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.