Cell phone plans for seniors is a fast growing market. Baby boomers are now using smartphones more and more and, let's face it, we're all going to age. If you or a loved one are over 50 and looking for a cell phone plan, you may find that big-name carriers just aren't suited to your needs. Fortunately for seniors and retirees, there are plans and companies catered to customers with a little more life experience - and you'll even get the reassurance of 24/7 access to medical help when needed.
Seniors Wireless and Great Call both provide simple monthly cell phone plans and easy-to-use devices, combined with health and emergency assistance such as unlimited access to medical advice. We've covered the in-and-outs of each service below, so readers can weigh up the pros and cons and decide which plan is best for their needs and budget.
Before you go browsing, it’s important to remember that prices listed on WhistleOut's search engine for the following plans include monthly access to health and safety features (the 5Star Service for Great Call, and Seniors Wireless’ TeleMED Assist access). So if you'd prefer a cell phone plan without the additional medical features, you'll actually end up paying less than the price quoted in search results.
If you’re looking for a wireless plan with an easy-to-use cell phone and built-in medical alerts , award-winning service Great Call has your or your family member covered. As well as offering simple cell plans aimed at seniors who prefer talking to data use, Great Call also carries the Jitterbug range of cell phones made for mature cell phone users.
At a glance:
- Great Call offers specialized cell phones, plans and health care services
- Easy-to-use Jitterbug smartphone and feature phones are available, with included Medical Alert button
- Unlimited plans start at $40 per month
- The 5Star service gives you 24/7 access to health advice and emergency assistance
- The Link app lets family members know you are safe and well
- Coverage is provided by Verizon's nation-wide network
Jitterbug - phones for seniors
The Jitterbug5 is a basic feature phone that includes a bright color screen and a powerful speaker for clear conversation: ideal for users who may not have the best eyesight or hearing. The large backlit keypad also includes the 5Star Medical Alert button, so users can request urgent help with a single touch.
If you prefer a smartphone, the Jitterbug Touch (pictured right) comes with a bright 4-inch touchscreen and built-in 5Star health and safety apps, including access to Great Call’s Link application. Link is an app that Great Call customers and their families can download to notify each other of any Medical Alert requests, as well as other safety information such as your phone’s battery status and if you’ve arrived safely at a destination.
Plans and features
Plan-wise, voice calls start at $5 per month for 50 minutes of talk, with text messages starting at $3.00 for 300 texts. You’ll pay $10 per month for 400 minutes, $20 for 800 minutes, and $30 for 1500 minutes – or you can sign up for the $40 per month Unlimited Talk and Text plan, which also includes 100MB of bonus data for the Jitterbug Touch.
If you’re using the Touch smartphone, small amounts of data are available to add to your plan, with 100MB charged at $5 per month. If you require more, 200MB is priced at $10, 500MB at $15, 1GB is $20 and 2.5GB will cost you $30.
5Star service and health care
The Jitterbug Touch also gives customers access to additional health apps, such as check-in calls, MedCoach for medication management, and Urgent Care for 24/7 health and medical advice from registered nurses and board-certified doctors, as well as assistance in non-medical emergency situations.
Health packages start at $19.99 per month for unlimited access to the 5Star emergency service, up to $35.99 each month for the entire Great Call health package of apps, Urgent Care access and 5Star service.
Seniors Wireless provides prepaid cell phone plans, and optional telemedicine service, to over-50s looking to stay in touch with family, but still maintain independence.
At a glance:
- Seniors Wireless combines cell plans and over-the-phone medical services
- You can bring your own compatible phone
- Unlimited plans start at $30 for 30 days
- Pay-as-you-need plans are available
- TeleMED Assist gives you unlimited access to doctors and health professionals at any time
- Coverage is provided by Sprint's nation-wide network
Plans and features
Offering coverage through the Sprint network, the company allows customers to bring their own eligible devices, or buy a new or refurbished smartphone. Seniors Wireless customers can choose from either unlimited talk and text plans, or several pay-as-you-need options, all of which come with varying data amounts.
