Choosing a phone plan, in general, is no small feat, but choosing a prepaid phone plan for seniors can get even trickier. We compared prepaid plans from regular and senior-friendly companies alike, narrowing down our top picks for you.
How did we do it? From pricing and discounts to contracts and medical alert features, we combed through the best prepaid phone plans out there to find the best choices for seniors. This is a list of our most important criteria:
Best Prepaid Phone Plans for Seniors
|Top 6 Carriers||T-Mobile||Consumer Cellular||AT&T||FreedomPop||Lively||Verizon|
|1 Line for As Low As||$15 per month||$15 per month||$30 per month||$0 per month||$14.99 per month||$40 per month|
|Unlimited Text & Talk Available?||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Data Options||2.5 GB to Unlimited||500 MB to Unlimited||5 GB to Unlimited||25 GB to Unlimited||100 MB to Unlimited||5 GB to Unlimited|
|Other Costs||Taxes and Fees||Taxes and Fees||Taxes and Fees||Taxes and Fees; Sim Card||Taxes and Fees||Taxes and Fees|
|Number of Lines||Up to 5||Up to 3||1||1||1||1|
*Prices do not include autopay, loyalty, or multi-line discounts.
Above, we laid out our best picks for prepaid cell phone plans for seniors, but those aren’t your only options. Did you know there’s also such a thing as a postpaid phone plan? Well, there is! We’ll sort out the differences for you to make the choice between the two a cinch.
With postpaid plans, you pay for your service at the end of the month. The main networks (AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile) all offer postpaid plans. Most postpaid plans include unlimited text and talk. How much you pay at the end of the month depends entirely on your data usage; if you use a lot of data, you’ll have a larger phone bill.
The answer to this question really depends on the user. Most seniors, especially the 56 percent who have cell phones and landlines,3 don’t need unlimited talk and text. With prepaid plans, you only pay for what you use. What a great way to cut costs! However, many of the major carriers offer senior discounts for their postpaid plans, so it’s best to consider both options and pricing models before making a final decision.
Let us help you figure out what plan makes sense for you. Ask yourself the questions below to see which type of plan fits your situation.
Data makes up the bulk of a cell phone plan’s costs these days. Most postpaid plans include large amounts of data or even unlimited data. Prepaid plans let you pay for as few as 25 MB of data a month. If you’re not sure how much data you’ll use, ask your family how much they use. Odds are, you’ll use less than they do.
Also, consider what you like to do online. If you just want to send a few emails and check Facebook, you won’t need a ton of data. If you’re going to stream videos or music, use GPS navigation, or be on the internet every day, you’ll probably want at least a few gigs.
Some prepaid and postpaid plans offer discounts if they’re used as family plans. Ask your family what phone plan they have. Adding your phone to their plan — whichever kind it is — might be your most affordable option. If you want your own plan, prepaid plans may be better, as they give the lowest rates to single users.
Pro Tip: Still having trouble deciding what type of phone or plan you want? Visit our cell phone buyer’s guide for more important topics to consider!
If you travel a lot internationally, even just to Canada and Mexico, postpaid plans are great. Many providers offer free international texting and calling.
Some postpaid wireless plans include “free” entertainment like Netflix, Hulu, or Disney Plus. If that interests you, and the numbers make sense, consider going with a postpaid plan.
If you need a new phone, what kind do you want? Do you want a senior-friendly phone or one of the latest smartphones?
Postpaid plan carriers let you pay for a new smartphone in monthly installments. Each month, you pay for a portion of the phone plus the monthly service fee. Prepaid phone plans don’t let you do that — or, if they do, you usually owe interest.
Paying for a new phone upfront is also an option. Some of our favorite prepaid phone carriers sell our favorite cell phones for seniors! And they’re affordable too — like the Lively Smart for $149.99.
FreedomPop offers seniors, and everyone else, some of the cheapest phone plans out there. Plans start at $0 per month, or $15 if you want unlimited texting.
Some prepaid phone plans include unlimited data, while others let you choose a specific amount of data. Unlimited data phone plans tend to be pricier.
We recommend looking for plans with no long-term contracts that let you keep your number if you already have one and a monthly cost that suits your income. Other perks you might look for include AARP discounts, savings if you buy more than one line, and scam call protection.
No, the cost of a prepaid phone plan does not include the cost of purchasing a cell phone. However, most prepaid phone plan carriers let you bring your own phone for no additional charge or sell cell phones that are compatible with their network separately.
For over five years, Taylor has been writing, editing, and researching products and services covering topics such as senior care and technology, Internet and the digital divide, TV, and entertainment, and education. Her research on media consumption and consumer behavior has been… Learn More About Taylor Shuman
Federal Trade Commission. (2019). Protecting Older Consumers.
AT&T. (2021). Our Purpose.
National Center for Health Statistics. (2019). Wireless Substitution: Early Release of Estimates From theNational Health Interview Survey, January-June 2019.