Even before their merger with Sprint in early 2020, T-Mobile had made great strides in recent years growing and innovating their mobile network. This is great news for all customers, but especially for older adults who are embracing technology to stay connected with friends and family. That’s where T-Mobile’s Unlimited 55+ plans, designed for the needs and budgets of older adults, come into play. In this review, I’ll be taking a closer look at T-Mobile’s three senior-specific plans as well as select senior-friendly smartphone offerings. From my overall experience with the sign-up process to the good and the bad, I lay it all out below.
If you’re short on time, here’s a quick run-through of what I liked and didn’t like about T-Mobile’s services.
When it comes to T-Mobile, signing up for a plan and ordering a smartphone device can go multiple ways. For starters, since I was a new customer, I had to visit a T-Mobile store near my house to sign up. If I were an existing customer, I could easily log into my account online and switch plans or give them a call. While this might seem like an extra step, I didn’t mind physically talking to a T-Mobile representative to get the answers I needed in regards to their plans and smartphone devices. In fact, the sales representative I met with, Greg, was extremely friendly and helpful when it came to choosing the right Unlimited 55+ Plan and cell phone for me.
Pro Tip: If you’re a new customer, be persistent when it comes to asking a T-Mobile representative about special promotions. More often than not, they will offer incentives that you won’t find on their website. It’s never annoying when it comes to finding deals that save you more money!
Because I did my research beforehand, I asked Greg about hidden fees and he instantly provided a straightforward answer. As someone who’s been around older adults for many years, I understand that transparency about pricing is especially important. While there’s the notion that older adults are the ones who complain the most about deceptive business practices, I believe everyone would be annoyed or frustrated if a sales representative wasn’t being honest. That’s why I was very happy with Greg’s help, and his vibrant smile worked in his favor.
First things first, I had to settle on one of T-Mobile’s three Unlimited 55+ plans. All plans include unlimited talk, text, and data on T-Mobile’s 5G network with no annual service contracts. The only downside: I couldn’t add more than two lines. Keep in mind that the price per line will be more expensive if you only have one line; two lines will give you a discount. Also, don’t forget to bring your ID to show proof of age. Let’s jump right into the details of each of the Unlimited 55+ plans.
For a quick breakdown of the Unlimited 55+ plans, the chart below offers a helpful visual.
|T-Mobile||Essentials Unlimited 55||Magenta Unlimited 55||Magenta Plus Unlimited 55|
|Price||– 1 line: $45 per month
– 2 lines: $55 per month
|– 1 line: $55 per month
– 2 lines: $70 per month
|– No single line option
– 2 lines: $90 per month
|Features||– SD streaming
– Mobile hotspot data (3 GB)
– Data in Mexico and Canada (2 GB)
|– No taxes and fees
– SD streaming
– Mobile hotspot data (4G)
– 5 GB data in Canada and Mexico (4G)
– One hour of in-flight Wi-Fi
|– No taxes or fees
– 4G mobile hotspot (20 GB)
– Unlimited in-flight Wi-Fi
– HD streaming
– 5 GB of data in Canada and Mexico (4G)
– Netflix and Quibi free for one year
*Prices listed require AutoPay billing
In the end, I chose the Magenta Plus Unlimited 55 plan. One thing that Greg pointed out about this plan was that I had to add another line — there wasn’t a single line option. With two lines, the monthly rate would be $90 per month with AutoPay. Splitting this would be $45 per month for each line. You might be surprised to know that nearly 90 percent of baby boomers in a recent survey said they watch Netflix,1 so getting Netflix and Quibi for free plus HD streaming is nice. When I compared the rate to the regular Magenta plans, it was significantly cheaper per line so I ended up saving more money through the Magenta Plus Unlimited 55 plan.
While I was at the store, I also browsed their smartphone offerings and picked them up to get a feel for how they worked. Greg explained that, for select smartphone devices, I could pay via monthly bill credits over the course of 24 months. One of the deals that he presented me with was getting an additional iPhone 11 for free if I purchased one with an eligible trade-in. While I appreciated the offer, I wanted to keep the experience simple and fresh, so I carefully chose my smartphones.
T-Mobile Tuesdays: T-Mobile’s reward program, T-Mobile Tuesdays, can be accessed via the mobile app and is free for all T-Mobile customers. You can earn weekly rewards such as movie tickets, special discounts, gift cards, and more — all for free!
T-Mobile has a wide variety of phone brands and models to choose from, many of which come in an array of colors and GB storage. The store didn’t have any flip phones, but during my research on their website, I saw that they offered a GO FLIP 3. While I know a few older adults would definitely prefer the traditional flip phone, most seniors are actually keeping up with the pace of technology, with 51 percent stating that they bought some tech product — 23 percent of which bought a smartphone.2 I noticed that there were many Apple and Samsung smartphones, like the new iPhone SE and Samsung Galaxy S20 5G. What also stood out to me was T-Mobile’s very own smartphone line: REVVLRY. I kept in mind what accessing apps on these phones was like, since many older adults have incorporated medical alert systems in their lives, some of which provide a companion mobile app like Bay Alarm Medical.
