Discounted Pre-Paid Plans on Cell Phones for Seniors

You don't need a smartphone, just a smart consumer


Cell phones are a necessity for many people, but were once considered a luxury to seniors.  Now seniors have cell phones for their main source of communications and for their children’s peace of mind.  Giving a telephone to elderly parents gives some assurance that children will be able to contract and check-up on parents. Pen Research Center stated 90% of Americans ages 18 to 49 have cell phone, 57% of senior 65 years and older have cell phone.  The percentage of the seniors is on the rise, because of the plans and simplicity of the phones.


When buying a cell phone, look for prepaid plans. As a senior you might not need the expensive contract-based plans.  Only purchase a style of phone you will use.  You probably won’t need an iPhone, Blackberry or Android smartphone.  Shop around for best deal. If you find one you like, write down the model number and walk in and out of stores checking prices.  Check for activation fee, some companies do not charge.  Check with AARP for discounts. Figure out how much you use a phone before choosing a plan.  Write down the minute usage for a few months, so you have some information to offer a sales person. 

You have several choices of plans



The Alliance for Generational Equality (AGE) did the research for people looking to purchase a cell phone.  Keep in mind there are many cell phones to choose from.  Once you have picked out the phone of your liking, you need to have a plan. The plan includes the service and the usage coverage for you.  How many minutes will you be using this phone? Will it be just for contract with your children? Will it be long distance calling? Is this the only telephone you will have?  These answers will help you determine the best deal for you.


 The top ‘pay as you go’ plans according to the research from AGE were: TracFone, Senior Value Cell (SVC) and Great Call.


Great Call is the providers of the very popular Jitterbug phone. They charge a $35.00 fee for set-up and $14.99 per month for 50 minutes.  The phone cost runs from $49.00 To $79.00  Nationwide coverage and no roaming fee accompany this plan. You have to notify Great Call if you cancel or change phones.  You are billed monthly for the plan.  This sounds like a contract, although they advertise no contract. You decide.


SVC has no activation fee and is the least expensive options for services.  You pay $7.00 per month.  They have an international calling program that includes 100 destinations.  The charge is 19.99 for 125 minutes per month


TracFone is another plan that charges $7.00 per month. Phones start as low as $14.99. They charge a $35.00 start up fee. Service includes international calls with a choice of 100 destinations.  The plan charges $10.00 a month for main service and $20.00 per month for 250 minutes.


Plans offered by other carriers

Once you have decided on a plan, you will need to pick a telephone to use. The choice of senior friendly phone is greater than you think. These phones are inexpensive, have larger buttons, larger number read-outs and can be hearing-aid compatible.

Samsung T155G has over sized keys, a large lighted screen, displays the minutes remaining on your plan, 911 calls are free, no billing, no contract, no activation fee, and a simple navigation system with Yes/No directions.

The Jitterbug plan uses the Samsung T155G phone designed with fewer function, larger buttons, larger print, good volume, and provides operator assistance. They have no time of day restriction. The charge per minute is higher than other plans.

AT&T has no special phones for senior, so if you already have a phone you can switch to this plan. Senior Nation 200 plan is for people 65 years and older. The plans allow 200 anytime minutes and 500 nights and week-end minutes per month. You get unlimited mobile to mobile calls, no long distance charges. There is a two year contract requirement.

Verizon also has their plan, Verizon Coupe, for seniors 65 years and older. Their special phone has three large programmable emergency buttons plus 911. They have a large keypad and speaker phone is an option. They charge $29.99 per month and require a two-year contract. The also offer 200 anytime minutes, 500 minutes on nights and week-ends, with no domestic long distance charges. Their phone can be web accessible, caller ID and voicemail.

You don't need to look at every single phone



These are great plans if you already have a phone and now because of age you are eligible for a discount on services. Shopping around could save you a bundle.

The cell phone is for you, so remember that when shopping.  Look for the features that are convenient for you, the plan the works for you and the plan that works in your area.


David Herman, spokesperson for AGE said, “And for seniors who are paying too much on pricey contract-based cell phone service and throwing away hundred of minutes a year, it’s a good time to think about switching to a cheaper prepaid plan.”


Shopping around will be the key to your success. Don’t let the number of phones, or the number of plans, or the number of additional features scare you. Decide before you fo exactly what you need.  Tell the salesperson, ‘this is what I’m looking for.’ This is eliminating 75% of the options, leaving you with a clear direction.  



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Comments 21 comments

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train4life 6 years ago

It's kind of sad that there are so many seniors that still don't own a cell phone. If it's not going to be their main source of communication, just calls and an occasional text message, then something like a Senior Value Cellphone is ideal. What really caught my attention about the phone is that it has a simple navigation system with Yes/No directions. There's no contract required and no activation fee like some of the other so called senior phones. My only issue is that I'm not quite a "senior" yet, so would this be a bad move on my part?

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Dianemae 6 years ago Author

No, not a bad move on your part. You can still get the phone, you would probably have to pay more. But well worth it, if it is the phone you want and can understand.

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Maria Gonsalves 6 years ago

I've been looking for a phone for my elderly mother and been finding out about the varios available economical plans , her hands shake a little and the bigger the keys on the phone the better. I found the Tracfone to be the cheapest with regards to their plans and the phone. As my mom doesn't use the phone allot it's great that on the Tracfone plans your minutes and service days roll over so that you don't waste what you pay for.

