Consumer Cellular Cell Phone Plan Review 2024

Consumer Cellular Phone Plans Tested and Reviewed by Our Senior Tech Experts

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SeniorLiving.org Rating:
4.6 of 5
Questions? Speak with a Consumer Cellular Specialist:
(855) 643-4847
20+ Years in Business
5% AARP Discount
30-Day Guarantee
$20/mo. Starting Price

SeniorLiving.org is compensated when you click on the provider links listed on this page. This compensation does not impact our ratings or reviews. Read our Editorial Guidelines here to learn more about our review process and to learn more about how we are compensated.

SeniorLiving.org Rating:
4.6 of 5
Questions? Speak with a Consumer Cellular Specialist:
(855) 643-4847
taylor shuman
Taylor Shuman, Senior Tech Expert & Editor Read About Our Panel of Experts

Back in 1995, Consumer Cellular — then a tiny Pacific Northwest startup — understood the need for seniors to stay connected in order to experience a better quality of life. Based on that mission, an economical cell phone service was born.

For this year’s review, I gave Consumer Cellular’s phone plans and products a spin. I tested out both the IRIS Flip, Consumer Cellular’s own flip phone, and the GrandPad, a senior-friendly tablet with caregiver features, on the carrier’s service. From my experience, Consumer Cellular provides older adults with flexibility, affordability, excellent customer service, and 5G data speeds. I’m a big fan of their no-contract policy and senior-focused devices. Keep in mind that if you live in a rural area, Consumer Cellular may have spotty service.

Continue reading for my full thoughts on Consumer Cellular, and why they offer some of the best cell phones for seniors!

Consumer Cellular IRIS Flip

Consumer Cellular IRIS Flip

Pros and Cons

Pros About Consumer Cellular

  • No contracts or cancellation fees: If you need to cancel your plan for any reason, you’ll get a prorated charge for the number of minutes and data you used that month, and that’s it!
  • Use your own phone: You can use your old phone (as long as it’s unlocked and compatible) on the Consumer Cellular network.
  • Additional AARP discount: Consumer Cellular already offers low rates, so that extra 5 percent discount on monthly plans from AARP is the cherry on top. Members also get an extended 45-day risk-free guarantee.
  • Affordable plans: Consumer Cellular offers affordable plans without hidden fees or price hikes.
  • Unique GrandPad tablet: I’m a big fan of Consumer Cellular’s GrandPad tablet, which offers a wide range of features to keep older adults connected and engaged. It also has several features for caregivers to keep in touch with their loved one and ensure the user is staying safe online.

Cons About Consumer Cellular

No medical alert features: While some providers we’ve reviewed, like Lively, offer phones with built-in medical alert features or add-on services, Consumer Cellular does not.

Must call to bring your own phone: When I signed up for Consumer Cellular, I discovered that you can’t sign up online if you want to bring your current phone with you. Instead, you’ll need to call the carrier to sign up.

The Buying Experience With Consumer Cellular

Consumer Cellular makes it easy to purchase a plan and phone that fit your needs. I found their website to be informative and user-friendly. If you want to make a purchase online, you can do so. Here’s how I did it:

  1. Click on the “Plans” tab at the top of the home page.
  2. Select how many phone lines you need.
  3. Select the amount of text and data you think you’ll use.
  4. Click “Add to Cart” for your chosen plan.
  5. Select your device.
  6. Choose if you want to add a protection plan or roadside assistance.
  7. Enter payment information and check out.

While Consumer Cellular’s sign-up process is simple overall, there is one caveat: If you want to bring your own phone, you’ll need to call the carrier to sign up. When I tried to add a phone plan without a new device online, the website wouldn’t let me move forward to checkout. This is a bit of a drawback, as other carriers like T-Mobile and AT&T allow you to bring your own phone when you sign up online. Still, if you have a phone you love, it’s worth making the call.

Good news: Shipping is free! If you prefer to make your purchase in person, most Target stores carry Consumer Cellular products. You can also make a purchase by calling the customer service number listed on the Consumer Cellular website.

Quick Tip:

Quick Tip: Want to easily compare plan costs from top providers? Visit our list of the best cell phone plans for seniors.

I called Consumer Cellular to ask about the process for bringing your own device, and I waited about two minutes before Angel in Phoenix came on the line. She was willing to answer all of my questions without asking me for any personal information. After providing me with important details, she did update me on some promotions, but she kept it short. All in all, I was pleased and didn’t feel like I was being pushed into anything. I felt I was given the right tools to make an informed decision.

