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!
|Plan prices||Starting at $19.99 per month||Starting at $20 per month|
|Unlimited plan price||$49.99 per month||$50 per month|
|Medical alert features||Yes||No|
|Bring your own phone||No||Yes|
|Easy access to on-demand rides through Lyft||Yes||Yes|
Lively offers one 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 Smart3|
|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|
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|
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: Consumer Cellular offers a five percent discount on plans for AARP members.
Lively offers phones designed for seniors that provide health and safety features you won’t find from other carriers.
Lively keeps it simple with just two phone offerings. For those who want a smartphone, there's the $149.99 Jitterbug Smart3. Features include voice typing, video chatting to stay in touch with the grandkids, and an easy-to-navigate menu.
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 $99.99 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.
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 Verve Snap, 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 2023 review of Consumer Cellular to learn more about this company's phone offerings.
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 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.
Thanks to Lively's health and safety features, you can turn your phone into a medical alert device.
|Price||$24.99 per month||$39.99 per month||$49.99 per month|
Here's what each service involves:
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!
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 2023 Lively phone reviews. We tested out the Jitterbug Smart3 and Flip2.
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: Still having a hard time choosing a provider or plan? Visit our guide to cell phones for seniors in 2023 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.
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.
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.
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.