Reviewing cell phone plans for seniors cannot only be confusing but also overwhelming trying to understand the different types of plans.
Deciding on the best phone plan for your needs is challenging without some understanding of the options presented by service providers.
This article provides a visual highlight of the initial guiding questions to ask and different cell phone plan types along with an infographic that makes the information easier to understand.
Ask Yourself These Guiding Questions
There are certain personal questions you need to ask yourself to guide your choice of plan based on your cell phone habits.
- frequently like to talk to your family and friends for long periods? If you only regularly call or text, a talk and text plan may better suit you to pay for the minutes and messages you use each month
- often travel across the country or abroad? Check on coverage and long-distance plans.
- have family living abroad that you frequently communicate with?
- like to play games on the phone, video chat or take lots of photos? To accommodate these activities requires that the cell phone plan includes data.
How much data you will need depends on the frequency in which you engage in these activities. Fortunately, most providers have plans that include unlimited data.
This is the preferred option even if it costs a little more. It is much better than having to pay additional charges each month for overage.
- Will I need to sign a contract for the plan?
- Does the service provider have nationwide coverage? You do not want to have poor connectivity or worse still, lose connectivity in certain areas or parts of the country. Choosing a plan from one of the major providers is best, as smaller providers may have connectivity issues.
- What is my estimated budget for the cell phone and the plan? Keeping this in focus will ensure that you do not get carried away by “nice-to-have-features”.
Understand Available Plan Options
When deciding which cell phone plan is the right choice for seniors, it is important to understand the types of cell phone plans available. Below are the most common types of plans.
Note that not all the plan options listed below are provided by all service providers.
There are no-contract plans and contract plans which include unlimited plans.
No-Contract Cell Phone Plans For Seniors
In the past, you would need to complete a credit check and agree to automatic payments and a contract with a service provider to start any new cell phone plan.
Now, more providers offer flexible and affordable plans without long-term commitments. With a no-contract plan, you aren’t locked into your current plan or provider if you ever need to make a change.
Contract Cell Phone Plans For Seniors
With a contract phone plan, you are locked into a 2–3-year contract with the service provider. If you wish to opt out of the contract before term, you will need to pay a termination fee,
If you use a good amount of data each month an unlimited plan may be the preferred option.
Non-Data Cell Phone Plans for Seniors
Talk and Text Plans
Talk and text phone plans are for people who use their phones only for talking and texting and who do not use their phones to download apps, take and download photos, stream videos, or browse the internet.
Many cell phone service providers offer customizable or unlimited talk and text plans. They are often less expensive than those that include “data” (or photo, video, and internet usage.)
Data Cell Phone Plans for Seniors
Pay as You Go Cell Phone Plans for Seniors
The is the most affordable data plan where you pay for a certain number of minutes and have between 3–6 months to use them. While this looks attractive, there are some drawbacks.
The assigned phone number is only for the term of the plan, and it rolls back into the service provider pool at term.
This means that there is the possibility of being assigned a new phone number each time you purchase additional minutes if the number is no longer available.
It can be a be an inconvenience to frequently change phone numbers. In addition, you may accidentally run out of minutes, or the minutes expire before you remember to buy additional time.
Prepaid Cell Phone Plans for Seniors
This is also an affordable prepaid cell phone plan. It allows you to pay upfront for what you need each month and are ideal if you want to cut down on cost without sacrificing quality and coverage—as well as reduce the risk of overages on a bill at the end of the month.
Pre-paid plan options range from basic talk and text options to unlimited prepaid data plans.
By-the-Gig Cell Phone Plans for Seniors
This plan requires that you pay for a minimum amount of data each month whether you use it or not. With this type of plan, you can have confidence in knowing that when you need your cell phone, it’s ready to go.
You get a phone number of your own, and whether you leave the phone powered down in a drawer or have it always firing up your favorite apps, you’re connected to the rest of the world when you want, on your terms.
If you use a good amount of data each month, cell phone plans for seniors with unlimited data may be right for you.
There are many advantages to unlimited plans if you are going to utilize them.
These include an assigned number and an all-you-can-consume data plan that lets you stream movies or TV, watch your grandson’s crazy YouTube videos, and upload your own content from anywhere.
This option is more expensive, especially if you’re going to be the only phone line on the account.
If a senior wants to use apps, watch videos or make lots of calls on their mobile device, an unlimited plan is a great option.
Unlimited plans often include unlimited talk, text and data, so there’s no worry of running out of data or paying overage charges.
Family Plan Option
This option is often overlooked by many when searching. Asking friends or family if you can join their own unlimited phone plan is a cost saving possibility. Usually, only very close family members are willing to do this for you.
You get all the advantages of your own assigned number, but you do not have to worry about the billing.
This also means that you also run the risk of being removed from the plan if a strain develops in the relationship!
Choosing cell phone plans for seniors requires that you understand the various options available.
Whatever you choose, take the time to understand the different options and choose the one that’s best for you and your usage habits.
