Consumer Cellular Phone Plans Review 2022

Consumer Cellular’s Unlimited Talk & Text plan places ninth in our Best Cell Phone Plans of 2022 ratings. Based in Portland, Oregon, Consumer Cellular has over 4 million customers, focusing on those 50 and older. It offers AARP members special discounts on wireless plans. The company is a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO), meaning it leases service from another carrier. In Consumer Cellular’s case, those carriers are AT&T and T-Mobile. It offers unlimited talk time and texting in all its plans, with data plans from 1 gigabyte (GB) to unlimited data for $20 to $55 per month.

Popular Cell Phone Plans

Pros:

  • Simple, easy-to-understand plans at low cost

  • Good for people who primarily use their phones to call and text

  • Good for less tech-savvy users

Cons:

  • May not be adequate for heavy data users

  • May not offer the newest phones

Since its founding, Consumer Cellular’s strategy has focused on consumers who need a cell phone but aren’t heavy users. While its plans all offer unlimited talking and texting, consumers have the option to select as little as 1 GB of data depending on their needs. At $20 a month, its entry-level plans are some of the most affordable in wireless.

However, this focus on less tech-savvy users means that Consumer Cellular typically only carries entry-level models of the most popular phones. Also, the more data you need, the plans are less of a deal, and even infrequent users will find it challenging to stay under the 1 GB monthly data cap on the lowest-cost plan. Also, as an MVNO that leases towers from other carriers, Consumer Cellular customers may not have access to the entire network of those carriers and may experience slower speeds as the carrier’s customers get priority during heavy network usage.

Consumer Cellular’s Unlimited Talk & Text cell phone plans include unlimited texting and calling, as the name suggests, with multi-line accounts of up to three lines available. The difference is in the amount of data included. Customers can choose plans with no data at all, 1, 3, 7, 10, and 15 GB of monthly data, or an unlimited data option. These plans range from $20 to $55 per month before discounts.

Multi-line accounts share the data plan. Any mobile hotspot use counts towards your monthly data allowance and 5G data is included where available. If you go over your data allocation for the month, Consumer Cellular automatically upgrades you to the appropriate data plan that covers the overage. The new plan stays in effect for future billing cycles, however you can downgrade the plan at any time.

Consumer Cellular’s Unlimited Talk & Text cell phone plans start at $20 per month for a single line and 1 GB of data (or $15 for talking and texting only). Five other data plan options are available: 3 GB for $25 per month, 7 GB for $35, 10 GB for $40, 15 GB for $45, and $55 for unlimited data. A second line is available for an additional $20 per month, with the third line an additional $15 per month. There is no contract, and these prices include a $5 discount for paperless billing and AutoPay. AARP members receive a 5% discount on monthly service charges.

When signing up for an account with Consumer Cellular, you will be responsible for both the first month of service, and either the down payment or the full purchase price of your phone plus any applicable taxes or fees. If selecting the monthly payment plan, you will need to pay the sales tax on the full purchase price of the device along with the first month’s payment.

You can also use a phone you already own, as long as it uses a SIM card. Consumer Cellular doesn’t charge a fee for a SIM card. Therefore, if you decide to use your own phone, all you would owe at the time of purchase is the first month’s service, plus taxes and fees.

New subscribers that purchase an Apple device can add AppleCare for an additional $7.99 per month or an Allstate-backed protection plan starting at $2 per month for most other devices. This protects your device in the event of accidental damage.

Customers can also add roadside assistance for an additional $3 per month to any plan. Unlike other carriers, Consumer Cellular does not offer a wide range of optional features, and the protection plan and roadside assistance are the only ones available.

5G is available in over 14,000 cities nationwide, although it is not available across Consumer Cellular’s entire coverage area. In areas where 5G is not available, you’ll generally still get 4G (LTE) service. Typically, expect 5G coverage in urban areas and 4G service in more rural locales. You can check Consumer Cellular’s coverage map here.

Below we’ve compared Consumer Cellular versus two other similar low-cost no-contract cell phone plans.