Consumer Cellular: Phone plans made just for older adults

Consumer Cellular is one of our top picks for cell phone plans thanks to its budget-friendly prices and contract-free plans tailored to seniors’ needs.

4.6 of 5

Choosing a Cell Phone

With several device options that are all senior-friendly, it’s hard to go wrong with a device from Consumer Cellular. Whether you’re hunting for the best smartphone for seniors with all the frills or a bare-bones flip phone, you can get the phone you need from Consumer Cellular. The company has really honed in on the needs of older adults over the years. For example, Consumer Cellular’s line has grown to include innovative products like a tablet designed to connect seniors and their loved ones. You’ll also find cell phones from major carriers that offer 5G service and plans featuring mobile hot spot data, a new addition that we appreciate.

You can also bring your own phone if you already have a device that you prefer to use on a Consumer Cellular plan.

Here are a couple of phones (and a tablet) that stand out to us:

IRIS Flip

Taking photos on Consumer Cellular IRIS Flip

Taking photos on Consumer Cellular IRIS Flip

The IRIS Flip is one of the most basic, senior-focused phones that Consumer Cellular offers. These features are tailored to the needs of older users, without any bells and whistles, so it’s a great option if you’re looking for simplicity. Priced at $69, the IRIS Flip offers excellent value. It’s cheaper than many other flip phones I’ve tested, including Lively’s Jitterbug Flip2, priced at $99.99.

During my testing, I discovered that the IRIS Flip has a simple list-based menu that allowed me to easily navigate to my calls, texts, contacts, camera, calendar, and settings. I realized that the phone even has internet access, which is great if you like to browse the web, get directions, or use social media. Some of Consumer Cellular’s older flip phone models, including the Verve Snap, didn’t offer internet, so this is a nice upgrade. The phone’s buttons were large and clearly labeled, perfect for those with arthritis or vision loss. The IRIS Flip’s display was well-lit, and the phone is hearing aid compatible for those with hearing loss.

Pro Tip:

Pro Tip: Visit our list of the best flip phones for seniors to compare the IRIS Flip to other user-friendly devices.

One of my favorite features is the phone’s calendar. You can add events to it, which is useful for staying on top of your schedule. I’m quite forgetful, so I plugged in my upcoming social events and appointments for the month! I also snapped some photos with the camera. The photo quality is not the best thanks to the mediocre 5 MP camera, but it’s comparable to other flip phones I’ve tried. The photos were pretty grainy and the lighting wasn’t great, but it’ll do in a pinch! I zoomed in and out using the phone’s side volume buttons.

A photo taken on Consumer Cellular's IRIS Flip

A photo taken on Consumer Cellular’s IRIS Flip

IRIS Connect

Using Google Assistant on the IRIS Connect

Using Google Assistant on the IRIS Connect

If you’re looking for a simple smartphone that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, I’d recommend Consumer Cellular’s IRIS Connect. At just $89, it’s one of the most affordable smartphones we’ve seen. In fact, it’s $60 cheaper than the inexpensive Jitterbug Smart4!

This phone has all of the basic bells and whistles you want from a smartphone, including a solid 13 MP rear camera (and 8 MP selfie camera), Google Assistant for voice navigation, access to the internet and all of your favorite apps, and GPS navigation.

I found that the phone also has a solid battery life of up to 26 hours. I will say, this phone takes a long time to charge. When I was using the IRIS Connect, it took over six hours for the device to fully charge after it died. I’m used to my trusty iPhone, which only takes about an hour to charge. After that, I decided to plug in the IRIS Connect every night before bed. That way, it was fully charged and ready to go each morning. Easy fix!

GrandPad

Unboxing Consumer Cellular's GrandPad

Unboxing Consumer Cellular’s GrandPad

Though it’s not a phone, I still think the GrandPad is worth mentioning. It’s an 8-inch tablet designed for seniors with large, clearly labeled buttons, a simplified menu, and entertainment features. It also helps keep families connected with real-time updates and safety features. Similar to a cell phone, the tablet uses cellular data, so you can use it on the go, even without Wi-Fi. I tried it out around the house and at the park, and I always had a solid connection.

