larger screens and text and loader volumes.
GreatCall provides 24 hour customer service that can make calls for you, provide directory assistance and add names to your phone list among other services. Some features may be subject to added fees.
Plan Costs and Details:
For the complete details: GreatCall/Jitterbug Plans
Prepaid Cell Phones and Plans
Prepaid or Pay As You Go plans can be a great alternative for older adults who just need a phone for basic communications and emergencies. Prepaid plans can be inexpensive and have no annual contracts, no credit checks, no hidden fees, and no fixed monthly invoices.
You will need a special prepaid phone which can be purchased through the service provider or from sites like eBay. The airtime minutes can than be purchased and added to the phone. Most of the time these minutes must be purchased in lump sums and used within a specific time period.
Some of the least expensive plans can be found at T-Mobile and Virgin Mobile. Plans start at $10 for a limited amount of minutes. These plans are not the cheapest per minute, but these minutes are good for 90 days making them very reasonable for emergencies and traveling.
For more information on the T-Mobile plan:
For more information on the Virgin Mobile plan:
Free Cell Phones
For seniors on a limited income, there are some services that may help pay for a cell phone. SafeLink Wireless provides free phones a service to need based individuals who can qualify. The service is offered in 33 states. Eligibility guidelines vary by state but in general individuals qualify if they participate in a public assistance program such as Food Stamps, Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), National Free School Lunch, Federal Housing/Section 8 Assistance, or if they do not receive any of these public assistance programs, they may also qualify based on total household gross monthly income.
For more information call 1-800-SAFELINK or visit: http://www.safelinkwireless.com
There are also programs that provide free emergency-only cell phones to seniors or others in need. These are phones that have been donated and refurbished and can only be used to make emergency calls. Check with your local law enforcement agency to see if a program is available in your area.