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- Pay as you go — no contracts required
- Consumer Cellular uses AT&T and T-Mobile’s cellular networks
- Ranked No. 1 in customer satisfaction by J.D. Power, Consumer Reports and ASCI
- Offers discounts for AARP members
Serving 3.75 million customers, primarily in the 50+ demographic, Consumer Cellular continues to grow in popularity. Utilizing AT&T and T-Mobile’s voice and data networks, the company provides nationwide coverage to 99% of the U.S. population.
Offering cellphone plans without a contract, you’ll pay for what you use each month without incurring any overage or roaming charges. While Consumer Cellular’s plans are priced competitively against other wireless providers, they do carry lower prices than postpaid plans from AT&T and Verizon. You also will receive top-rated customer service per J.D. Power, something that can be lacking at larger carriers.
While Consumer Cellular offers a range of devices, from flip phones to the latest iPhones, you won’t see much savings on them. Unlike postpaid carriers that offer the latest devices for free when you sign a long-term contract, Consumer Cellular charges you for the phone upfront or through long-term financing.
Consumer Cellular phones
Unlike other postpaid carriers, Consumer Cellular doesn’t offer many deals on new phones, although it periodically offers special savings on specific models.
At Consumer Cellular, you can choose from more than 20 phones, ranging from flip phones to the latest iPhone and Samsung Galaxy devices. For seniors who don’t want to do a lot of research on devices, this is a decent selection without being overwhelming, unlike the much larger inventory of 40 to 60 devices available from AT&T and Verizon.
Here’s how Consumer Cellular’s prices compare on some of the top phones:
|Phone||Consumer Cellular||Retail price|
|Apple iPhone 12||$830||$800|
|Apple iPhone 12 Pro||$1,000||$1,000|
|Apple iPhone 11||$600||$600|
|Apple iPhone SE||$250||$400|
|Apple iPhone XR||$450||$500|
|Samsung Galaxy S20||$800||$1,000|
|Samsung Galaxy Note20 5G||$800||$1,000|
Prices updated 11/05/20
Generally speaking, Consumer Cellular’s cellphone prices are on par with those of Sprint and T-Mobile, but, in most cases, are more than AT&T and Verizon. However, unlike with those carriers, you won’t have to sign a long-term contract to get a new phone.
Most phones from Consumer Cellular can be financed through EasyPay by making a down payment at the time of purchase and paying the remaining balance due on your monthly bill in a predetermined number of interest-free installments. The down payment amount, installment payment amount and number of installments depends on the cost of the phone.
Consumer Cellular protection plans
You can sign up for a protection plan starting at $2/mo., depending on the phone you select. Protection includes cracked screens, broken internal parts, spills in water and mechanical and electrical failures. Some plans include a deductible. These plans are not available for iPhones. Instead, Consumer Cellular recommends you sign up for AppleCare+.
Consumer Cellular plans
Consumer Cellular’s plans are straightforward without any extras.
Consumer Cellular offers five plans, all with unlimited talk and text. Your options are:
All plans include unlimited talk and text. Pricing per month plus taxes. Additional fees and terms may apply. As of 11/05/20.
Consumer Cellular permits up to three lines per account, with each additional line billed at $15/mo., per line. Every line shares minutes, texts and data according to the monthly plan you choose; if you need more or less talk and data, you can change your plan at any time without fees or penalties.
If you go over your monthly plan for minutes or data, Consumer Cellular automatically upgrades you to a plan that covers your usage so you aren’t charged overage fees. You will remain on this plan unless you change it during the next billing cycle.
For unlimited plans, your speed may be throttled after 35GB of use, resulting in slower speeds for the remainder of your billing period.
How do Consumer Cellular’s prices compare?
