Most consumers are familiar with the big-name wireless carriers like Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint. Not nearly as many, though, are as well-versed when it comes to the topic of Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs).
It might surprise you to know that companies such as MetroPCS, Boost Mobile, and Cricket Wireless operate on the T-Mobile, Sprint, and AT&T networks, respectively. These network operators license the towers and coverage from the tier-one providers and offer their own phones, rate plans, and customer service.
Let’s take a look at one in particular: Consumer Cellular — a customer friendly MVNO which caters to the senior citizen demographic.
Founded in 1995, this Oregon-based carrier prides itself on customer satisfaction especially within the 50+ demographic offering low-cost flexible plans with additional savings/perks for AARP members.
In the category of non-contract value wireless providers, Consumer Cellular is consistently ranked well by J.D. Power for customer service having earned that distinction six times in a row.
PODCAST: What is an MVNO?
Consumer Cellular leverages AT&T and T-Mobile network technology to cover a purported 99% of its three million US customers.
Customers will simply choose a nationwide talk plan and a “connect” plan (text & data). Consumer Cellular also touts the ability to change your plan any any given time (increase or decrease).
- $15.00 per month – 250 Minutes
- $20.00 per month – Unlimited Talk
Connect Plans (All incl. unlimited text)
- $5.00 per month – 250MB
- $10.00 per month – 2GB
- $20.00 per month – 5GB
- $30.00 per month – 10GB
- $40.00 per month – 20GB
For customers signing up online, you can only choose to activate two lines. A second line adds $15 per month. Consumer Cellular offers the ability to add more family and friends but requires a phone call to customer service.
Consumer Cellular has a great deal for AARP members, giving them a 5% discount off of monthly fees and usage charges, a 30% discount off select accessories, plus an extended 45-day money back, risk-free guarantee.
What’s more, new subscribers can sign-up for AARP membership during checkout after selecting service and devices.
Consumer Cellular offers a wide array of phones, from the most basic of devices all the way up to current flagships. Interestingly enough, and considering its target demographic, there’s a decent selection at the upper end.
A financing option called EasyPay allows customers the peace of mind in spreading device payments out over time. Rather than charging them hundreds of dollars at time of service, its subscribers can pay $25 per month with the phone bill.
Bring Your Own Device
Do you already have a phone or possibly looking to buy an unlocked device for use on Consumer Cellular? If the equipment in question meets certain criteria (GSM unlocked, previously used on AT&T or T-Mobile you can get a free SIM card if you wish to bring your own device.