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Jitterbug vs. Consumer Cellular

Lively offers Jitterbug phones with medical alert features, while Consumer Cellular has affordable phone plans designed for seniors.

Sarah Goldy-Brown Writer & Researcher is supported by commissions from providers listed on our site. Read our Editorial Guidelines

Pros Cons
Lively by Best Buy Logo 2023
  • Phones with medical alert features
  • No long-term contracts
  • Unlimited plans available
  • 30-day trial
  • Activation and device fees
  • Overage charges
  • Service might not be available in rural areas
  • No contracts
  • AARP member discounts
  • Multi-line discounts
  • No activation fees
  • Service might not be available in rural areas
  • No medical alert features
  • No warranty

Cell phones not only keep seniors connected, but they can also help them feel safe. Two of the top cell phone providers for seniors, Lively and Consumer Cellular, go above and beyond to provide accessible and affordable devices for older adults.

Lively, known for their senior-friendly phones, is ideal for older adults who want a cell phone that doubles as a medical alert device. Consumer Cellular, popular for their bring-your-own-phone policy, is great for the 61 percent of seniors who already own a smartphone.1 If you’re debating between the two providers, keep reading. We’ve researched phone details and analyzed plan offerings to bring you a thorough comparison. Let’s check it out!

A Side-by-Side Look at Lively vs. Consumer Cellular

Our favorite is Lively
  Lively by Best Buy Logo 2023 Consumer Cellular
Plan prices Starting at $19.99 per month Starting at $20 per month
Unlimited plan price $49.99 per month $50 per month
Activation fee $35 None
Medical alert features Yes No
Long-term contract No No
Bring your own phone No Yes
Multi-line discount No Yes
Easy access to on-demand rides through Lyft Yes Yes

Phone Plans and Prices


Lively offers three phone plans, all of which come with unlimited talk and text, along with health and safety features. The more expensive the package, the more features you’ll have access to. Those who choose the Jitterbug Smart3 also need to add a data package, which has its own monthly fee.

Monthly talk, text, and data options Jitterbug Flip2 Jitterbug Smart4
Basic $19.99 per month $19.99 per month
Preferred $39.99 per month $39.99 per month
Premium $49.99 per month $49.99 per month
1 GB data N/A + $5 per month
5 GB data N/A + $10 per month
Unlimited data N/A + $30 per month

Consumer Cellular

Like Lively, Consumer Cellular lets you pay only for the data you want. We think this is great, especially for older adults who are new to smartphones.

Unlimited talk and text + data plans Prices starting at
1 GB of data $20
5 GB of data $25
10 GB of data $35
Unlimited Data $50

Which Offers the Better Value?

There isn’t a clear winner here. It all depends on the type of plan you want and how many lines you’re purchasing. For example, with Lively, you can enjoy unlimited talk, text, and data for $49.99 per month, compared to $50 per month with Consumer Cellular. On the other hand, if you’re interested in unlimited talk and text, plus 5 GB of data, Consumer Cellular’s plan costs $25, while Lively’s comparable plan costs $29.99 per month.

Where Consumer Cellular really shines is its multi-line discounts. Additional lines only cost an extra $15 per month, regardless of the plan you choose. Lively doesn’t offer multi-line discounts.

Money-saving tip:

Money-saving tip: Consumer Cellular offers a five percent discount on plans for AARP members.

Lively: One of our top picks for senior-friendly cell phones and plans

Lively offers phones designed for seniors that provide health and safety features you won’t find from other carriers.

4.5 of 5

Lively vs. Consumer Cellular Phones


Lively keeps it simple with just two phone offerings. For those who want a smartphone, there’s the $119.99 Jitterbug Smart4. Features include voice typing, video chatting to stay in touch with the grandkids, and an easy-to-navigate menu.

Savings alert:

Savings alert: Lively runs seasonal discounts on their phones, so be on the lookout when you shop!
Not interested in a smartphone? No problem! Lively has the $79.99 Jitterbug Flip2, a senior-friendly flip phone. It’s perfect for those who want an easy way to stay connected!

Plus, it offers a powerful speaker and voice control with Amazon Alexa for simple operation.

Check out our video below to learn more about Lively’s senior-friendly Jitterbug phones.

Many seniors use cell phones instead of a medical alert device for safety and security, but they can't do what the Jitterbug Flip 2 can

Consumer Cellular

Already have a phone? Consumer Cellular has you covered. This company lets you bring your own phone or choose from several Android and Apple devices. You can even finance the phone through monthly payments that get added to your monthly cell phone bill.

Consumer Cellular also sells a $69 flip phone, the IRIS Flip, that’s great if you’re new to cell phones or don’t plan to use one too often. It’s simple to use and hearing aid compatible, too. Plus, thanks to its long battery life, you won’t need to worry about daily charging.

Check out our 2024 review of Consumer Cellular to learn more about this company’s phone offerings.


FYI: Want to see more options before committing to a cell phone plan? Check out the best senior cell phone plans to get a full list of our top mobile service carriers!

