Consumer Cellular vs. Boost Mobile

Consumer Cellular is our top pick for senior-friendly perks and multiline discounts, while Boost Mobile is our pick for affordable, no-frills plans.

taylor shuman Taylor Shuman Senior Tech Expert & Editor is supported by commissions from providers listed on our site. Read our Editorial Guidelines

If you’re in the market for a new cell phone plan and trying to choose between Consumer Cellular and Boost Mobile, keep reading! Our tech experts spent hours researching and testing the best phones and plans for older adults that these two carriers offer. We looked at each carrier’s pricing, technology, network, ease of use, and customer service to help you determine which carrier might best fit your needs.

We found that Consumer Cellular offers great multiline discounts, senior-friendly add-ons, and a solid unlimited plan. On the other hand, Boost Mobile offers basic plans that are great for those on a tight budget. In this guide, we’ll take an in-depth look at the providers side by side.

A Side-by-Side Look at Consumer Cellular vs. Boost Mobile

Our favorite is Consumer Cellular
  Consumer Cellular Boost Mobile Logo
Plan prices (monthly) $20-$50 if enrolled in autopay $15-$60
Activation fees None Not when purchased online, but some stores might charge an activation fee, and amounts can differ
Data speeds 4G or 5G where available 4G and 5G where available
Long-term contract No No
Bring your own phone Yes Yes
Discounts for multiple lines Yes In-store purchases only

Phone Plans and Prices

Consumer Cellular Plans

Plan Cost* Data Speed Hotspot International Multiline discount
Unlimited Talk and Text + 1 GB of data $20 per month 1 GB 4G and 5G Yes Canada and Mexico included Yes
Unlimited Talk and Text + 5 GB of data $25 per month 5 GB 4G and 5G Yes Canada and Mexico included Yes
Unlimited Talk and Text + 10 GB of data $35 per month 10 GB 4G and 5G Yes Canada and Mexico included Yes
Unlimited Talk and Text + Unlimited data $50 per month Unlimited** 4G and 5G Yes Canada and Mexico included Yes

* Prices include a $5 autopay discount.

** If usage exceeds 50 GB, you will experience slower data speeds for the remainder of that billing cycle.

We gave Consumer Cellular high ratings on our list of the best cell phone plans for seniors. One reason is that unlike most other cell phone companies, Consumer Cellular offers phone plans designed with older adults in mind. There is no long-term contract, so you can cancel anytime. And you can customize your plan to just pay for the data and services you want.

The Buying Experience

Shopping for a phone and plan on the Consumer Cellular website is simple and straightforward, which we appreciate. Each plan’s features and costs are clearly explained, with a helpful sliding tool that shows you how much adding a phone line to each plan will cost each month.

» Learn More: 2024 Consumer Cellular Review 

The carrier offers discounts on multiple phone lines, which is a definite plus if you want to add others to your phone plan. Each line you add costs an extra $15 per month. An important thing to be aware of is that each phone line on your plan shares data, so if you add a few lines, it might be used up pretty quickly! But if you aren’t a heavy cell phone user, the unlimited talk, text, and 10 GB of data is a particularly good deal when you sign up for multiple lines. With three phone lines, for example, each line costs less than $22 per month, if you sign up for autopay.

You won’t be able to complete a purchase online if you bring your own phone or have more than four lines on your account. In those cases, you’ll need to call customer service. We also found that purchasing online can be slow at times, so you might need to call them anyway to complete your purchase, even if you’re buying a new phone and don’t need more than four lines.

Data Overages

A plus we found in our experience with Consumer Cellular is that there are no overage fees if you exceed your plan’s monthly data allowance. Instead, the carrier automatically upgrades you to the next-higher data plan if you go over, so there’s no stress about running out of data and racking up huge fees. Older adults on a tight budget might not like the automatic upgrade to a more expensive plan, so it’s something to be aware of. And remember that even with the unlimited data plan, your speeds will be slower if you use over 50 GB of data. (Cell phone companies call that throttling.) By comparison, Boost Mobile throttles speeds after you use 30 GB of data.

» Need a Lot of Data? Best Unlimited Phone Plans for Seniors


Unlike many other companies, Consumer Cellular plans don’t have an activation fee. Boost Mobile doesn’t charge an activation fee when you sign up for service online, but it might if you buy in-store, and the amount of the fee can vary. There could also be an activation fee of $25 if you bring your own phone when signing up, in person or online.

