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Friday, March 8, 2024

Best Phone Plans for Seniors 2024

One thing nearly all older adults have to spend money on is a phone plan. Here’s what to look for, including price, and some of the best options.

If you haven’t already reviewed your phone plan for 2024, it’s time to take a moment and make sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck. Don’t just keep the same plan year after year. Like home and car insurance, your phone plan is something you should review annually because your needs change, and so do plans and prices. Most every carrier now lets you keep your phone number, too.

How Much Data Do I Need?

If you’re unsure about your data usage, here are some rough guidelines. 
  • Calling and texting only: no data needed
  • Emailing and messaging: less than 5G of data per month
  • Social media and browsing the Web: 5G per month
  • Streaming music: 10G a month
  • Streaming high-definition video: at least 10G per month
Some carriers do offer plans specifically for seniors. However, you’ll have to do your homework to see if that’s best for you. They may only be offered in one state, or another plan may better fit your needs. 

How to Pick a Plan

There are four criteria to consider before choosing the plan that’s right for you:
  1. Usage. Do you use your phone for calls and texts only, or are you checking social media and diving into apps away from home? If you’re out of Wi-Fi range, you’ll need a data allowance for playing games, using your news app, browsing the internet and a whole lot more. Check your current plan to find out how much data you use per month.
  2. Coverage. There are three major carriers for service: Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile. Almost every plan is from one of these, even if they pony off their network. It’s important to know which one has the best coverage in your area, especially  if you’re in a  more rural place. Ask your neighbors which one they use and if they’re happy with the service. You can also check local coverage below. Most networks are 4G, but major cities often offer 5G, which is a bit faster. To use 5G, you must have a compatible phone.
  3. Budget. While it’s somewhat true that you get what you pay for, there are a couple of caveats. First, you may not really need an unlimited data plan. Most seniors don’t, and you’ll just be paying for something you don’t use. Additionally, there are plenty of companies that piggyback off of the Big 3 for a lower price. Don’t be afraid to use one of them if it can save you money.
  4. Bundling. Alas, nothing is easy these days and that includes some phone plans, but it could be to your advantage. Many companies offer bundled plans, or phone plans that may include streaming services, possibly a discount on internet service and even a medical alert service. One plan below promises to block spam and robocalls. Check out these options and compare prices.

Best Phone Plans for Seniors

Now that you know what you’re looking for, here are seven great phone companies with plans to appeal to older adults.

Mint Mobile uses the T-Mobile network to save you a lot of money. Six-month plans range from $15 per month for 5G of data to $30 per month for unlimited data. They also offer several more plans between these two price points. 

Tello works off the T-Mobile network and offers 35G of high-speed data with free hotspot and Wi-Fi calling for just $25 a month. Their 2G plan is just $10, and 5G is $15 per month. Plus, they don’t require a contract; just pay month by month.

US Mobile runs on the Verizon and T-Mobile networks, and has unlimited data, talk and text starting at $23 a month, taxes and fees included. You could also elect the 2G of shared data plan with unlimited talk and text for $10 per month. US Mobile also offers unlimited US and international calling on your existing landline for $9.99 per month.

Jitterbug is a phone network and flip phone specifically for older adults. The hardware features bigger buttons, while you can opt for a medical alert feature (some people may already have this on their smartphone or smart watch). Jitterbug also partners with ride-sharing company Lyft to make getting a ride super simple. Cost ranges from $19.99 to $49.99 per month.

Verizon Unlimited offers phone plans on the largest network bundled with various movies, songs, and sports providers. For instance, for $55 a line you get unlimited service bundled with Netflix and Max if you need 4 lines. They even have plans that will save on your internet in some areas. 

Verizon Prepaid is perfect for the senior who wants to be on the Verizon network and doesn’t mind setting up autopay (to save $10 per month). For just $35 you can get 15G of data, unlimited talk and text, and you can use your phone as a mobile hotspot. 

Visible Wireless piggybacks onto the Verizon network. For $25 per month, you’ll get unlimited data, talk and text with spam and robocall blocking, unlimited use of your phone as a mobile hotspot, and unlimited talk and text to Mexico and Canada. The spam block may be worth $25 all by itself, especially for older folks.