Cell phones are an important communication tool, allowing you to call, text, email, and even video chat with your friends and family. For seniors, 40% of whom report feeling lonely,1 being able to stay in contact isn't just a way to pass the time, it's essential for the upkeep of their health and wellbeing. Selecting the right provider and plan that powers the cell phone is of equal importance to having a cell phone as it dictates your coverage range and monthly talk, text and data limitations. Fortunately, providers like Sprint offer cell phone plans—Unlimited 55+ Plan—specifically geared towards seniors.
Sprint's Unlimited 55+ Plan is only available to new customers that are 55 years of age or older. On the surface, this is more restricting than rival plans. But, one huge perk is that customers from any part of the US can sign up for Sprint's Unlimited 55+ plan—unlike AT&T's Senior Nation Plan that is limited to residents in certain states, which is a common restriction with many network plans aimed at seniors. Plus, if you do qualify, Sprint's senior plan has several redeeming features that make it worthwhile. Let's take a look at these in closer detail below.
Sprint is one of the most popular cellular network providers in the US. The company origins can be traced back to 1899, when it was known as the Brown Telephone Company. In April 2020, Sprint underwent a merger with T-Mobile,2 which is one of the largest cellular network operators in the world.
Due to the T-Mobile merger, Sprint as a brand will be discontinued on August 2, 2020. It is expected that new plans will be announced for new and existing customers of both Sprint and T-Mobile. The good news for Sprint customers is that T-Mobile is a global company, rather than just US-based—and it provides much wider coverage, too. On the whole, most critics have been very positive about the two joining forces, especially on the side of Sprint customers.
If you are above the age of 55, then you qualify for a range of discounts and other perks that are not available to regular Sprint customers. For example, the regular Sprint Unlimited starts at $60 per month, per line. However, the senior version of this plan starts at $50 per month, per line, with a second line reduced to just $20. Even if you just purchase one line, that's a saving of $120 per month, versus what a regular Sprint customer would pay.
|International Roaming||2G coverage and texts included. High-speed internet passes available at an additional cost. Voice calls cost $0.25 per minute.|
|Video Streaming Quality||480p|
As mentioned earlier, Sprint's only senior plan is the Sprint 55+ Unlimited Plan, and compared with other mobile networks, this offers less choice to customers. There are also fewer ways to customize your plan, apart from adding international travel passes to increase your data speed while abroad. However, what we do know is that Sprint's senior plan is set to dramatically improve once customers are transitioned over to T-Mobile.
Taking Sprint's current offering into consideration, two lines for $70 is pretty standard across most networks. The best feature by far is the unlimited calls, texts, and data. This will allow its senior users to keep in touch with loved ones without any restrictions. Whatsmore, endless data means they can video chat with relatives too, or simply enjoy streaming content. Though at 480p, the image quality is not as high as what rival brands would offer. The fact that Sprint customers only get one package option and so can't upgrade from this is a little disappointing.
Pro Tip: Sprint customers on any plan now qualify for T-Tuesdays. This is a reward scheme created by T-Mobile, allowing you to win prizes every week.
However, for those who want a basic package where communication is the core focus, then the Sprint 55+ Unlimited Plan certainly delivers. The added unlimited mobile hotspot allowance will also allow users to stay connected online. It's also ideal for those who don't want lots of perks and features, preferring a straightforward mobile plan. After all, not all cellular plans are geared for seniors, and so you could be wasting money on features you'll never use. Sprint keeps things simple.
By 2060, it's estimated there will be 95 million American citizens who are aged 60 or above.3 With a growing aging population, comes the need to stay connected. However, what's also important is to recognize that when it comes to cell phones, seniors are becoming increasingly knowledgeable about technology. Therefore, the types of models they choose will likely become more sophisticated over time, especially compared with seniors of today.
