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Consumer Cellular review in 2024: Is it any good?

Explore my in-depth review of Consumer Cellular, including network coverage, customer experience, plan details, pricing, and comparisons. Is Consumer Cellular is the right carrier for you?

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3.5
MoneySavingPro rating
  • Value for money
  • Coverage
  • Customer experience
  • Transparency
  • Range of choice
Pros
  • Simple, solid plan options
  • AARP discount
  • Competitive pricing for light to medium users
  • Device payment plan
  • US-based customer service
Cons
  • Small plan selection
  • Expensive unlimited data plan
Our editorial process

MoneySavingPro independently researches the products & services to bring you our recommendations. We may earn money when you click our links - disclosure policy.

At a glance

  • Value for money: Great price plans for low-moderate data users, with even further discounts for AARP members.
  • Coverage: Excellent coverage on the AT&T and T-Mobile networks.
  • Customer experience: Most customers have great things to say about Consumer Cellular including customer service. However some have reported problems when trying to set up their SIM card with their cell phone.
  • Transparency: The price you see is what you pay with Consumer Cellular. There are no hidden fees or surprise charges.
  • Range of choice: They offer a small selecton of plans, but there's something for all types of users to cater for differnet needs.

Consumer Cellular review: An in-depth analysis

Consumer Cellular might catch your eye if you're linked with AARP (The American Association of Retired Persons), or you might have stumbled upon them through their TV commercials with Ted Danson.

And they really know how to reach the over-50 crowd with their marketing, showcasing their affordable cell phone service.

But these days it's clear that no matter the age, most people want the same essentials with their phone plan - talk, text, and data. So, with so many wireless providers to choose from today, I'm here to help clear things up.

In this Consumer Cellular review, I will analyze their plans, network, performance, customer service, and other offerings to help you decide if Consumer Cellular really is the right carrier for you.

What is Consumer Cellular?

Consumer Cellular, an MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator), is a low-cost carrier that is powered by the AT&T and T-Mobile networks to provide reliable coverage. With nearly 30 years of experience under its belt, this carrier was a pioneer in helping people cut their phone bills in half.

What makes Consumer Cellular different?

Consumer Cellular plans stand out from other MVNOs due to their simplicity and senior discounts. The carrier also has a reputation for outstanding customer support. Paired with great coverage on reliable major networks, this combination can be a perfect fit for some users. It's one of few MVNOs that is postpaid rather than prepaid. That means you pay for service after you've used it, so they require a credit check.


Plans & pricing

What are the best Consumer Cellular cell phone plans?

Consumer Cellular 1GB plan

Image of cell phone with Consumer Cellular
  • T-Mobile coverage
  • Unlimited talk and text
  • Instant eSIM activation
1GB
data
$20/mo
$660 in annual savings

Consumer Cellular 5GB plan

Image of cell phone with Consumer Cellular
  • T-Mobile coverage
  • Unlimited talk and text
  • Instant eSIM activation
5GB
data
$25/mo
$600 in annual savings

Consumer Cellular 10GB plan

Image of cell phone with Consumer Cellular
  • T-Mobile coverage
  • Unlimited talk and text
  • Instant eSIM activation
10GB
data
$35/mo
$480 in annual savings

Consumer Cellular unlimited data plan

Image of cell phone with Consumer Cellular
  • T-Mobile coverage
  • Unlimited talk and text
  • Instant eSIM activation
Unlimited
data
$50/mo
$300 in annual savings

How does Consumer Cellular compare to AT&T?

AT&T vs Consumer Cellular comparison

Keep your AT&T phone, number & coverage: Save $300 per year

Carrier Network Coverage 4G/5G Data Price Annual Cost
AT&T AT&T 4G & 5G Unlimited $75/mo $900/yr
Consumer Cellular AT&T 4G & 5G Unlimited $50/mo $600/yr
Savings $25/mo $300/yr

How much does Consumer Cellular cost?