The GrandPad costs $299, or you can pay an $11 deposit followed by $12 monthly installments for 24 months. This price is comparable to budget-friendly smartphones that Consumer Cellular sells, such as the Moto G Stylus 5G, which costs $269, and much less expensive than advanced smartphones.

While testing out the tablet, I found that there are tons of features for keeping users engaged. You can play a variety of games (by yourself or with loved ones), listen to music channels and the radio, check the weather, take photos, and more. I love that the GrandPad curates articles for GrandPad users. It even features photos of a dog and cat of the day (so cute!). I found an app called “Moods” where you can watch footage of animals, beautiful scenery, and tons of other topics, perfect for playing in the background. I played chess, read through articles with yummy recipes, listened to an awesome jazz station, took some photos, and played a video of a roaring fireplace in the background while I read a book.

Listening to music on the GrandPad's music app

Listening to music on the GrandPad’s music app

The GrandPad makes it easy and secure to stay in touch. Users can send emails and texts, make calls, and video chat with loved ones via the Zoom app. I called my grandma on Zoom, and the video and audio quality was crisp and clear! The tablet connects to the GrandPad mobile app and online portal, which loved ones and caregivers can use to change settings on the tablet. You can also use the app to send photos and messages to the tablet and play online games with the GrandPad owner.

I’m a big fan of the tablet’s safety features; users can only call and text approved contacts, which I set up using the app. I also added approved websites that could be accessed from the tablet’s internet app. Because older adults are often the targets for online scams, these extra security features are excellent, especially if your loved one has memory loss or isn’t well-versed in identifying internet scams.

FYI:

FYI: None of the Consumer Cellular phones come with an extra activation fee, unlike most of their competitors.

Watch Jeff Hoyt’s video review below to learn more about the GrandPad!

Cosidering the Consumer Cellular GrandPad? Check out Jeff Hoyt’s review.

Nationwide Coverage

Consumer Cellular uses AT&T and T-Mobile towers to provide nationwide coverage. They provide 4G data speeds in most rural areas and 5G speeds in most urban areas. This is pretty typical of most major telecommunication providers. Keep in mind that tall buildings, weather, and terrain can all affect cellular coverage, so it is best to test out your phone in places you frequent the first month you have it to make sure Consumer Cellular can deliver ideal service in your area.

I live on the West Coast and experienced reliable 4G and 5G coverage while trying out Consumer Cellular. It’s important to mention that you’ll need a 5G-compatible phone to access the carrier’s 5G coverage. While testing the IRIS Flip, I realized it only offered 4G coverage, so I wasn’t able to get the fastest speeds Consumer Cellular offers. Still, my coverage was consistent. I was able to make calls and send texts, no problem!

Consumer Cellular's continental U.S. coverage map

Consumer Cellular’s continental U.S. coverage map

Contracts and Warranty  

Contracts

Consumer Cellular ditches all contracts to offer customers the best in flexibility and reassurance. They also have a 30-day money-back guarantee in case you want to return anything. We reviewed AT&T’s plans and Verizon plans and found that the two big guns impose contracts of up to two years in length. When you’re selecting a Consumer Cellular plan, you can breathe a sigh of relief knowing you won’t be locked into a long-term contract and you can cancel service at any time.

Warranty

New phones from Consumer Cellular come with a one-year manufacturer’s warranty. When purchasing a phone, you can add a protection plan for around $2 to $10 per month depending on the phone you select. The plan covers repairs to your phone if it is damaged or malfunctions. If you purchase an expensive phone and you’re accident-prone, the protection plan may be something to consider.

Consumer Cellular Senior Phone Plans at a Glance

Plan type Cost for one line* Minutes Text
Unlimited Talk and Text + 1 GB of data $20 per month Unlimited Unlimited
Unlimited Talk and Text + 5GB of data $25 per month Unlimited Unlimited
Unlimited Talk and Text + 10 GB of data $35 per month Unlimited Unlimited
Unlimited Talk and Text + unlimited data $50 per month Unlimited Unlimited

*Price includes a $5 discount for opting in to AutoPay and paperless billing.

Consumer Cellular Plan Details

There is no designated “senior plan” from Consumer Cellular since every plan is designed to benefit older adults. After all, the most basic plan is $20 per month, which is very affordable compared to other major carriers. Consumer Cellular has streamlined its plans over the years, narrowing down from a large number of options to just four plans. We appreciate this, as it makes the selection easier for older adults.

