Finding the best cell phone plans for seniors needn't be a hassle - it can actually be relatively simple thanks to our handy guide. We've tirelessly researched all the nation's favorite carriers (and a few up-and-comers) to determine which ones, in our opinion, offer particularly strong options for older citizens.
Like all phone users, the requirements of older folks differ widely from person to person, so we've made sure our best cell phone plans for seniors takes into account a wide array of differing requirements. Just need the basics? We've got you covered with some fantastic, easy-to-use plans. Alternatively, if you're interested in getting a plan with unlimited data then you'll also find the best value options rounded up here.
On each entry further down the page you'll find detailed information on why we think these are the best cell phone plans for seniors right now. At the top of the page, we've also included some initial tips and information to help you cut through the jargon and find the best senior cell phone plan for your needs. If you'd like to see a run-down of the market as a whole, head on over to our main best cell phone plans article to see our top contenders this month.
Minor price amendments to Verizon entry. Checked all information on page for accuracy and clarity.
The best cell phones for seniors: quick list
- Mint Mobile - best all-rounder
- Tello - best for flexibility
- Ultra Mobile - best pay as you go
- T-Mobile - best unlimited data plan
- US Cellular - best non-data plan
Advice and tips
5G: the latest, fastest phone network connection
Data allowance: how much internet you can use
Prepaid: no-contract plan renewed each month
Postpaid: contracted plan paid for in installments
Pay as you go: only pay for what you use
Coverage: how good cellular service is near you
1. Determine budget
Set an upper limit to how much you're willing to spend
2. Determine data usage
More data equals higher bills, so cut out what you don't need
3. Check if you're covered
Check to see if you're best covered on AT&T, Verizon, or T-Mobile
4. Compare the market
See who offers the cheapest rate possible for your requirements
best cell phone plans for seniors
1. Best overall cell phone plan for seniors
Mint Mobile | T-Mobile network | 3-12 month contract | 5GB - Unl. data | $15 - $30 per month
It's really hard to beat Mint Mobile if you're a senior looking for a no-nonsense good value plan. This prepaid carrier offers a flexible array of plans that cover most users - from those who just need a little bit of data to those who would prefer unlimited data. Generally speaking, all data allowances are competitively priced and Mint even has its own 55+ plan that allows seniors to automatically enroll on the cheapest 5GB data plan and pay just $15 per month. Under normal circumstances, users have to pay for a full year of data upfront to get this super-low monthly price at Mint so this barrier to entry is much lower for seniors.
2. Best plan for flexibility
Tello | T-Mobile network | 1 month contract | 0Mb - unlimited data | $5 - $29 per month
Tello is a carrier that operates a rather unique 'build-your-own' plan system that sounds complicated, but in reality, is really simple. Using the easy-to-use slider you can decide exactly how much data, texts, and monthly call minutes you need, and the monthly rates are really competitive too. What makes Tello really great is that you can easily modify your plan too, so you're not locked into a specific plan should your needs change. New for mid-2023 is a big price cut on the Tello unlimited data plan too, which means you can get it for just $29 per month versus the previous $30. If you're interested, there are also Tello promo codes available to help you save a little more.
3. Best pay as you go cell phone plan for seniors
Ultra Mobile | T-Mobile network | 1 month contract | 100Mb data | $3 per month
If you need the basics - and we mean just the basics - then you could consider Ultra Mobile's pay-as-you-go service. With this prepaid plan you'll pay an entry fee of just $3 a month for 100Mb of data, 100 texts, and 100 minutes of calls - pretty much the cheapest on the market right now. Note, after your allowances are up, you'll pay 3 cents per minute for calls, 1 cent per text, and 3 cents for every MB of data usage. That's not much, but you'll definitely rack up extra costs if you're planning on using your device a lot.
4. Best unlimited data plan for seniors
T-Mobile Go5G 55+ | 24 month contract | unlimited data | $80 per month (2 lines)
T-Mobile is unique among the 'big' carriers in the way it operates a fantastic plan for seniors specifically. Its Go5G 55+ plan offers up completely unlimited data, talk, text, and full 5G access - making it the best choice for those data-hungry seniors. You can also get great perks like free Netflix accounts, international roaming, and even HD streaming if you opt for one of the more expensive plans. All in all, this is easily one of the strongest cell phone plans for seniors on our list, especially if you're tech-savvy.
5. Best non-data plan
US Mobile | Verizon & T-Mobile networks | 1 month contract | unl. talk & text | $9 per month
No-data plans are becoming frustratingly difficult to find these days, with the only real option being Tello's basic plan for $8 per month. Why have we included US Mobile here? Well, we've already featured Tello above and US Mobile's 1GB shared data plan is a fantastic choice here since the carrier offers coverage from both the Verizon and T-Mobile networks. While the 8GB/mo no-data plan is unfortunately no longer available from US Mobile, the 1GB plan with two lines comes out at just $9 per month, which is easily one of the best value options on the market currently.
