Cell phones have become a necessity in today’s world. It’s extremely difficult to manage your day-to-day tasks and errands without one, and rightly so, as they’ve become mini handheld computers on which you can accomplish almost anything. As the demands of users increase, along with the need for video calls, camera quality, and increased screen size, the user-friendliness of cell phones can decline. Since this could be a turn-off for senior citizens, more and more cell phone network providers are coming out with plans that are tailor-made to attract them.
Some of the main uses that adults over the age of 50 look for in a cell phone is its ability to make voice and video calls, as typically their main use is to conduct business and keep in touch with family and friends. User friendliness and screen size were also important factors. In a campaign to expand the number of seniors using a cell phone, the market has responded with several cell phone plans that specifically cater to their needs. We’ve identified a few of the best ones below.
According to a study conducted by the PEW Research Center in 2018, 94% of adults in the US between the ages of 50 and 64 owned a cell phone but only 73% of those had a smart phone. Just 85% of adults 65 and older used any sort of cell phone at all.1
Sprint has put together a pretty impressive deal for those who are 55 and older; it is one of the newer additions to all of the choices that are available. There is a qualification process, but if you qualify, you’ll be able to receive unlimited talk time, texts, and data for two phone lines for only $80.00 plus service charges and taxes. If you need only one line, the discount on your service is slightly smaller at $55.00 a month.
Negative aspects of this plan are that even though the savings are nice, video and music screening is capped in quality. So, if you’re planning on using your phone to watch Netflix or listen to music streaming sites like Pandora, you may experience subpar quality and other issues. You can add an additional $10.00 fee a month to your phone bill for improved speeds. Another tricky addition to their plan can only be found in the fine print and that is that Sprint holds the right to slow your data speeds during busy periods of traffic on their network.
Funnily enough T-Mobile’s cell phone plans for seniors is almost exact to Sprints’. They also provide a discounted rate of $80.00 for two phone lines with unlimited talk, text, and data, and $55.00 for the same plan on a single line. That being said, it is slightly cheaper than Sprint because all service charges, fees, and taxes are included within those flat monthly costs.
Also, unlike Sprint, T-Mobile’s cell phone plan does not include the right to slow down data speeds just because their network is busy. Their only restriction on data is that your speed will be throttled if you use more than 50 gigs of data per month; that is enforced on all of their plans across the board and not just their senior cell phone plans.
Verizon offers an over 55 plan which they call “Go Unlimited”. It is slightly pricier than Sprint and T-Mobile as they charge $65.00 for one line per month and $90.00 for two. Negatives include that they also reserve the right to cap your data speeds during busier times on their network and that the plan is currently only available to those who reside in Florida. Additionally, AT&T gives discounts if you’re a member of the AARP; these may not be advertised in the store so be sure to ask when signing up. As cell phone service providers realize that senior citizens make up for a major percentage of the untapped market in the industry, we’re sure that they’ll come up with more plans.
Seniors should constantly be shopping around for the best cell phone plans available. Switching carriers every few years can save hundreds or even thousands thanks to "New Customer" bonuses. If you're interested in finding the offers available in your area, start a search today.
Sources: https://www.pewinternet.org/fact-sheet/mobile/, https://www.pewinternet.org/2017/05/17/technology-use-among-seniors/, https://www.aginginplace.org/cellphone-guide-for-seniors/