Prices start at $20 a month. Your specific costs will vary based on how many lines you need and which data plan you choose. The more lines you buy, the less expensive per line. Options range from 1 GB of data up to an unlimited plan (with a cap of 50GB of high-speed data), and you can share the data among family members.

Is Consumer Cellular a good value?

Consumer Cellular is a great value for low to moderate data users, particularly if you can share your data with a family member. You can save up to $600 annually on the same coverage compared to a plan directly from AT&T or T-Mobile. Its plans are no-nonsense and competitively priced, making them a good value for your dollar.


Compare Consumer Cellular vs other carriers

During my research, I found numerous carriers with significantly cheaper plans and better customer ratings:

Consumer Cellular How do Consumer Cellular plans compare?
Consumer Cellular logo Tello logo See at Tello US Mobile logo See at US Mobile
*30 Day FREE Trial
Mint Mobile logo See at Mint Mobile
*$45 for 3 Months
T-Mobile 4G & 5GT-Mobile 4G & 5GVerizon & T-Mobile 4G & 5GT-Mobile 4G & 5G
Unlimited dataUnlimited dataUnlimited dataUnlimited data
$50/mo$25/mo$15/mo*$29/mo$15/mo*$30/mo
$600/yr$300/yr$306/yr$315/yr
4.1 on Trustpilot
4.6 on Trustpilot
4.7 on Trustpilot
2.9 on Trustpilot

Network coverage

What network does Consumer Cellular use?

This low-cost carrier operates on AT&T's and T-Mobile's networks. Before making a decision, make sure to check our Consumer Cellular coverage map to determine network coverage in your area.

Does Consumer Cellular have good coverage?

You're covered as long as AT&T or T-Mobile offers the best coverage in your area. Unless you live in an extremely remote area, any of the major networks should provide decent coverage.

Does Consumer Cellular have 5G coverage?

As long as you have a phone made within the last 5 years, you'll be able to access the fastest speeds on the AT&T and T-Mobile 5G networks, where it's available. Explore 5G networks using the 2023 OpenSignal 5G Experience Report.

Consumer Cellular 5G coverage map

Consumer Cellular coverage map

The FCC collects coverage data, which only offers an approximate indication and doesn't account for indoor coverage. The actual speed and performance can vary depending on your location and device. The reception you experience is influenced by local conditions and elements like natural and artificial physical features in your area.

How fast are Consumer Cellular data speeds?

Data speeds vary depending on your network, location, and device. With access to 4G LTE and 5G networks, you'll have enough speed to do the typical activities you need to on your phone, like browsing and streaming video.


Customer service

Does Consumer Cellular have good customer service?

Customer care experiences vary widely because they are individual and unique to each person and situation.

The Consumer Cellular Trustpilot score is strong, while its BBB rating and our reviewers' scores are middle-of-the-road. You can check out our Consumer Cellular customer reviews to see what real people are saying about this budget carrier.

If you need to get in touch with Consumer Cellular customer support, there are a couple of ways to do so:

  1. Dial: 611 from a Consumer Cellular phone
  2. Call from any phone: 1-888-345-5509
  3. Chat: Via the website from 9 am - 8 pm ET

Consumer Cellular - User experience

What are reviewers saying about Consumer Cellular?

Reviewers typically have good things to say about the pricing, ease of switching, and customer service. Individual experiences can differ, of course.

Consumer Cellular customer reviews roundup

What are some common complaints about Consumer Cellular?

While most individuals have positive encounters, a few typical issues have emerged.

Some people have encountered billing issues after discontinuing service. It's worth mentioning that Consumer Cellular is active on BBB and other platforms and seems to be on top of promptly resolving concerns.

Other customers have complained about long wait times for customer support.


SIM activation

Is it easy to switch?

Because you can choose to do it all online, it's quick and easy to compare, choose, and purchase your Consumer Cellular SIM cards. You can also visit a physical store if you prefer. Activating your new line should be a straightforward process that takes less than 15 minutes after receiving your SIM card.

Does Consumer Cellular support eSIM?

