Consumer Cellular is a carrier that doesn't really ring a bell to many ears, but that is because, like the senior citizen-focused provider GreatCall, the cellular service's focal demographic is senior citizens. However, Consumer Cellular offers fairly competitive deals that are great on a budget when compared to the other MVNOs like Straight Talk.
Within this guide, you'll find information regarding the Consumer Cellular phone plans, including the family cell phone plans, customer support, coverage map, and more. We've compiled everything you need to know into an easy to read article that should clear up any confusion if you've ever visited their website.
Finally, you'll be directed to our cell phone plan comparison tool, to help you decide whether or not the available Consumer Cellular phone plans are right for you.
In This Guide
Compare Consumer Cellular Plans
Consumer Cellular offers monthly talk plans, as well as text and data (otherwise known as "connect") plans, so the talk and text aren't bundled so much as data and text. Once you select a Consumer Cellular service talk plan, you must then select a connect plan (or simply choose no connect plan). The cheapest plan is the Billed Per Use plan, which begins at a cheap fee but contains no included minutes.
You must pay for minutes as you use them. Unfortunately, it's 25 cents per minute, which can rack up if you're a talker. In that case, it's best to opt for a more stable cellphone plan.
The phone services that are included with every prepay cell phone plan are text and picture messaging, web browsing, altering services, and the option for sharing (family plan).
Consumer Cellular offers prepaid, no-contract plans. They talk feature nationwide calling and run between 250 minutes and 4000 minutes, though you can always select the unlimited talk plan, which is less enticing for tech savvy users hoping for a more extravagant unlimited data plan. Nevertheless, this form of unlimited plan is fantastic for those who only desire unlimited talk.
You can change your no-contract plan at any time without penalties or surprises. So if you need more minutes, simply switch plans. Need fewer minutes? Downgrade! However, if you manage to exceed the minutes, the service will automatically upgrade you to the next level monthly plan, eliminating the need for overage fees.
As far as Connect Plans go, text and data amounts range from 300 texts and 30MB of data to unlimited texts and 5GB of data, so you have one type of unlimited plan in your arsenal (even if not unlimited data, but hey, unlimited text).
Once you exceed the maximum amount of data, you will be charged an additional $10 for every GB used. What is unique to the phone service is that the maximum amount of data in any billing cycle is 10GB, so if you reach the amount, your data use will be automatically suspended until the beginning of the next billing cycle.
Read More: You can compare and learn more about prepaid cell phone plans by reading our buyer's guide.
Somewhat similar to the family plans belonging to the big four networks, you can share your minutes, text, and data through the Consumer Cellular wireless Family Share plan. The plan is flexible and low-cost, complete with free calls between all phones on the same account. Family members can be added for just $10 per month per line to any plan.
Consumer Cellular does feature unlimited talk and text plans alongside its limited plans, but there is no unlimited data service. While unlimited talk and text are great, you may have a hankering for data, so you may want to opt for a truly unlimited data plan.
What Phones Can I Get With Consumer Cellular?
So what does Consumer Cellular offer in its device arsenal?
Consumer Cellular wireless sells its own simple flip phones, dubbed the Consumer Cellular 101 and Doro PhoneEasy 626, for cheap prices. While the Consumer Cellular 101 bears simple-to-use features, the PhoneEasy 626 takes convenience a step further, featuring a bright and colorful main display screen, big, easy-to-read and raised buttons with large print, and high volume levels and speakerphone.
On a surprising note, Consumer Cellular also offers the latest iPhone and Samsung Galaxy phones. Additionally, you'll find other Android phones as well. With that being said, the provider also allows consumers to pay using EasyPay, which is simply a finance option.
Related: Use our smartphone comparison tool to review the specs and features of the phones Consumer Cellular offers.
Is cell phone insurance worth it? Whether or not you're interested in phone insurance, you should know that Consumer Cellular features two types of protection plans - SquareTrade for flip phones and Android phones and AppleCare+ for iPhones - which vary in price depending on the phone.
SquareTrade ranges between $2 per month to $6 (+$50 deductible) per month. SquareTrade covers phone drops, spills, mechanical failures, and electrical failures. You must add the SquareTrade protection plan to the device within 30 days of a new device purchase. After filing a claim, you'll receive your replacement device within two business days.
The AppleCare+, on the other hand, extends repair coverage and technical support to two years from the original purchase date of your iPhone. It also adds coverage for up to two incidents of accidental damage. That being said, you will face a service fee of $29 for screen damage or $99 for any other type of damage. However, you will receive 24/7 priority access to Apple experts via chat or phone through Apple's support page.
How to Activate Your Device
To activate a phone with Consumer Cellular, you can access the site's activation page. You must have your activation code on hand, which is located on the back of the box of your phone.
If you need help with activation, you can always dial Customer Support at 888-533-6942.
Sometimes you may need another SIM card, which contains your subscriber data (you can learn more about the SIM card here). However, you may want to simply bring your own phone to Consumer Cellular, which is completely possible.
Fortunately, you can obtain a Consumer Cellular SIM card for free, which is compatible with an AT&T, T-Mobile, or unlocked GSM phone. If you're unsure of how to unlock your phone, we can walk you through the steps with our guide to unlocking your cell phone.
Deals, Promotions & Discounts
Consumer Cellular doesn't have the most glamorous rewards program, but it does certainly have some deals. For instance, it might promote $20 of Joy - this promotion provides customers with a $20 invoice credit when you sign up with Consumer Cellular between November 15 and December 31.
Consumer Cellular also features discounts for AARP members, as well as a Referral Rewards program. With Referral Rewards, customers need to refer a friend to the service and you'll both receive $10. Furthermore, if you're an AARP member, you'll receive some pretty nifty discounts, so you may want to take advantage of Consumer Cellular due to high affordability.
Consumer Cellular Coverage
The Consumer Cellular coverage map blankets 99 percent of the nation, utilizing all four big networks, meaning the T-Mobile network, the Verizon Wireless serivce, the Sprint network, or the AT&T wireless service. You can learn more about the coverage maps of the big four networks here. In other words, the service has got you covered.
Consumer Cellular Customer Support
Consumer Cellular offers great and friendly customer service, capable of answering both basic and more complex questions. There are several ways to contact customer service:
- Contact support by phone
- Send the service an e-mail by filling out the provided form
- Connect via social media
- Visit Consumer Cellular in nearly all Target locations and several AAA stores
How to Change Your APN Settings
If you're switching to Consumer Cellular, you may need to change your APN settings. You'll find the information you need below. Don't know how to change your APN settings? Go here.
|APN Settings||CC||CC (AT&T)||CC (T-Mobile)|
|Authentication Type||PAP or CHJAP|
|APN Type||default, mms, agps, supl, fota||default, supl, mms|
|APN Roaming Protocal||IPv4||IPv4|
Consumer Cellular is a great option, providing affordable talk options. However, it becomes a little pricey once you add the connect options to the plan (depending on the plan). Furthermore, once you exceed the 10GB cap, your data will shut off for the billing cycle.
Unfortunately, while Consumer Cellular may have fantastic coverage and the latest phones with affordable finance options, the service is oriented toward the senior demographic. If you're not a senior citizen, you might find other MVNOs like Republic Wireless, CREDO, or Straight Talk are better. It all depends on what your needs are.
Curious about what the other phone carriers may offer for plans? Then be sure to check out our cell phone plans series.