Perks and Extras

We found several discounts when we tried out Consumer Cellular’s phone plans, such as $5 off your monthly bill if you sign up for autopay, 5 percent off your monthly bill if you’re an AARP member, and a $20 credit for referrals. Talk about a deal! Consumer Cellular also offers a money-back guarantee for 30 days — or 45 days for AARP members — if you’re not happy with your plan.

We appreciate Consumer Cellular’s add-on options that might appeal to seniors too. The carrier currently offers a deal to add Signature Motor Club by Allstate Roadside Services to your plan for $3 per month, or $36 per year, which is cheaper than AAA (which currently costs $65 or more per year). Signature Motor Club offers flat-tire changes, tows up to 10 miles, lockout service, jump-starts, and more.


FYI: If you love your cell phone, you’re not alone. The percentage of adults 65 and older who use a cell phone has doubled since 2015!1

Consumer Cellular also offers an emergency response system with GPS location tracking and fall detection called Ally for $119 upfront and $25 per month. If you’re in the market for a medical alert system, bundling these services might be a nice convenience!

» Related Reading: Best Medical Alert Systems in 2024

Customer Service

Again, if you want to add more than four phone lines to your plan, we learned that you’ll have to call customer service to complete your purchase. You’ll also need to call customer service if you bring your own phone, which we found to be a bit of an inconvenience when we tried out Consumer Cellular. But we found customer-service representatives to be friendly and helpful when answering questions.

We found Consumer Cellular’s plans are a little more straightforward and easier to understand than Boost Mobile’s. Consumer Cellular is also a great carrier if you want to add other lines to your account, which significantly lowers monthly costs.

Boost Mobile Plans

Plan Cost* Data Speed Hotspot International Multiline discount
5 GB (available to new customers only) $15 5 GB 4G and 5G Hotspot draws from plan data Unlimited calls and texts to Mexico and roaming in Mexico for additional $5 per month In-store only
Unlimited with AutoPay (available to new and existing customers) $25, available only with AutoPay Unlimited (data speeds can slow after using 30 GB of data usage) 4G and 5G Hotspot draws from plan data Unlimited calls and texts to Mexico and roaming in Mexico for additional $5 per month In-store only
Unlimited (available to new customers only) $40 Unlimited (data speeds can slow after using 30 GB of data usage) 4G and 5G 12 GB mobile hotspot Unlimited calls and texts to Mexico and roaming in Mexico for additional $5 per month In-store only
Unlimited Plus (available to new and existing customers) $60 Unlimited (data speeds can slow after using 30 GB of data usage) 4G and 5G 30 GB mobile hotspot Todo Mexico included In-store only

Boost Mobile offers a variety of prepaid cell phone plans, meaning you pay for your upcoming month of service rather than at the end of each service period. You don’t have to sign a contract and can pay by the month, every three months, or up to a year in advance. As with many other carriers, Boost Mobile’s multi-month plans lower the amount you’ll pay for service each month.

The Buying Experience

You can find Boost Mobile stores nationwide, but not in every state. Plans are also available at Target, Walmart, and Best Buy. Purchasing in-store might offer tax-inclusive plans, depending on the store and area, and you might be able to opt out of autopaying for your phone service. If you bring your own phone (when buying in person or online), there could be a $25 activation fee as well.

An important thing to note for online purchases: Once you activate Boost Mobile service on your phone, you authorize Boost Mobile to automatically deduct payments with whatever credit card or PayPal account you made your initial purchase with, so you’ll automatically be signed up for AutoPay. It appears that many customers don’t realize this, because some online reviewers have complained that Boost Mobile deducted payments automatically even though they didn’t opt for autopay.

» Further Reading: Boost Mobile Plans for Seniors

If you’d prefer not to have payments taken automatically, it might be a good idea to set up service in person in a physical store so you can talk to a sales associate. In-store purchases are also the only way to secure a multiline discount, which is available only with Boost Mobile’s $60 Unlimited Plan and $50 Unlimited Plan. Visit your local Boost Mobile retailer to learn more, as details might vary.

Data Overages

While Consumer Cellular will bump you up to the next-higher plan if you surpass your data allotment, Boost Mobile will slow your data speeds if you exceed 30 GB of data to 512 Kbps for the rest of the billing cycle. (Depending on your usage, you might not even notice!)


