Phone Plan for Seniors
The best phone plans for seniors look a lot like the best phone plans in general. Luckily for most of us, all three of the major carriers offer coverage where we live so unless you’re really after the 5G experience, you don’t need to worry about which network you’re on as much as getting the right plan. Whether you want something simple like a flip phone or are proficient with smartphones like Android and iPhone, T-Mobile Essentials Unlimited 55 has everything you need for a reasonable price including unlimited talk, text, and data.
Best Overall: T-Mobile Essentials Unlimited 55
Source: Android Central
T-Mobile has a few distinct advantages for seniors. First of all, there are T-Mobile stores all over the country so you can talk to an actual human being to set up your phone and service. The next is that it offers a discount for customers 55 and over and has the wisdom to not make customers refer to themselves as seniors if they don’t want to.
T-Mobile has three tiers of plans available to 55 and older customers starting with the Essentials Unlimited 55 plan. As the name would suggest it comes with all of the basics like unlimited talk, text, and data so you don’t need to worry about going over. You also get access to T-Mobile’s ScamShield service which is designed to identify and eliminate annoying scam calls before they reach your phone. All plans include access to 5G data as well.
If you need two lines, it only costs $55 per month and includes all of the same features. You can also upgrade to the Magenta or Magenta Plus, which simplifies things a bit with taxes and fees included in the sticker price as well as upgrading some features like a mobile hotspot with high-speed data over the 3G speed included with the base plan. Magenta Plus also includes Netflix service as well as unlimited in-flight Wi-Fi if you travel frequently.
Just about any unlocked phone will work on T-Mobile’s network whether it’s a simple flip phone, an Android, or even an iPhone. If you want 5G, you’ll need a compatible phone but don’t worry if you don’t, T-Mobile has a reliable 3G and 4G LTE network to fall back on.
- Unlimited talk, text, and data
- 5G access is included
- Unlimited 3G hotspot
- Discounts for two lines
- Dedicated customer service including physical stores
- Plans are a bit more expensive than prepaid options
- T-Mobile coverage may not be a great as Verizon or AT&T
T-Mobile Essentials Unlimited 55
All of the Essentials
T-Mobile’s entry-level plan really is enough for pretty much anyone with plenty of high-speed data including 5G, unlimited 3G hotspot, and ScamShield as standard.
Best Prepaid: Cricket Wireless 2GB
Source: Android Central
Prepaid has a lot of appeal for those that don’t want to participate in any type of credit check or if they simply don’t want to be on the hook for a service they don’t use. Cricket has a solid range of plans ranging all the way up to unlimited data with mobile hotspots, but for many people, the 2GB plan is quite enough and comes in at a great price. Not only that, it includes unlimited talk, text (including picture mail) so you don’t need to think about minutes, local or long distance.
The 2GB plan starts at $30 per month and comes with 2GB of high-speed data (8Mbps) but also unlimited 2G (128Kbps) data if you use it all. This slow data won’t be good for streaming or browsing but will let you send and receive Facebook messages and emails if you’re a bit patient. If you find that you go over your data frequently and want more of it, the 10GB plan is $10 per month more and if you’re willing to sign up with autopay, it comes down to $35 per month.
Cricket doesn’t offer specific senior discounts but its simple structure makes it an easy choice either way. Another good thing about Cricket is that it has stores all over the country so if you need help with your device or service, you can talk to someone in person. Cricket is owned by AT&T, one of the oldest names in communication, and works with that network. That means that pretty much any unlocked phone will work including flip phones, Androids, and iPhones.
- Unlimited talk and text
- No data overages
- Works with most phones
- Physical stores for purchase and support
- Even limited data plans have a speed cap
- Only the most expensive plan has hotspot data
Cricket Wireless 2GB
Prepaid with physical locations
Cricket Wireless has made a name for itself with reliable service and inexpensive data plans with room to grow if you need more features.
Best Value: Ting Flex
Source: Andrew Myrick / Android Central
If you’re looking for simple and cheap, Ting is the first name that should come to mind. Ting keeps things simple with an entry-level Flex plan starting with unlimited talk and text for $10 per month. If you need data, that’s $5 per gigabyte. Ting uses T-Mobile’s network and has access to its full 4G LTE and 5G network. That also means that Ting is compatible with the same wide range of phones as T-Mobile.