Sprint offers a range of cellphones that are catered for all ages. This is in addition to particular models that will allow you to get the most out of the Sprint 55+ Unlimited Plan. After all, some seniors are tech-savvy, whereas others have age-related impairments, so they may need a phone that'll suit their specific medical needs—like GreatCall's Jitterbug series. What's great is that Sprint also allows customers to either choose a phone from their selection, or bring an unlocked phone onto the network instead. So, as an example, if your phone is tailored for visual or hearing impairments, you can still switch and save on their senior plan.
Did You Know: Sprint allows customers from any part of the US to join their over 55+ program. The allowances can also be used in Mexico and Canada too.
A helpful feature on the Sprint website is the ‘Help me choose' section. It allows you to customize your exact needs, including your level of technical ability. This is an excellent feature, especially for seniors. Though there's also plenty of options for more tech-savvy seniors too.
If modern smartphones seem intimidating or just too difficult to use, then it's time to take things back to basics. The Sonim XP5s is completely weatherproof, and can even withstand being dropped from a height. It has large buttons, and clear call and hang up functions. While this isn't a phone for watching videos online, it is perfect for seniors who have a sense of adventure and want to stay connected. Or, even those with reduced dexterity who cannot operate fiddly smartphones, as there's no touchscreen on this model.
LG Stylo 6
To get the most of your unlimited data, a smartphone is the way to go. Sprint sells a wide range of smartphones, from iPhones to Samsung and beyond. However, what's great about the LG Stylo 6 is that it features a built-in stylus. This allows you to easily control your phone, and even doodle shopping lists on it too. The large 6.8” screen is perfect for using your unlimited data to watch movies or have video calls with loved ones. It's available from just $5 per month, making it a budget-friendly option.
With Sprint's Unlimited 55+ Plan, you'll receive the most value if you add two lines versus having a single line plan, as it will average out at just $70 per month for both versus $50 for just one line. If you enroll in autopay, you'll be eligible for a $5 a month discount per line.
If you are in need of a new phone too, Sprint has several models with no monthly fee option. Their cheapest phone is the LG Tribute Royal with a purchase price of $192.
A Heads Up: Sprint allows you to use an existing unlocked phone. They also offer several contract options, including an upfront or monthly fee.
Various networks offer senior plans, but how do they compare with Sprint? Let's take a look.
Sprint has the longest company history compared to other cellular networks in America. However, they are also undergoing a momentous change by merging with T-Mobile. One huge plus for anyone opting for a Sprint senior plan, is that you'll benefit from T-Mobile's broader coverage, which will hopefully include 5G in the near future too.
Another advantage of Sprint is that they don't exclude customers who live outside Florida. While it can be argued Florida has a large senior population, there are in fact, millions of people aged over 55 right across the country. Sprint is one of the few mobile networks that seek to include, rather exclude their customers, which is encouraging to see.
For anyone considering opting for Sprint, their senior package is fair and compares with the likes of AT&T and Verizon. In the majority of cases, Sprint actually works out cheaper. All in all, Sprint's Unlimited 55+ Plan is a solid phone plan option for seniors looking to switch over!
There is a monthly cost of $35 per line. Customers will also need to pay a $30 activation fee.
The good news is that you can use any phone to join the plan, whether it’s yours from another network, or if you wish to purchase one from Sprint. All that’s required is that the phone is unlocked, so that you can connect to the Sprint network.
Firstly, you have to be aged over 55 and a new customer. You can only sign up if you visit a Sprint store and take proof of age, such a government-issued ID. The plan is available to all citizens of the US who meet the age and sign-up requirements.
Sprint offers customers DVD quality streaming, which comes in at 480p. This is considered SD, rather than HD. There is no option to upgrade to HD. However, an added benefit of streaming in SD is that it’s less likely to buffer, providing a more consistent streaming experience overall.
Stonegate. (2020). One is the Loneliest Number: Combating Senior Isolation.
Forbes. (2020). T-Mobile US: The Sprint Merger So Far.
Population Reference Bureau. (2019). Fact Sheet: Aging in the United States.