Boost Mobile has some very affordable plans compared with Consumer Cellular and other carriers, considering you can get cell phone service for a little over $8 per month (for 1 GB of data, paid annually). The cheapest plans are available if you pay for months of service in advance. For example, you can get unlimited data and 12 GB mobile hotspot per month for $40 if you pay monthly, but the price drops to $30 per month if you pay for three months of service upfront. The monthly cost goes down to $25 per month if you pay for an entire year in advance ($300).

Multimonth plans obviously save you a chunk of money, but it could be frustrating if you experience problems with your service. It’s likely more difficult to get a refund for months you’ve already paid for, if you find you want to cancel and try another carrier for whatever reason.

Boost Mobile’s annual 1 GB plan, available to new customers only, might be a great option if you want a cell phone only for emergencies and are on a tight budget. For $100, you’ll have cell phone service and won’t have to think about paying a cell phone bill for a whole year.

» You Might Like: Eight Budgeting Tips for Seniors

Boost Mobile’s 5 GB monthly plan is the best all-around deal in our book at $25 per month. It’s a fair amount of data for most users at a solid value. So, it’s a good option for seniors who want to use apps and watch videos occasionally but don’t plan on being on their phones for hours every day. Plus, the monthly $25 plan might be less stressful to cancel if you find it doesn’t work for you.

Perks and Extras

Boost Mobile doesn’t offer the sort of senior-friendly perks that Consumer Cellular does, such as roadside assistance or an emergency response system with fall detection. But the carrier tends to run a lot of promotions on phones and plans. Boost often has friend referral deals as well.

We also like that you can add Global Talk & Text to any of Boost Mobile’s cell phone plans. For $10 per month, you can talk and text from the U.S. to more than 200 other countries with this add-on. (Note: Global Talk & Text isn’t available with all phones and on all networks, and limits calls to 20 unique phone numbers per billing cycle.) It’s a great option for older adults with loved ones in other countries. We found that Consumer Cellular, on the other hand, charges $0.05 per text message sent to international phone numbers.

You can add either Todo Mexico or Global Talk & Text to Boost Mobile’s 1 GB plan, which is a nice perk because sometimes plans with a small amount of data don’t offer international talk, text, and data options.

Customer Service

We didn’t find the Chat feature on Boost Mobile’s website to be very helpful. To get our questions answered, we needed to give our name and current phone number, which, of course, weren’t in Boost Mobile’s system before we made a purchase, so the chat was a waste of time. There’s also no general search box feature on Boost Mobile’s website, so you can only click on the FAQs to try to find answers to your questions. We recommend calling a Boost Mobile customer service representative if you need help. When we called, we were connected quickly to a friendly and helpful customer service representative.

» Learn More: Technology for Seniors

Although Boost Mobile’s plans aren’t specifically designed for seniors, the carrier has some of the cheapest plans around for older adults on a budget who don’t need a lot of data. Boost’s plans with 1 GB to 10 GB might offer the most value for seniors, but you can also opt for an unlimited data plan if you need it.

Boost is a great choice for seniors who have loved ones in other countries and are new to the carrier, as a few Boost plans are available only to new customers. Boost’s 1 GB plan might be attractive for older adults on a tight budget who won’t use their phones for data-intensive activities such as streaming videos.

Nationwide Coverage

Consumer Cellular

Consumer Cellular operates on AT&T and T-Mobile networks, and partners with international carriers. Mobile analytics firm RootMetrics rated T-Mobile the best in terms of 5G availability and speed in its 2023 analysis.2

Consumer Cellular offers 5G ultra-wideband coverage, but you will need a 5G-compatible phone to get 5G speeds. The IRIS Flip we tested with Consumer Cellular, for example, offered only 4G coverage. But we didn’t have any issues talking on the phone and texting with 4G coverage, and we were happy with our service overall.

Boost Mobile

Boost Mobile is also on T-Mobile’s nationwide 5G network but might tap DISH and AT&T networks in some areas. Boost Mobile’s 5G and 4G LTE networks provide service to people in 99 percent of the country, although Boost Mobile notes terrain, weather, buildings, construction, and high-usage periods can affect service.