Ting’s value doesn’t scale as well to larger data plans so if you need a lot of data. If you need 5GB or less, Ting is a good choice but for the larger plans, getting an unlimited plan from T-Mobile or Visible below will work out better. Still, it’s nice to have the option in case you want to add more lines to your account with greater needs
One thing to keep in mind about Ting is that it doesn’t operate physical store locations. If you need support, you can chat with a representative and any time from your phone or a computer but you will need to be a bit more confident with your equipment. Still, if you can get over this hurdle or have someone that can help you, the saving can be immense.
- Super-cheap basic plan
- Easy to add more data
- Larger plans available if needed
- Full access to LTE and 5G
- No physical support locations
- No multi-line discounts
Start small with room to grow
Ting makes it easy to save if you’re a light user thanks to its Flex plan. If you need data, you can use it for just $5 per gig with larger data plans available if needed.
Best with a Tablet: Visible
Source: Ara Wagoner / Android Central
Visible redefines simple with just one plan and no limits. Well, no limits as long as you have a modern phone and only need to use it in the United States. Built on Verizon’s network, Visible is a prepaid carrier with a single $40 unlimited plan including talk, text, and high-speed data. While a lot of carriers will say unlimited with a hard cap on high-speed data, Visible does not. If you use an excessive amount of data, your connection could be made a lower priority on a crowded tower but isn’t specifically slowed.
Visible also includes unlimited hotspot data, though limited to just 5Mbps, for your tablet or laptop when you’re on the go. This can be great if you are on a road trip and want to browse the web on a large screen or just want the peace of mind of a backup internet connection.
Though Visible is based on the Verizon network, phone compatibility is limited to a specific set of Android phones and most newer iPhones. If you’re ready for a new phone, Visible has a solid selection available on its web store. Visible has no physical store locations so if you aren’t comfortable managing your account online, it may not be a great choice.
Visible also has a feature that allows you to form a party with friends to bring your monthly cost down. You don’t have to rely on anyone else for this as everyone will still manage their open accounts but it can bring the monthly cost of your line down to $25 per month with four lines in your party. One thing to keep in mind with Visible is that there is no international roaming so you will need to find a different solution if you travel.
- Unlimited everything with no caps
- Based on the large Verizon LTE network
- Savings with Party Pay available
- More limited phone options
- No international service options
Best with a Tablet
Simple and unlimited service
Visible has one plan and it’s a good one. For $40 per month, you get unlimited talk, text, and data on the Verizon LTE network.
Best Multi-line: US Mobile
Source: Android Central
If you need to bring three or four lines of service to your plan, US Mobile is a great option. With coverage available on the Verizon LTE network or T-Mobile network, you’re more than likely covered regardless of your phone. US Mobile allows you to customize a plan if you’re alone to only get what you absolutely need, with the option to upgrade to unlimited.
US Mobile’s family plans make a lot of sense for a lot of families because you can save on unlimited service with the option to enable high-speed data. The second line you add to your account gets a $10 discount while lines three and four are $20 less than the first line. US Mobile’s unlimited plan is limited to 5Mbps data speeds but can be upgraded to unlock data speeds for $5 per month. What’s nice is that this can be done to lines individually so if you don’t need a ton of speed on every line, you can save some money.
US Mobile also will include a subscription to a streaming service like Netflix, Disney Plus, Spotify, or even PlayStation Plus with three lines. If you add a fourth you can add another subscription. US Mobile makes it easy to get a ton of value with a lot of lines connected.
- Greta multi-line savings
- Coverage on Verizon or T-Mobile
- Subscription services are included with a family plan
- International service and calling is available
- 5Mbps isn’t quite enough
- you can only add unlimited plans to a multi-line account
Great family plan values
Get up to four lines connected with US Mobile with unlimited data and some great streaming extras for the family to share.
One thing to keep in mind is that if you already have AT&T, T-Mobile, or Verizon, you can already get access to each of their unlimited 55+ plans. Though they only support up to two lines, compared to the standard unlimited plans, you can save some money. Still, if you have an unlocked android phone you can save a lot of money with a prepaid carrier. You also still have the option to take care of multiple people with US Mobile’s great unlimited plans.
For seniors, getting a plan that is accessible and simple enough to easily understand is key. T-Mobile’s Essentials Unlimited 55 has everything you need in a plan with great compatibility for phones. T-Mobile also has some great features for usability thanks to ScamShield and simply having physical stores available. You can’t underestimate the value of being able to talk to someone face-to-face if something goes wrong.
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
Samuel Contreras When Samuel is not writing about networking and carriers, he spends most of his time researching computer components and obsessing over what CPU goes into the ultimate Windows 98 computer. It’s the Pentium 3.
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