The best cell phone plans for seniors are the ideal way for older people to stay connected in the modern world. Gone are the days where grandpa could grumpily refuse to own a cell phone on account of his age – these days, pretty much everyone needs to be connected in some way, whether it’s to speak to the grandkids or to find out just where that Amazon package has got to. Whether you’re a senior citizen yourself, or you’re organising a cell phone plan for an older family member or friend, these are the best cell phone plans for seniors we’ve found from all the major providers.
Happily, many of the leading cell phone providers offer discounted plans for senior citizens – commonly over-50s or over-55s. If you or your loved one have served in the military then you may also be able to take advantage of veterans’ discounts that some services offer, and there are also discounts on the table for AARP members. We’ve included all these options in our guide, as well as some cell phone plans that aren’t for seniors specifically, but offer tremendous value for anyone.
The details vary from plan to plan, but we’ve endeavored to provide options that all offer fast 5G internet and plenty of calls and texts. Everyone’s needs are different of course, so it’s worth shopping around (some providers like US Mobile offer highly customizable plans, which could be worth looking into if you know exactly what you’re likely to need). If you need a phone as well as a plan, check out our guide to the best smartphones, and we also have a more general guide to the best cell phone providers.
Best cell phone plans for seniors
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We've rounded up the best cell phone plans for seniors to help you find the right package for you. We've taken into account the type of coverage offered, price and customer satisfaction to help make your purchasing decision as easy as possible.
The best cell phone plans for seniors
Since its merger with Sprint, T-Mobile has become one of the networks offering most comprehensive coverage across the US.
T-Mobile has an average rating of 2.4/5 on the independent customer review site consumeraffairs.com. This may sound rather low, but it's worth noting that cell phone providers tend to score low on these types of sites, as people generally only log on to review when things have gone badly. It's worth noting that from reading the reviews, the more positive ones have generally gone to an in-person store to conduct their business, with one senior user describing phone shopping with her grandson as the "best service, best experience we ever could have had." So, an in-person visit could be the way to go.
It’s this combined with its dedicated plans for over-55s that makes it our pick for offering the best cell phone plans for seniors. T-Mobile’s plans are available in three variants – Essentials 55+, Magenta 55+ and Magenta MAX 55+, priced respectively at $55, $70 and $90 per month.
Those prices may sound high, but it’s important to note that all these plans are for two lines, meaning they’re best suited to a couple rather than a single person. Effectively you’re paying either $27.50, $35 or $45 per line, which is a bit more reasonable. The Essentials plan provides the basics seniors are likely to need, including unlimited talk, text and smartphone data, as well as 5G access, while the more advanced plans throw in some desirable extras, including a year of AAA membership, Netflix, Apple TV+ and more.
Also, something that’s important to know is that Magenta and Magenta MAX 55+ plans include taxes and fees, while the Essentials 55+ plan doesn’t. So it’s not quite as cheap as it first appears – the exact final figure you’ll pay may vary depending on what state you’re located in.
Whichever plan you get, however, T-Mobile offers some fantastic features for seniors. Having super-fast 5G coverage across the country means you’re more or less guaranteed fast mobile internet. We also especially appreciate that T-Mobile’s advanced scam-blocking protection is included with every plan, which helps detect and block scam calls before they reach the user.
Many senior citizens across the US have discovered the benefits of being a member of AARP – formerly known as the American Association of Retired Persons.
Looking on sites like Trustpilot initially paints a pretty dire picture of AT&T's service, with an average score of 1.3 out of 5, and many dissatisfied users citing slow customer service as the reason for their anger. Once again, many of the positive reviews mention visiting a brick-and-mortar location and talking with a staff member. An older customer in Rome, GA described how a staff member patiently took her through the process of setting up her new iPhone.
One such benefit is that some companies reserve their senior discounts for AARP members, including AT&T, who offer AARP members some enticing benefits on regular cell phone plans.
Let AT&T know that you’re an AARP member (it’s easy and inexpensive to join if you’re over 50) and AT&T can offer you a number of benefits, including $100 in credits per line, a $10 / month discount on AT&T Unlimited Premium, and a number of waived activation/upgrade fees. While AT&T is nominally one of the more expensive cell plan options, all this goes a long way towards making it more tempting. Also, AT&T offers further discounts for veterans, so if you or a senior in your life have served in the military, it could be a great one to pick.
As far as the actual cell plans go, AT&T has a few options, from a basic plan that still has 5G data included, to the aforementioned unlimited plan that also throws in the tempting extra of HBO Max. In terms of coverage and speed, AT&T consistently scores well with independent testers, sometimes beating out T-Mobile in terms of sheer speed – though T-Mobile does have more comprehensive 5G coverage.
Scoring well on independent customer review sites like Consumer Affairs, AT&T is a pricier but reliable choice of cell plan provider for seniors. And if you can sweeten the pot by making use of one of those discounts – all the better.
Let’s face it – shopping for a new cell phone plan can be a real headache.
Like AT&T, Visible scores a pretty painful 1.3 out of 5 on Trustpilot. A lot of the dissatisfied users are clearly irritated at the lack of customer service interaction options, so if you can already feel your blood pressure rising at the thought of wrestling with a live chat, this might not be the one for you. On the plus side, positive reviewers praise the value for money the service offers, and many are pleased with their mobile internet speeds and coverage.
