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Consumer Cellular Review 2021
Cellular aimed for seniors, but honestly, it can work for anybody.
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.
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
Consumer Cellular plans
- Affordable data plans
- Mix and match options
- Pricey unlimited data plan
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.
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 or Visible Wireless.
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 it stands now, 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?
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.
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 we don't like
If you want an unlimited data plan, you'll be better off spending your money elsewhere.
Pricey unlimited data plan
Consumer Cellular does indeed offer an unlimited data plan, but its price point is way too expensive for our taste. Here's what a Consumer Cellular unlimited plan costs:
At its current price point, you would be overpaying for an unlimited data plan with Consumer Cellular. Seriously, you can get an unlimited plan for about half the price with another MVNO carrier like Mint Mobile, for example. You should stick with one of Consumer Cellular's limited data plans to get the most bang for your buck.
Consumer Cellular cell phones and devices
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?
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.1 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. Whether you use T-Mobile or AT&T's networks, you can expect solid data speeds. 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
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.