The Best Cell Phone Plans For Seniors

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According to the Pew Research Center, 97% of people aged 50 or older own a cell phone. Many mobile providers cater to this market by offering affordable phone plans for seniors, with features designed to accommodate the unique needs of the demographic (for example, accessibility and adaptability).

If you're a senior and looking for a new phone plan, you’ll want to consider your needs and budget, as each plan offers different benefits. To help, we’ve put together a guide comparing a few of the best phone plans for seniors and the features they offer. Read on for the details, plus tips on what to look for when choosing a phone plan for seniors.

Popular Cell Phone Plans for Seniors

Most cell phone plans, whether they're designed for seniors or not, are built around three key services: minutes, text, and data. Below, see how a few popular providers compare to each other on these fronts.

PlanOptimum MobileConsumer CellularLively (Jitterbug)Republic Wireless
Unlimited Talk/Text PlansYesYesYesYes
Unlimited Data PlansYesYesYesYes
Option for Pay-Per-MinuteNoYes (data not included)NoNo
Special Features for SeniorsDiscount (Affordable Connectivity Program)Discounts for AARP MembersHealth and safety services (with paid subscriptions)No long-term contracts

Features to Consider When Purchasing a Phone Plan for Seniors

The best phone plans for seniors include essential features, such as talk, text, and data, without unnecessary or pricey add-ons. Some senior phone plans also include features that improve independence and safety and protect long-term health; these can include “fall detection” technology and shortcuts that instantly connect you with a doctor or nurse in case of emergency.

Minutes

The first and arguably most important thing to consider when choosing a phone plan is how often you plan to use it to make calls. If you only contact one or two people to check in regularly, a plan with a limited number of minutes might be sufficient. On the other hand, if you find yourself spending a lot of time chatting on the phone, consider choosing a plan with unlimited talk. All of Optimum Mobile’s plans come equipped with unlimited talk and text, so you never have to worry about overage fees after a long phone call.

Texting

Even if you aren't a regular texter, a plan that includes at least a few texts per month will allow you to keep up with the grandkids without worrying about being nickeled and dimed on your monthly cost. Additionally, texts are a convenient way to receive notifications from the pharmacy when a prescription is ready to be picked up, as well as appointment reminders. If you text more frequently, a plan with an unlimited text allowance will be well-suited to your needs.

Data

Data is another important consideration when choosing a phone plan. If you're someone who uses your phone for social media (like YouTube or Instagram), you'll want to select a plan with a high data allowance. Otherwise, you could be hit with overage costs—which can add up very quickly. An unlimited plan, as the name suggests, allows for unlimited data usage, which can help keep your monthly bill affordable.

What is the Least Expensive Cell Phone Plan for Seniors?

The least expensive cell phone plan for seniors depends on several factors, including where you live, your mobile provider, and the plan you choose. However, there are a few ways to lower your monthly cost, such as opting for a pay-as-you-go plan or joining a family plan. Here, we’ll dive deeper into a few types of plans to help you find the right fit for you.

Prepaid phones

Prepaid phones are a cost-effective choice for those who prioritize affordability and flexibility. These prepaid devices allow users to make calls, send messages, and use data, without being tied to a monthly contract. You can purchase minutes, texts, and data in advance and use them until they run out.

Senior-Specific Cell Phone Plans

Certain large national carriers provide structured discounts and multi-line offers to customers over 55. But there's always the fine print; if you live alone or have no one with whom to "split" the cost of a second line, a cheap two-line plan won’t save you much after all. Furthermore, some cheap plans are only available in one or two locations, or Internet speed is throttled.

Family and multi-line plans for seniors

Family plans can be a good option for seniors, as they often cost less per person than individual plans. Many large national carriers provide structured multi-line offers to customers over 55 or 65. A multi-line plan may be a more affordable option if you’re splitting the bill with a partner or other family member. At Optimum Mobile, you can add up to 10 lines total to your account. You’ll also enjoy a monthly discount for adding several lines to your account.

Flexible plans for seniors

Flexible plan providers allow users to choose, modify, and dictate their terms each month. With an à la carte plan, you may not get all of the features, perks, and health and safety extras that a plan tailored for seniors would include—but you also won't be tied to the two-year, unbreakable, long-term contract that some carriers enforce.

Pay-as-you-go phone plans for seniors

Pay-as-you-go plans are similar to prepaid plans but don’t require the purchase of a separate prepaid device. Instead, you’ll use your existing phone and buy minute, text, and data allowances as needed. This makes it easy to limit how much you spend on your phone every month, making this an attractive option for those with strict budgets.

How to Purchase a Senior Cell Phone Plan

Once you’ve determined what features you need to stay connected, you should be ready to sign up for your cell phone plan. Here’s what to do before making your purchase.

Switch and save: If you have an existing phone plan and want to switch providers, look out for contract buyout offers and other deals. Optimum Mobile offers a “Switch & Save” deal, which you can read all about here.

Bring your phone: Some mobile providers require you to purchase a phone from them, but Optimum allows customers with compatible phones to bring their existing devices when signing up for service, which can translate into hundreds of dollars saved. Plus, when you bring your own phone, you get to keep your existing number. Check here if your phone is compatible with Optimum’s bring your own phone program.

In-person assistance: Identify which providers in your area have a brick-and-mortar retail space. If you require assistance setting up your phone or choosing a plan, it can be helpful to visit a physical store where sales associates can provide hands-on help.

Coverage: Remember to check your provider’s coverage to ensure they offer service in the areas you frequent (like your home or office). Most providers have online coverage maps that you can check before purchasing a plan, but you can also ask a customer service agent if the plan you’re looking at provides coverage in your area. You can check Optimum Mobile coverage in your area here.

Overall, the best cell phone plan for seniors depends on what you’re looking for. Optimum Mobile is among one of the best phone plans for seniors because it provides several tailored services at competitive prices, 24/7 support, and nationwide coverage via America’s largest 5G network.

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