Nationwide Coverage


Lively is powered by Verizon’s 4G LTE network, one of the largest and most reliable networks in the country.2 If you’re unsure about coverage in your area, ask a neighbor or friend about their cell provider, or use Lively’s coverage map.

Consumer Cellular

Consumer Cellular uses AT&T and T-Mobile cell towers to deliver nationwide coverage. Unlike Lively, Consumer Cellular provides 5G speeds in most urban areas. For users in rural areas, or those with non-5G phones, Consumer Cellular provides 4G speeds.

Medical Alert Features


Thanks to Lively’s health and safety features, you can turn your phone into a medical alert device.

Plan Basic Preferred Premium
Price $24.99 per month $39.99 per month $49.99 per month
Urgent Response No Yes Yes
Ask Lively Yes Yes Yes
Lively Rides Yes Yes Yes
Lively Link No Yes Yes
Nurse On-Call No No Yes
Care Advocate No No Yes

Here’s what each service involves:

  • Urgent Response: Press the big red button on your phone to get help in emergencies from a certified agent.
  • Ask Lively: An operator can answer any questions you have about your device, look up directions for you, or find a phone number you need.
  • Lively Rides: The Lively team can schedule a Lyft ride whenever you need transportation.
  • Nurse On-Call: Call a doctor or nurse anytime, no appointment required.
  • Lively Link: This is an app that keeps family and friends updated on your health and safety.
  • Care Advocate: A trained agent is available to guide you on questions involving health and wellness, financial matters, and more.

Consumer Cellular

Consumer Cellular doesn’t offer the traditional health and safety features that Lively does. However, you can sign up for CCGo to access on-demand rides from Lyft. Instead of using the Lyft app to schedule and pay for a ride, you can do it all with a phone call. This service can help you get to church, a doctor’s appointment, the grocery, and other places!

Contracts and Warranty



Providers we’ve reviewed, like AT&T and Verizon, often require two-year contracts, while Lively doesn’t. With Lively, you’re never locked into a contract. You simply pay month-to-month and can cancel at any time. Lively even has a 30-day return policy if you’re not satisfied with your phone.


Lively phones have a manufacturer’s standard limited warranty, which covers manufacturer’s defects. If you’re concerned about accidents, like dropping the phone in water or cracking the screen, you may want to add on a Lively Protection Plan for $3.50 per month. It enhances and extends the warranty that comes with your device.


FYI: Learn more about our experience with Lively by reading our 2024 Lively phone reviews. We tested out the Jitterbug Smart4 and Flip2.

Consumer Cellular


Consumer Cellular does away with contracts, so you can cancel anytime. The company even offers a 30-day risk-free trial. During those 30 days, we recommend visiting your usual spots to make sure you have good coverage.

Quick tip:

Quick tip: Still having a hard time choosing a provider or plan? Visit our guide to cell phones for seniors in 2024 for more helpful tips.


Consumer Cellular doesn’t offer a standard warranty when you buy a phone, but you can add an Allstate protection plan. It covers cracked screens, liquid damage, speaker and sound failures, battery failure, and more. The monthly cost ranges from $2 to $9 per month, depending on your phone.

Overage Charges and Additional Fees


Lively charges overage fees if you go over your data allotment for the month. Excess data costs $0.10 per megabyte.

Along with overage fees, Lively charges an activation fee of $35 for both of its phones, which is typical for the industry. If you decide to send back your Lively device, you may be subject to a $10 restocking fee as well.

Consumer Cellular

No activation fees, restocking fees, or overage fees here. If you happen to exceed your monthly allotment of minutes, texts, or data, Consumer Cellular will automatically bump you up to the next plan. This guarantees you’re getting the best rate, while saving you from hefty overage charges.

Our Final Thoughts on Lively vs. Consumer Cellular

Lively and Consumer Cellular offer no-contract plans and phones that are extra useful for older adults. That’s why we’re big fans!

Lively is a great choice for older adults who don’t already have a phone or those who want the peace of mind that comes with medical alert features. Just be aware of overage fees, and pick your plan carefully. Consumer Cellular meets the needs of tech-savvy seniors who want to bring their own phone or purchase a mainstream smartphone. Plus, you can’t beat the value of this company’s multi-line discounts. Overall, you really can’t go wrong with Lively or Consumer Cellular if you’re looking for a way to stay connected with family and friends.

Comparing Jitterbug and Consumer Cellular to Other Brands

  1. Pew Research. (2021). Mobile Fact Sheet.

  2. Investopedia. (2021). 10 Biggest Telecommunications Companies.

Written By:
Sarah Goldy-Brown
Writer & Researcher
Read About Our Panel of Experts
Sarah covers a range of senior lifestyle topics, from reviews of walk-in tubs and hearing aids to overviews of Medicare and Medicaid. Her close relationship with her grandparents gave her a firsthand look at the evolving life needs of older… Learn More About Sarah Goldy-Brown