One of the reasons we put guides like this one together is because we know how frustrating it can be to have to sift through different tariffs and plans to try and find one that will save you money – and this can be doubly true for seniors. That’s one of the reasons we like Visible so much – it’s a cell phone provider that keeps things simple, with just two plan options. You can get the basics for $25 per month, or add on extra features like 5G Ultra Wideband and international texting/calling for $35 per month – all fees and taxes included in both cases. Could scarcely be simpler!
Visible runs on the Verizon 5G network, which is the highest-rated 5G and 4G provider across the US – what this translates to is fast, comprehensive coverage across the US. It’s worth noting that Visible’s status as a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) on Verizon means that its customers won’t get as high priority as Verizon’s when it comes to busy network times, which can mean a slower connection.
Visible also keeps its costs low by doing away with call centres and in-person stores – so you or the senior you’re buying the plan for will need to be comfortable using a 24/7 online support chat for troubleshooting. As long as this isn’t an issue, Visible is a great low-cost, low-aggro cell plan provider for seniors.
All seniors are different, and while it may be something of a stereotype that seniors looking for cell phone plans are simply looking for the simplest thing possible, this isn’t going to be the case for everyone.
Now here's a turn-up for the books! US Mobile scores brilliantly on Trustpilot, with an average score of 4.8 out of 5 from more than 3,000 reviews at time of writing. Pleased customers cite responsive service from knowledgeable reps, as well as all-around speed and competence as the reason for their high scores. On consumeraffairs.com the average score is a bit lower, at 2.2 out of 5, with some users citing poor coverage.
So, if you or a senior in your life are the sort of person who likes to review options and pick out exactly the right plan for their needs, US Mobile is going to be a fantastic choice.
Its highly customisable plans let the user specify exactly how much data and how many minutes they want per month – which is great if you’re going to use your plan in a highly specialised way. Only planning to make calls? Only pay for calls. Want a phone to surf the web and nothing else? Construct a data-only plan. Also, for those who want something simpler, there’s a straightforward $35 / mo unlimited plan that gives you everything in one package.
Another MVNO, US Mobile is a newer network that piggybacks off both Verizon and T-Mobile. This means you’re well catered-for when it comes to speed and coverage, as long as you don’t mind sitting behind customers of those networks when things get busy.
Mint Mobile is one of the newer providers on the block, but it’s a fast-growing company, and has won accolades in the past couple of years for its affordable prices and high standard of service.
Mint Mobile has a pretty good rep by cell provider standards, with an average Trustpilot rating of 3.3 out of 5. Also, unlike the other providers on this list, representatives from Mint Mobile can be seen engaging with negative reviews and offering to investigate and resolve customer complaints, though they mostly just direct people to the customer service line. Positive reviewers cite good coverage, fast speeds and impressive savings compared to bigger providers like Verizon.
Mint is an MVNO, running off the T-Mobile network, and its speed and coverage standards are accordingly very good indeed. Also, happily for seniors, Mint offers a dedicated over-55s plan.
The basic plan, giving you unlimited calls and texts, and 4GB of 46 LTE or 5G data, costs just $15 per month. This is likely going to be plenty for many seniors, and only those who think they’re going to be using the internet a lot when out and about are realistically going to brush up against that 4GB limit. Check your own usage on your device – it’s quite likely it’s not all that much more than 1GB per month, and if that’s the case, you could potentially save money every month with a lower-data plan like Mint’s.
This won’t work for everyone of course, but for seniors who want to make a saving on their cell phone plan, the Mint Mobile Over-55s is a very credible option indeed.
How to choose the best cell phone plans for seniors
Picking the best cell phone plan for seniors involves doing much of the same thinking as it would for anyone. How much is this phone going to be used, and what is it going to be used for? Is the user going to need calls, texts, internet or all three? Do they need a phone handset as well, or do they have one already that they want to keep the number for? When they need technical support, do they want to be able to talk to someone on the phone, or visit a store, or chat online?
Here are a few more things you may want to think about when picking the best cell phone plan for seniors.
1. Price and usage
Naturally, this is a concern whenever you buy anything – but considering the fact that a cell phone plan is something you're going to go on paying for indefinitely, it pays to do some research and make sure you're getting the best value for money. Using one of the senior or veterans discounts included in our guide above is a great place to start. However, another potentially handy thing to think about is usage monitoring – something that Mint Mobile particularly advocates. If you or the senior citizen in your life is paying for 5GB of data per month but barely using 1GB, then there are definitely potential savings to be had.
Naturally everyone is different, and we certainly wouldn't want to suggest this for all seniors. However, it's probably not a stretch of credulity to say that many senior citizens will likely prefer a cell phone plan that's straightforward, where it's clearly explained what they're paying for each month and why they're paying it. This is one of the things we love about Visible; while they don't offer a senior discount, this is partly because their whole offering is built around an incredibly simple, easy-to-understand, one-size-fits-all pricing structure.
3. Plans for multiple people
Many of the plans on our list offer discounted rates for multiple lines, so there are definitely savings to be made for seniors who want to buddy up with someone on their cell phone plan. These are great for married couples naturally, but there's no reason why friends, siblings or other relations can't also take advantage of a chance to save a few dollars.
Cell phone coverage is less of a dicey prospect than it used to be, with all the major networks now offering comprehensive coverage across the vast majority of the US. Nevertheless, there are still gaps, so it's always worth checking that your area is covered by a network before purchasing a plan. Most will have coverage details on their website, though you can also check out our guide to the best cell phone providers, which includes coverage maps for all our recommendations.