If your phone supports eSIM, you can forgo shipping and immediately activate your plan. Again, most modern smartphones support eSIM technology, streamlining the process of switching to a new carrier.


Phones selection

What phones do they have?

Consumer Cellular offers a variety of the latest new phones, including iPhone and Samsung Galaxy devices. You can buy your phone outright or sign up for a device installment plan.

Can I bring my own phone to Consumer Cellular?

If you prefer not to purchase a new device, you can bring your current one and keep your existing number with a Consumer Cellular bring your own phone plan. Just make sure your device is compatible with the AT&T or T-Mobile network.

Is my phone compatible?

Most smartphones can be used with any network, but some are locked to a carrier. To be completely sure, plug your IMEI into our compatibility checker and verify on the carrier website before enrolling.


Consumer Cellular features


My viewpoint: Is Consumer Cellular any good?

Short answer: This budget carrier isn't new to the wireless game - they've been around since 1995. Originally marketed for seniors, it's modernized its services (to a degree). As an MVNO, Consumer Cellular operates on the AT&T and T-Mobile networks. Plans range from $20-$50, and you'll save money with multiple lines. You get the power of two of the nation's most reliable networks at about half the cost. Note that there's no universal carrier or plan that fits everyone, so we've carefully compared carriers and plans to help you find the most suitable option for your specific needs.

Is Consumer Cellular worth it?

This MVNO may be just the right fit if you don't use a ton of data and you want straightforward, no-frills, no-fuss cell phone service.

While they don't have the cheapest plans in the market, there is something to be said about their long-standing history and good customer service ratings.

With access to the AT&T and T-Mobile networks, you can keep your reliable connection and save up to $600 annually on your bill. This translates to a 50% decrease in costs, taking into account that the typical consumer spends approximately $1200 annually on their cell service, according to the Consumer Expenditure Surveys (2021). Prices are likely to keep increasing unless customers like us send a message.

Plans are affordable, and if you go over your data limit, you'll be automatically moved up to the next plan so that you don't get cut off.


Consumer Cellular FAQs


Recap: Is Consumer Cellular the right choice for you?

Consumer Cellular is a viable option to explore as a cost-effective alternative to major wireless carriers, as it provides the same 5G & 4G LTE coverage at a lower price. It's especially useful for older adults who want or need a simplified experience.

Remember these things when making the decision about the right phone plan for you:

  • Plans: Users have the freedom to choose from a range of plans with different data allowances to suit their specific needs.
  • Coverage: The option for service through AT&T or T-Mobile means most customers will have excellent coverage, regardless of where they live.
  • Features: Plan options include the major essentials that most people look for in their cell phone service.
  • Customer experience: Customer support from this carrier has garnered many compliments over its three decades in business.
  • Promotions: With regular sales on top phone models and a monthly discount for AARP members, there are always ways to boost your savings.

Now that we've put all the research at your fingertips if Consumer Cellular doesn't have what you're looking for, check out more simplified options with a range of cell phone plans for seniors from other MVNOs.

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How we reviewed Consumer Cellular

To select the best carriers and plans, MoneySavingPro's team of experts evaluated over 30 different carriers.

Carriers were rated in five categories, with a star rating from 1-5, with 5 stars being the best. We then calculate the overall star rating using the five categories:

  1. Value for money: We compare carriers based on price, features, benefits, and promotions. It's not just about the lowest price but getting the most bang for your buck.
  2. Coverage: We look at network 5G and 4G LTE coverage across the US. We use coverage maps to determine service availability and data speeds in urban, suburban, and rural locations.
  3. Customer experience: We take into account items such as current user experience, website and app usability, ease of switching, and customer service in terms of availability, channels, and satisfaction ratings.
  4. Transparency: We assess whether carrier pricing is clear and straightforward. We examine the fine print to check for hidden fees, confusing terms or conditions, and misleading offers to ensure upfront, honest prices and advertising.
  5. Range of choice: We evaluate the diversity of plan options to determine if they fit the individual needs of all customers.

Read more about our carrier ratings methodology and our editorial process.

Consumer Cellular guides

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