6. Best coverage overall
Verizon Unlimited | 24 month contract | unlimited data | $60 to $75 per month (1 line)
Data-hungry seniors could also consider checking out Verizon - a carrier that has pricey plans, but with some of the best perks and coverage in the country. While expensive, you can get savings here by adding multiple lines, and you can also mix and match individual plan tiers if you'd like to have varying levels of priority data on each one. Note - Verizon does actually have its own 55+ Seniors Plan that's worth checking out, but it's currently available for Florida address holders only.
7. Best prepaid for two lines
Visible Wireless | Verizon network | 1 month contract | unlimited data | $50 per month (2 lines)
For two lines, both Tello and Mint Mobile are extremely strong choices but we're going to include Visible Wireless as an outstanding choice. This carrier operates on the larger Verizon network offering fantastic coverage and offers a completely unlimited data plan for just $25 per month right now. That's basically the cheapest on the market right now and there are no hidden fees or tricky pricing setups to manage. While you'll need to setup two plans separately here (there's no specific plan for families or seniors), definitely consider Visible if you want a simple, well-costed plan that offers unlimited data without breaking the bank.
8. Best for peace of mind
Lively| Verizon network | 1 month contract | 0Mb - unlimited data | $19.99 to $49.99 per month
If you're looking for complete peace of mind then consider Lively (previously Great Call) - a service that operates exclusively for seniors and offers 24/7 emergency response with all its plans. With plans ranging from a basic no-data package all the way to a fully-featured Ultimate plan, this carrier also offers a range of exclusive senior-friendly smartphones too.
9. Best cheap AT&T alternative
Pure Talk | AT&T network | 1 month contract | 2GB - unlimited data | $20 - $65 per month
We've featured a lot of T-Mobile and Verizon sub-carriers on this list for the best cell phone plans for seniors, so here's a great pick for those who get the best coverage on the AT&T network. Pure Talk is a prepaid carrier that offers a flexible array of options from simple low-data plans all the way to unlimited data plans for extremely competitive rates. It also offers a 10% to 20% discount for multiple lines, depending on how many you add, so there are potential savings for couples here.
Best cell phone plans for seniors: FAQ
Finding the right senior cell phone plans
Determine your budget
The easiest and simplest criteria to consider when shopping around for the best cell phone plans for seniors is how much are you willing to spend? As with most things you get what you pay for with cell phone plans but being strict with your costing will be the best way to narrow down the field of choices. As a rule of thumb, we'd recommend spending no more than $25 a month per line if you're a light user.
Determine your usage
Generally speaking, higher data allowances mean higher bills - even for phone plans for seniors. Subsequently, the easiest way to cut your costs is to cut out any of that unneeded data and instead use the local Wi-Fi connections where possible. Note, you can also cut out minutes and text allowances too, although the savings don't tend to be as good there. If you need help working out how much data you'll need, simply scroll down to the next section.
Find which carrier has the best coverage in your area
Nearly all carriers, including the ones featured on our best cell phone plans for seniors list above, use the three major nationwide networks for service - Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile to be specific. Before you commit to any one plan, you'll definitely want to know whether you're well covered in your area. It's also worth asking around your friends and family to see who gets the best service and to find out what plans they're on. You can check your local coverage just below.
Compare the market
Finally, you'll want to thoroughly compare all carriers which fit within the criteria you've already set above. You'll probably find a good two to three different companies that fit the bill, so do a bit of further reading on each one or simply go with the one that looks to be the best value overall.
How much data do I need?
In this day and age, most people are using their cell phones to check social media, stream video content, or simply browse the internet. If you think you'll be doing any of those, then it's definitely worth paying a bit extra to get a data allowance on your cell phone plan.
If you need a bit of help determining how much data you'll need, here's a quick guide on how much data TechRadar recommends, based on common uses:
- Emailing and messaging - under 5GB of data a month
- Social media and web browsing - 5GB a month
- Streaming music - 10GB a month
- Streaming HD video - 10GB+ a month
Of course, if you see yourself simply calling and texting only, then you can forgo the data allowance altogether and opt for a cheaper plan - a few of which we've included on our best cell phone plans for seniors list above.
Who has the best coverage?
Nearly all carriers, including the ones on our best cell phone plans for seniors list operate their own network or under a big network. There are essentially three main networks at the moment - Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile - and they all have nationwide coverage of varying quality, depending on your location. If you want to see how good coverage will be in your area you can follow these links just below to visit each network's coverage check pages:
Follow the links above and simply enter your ZIP code to see if your local area is covered. Note - 4G coverage is pretty widespread now, but 5G (the latest and fastest network type) is still mostly confined to urban areas. If you want the fastest connection possible, then you should see who gives you the best 5G coverage in your area - but you'll also need a 5G-enabled device to use it.
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Alex is deals editor at TechRadar. With over three years of experience on-site and eight years working in e-commerce, Alex has made it his personal mission to share all his favorite tips, bargains, and deals with our readers here at TechRadar. At work, he specializes in computing, phones, and covering huge sales events like Black Friday and Amazon Prime Day. Outside of work, you'll find him indulging his keen love of photography and PC gaming, or down at the local climbing gym hanging off boulders far too difficult for his abilities. His editorial bylines also include contributions to T3 and GamesRadar.