Your needs will be different if frequently surf the internet, take photos, and watch movies than a friend who hardly uses the phone at all.
The How to Start Guide infographic post is another helpful visual tool for seniors that do not like wading through articles for information. Consult this post to show you how to get started on your search.
If you found this article useful, kindly leave a comment for us.
Crail C (2022) Guide To The Best Senior Cell Phone Plans 2022 https://www.forbes.com/health/healthy-aging/best-cell-phone-plans-for-seniors/
Guide for selecting the cell phone plans for seniors https://www.lively.com/heallth-and-aging/guide-for-selecting-cell-phone-plans-for-seniors
Pew Research Center https://www.pewresearch.org/internet/fact-sheet/mobile/
AARP. Consumer Cellular Discount, an AARP Member Benefit. – Technology & Wireless
14 thoughts on “Cell Phone Plans For Seniors – How To Select Plan Infographic”
I had no idea that there were so many options for cell phone plans for seniors. There’s a lot to choose from. What if someone has no family left and few friends, what would be the best plan for that person? He would only use it for calls, maybe texting, and a few photos. I looked at the available plans and there were a few that I thought could fit but I’m not entirely sure which one to recommend to my friend who is taking care of a senior at the moment. Do you have any suggestions?
Whenever upload or download of photos are required, data is involved, which means that the recommended option would have to be one from the data plan category. There are 3 affordable options we can look at depending on budget – Pay-as-you-Go, Pre-Paid Plan or By-the-Gig.
With the Pay-As-You-Go, you run the risk of running out of minutes in a month. With the Pre-Paid Plan, you remove the risk of running out of minutes BUT this also requires that you guess what your usage will be each month to avoid running out of minutes or data. Fortunately, there is an unlimited feature for this option as well.
The By-the-Gig option will provide the best peace of mind and affordable option for a senior who only wants to talk and text and upload or download a few photos.
Hope this helps..
This is a wonderful article to aid seniors in making the right decisions regarding the best options when it comes to cell phone plans. When it comes to technology, usually seniors are not that clued up to begin with and often the grandchildren are the ones that helps out their grandma or grandad with the best possible options. However, the grandchildren often assumes that their grandparents more or less knows what they are talking about when it comes to technology, but often they don’t really fully grasp the concepts when it comes to technology and that is where the visual aids in your article comes in very handy.
In general I think you have a very unselfish and wonderful niche here that so many seniors will find incredibly helpful. Keep up the good work of generosity.
Thanks for the very kind words Schalk!. Metamorphosis Hub truly wants to help seniors make decisions that are right for them with our blogs.
When it comes to cell phone plans for seniors, we need all the information we can get. I recently had my old pay as you go cell phone provider tell me that they would be cutting service to my phone. My phone was an older 3g phone, and the provider is switching to 4 and 5g service only. It also meant that my service would be cut any day going forward. It makes you wonder if this is just the greedy phone companies forcing you to constantly buy a new phone.
I went with a pay as you go plan. I don’t use my phone for long conversations anyway, and it should be just fine.
My last phone wasn’t cheap, it cost nearly $1000. And because of that, I bought a cheaper phone this time around. It is a 4g phone, and I am told that 4g phones should be good for at least another decade. Let’s hope so!
Thank you for this helpful guide!
Having information and understanding your options really makes a huge difference when you want to buy a cell phone and get a new plan, otherwise it is so very easy to be confused by the sales rep. This can result in you purchasing an expensive phone with many features you will never use! I sincerely hope that your 4G phone stays around for the decade especially with the rate of technological advancements 🙂
Thanks for the read and insightful comment.
this is a very thorough description of choosing cell phone coverage for seniors, or anyone for that matter. But, especially for seniors who may not think about all of these various options to take into consideration when selecting a cell phone coverage plan. Great article!
Thanks for the read and comment Barbara!
This is a very informative article on which mobile package is best for seniors. It seems to me that the prepaid option is perhaps the best, but it is not bad to take unlimited. Mean today, older people also use video calls, the internet, and social networks. There are good offers, in any case, I”m sure this article will help many to find the right solution. I wish you good health 🙂
Thanks for the comment. Glad you found value in the article.
It’s great that there’s alot of options on phone packages for seniors. The pre-paid plan seems to be a great option moving forward so it’s catered towards each individual. This is a great article to recommend to seniors who really are not tech savvy.
Thanks for the read and comment Oliver!
Hi Ceci. Thanks for another great blog post. I didn’t know the by-the-gig option plan, to be honest. What seems like the best deal for seniors, is the family option. Imagining not every senior saved a lot of money, every cent saved can help. On the other hand, there is this risk when the relationship will get strained that one can be removed from such a plan, but I think this thinking could be applied to everything, right? Have a mortgage with your partner? Have a shared bank account? Paying college for your kid? It all can be subject to such dysfunction and eventual termination, but we should do our best and aim for the best, I think., Further, you wrote really great guide, with detailed options for seniors and their relatives to choose. Loved your post. Cheers
Thanks for the read and comment Julius!