I'm only 52 but I think I would also prefer to have the T155G Tracfone SVC with its bigger buttons and larger screen letters as I've always got to put my glasses on to make a call on my regular cell phone.

Buy the way I find the start up fee of $35 on some prepaid plans a bit much for seniors to have to pay as allot of them battle to make ends meet, can't they ask for exemtion on this cost?

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Dianemae 6 years ago Author

Thanks for your comments. I too, like the large buttons. The T155G is very popular. Enjoy your phones.

Tina 6 years ago

The cell phone I bought for my aging mom is the Just5 cell phone. This is a very simple phone with very practical features, and very reasonable rates. This provider really offers great deal to their consumers as each minute only cost $.10. The minutes also expire in 90 days and when the minutes are refilled, they will rollover to another 90 days. With this, my mom can only spend as low as $3.33 a month for the cheapest minute plan. This provider also offers an unlimited plan so my mom can adjust her plans to her needs.

pipthepost 6 years ago

The best deal that I could find on a phone was the Tracfone Senior Value Cell (SVC). The handset cost only $15 - this is a basic and uncomplicated user friendly phone with larger buttons for my mom to see easily. The service costs $7 a month. a really fantstic service for seniorsto have

janey 7654 6 years ago

Hi, I am thinking about getting a Straight Talk cell for my mom who is getting older and I would like to hook her up with a way of communicating in case of emergency. Has anyone heard of them? For about $45/month it is unlmited everything and I think it is available at wal-mart...

Dianemae 6 years ago

I haven't heard of it, but sounds like a trip to wal-mart is in your future.

rover 6 years ago

the tracfone svc

rover 6 years ago

the tracfone svc has been a transformation in my mother's life. She refused to get a cell phone as she said that it was all too comlicated for her to try and use a handset. Well, that was until I showed her the SVC. She was so impressed on the simple to use handset that she was immediately sold. For me it is great having her connected now as I feel that she can always get out of a sticky situation by using her phone. lol

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Zikopath 6 years ago

@ janey 7654, straight talk is a susidiary of tracfone. They specialize with really big plans, like the unlimited one you speak of. Their handsets are a bit more expensive than tracfone's basic phones, but you'll be doing your mother a major favor if you were buying it, and if she spends loads of time on the phone. I don't think the samsung t155 is available on straight talk though, and when they speak of unlimited, remember it is limited to not streaming, or watching tubes online.

Dianemae 6 years ago

There seems to be the right phone for everyone out there.

Paul 6 years ago

I think that senior value cellphone offers a very affordable and doable plan if you are a senior. My grandparents both are on svc's and they say that it is the best service that they have ever had. I think they pay around 10 dollars a month or something but still amazing....

Dianemae 6 years ago

Just being able to keep in contact with parents/grandparents gives such peace of mind to all.

Judy 6 years ago

@Dianemae Hi there, nice informative hub, but just to clarify something with regards to your info received on Tracfone and SVC. They are one and the same product. SVC just advertises a phone that is really senior friendly (possibly so that they don't miss it?), but otherwise available to the general public too(at the same price). Your article states that Tracfone charges a start up fee-they don't. The $7/month for the SVC comes from Tracfones $20/90 days airtime card-just calculated per month. There is international calling from both to 100 destinations at the same rate as a local call. I will be honest, it took me some time when my dad first showed interest, to find the info on SVC, as, at that stage it was new and not many knew much about it. SVC has it's own website-seniorvaluecellphone(dot)com if anyone needs clarity, as I did.

peter 6 years ago

Great plan for seniors. There is a competitor out ther calle d the jitter but its a lot more expensive for not as good service. Im glad my parents made the swith to the svc phone. They are saving money and getting better service can't ask for much more than that.

Yilly 5 years ago

@ Judy the SVC website is merely a bunch of links that take you back to tracfone's website. Which isn't entirely a bad thing, and as you said, it cleared things up for me - the SVC plan is just an ordinary tracfone plan. It bodes well if you wanted a CDMA version of the SVC phone.

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yangty 5 years ago

SVC from Tracfone is just a way to save and have a great cellphone at the same time. My grandmother believed that only her landline was enough, until that broke and she could not call anyone, not even the company to come and fix her landline. Now, she took the landline away, she is saving, and is very glad she got an SVC for her all-time-use. She was very glad I told her to just check it out.

Billy 5 years ago

@Yilly, yeah SVC is apart of TracFone but just with phones and plans specifically designed for seniors. It's great for my parents because its really cheap for the minutes, but also for the phone so they dont have to worry about taking too much care of it or replacing it. Not only that but the phone is designed so well that even in distress my mom could operate the phone efficiently.

Francis 5 years ago

I am trying to find a phone for my grandpa and Im finding it difficult to decide between phones and providers. Sounds like SVC is the best option that Ive seen, assuming my grandpa doesn't want to talk a whole lot on his phone. Any idea where I could check these out or if they are going to come out with a senior friendly smartphone?

Mike Lintro 2 years ago

I am glad there are so many affordable options out there for cell phones. Most people think you have to pay at least $50 to get any sort of service. But the truth is, you can buy an old phone, and have a very cheap service. I only use my phone in emergencies. Thanks for comparing all the plans side by side. I can never decide what company to go with. Doing a quick Google search usually help me decide. That is how I found this article after all.

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