Consumer Cellular’s unlimited talk and text plans are competitively priced compared to other wireless plans for similar plans. However, you don’t have to sign a long-term contract or pay in advance. You can pay as you go, and adjust your plan as needed without incurring additional fees or penalties.
|Carrier||Price per GB*||4GB or less||5-9GB||10-25GB||Unlimited|
|Mint Mobile**||$3.19||$15 (3GB)||$20 (8GB)||$25 (12GB)||$30|
|Metro by T-Mobile||$4.00||–||–||$40 (10GB)||$50-$60|
|Net10||$4.24||$20 (2GB)||$35 (5GB)||$40 (10GB)|
|Straight Talk Wireless||$4.40||–||$35 (5GB)||$45 (25GB)||$55|
|T-Mobile||$5.50||$15 (2GB)||$25 (5GB)||$40 (10GB)||$50-$85|
|Boost Mobile||$5.80||$10 (1GB)|
|$25 (5GB)||$35 (10GB)|
|Verizon||$8.75||–||$55 (5GB)||$65 (10GB)||$65-$90|
|Credo Mobile||$9.15||$50 (3GB)||$55 (9GB)||$70 (15GB)||$70|
|Cricket Wireless||$9.50||$30 (2GB)||–||$40 (10GB)||$55-$60|
|Republic Wireless||$9.75||$20 (1GB) $25 (2GB) $30 (3GB) $35 (4GB)||$40 (5GB) $45 (6GB) $50 (7GB) $55 (8GB) $60 (9GB)||$65 (10GB) $75 (12GB) $90 (15GB)||–|
|AT&T||$10.00||$30 (2GB)||$40 (8GB)||–||$50-$85|
|Consumer Cellular||$16.83||$25 (0.5GB) $30 (3GB)||–||$40 (10GB) $50 (15GB)||$60|
*Unlimited plans not factored in.
**Introductory rates, also available with 12-month renewal
All plans include unlimited talk and text. Pricing per month plus taxes. Additional fees and terms may apply. As of 11/06/20.
Consumer Cellular deals
Unlike other wireless carriers, Consumer Cellular doesn’t offer a lot of deals to entice you to sign up.
Although Consumer Cellular doesn’t offer much in the way of deals for signing up, as an approved AARP provider, it does offer AARP members a 5% discount on service and usage each month, plus a 30% discount on accessories.
Consumer Cellular also offers referral rewards when you recommend their service to your family and friends. If they sign up, you both receive a $10 invoice credit. There is no limit to how many referral rewards you can receive.
Consumer Cellular coverage
Consumer Cellular uses AT&T and T-Mobile’s networks, which offer reliable coverage and speed.
Consumer Cellular customers will receive coverage from AT&T or T-Mobile, depending on what type of phone you’re using and what’s available in your area. Both networks receive strong marks for reliability and speed, meaning you should have consistent service.
|Ookla Consistency Score||73.8%||79.7%||79.2%|
|RootMetrics Overall Performance||94.8||93.2||86.9|
|OpenSignal 4G Coverage Experience||9.7||9.3||8.7|
|Consumer Reports Data Score||Good||Fair||Very good|
|Consumer Reports Reception Score||Good||Poor||Good|
How is Consumer Cellular’s 5G network?
Because Consumer Cellular uses AT&T and T-Mobile’s networks, it doesn’t have a good outlook for 5G service right now. In OpenSignal’s tests, AT&T and T-Mobile ranked in the bottom two spots of the wireless carriers tested. However, according to Speedtest, when looking at tests on all 5G-capable devices, AT&T and T-Mobile were the two fastest networks.
How does Consumer Cellular compare to other prepaid phone companies?
Across the board, Consumer Cellular leads other prepaid carriers thanks to affordable unlimited plans, pay-as-you-go service and no contracts.
|Company||Consumer Reports Reader Score||J.D. Power Purchase Experience||ACSI Score|
|Metro by T-Mobile||83||843||74|
Consumer Cellular customer service
You can reach Consumer Cellular a few ways:
- Phone: 888.345.5509
- Online chat
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/consumercellular
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/consumer_cell
Consumer Cellular FAQs
Who owns Consumer Cellular?
Consumer Cellular was founded in 1995 by John Marick and Greg Pryor, who still own the company.
How much is the AARP discount for Consumer Cellular?
Consumer Cellular offers AARP members a 5% discount on monthly service and usage and a 30% discount on accessories.
What network does Consumer Cellular use?
Consumer Cellular uses the networks of AT&T and T-Mobile.
Should you switch to Consumer Cellular?
If you want straightforward, affordable wireless service on a reliable network with high-quality customer service, Consumer Cellular is the right choice for you. You can choose from a number of cellphones, including the latest iPhones, and pay as you go without signing a long-term contract. In addition, you’ll never pay any overage or roaming charges.
*Originally written 08/28/20. Last updated 11/05/20.
By Karon Warren
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