It’s important to note that Consumer Cellular does not offer any medical alert features. If you’re looking for safety features, check out Lively’s Health & Safety Packages, which include a direct line to urgent response agents and on-demand nurses.

Below, we’ll take a look at some of my favorite Consumer Cellular plan options.

Unlimited Talk and Text With 1 GB of Data for Basic Cell Phone Users

If you’re new to cell phones, need one for emergencies, or want to be reachable when you’re away from your home, the unlimited talk and text plan with 1 GB of data is a great basic choice. When paired with the IRIS Flip, this is a great bundle if you’re just getting started with a cell phone and want to keep it simple. At $20 per month, it is an affordable way to keep you just a phone call or text away from your loved ones no matter where you are. While this plan is very affordable, keep in mind that there are a few cheaper options on the market. For instance, Mint Mobile’s plans start at $15 per month for 5G speeds and 5 GB of data.

Unlimited Talk, Text, and 10 GB of Data for Smartphone Users

For older adults with a smartphone, purchasing a plan with a solid amount of data will help you get the full value and functionality out of your device. A plan with 10 GB will most likely be enough for one person to send emails, browse social media, view web pages, and watch occasional videos or shows online. If you have multiple lines with smartphones on your account or want to stream video on your phone when you’re not connected to Wi-Fi, then look at bumping up to the unlimited data plan.

Still not sure which type of plan is right for you? Visit our senior cell phone buyer’s guide to learn more about how to choose a plan and cell phone.

No Overage Fees

No matter which plan you choose, you can change it at any time without an extra charge. If you accidentally exceed the minutes or data on your plan, Consumer Cellular will automatically upgrade you to the next-highest plan. So you’re still getting the best deal without unexpected overage charges. I appreciate this transparency in pricing!

Cost

Honestly, it’s easy to see that compared to other plans out there with long-term contracts, hidden fees, and overage charges, Consumer Cellular is all about creating useful options, not pulling wool over your eyes! Depending on the plan you choose, prices range from $20 to $50 per month. You’re getting a great deal if you’re using your phone for talking, texting, and light data usage. However, Consumer Cellular’s plans are fairly basic when it comes to features. If you’re looking for unlimited data and extra perks like service abroad and free in-flight Wi-Fi, check out T-Mobile’s unlimited 55 plans.

Consumer Cellular allows you to add up to three lines to your plan when ordering online. Each additional line is an extra $15 per month. For example, let’s say you’re paying $50 per month for unlimited talk, text, and data. There is a $15 charge for every line you add to the plan. So, if you’d like to add your spouse to your plan, your bill will go up to $65 per month.

The Bottom Line on Consumer Cellular

There is no doubt that Consumer Cellular heavily values customer satisfaction. The proof is in its no-contract plans, affordable monthly rates, and money-back guarantee. Another area where they really shine is customer service. In terms of my own personal experience, I found a friendly, patient voice on the other end of the line.

Because the average Consumer Cellular customer is in their mid-60s, their representatives are trained to guide and teach, instead of robotically selling. I found the buying and user experiences to be relatively painless, even for those who may be uncomfortable with technology. Older adults can keep their independence and have fun with their device, knowing that Consumer Cellular is there to help along the way.

Frequently Asked Questions About Consumer Cellular

  • What if I go over on my data with Consumer Cellular?

    If you do surpass your data cap, you won’t face overage fees. Consumer Cellular will simply bump you up to the next-highest plan for that month. If you’d like to go back to your original plan the month following your overage, make sure you contact Consumer Cellular and let them know you want to switch back to your previous plan.

  • What is the Consumer Cellular Home Phone Base?

    The Home Phone Base is a portable wireless home phone converter that you can use to turn your landline into a cell phone. You can even take it with you when traveling and plug it into a hotel phone to avoid costly fees.

  • What carriers are actually used for service, and how are they determined?

    Based on your location, you’ll be assigned to either an AT&T or a T-Mobile tower. Then a free SIM card will be mailed to you, so you can activate your designated service.

  • What if I accidentally damage my newly purchased phone?

    If you do purchase a Consumer Cellular phone, you can buy a protection plan for incidents like these. It’s $2 per month for a basic flip model and can reach $8 per month for a smartphone.

Written By:
Taylor Shuman
Senior Tech Expert & Editor
Read About Our Panel of Experts
As SeniorLiving.org’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