Consumer Cellular vs. Boost Mobile Phones

Consumer Cellular

Consumer Cellular offers a range of phones for any level of tech-savvy or budget, with the latest smartphones and older-style flip phones. The carrier also provides information on its website about hearing aid compatibility with its phones, which we appreciate.

We particularly like Consumer Cellular’s Iris Flip phone for older adults who want just a simple phone for talking, texting, and snapping photos. The IRIS Flip has an easy-to-read screen and rubberized keys that help prevent your fingers from slipping. Some features we love include the IRIS Flip voice assistant and simple, list-based menu so you can immediately access your calls, texts, contacts, camera, calendar, and settings.

Testing out Consumer Cellular's IRIS Flip

Testing out Consumer Cellular’s IRIS Flip

» Related Reading: Easiest Cell Phones for Seniors to Use

You can bring your old phone, buy one outright, or pay in monthly installments added to your bill. Consumer Cellular often has many phone options available for installments of less than $20 per month. If you buy your phone outright rather than pay it off in installments, Consumer Cellular typically offers discounts on popular products, such as Samsung and Galaxy devices. You can save even more cash by bringing your own phone, plus you can keep your old phone number if you want to. (Note that bringing your own phone is free with Consumer Cellular, but Boost charges a fee for doing so.) Some Consumer Cellular devices are available at Target, so you can check them out in person before ordering online or via phone.

Boost Mobile

You can bring your own phone to Boost Mobile and keep your old phone number as well. Boost Mobile doesn’t offer quite as many smartphones to choose from as Consumer Cellular. But the carrier runs some excellent deals on several smartphones, including some older iPhone models. Unlike some cell phone carriers, Boost offers an older-style flip phone, the Summit Flip. The Summit Flip has 8 GB of memory, like Consumer Cellular’s IRIS Flip, but is $10 cheaper. Both flip phones have a 5 MP camera, so your picture-taking experience will likely be comparable.

Summit Flip from Boost Mobile

Summit Flip from Boost Mobile

Boost also has a trade-in program for your old phone, which you can turn in for a gift card, but not for cash or money toward a new phone. Before you trade in your phone, make sure participating retailers that accept the card are ones you’re interested in. Consumer Cellular also lets you trade in old phones, but unlike Boost, the company will put the trade-in credit toward your monthly bill or issue a refund if you already purchased a new or refurbished phone.

»  Learn More: Best Flip Phones for Seniors

When you sign up, the company will send you a SIM card to activate your service. If you have an iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, iPhone XR, or later phone, you should be able to use an eSIM. If not, Boost Mobile will send you a physical SIM card. Follow instructions on the Boost Mobile website or call customer service for help installing your eSIM or physical SIM card.

» From the Pros: Best Cell Phones for Seniors in 2024

We appreciate that like Consumer Cellular, Boost Mobile provides a list of hearing aid-compatible phones on its website, so you check a phone’s compatibility with your hearing device. Not all phones are compatible with Boost Mobile service, so If you plan to bring your own phone, be sure to look up your device through the Boost Mobile online directory (you can access that here) or talk to a customer service representative before getting your SIM card.

Our Final Thoughts on Consumer Cellular vs. Boost Mobile

In general, Consumer Cellular may be a better choice for older adults who want a simple phone and data plan with no overage or activation fees. It’s also a great carrier if you’d like to add additional lines, which can lower the monthly costs for each phone quite a bit. Consumer Cellular is convenient for older adults who want to bundle other services with their service, such as an emergency response system and roadside assistance. It’s also a good choice for AARP members, since they get a nice discount on premiums!

Although Consumer Cellular is pretty affordable, Boost Mobile offers some of the cheapest plans around for those on a budget who don’t need a lot of data. In our experience, Boost’s plans with 1 GB to 10 GB of data might offer the most value for seniors, but you can also choose an unlimited data plan if you want more data. Boost also might be a great choice for seniors who have loved ones in other countries. Boost’s Global Talk & Text add-on can be added to any plan for $10 per month.

At the end of the day, Consumer Cellular and Boost Mobile are two solid prepaid phone carriers for seniors. The choice will come down to your budget and preferences.

Written By:
Taylor Shuman
Senior Tech Expert & Editor
Read About Our Panel of Experts
As’s tech expert and editor, Taylor has years of experience reviewing products and services for seniors. She is passionate about breaking down stigmas related to seniors and technology. She loves finding innovative ways to teach seniors about products and… Learn More About Taylor Shuman