Most consumers are familiar with the big-name wireless carriers like Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint. Not nearly as many, though, are as well-versed when it comes to the topic of Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNO).
It might surprise you to know that companies such as MetroPCS, Boost Mobile, and Cricket Wireless operate on the T-Mobile, Sprint, and AT&T networks, respectively. These network operators license the towers and coverage from the tier-one providers and offer their own phones, rate plans, and customer service.
Let’s take a look at one in particular, shall we? Here we’ll focus in on Consumer Cellular — a customer friendly MVNO which caters to seniors.
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Founded in 1995, this Oregon-based carrier prides itself on customer satisfaction especially within the 50+ demographic offering low-cost flexible plans with additional savings/perks for AARP members.
In the category of non-contract value wireless providers, Consumer Cellular is consistently ranked well by J.D. Power for customer service having earned that distinction the last four years consecutively.
Consumer Cellular leverages AT&T and T-Mobile network technology to cover a purported 99% of its near three million US customers.
Customers will simply choose a nationwide talk plan and a “connect” plan (text & data). Consumer Cellular also touts the ability to change your plan any any given time (increase or decrease).
- $15.00 per month – 250 Minutes
- $20.00 per month – Unlimited Talk
Connect Plans (All incl. unlimited text)
- $5.00 per month – 250MB
- $10.00 per month – 1GB
- $20.00 per month – 3GB
- $30.00 per month – 5GB
- $40.00 per month – 10GB
For customers signing up online, you can only choose to activate two lines. Consumer Cellular offers the ability to add more family and friends but requires a phone call to customer service. Two or more subscribers breaks down to be $15 per line of service.
From the most basic of basic phones such as the Doro PhoneEasy 626 (raised buttons, senior-friendly) all the way up to the iPhone X, there is truly a device for most users. For such a niche service there a a great number of high-end smartphones available along with the usual cast of characters filling out the mid-range offerings (Samsung Galaxy J7, Moto G5 Plus).
What’s even more impressive is a financing feature called EasyPay allowing customers with the necessary creditworthiness to pay for their device through installment billing in the same vane as post-paid customers (with various stipulations of course).
Already have a phone or looking to buy an unlocked device for use on Consumer Cellular? If the equipment in question meets certain criteria (GSM unlocked, previously used on AT&T or T-Mobile you can get a free SIM card if you wish to bring your own device.
Going all-in with its intended audience, Consumer Cellular powers an 8-inch 4G tablet designed for tech novice seniors 75 and over. The GrandPad features large, easy to read icons and includes admin tools for a family member/caregiver to monitor and assist. The plan costs $40 a month for Unlimited 4G LTE.