Unlimited plans start at $30 for a 30-day recharge, which includes 500MB of data and unlimited voice calls and text messages. A 90-day recharge with 1.5GB is $88, and 180 days (3 months) with 3GB of data is $169 – less than one dollar each day.
If you or a family member aren’t big talkers, texters or data users, Pay As You Need plans may be a money-saving option. Plans start at $10 per recharge, and include credit for talk and texting, as well as a small amount of data just in case. You can choose to recharge every 30 or 60 days, with the Large plan offering 60 days’ service and $30 credit, with 500MB of data, for $30.
TeleMED Assist - 24/7 health care and advice
What sets Seniors Wireless apart from other prepaid services and MVNOs is the TeleMED Assist service, which gives customers access to doctors and medical advice anytime, any day.
If you opt for the TeleMED service, you’ll get unlimited calls (either by phone or video chat) to emergency trained and board-certified physicians, who can advise on symptoms and conditions and - depending on your location - prescribe medication and have it delivered to your pharmacy of choice.
Seniors can add unlimited TeleMED access to their plan, or just pay for calls as they’re needed. Unlimited access costs singles $1 per day, with a couples plan costing $40 per month and pay-as-you-go consultations $48 each. So added on to your Seniors Wireless plan, you’ll pay an extra $30 or $40 per month for unlimited TeleMED Assist.
Cricket is now offering a new deal for AARP members. Current AARP members can get a $20 rebate Cricket Visa card when they purchase a Cricket phone.
At a glance:
- Cricket line must be activated OR
- Current Cricket customers can upgrade to new phone and get rebate
- Available for up to 5 lines on one AARP membership
- The discount is for new Cricket devices only
Cricket runs on AT&T's 4G LTE network. Anyone on Cricket will experience the same great coverage that AT&T MVNOs offer. With this offer, seniors who have AARP have two choices for getting their rebate.
The first option is to activate a brand new line of service on Cricket.
If you are an existing Cricket customer you just have to activate a new line. This can be a partner, a friend, a sibling - anyone who needs Cricket. If you have AARP, you get to take advantage of the rebate offer. The catch is that a second service payment must be made with 45 days of activation, first. Once this is done, you can mail in your rebate offer.
The second option is to take advantage of the mail-in rebate offer one a phone upgrade every 24 months.
If you're already a Cricket customer and have no intention of adding a line, you can still get a Cricket rebate. Once you are eligible for a phone upgrade (every 24-months) you can mail in your rebate form with proof of AARP membership.
The AARP Rebate
The mail in rebates must be postmarked within 60 days of device / line activation. The limit is one rebate per line. AARP memberships must be active at the time of rebate processing.
It will take about 8 weeks to get your $20 Cricket Visa Promotion Card.
Cricket Phones & Plans
Seniors looking for a simpler way to own cell phones at better pricing will like what Cricket has to offer. Unlimited data, talk, and text are the three things that cell phone users want in their plans so let's start there.
The going promotion is Unlimited data, talk and text for $50 a month. To take advantage of this, you need to sign up for auto pay. Autopay does not mean contract. In fact, there are no contracts anymore so you don't have to worry about that. This plan is for those who don't mind data streaming at a slower speed. If you're a senior who loves data and wants the best, you can always enjoy the Unlimited high speed data option at $60 a month. And, of course, if you wish to enjoy talk and text and have no desire to use data, $25 a month will get you this without any problems.
As far as phones go, you can choose a smartphone or a basic phone. Basic phones are best for those who don't want to use data. Smartphones will suit those seniors who need to browse the web or check emails on a regular basis.
Whichever plan or phone you choose, know that you can enjoy the benefits of being an AARP member and get a nice little discount card to reward you for your membership.
Need more information?
Looking for more information to help you make a choice? If you're wanting great coverage at a low price, see which low-cost cell plans will give you budget-friendly access to Verizon's LTE network. We've also put together a guide to taking your cell number to a new carrier, and all the info you need on unlocking your phone and moving to a new network.