Mint Mobile Unlimited »

Mint Mobile Unlimited

Most Versatile Prepaid Plan

USN Offer: Get a $20 Gift Card when you switch from Verizon or AT&T.

Monthly Cost

$30

Plan Type
prepaid
Date
Unlimited

Some restrictions may apply.

Consumer Cellular vs. Mint Mobile

Mint Mobile is an MVNO just like Consumer Cellular, but only uses T-Mobile’s network. As a result, its coverage area is much more limited, especially in the Western United States. It offers its plans differently, prepaid in three, six, or 12 months in advance.

Mint Mobile’s most affordable plan includes 4 GB of data, unlimited talk time, and texting for three months for $45, while its 10 GB plan costs $60 for three months. A 15 GB plan costs $75, with unlimited data for three months costing $90. Comparing cost per month, you will pay less over time with Mint Mobile, than with any plan from Consumer Cellular.

However, you must either bring your own phone or purchase one through Mint Mobile either at full price or in monthly installments using financing provided by a third-party company, Affirm. Even with these drawbacks, if you’re looking for a low-cost carrier but use a lot of data, you might find Mint Mobile’s plans more attractive.

Tello Economy »

Tello Economy

Best Overall Plan

Monthly Cost

$10

Plan Type
prepaid
Date
1 GB

Some restrictions may apply.

Consumer Cellular vs. tello

Whereas Consumer Cellular, Mint Mobile, and other carriers have simplified their plans, Tello does the opposite completely. Your plan is completely customizable in the amount of minutes and data you need (texting is free on all plans except the data-only plan). Tello places No. 1 in our Best Cell Phones Plans of 2022 rating and offers both a data-only and a voice-only plan for as low as $5 per month. It has options including unlimited data, text, and talk for $39 per month.

You can bring your own phone to use as long as it uses a SIM card, or purchase a phone through Tello. Like its low-cost plans, the company also offers refurbished smartphones at a substantial discount, as well as a few select new devices. Consumer Cellular doesn’t offer used phones, which means you’ll end up paying more for your phone and service combined than you would with Tello.

Tello operates on T-Mobile’s network, with 5G data included at no additional charge. Tello is best for those looking for more control over the specifics of their plan, or those that might need a phone for a specific purpose or use.

Consumer Cellular Similar Cell Phone Plans

How Do I Get Consumer Cellular Cell Phone Service?

The easiest method to get Consumer Cellular cell phone service is to sign up using the company’s website, as everything is shipped directly to your home. However, if you need assistance, you can call 1-888-345-5509 between 9 am and 8 pm Eastern Time, seven days a week. Consumer Cellular is also available in-store at select Target locations nationwide.

After ordering service, the device will be shipped to you activated and ready to use. If you plan to use your own phone, the SIM card will be sent to you. Consult the phone’s user manual for the location of the SIM tray, and how to remove it. Once the SIM card is installed, you can use your service.

Does Consumer Cellular Offer a Trial Period?

Yes, but it is not a free trial. Since you pay for your first month’s service at signup, your agreement begins immediately. If you cancel for any reason during the first 30 days, the service fees are refunded.

If you purchase a phone, you must return it within 14 days of purchase in like-new condition to be refunded for the purchase price (or first installment) of the phone. AARP members get an additional 15 days beyond the standard risk-free period to try out the service, but the phone return window is still 14 days.

Does Consumer Cellular Offer a Money-Back Guarantee?

If you cancel within the risk-free period, any charges are refunded. However, if you cancel afterward, your final bill is prorated to the date of cancellation. To receive a full refund on a phone, you must return it within the 14-day window.

How Do I Cancel My Consumer Cellular Cell Phone Service?

According to the company’s website, you can cancel by calling Consumer Cellular customer service at 1-888-345-5509 from 9 am to 8 pm Eastern Time, seven days a week. If you purchased a phone, Consumer Cellular will supply you with a mailing label to return it. Make sure the device is in like-new condition with all original packaging and components.

We recommend saving the packaging during the risk-free trial period to make sure you’re happy with the service. While it is easy to cancel, Consumer Cellular does have the same cancellation requirements as other carriers.

Other Cell Phone Plans

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