My decision came down to two smartphones, each from a different brand, but I’ll go over my experience with them in detail below.
Since I was already at the T-Mobile store, I set everything up right then and there. I didn’t have to wait for my SIMs and smartphones to be mailed to me, so I could use them as soon as I stepped out the door. Greg was patient and answered all of my questions. He helped me create an account online so I could manage my plans and payments before inserting the SIMs with new phone numbers into each smartphone. From there, he turned on both phones and I followed the on-screen instructions. While I did, Greg had to step away to help another customer but shortly returned and helped me finish activating my phones. It took about 15 minutes and probably would’ve gone quicker if I didn’t fire question after question at Greg.
Reminder: Don’t forget to backup your old phone’s content! This is an important step before turning on your new phone.
Now, for the grand reveal: I chose T-Mobile’s REVVLRY and the iPhone 11. Here’s more about my experience with both smartphones:
As one of the more affordable options among T-Mobile’s cell phone offerings, their very own REVVLRY (full price: $168) is pretty impressive. It’s an Android phone with a fantastic battery life (40 hours). Plus, there’s a fingerprint reader, so no facial recognition feature to cause privacy concerns! From my testing, it can run multiple apps and stream without slowing down.
The fast-focusing 13MP camera takes excellent pictures, and paired with a built-in flash for the front camera and a night vision feature, the REVVLRY could give iPhones and Samsung Galaxies a run for their money. By the age of 65, one in three older adults have some form of vision-reducing eye disease.3 So, the fact that REVVLRY’s camera features an ultrawide 5.7″ Max Vision HD+ display that makes it easier for seniors to use the phone is a plus in my book. For less than $200 and a whole lot of features, the REVVLRY is an affordable choice.
My favorite thing about the iPhone 11 (full price: $699.99) was the color options; there were six to choose from, and I decided on purple. Appearance aside, the iPhone 11 was as familiar as it was new, strange as that sounds. I’ve owned several iPhones before, but what really stood out to me about the iPhone 11 was the glass finishes. Holding it in my hand felt smooth and the 6.1-inch liquid retina display was easy on the eyes and fingers. About one in four adults with arthritis — 15 million people in the US — experience severe joint pain,4 so minimizing joint movements when using smartphones was a point of concern for me. While I’m not avidly playing mobile games, I did appreciate that holding the iPhone 11 and swiping or tapping the screen didn’t require too much strength or pressure.
What’s also noticeable about the iPhone 11 was the dual cameras on the back — a primary and an ultra-wide lens. Videos turn out in 4K resolution, and I was able to switch between lenses while I was recording a video as well, so that was convenient. The spatial audio made streaming videos sound a lot more realistic as though they were happening right where I sat or stood. Like other newer iPhones, the iPhone 11 had Face ID, so I didn’t have to press my finger anywhere to unlock my phone. I could also wirelessly charge my phone so I didn’t have to worry about finding the charger and plugging it in. The iPhone 11, while advanced in its technological features, cut out the extra steps and kept it simple and easy to use. For seniors looking for that little extra “umph” when it comes to smartphone features, I’d recommend the iPhone 11.
T-Mobile doesn’t have senior-friendly phones with assistance features like GreatCall's Jitterbug or Consumer Cellular's Doro 7050, so their Unlimited 55+ plans will do for now. That being the case, their broad range of unlimited data plans is impressive considering many of the monthly rates are the cheapest when additional voice lines are added. If you’re looking for an affordable plan for just you and your partner, the Unlimited 55+ plans are a great option; but if you have a larger family, T-Mobile’s regular Magenta Unlimited plans are a better choice. Contracts are a thing of the past, at least for T-Mobile, but there are additional fees to be wary of. All in all, T-Mobile keeps their customers happy through plenty of benefits and affordable plans.
Yes, it’s possible for your existing phone number to transfer over to T-Mobile. First, you want to check online if your phone number is eligible for transfer. If so, all you need to do is follow the on-screen instructions to complete the process. If your phone number is non-transferable, it’s most likely because T-Mobile does not have a transfer agreement with your current service provider.
No, Unlimited 55+ plans are designed for accounts with a maximum of two voice lines. If you need more than two, you can choose any of the regular Magenta or Magenta Plus plans.
No, the Un-carrier promise is that T-Mobile customers can change what they pay for their plan. You must choose to switch to one of the Unlimited 55+ plans.
Yes. Just like transferring your existing phone number, you can keep your current phone or device as long as it’s unlocked. Check to see if your phone’s IMEI number is compatible with T-Mobile’s network on their website. Once you purchase and receive a T-Mobile SIM, just give T-Mobile a call and they will help you make the transfer.
New and existing T-Mobile customers aged 55 or older are eligible for the Unlimited 55+ plans. Proof of age is required through a government-issued ID.
Since graduating from Harvard with an honors degree in Statistics, Jeff has been creating content in print, online, and on television. Much of his work has been dedicated to informing seniors on how to live better lives. As Editor-in-Chief of the personal… Learn More About Jeff Hoyt