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Senior Cell Phone Discount Programs
Including National Wireless Plans, Prepaid Plans and Free Services
Author: David Smidt, SeniorDiscounts

There are cell phone and wireless plan options targeted to boomers and seniors that would like to have a cell phone but do not need all of the extras and high costs associated with many of the current cell plans and providers. These cell phone plans can be a great alternative for people who would like to have a cell phone in case of emergencies or while traveling.

We should note that while these plans are more affordable, they tend have a limited amount of usage minutes and features attached to the plans. People who may use a cell phone more often may find that other, more common plans may better fit their needs. It can be difficult to track the actual number of minutes used and as many of may have already found out, we tend to use our phone more often than we think.

National Wireless Plans and Cell Phones

AT&T Senior Nation 200
The AT&T Senior National Plan is a lower cost plan geared towards people who may not use a cell phone very often, but wish to have a phone for emergencies and stay connected to family, friends, children, grandchildren and physicians for medical monitoring purposes.

The plan is structured much like the other plans offered by AT&T, but provides fewer monthly minutes and not as many extras and features. The new plan includes 200 Anytime Minutes, 500 Night & Weekend Minutes and unlimited mobile-to-mobile calling for a $29.99 monthly access fee.

Plan Details:
- 200 Anytime minutes
- 500 Nights and Weekends minutes
- No roaming or wireless long distance charges
- Unlimited Mobile to Mobile minutes

Plan Costs:
- $36.00 One-time activation fee
- $29.99 monthly access fee
- $.45 per minute for additional minutes
- 2 Year contract length

Included Plan Features:
- Conference Calling
- Call Forwarding
- Caller ID
- Call Waiting
- Basic Voice Mail (Airtime minutes may be charged for accessing voicemail)
- Long Distance

For the complete details: AT&T Senior Nation 200 Rate Plan

Verizon Nationwide 65 Plus
Verizon has a wireless cell phone plan specifically for people 65 years of age and older. The Nationwide 65 plus plan is a lower cost plan geared towards seniors who may not use a cell phone very often, but wish to have a phone for emergencies and stay connected to family, friends, children, grandchildren and physicians for medical monitoring purposes.

The Verizon plan includes 200 Anytime Minutes, 500 Night & Weekend Minutes and unlimited Mobile to Mobile minutes for a $29.99 monthly access fee. You can also add extra lines, call internationally and have access to the Internet. Fees may apply.

Plan Details:
- 200 Anytime minutes
- 500 Nights and Weekends minutes
- No Domestic Roaming or Long Distance Charges
- Unlimited Mobile to Mobile

Plan Costs:
- $35.00 activation fee
- $29.99 monthly access fee
- $.45 per minute for additional minutes
- Two year minimum term required

Included Plan Features:
- Access to Mobile Web 2.0
- Three-Way Calling
- Caller ID
- Call Waiting
- Basic Voice Mail (Airtime minutes may be charged for accessing voicemail)
- Long Distance
- 411 calling, fees apply

For the complete details: Verizon Nationwide 65 Plus Rate Plan

Consumer Cellular
Consumer Cellular is not specifically for seniors, but it does have simply designed phones specifically for older adults. Consumer Cellular wireless plans are easy to understand, inexpensive and provide a variety of low cost options. Consumer Cellular buys airtime from the other leading wireless providers and then repackages those minutes into its own service plans. Because they purchase their airtime from other providers, the coverage is essentially the same as the other cellular companies.

The advantage with Consumer Cellular is that there are no long term contracts and they offer a “Risk Free Satisfaction Guarantee.” This allows one to try the service for 30 days or 30 minutes of use (whichever comers first) and if you do not like the service you can cancel and pay nothing.

Consumer Cellular’s wireless plans are simple and easy to understand. The plans start at $10 per month and have no long distance or roaming charges. You can change your plan at anytime and you can add an additional phone to the same plan for $10. There is a $35 activation charge and they only have a variety of phones to choose from.

Plans Costs and Details:
- $35 one-time activation fee
- Plans start at $10 per month
- $.25 per minute for additional minutes
- No long term contract
- Voicemail is free, but airtime charges apply
- No charges for switching plans
- Can keep current cell phone number
- No roaming or long distance charges
- Text messaging available, but charges apply

Available Plans:
Anywhere Casual - $10/month – No Minutes - $.25/minute
Anywhere 100 - $15/month – 100 Minutes - $.25 additional
Anywhere 300 - $20/month – 300 Minutes - $.25 additional
Anywhere 700 - $30/month – 700 Minutes - $.25 additional
Anywhere 1200 - $40/month – 1200 Minutes - $.25 additional
Anywhere 1800 - $50/month – 1800 Minutes - $.25 additional
Anywhere 2400 - $60/month – 2400 Minutes - $.10 additional

For the complete details: Consumer Cellular Plans

GreatCall/Jitterbug
GreatCall does not have any age requirements for its cell phone service, but the phones are ideal for seniors who want a simple plan that can be used for travel, emergencies, and low-volume calling.

Plans start at $15 per month with no long distance or roaming fees. The plans are all pay as you go and require no contact and thus no early termination fees. You can pay monthly or yearly and can add minutes to the plans at any time. There is a one tome set up fee of $35 for all plans. (Surcharges, government taxes and assessments are not included in their pricing and vary by state and municipality.)

Phones start at $99 and are designed to be easy to use and include larger numbers and buttons, larger screens and text and loader volumes.

GreatCall provides 24 hour customer service that can make calls for you, provide directory assistance and add names to your phone list among other services. Some features may be subject to added fees.

Plan Costs and Details:
- $35 One-time activation fee
- Plans start at a $15 monthly access fee
- $.35 per minute for additional minutes
- No contract
- No charges for switching plans
- Regular minutes are good for 90 days
- Add on minutes are good for one year

For the complete details: GreatCall/Jitterbug Plans

Prepaid Cell Phones and Plans

Prepaid or Pay As You Go plans can be a great alternative for older adults who just need a phone for basic communications and emergencies. Prepaid plans can be inexpensive and have no annual contracts, no credit checks, no hidden fees, and no fixed monthly invoices.

You will need a special prepaid phone which can be purchased through the service provider or from sites like eBay. The airtime minutes can than be purchased and added to the phone. Most of the time these minutes must be purchased in lump sums and used within a specific time period.

Some of the least expensive plans can be found at T-Mobile and Virgin Mobile. Plans start at $10 for a limited amount of minutes. These plans are not the cheapest per minute, but these minutes are good for 90 days making them very reasonable for emergencies and traveling.

For more information on the T-Mobile plan:
http://www.t-mobile.com

For more information on the Virgin Mobile plan:
http://www.virginmobileusa.com

Free Cell Phones

For seniors on a limited income, there are some services that may help pay for a cell phone. SafeLink Wireless provides free phones a service to need based individuals who can qualify. The service is offered in 33 states. Eligibility guidelines vary by state but in general individuals qualify if they participate in a public assistance program such as Food Stamps, Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), National Free School Lunch, Federal Housing/Section 8 Assistance, or if they do not receive any of these public assistance programs, they may also qualify based on total household gross monthly income.

For more information call 1-800-SAFELINK or visit: http://www.safelinkwireless.com

There are also programs that provide free emergency-only cell phones to seniors or others in need. These are phones that have been donated and refurbished and can only be used to make emergency calls. Check with your local law enforcement agency to see if a program is available in your area.

© SeniorDiscounts

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