Best Cell Phone Plans for Seniors 2024

Kelsey Sheehy
Lisa Mulka
By Lisa Mulka and  Kelsey Sheehy 
Edited by Kathy Hinson

Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This influences which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money.

Unlimited high-speed data, video streaming and mobile hotspot are now standard for most cell phone plans. But sometimes simple features without all the extras can be a good fit.

Take heart: There are cell phone plans designed to meet any need while offering service that fits your budget.

We've highlighted several options from national carriers. The prices listed are for a single line, and before taxes and fees unless otherwise noted. Also, many carriers require you to enroll in paperless billing and autopay to get the best price.

If you're on Medicaid, food stamps/SNAP, Supplemental Security Income or other government programs, you may qualify for subsidized plans from some of these companies through the federal Lifeline program.

Get more financial clarity with NerdWallet
Monitor your credit, track your spending and see all of your finances together in a single place.

Best senior-specific plans

With age comes perks. The top three carriers each offer a senior-specific plan geared to consumers age 55 and older.


Plan name: AT&T Unlimited 55+ (for Florida residents only).

Price: $60 per month.

At a glance: Unlimited talk, text and data in the U.S., Mexico and Canada.

Things to know: You must be 55 or older and have a Florida billing address. Apply in-store and show a valid Florida ID. Don’t live in Florida? No problem: AT&T offers discounts to consumers in all states for members of AARP. Check out the “Best AARP discounts” section below.


Plan name: T-Mobile Essentials 55+.

Price: $40 per month.

At a glance: Unlimited talk, text and 5G and 4G LTE data.

Things to know: A bargain of an unlimited plan that doesn’t skimp on extras. Includes unlimited mobile hotspot data, but at 3G speeds, which is slightly slower than the 4G speed you typically get on a smartphone. International features include unlimited texting in more than 215 countries, plus talk, text and 2G data (read: slow) in Mexico and Canada.


Plan name: Verizon 55+ Plus (for Florida residents only).

Price: $62 per month.

At a glance: Unlimited talk, text and 4G LTE data.

Things to know: This plan is available only to Florida residents 55 and older and has a maximum of two lines. For those who live elsewhere or need more lines, a viable alternative is Verizon's Unlimited Welcome plan. It includes unlimited talk, text and data for $65 a month.

Best value plans

Value plans strike a balance between price and features, regardless of age.

Mint Mobile

Plan name: 5GB.

Price: $25 per month (billed for three full months upfront).

At a glance: A talk-and-text plan with 5GB of data.

Things to know: If you like the service, you can get this plan down to $15 per month by renewing and paying for 12 months of service upfront.

Visible by Verizon

Plan name: Visible.

Price: $25 per month (taxes and fees included).

At a glance: An affordable baseline unlimited data plan.

Things to know: Mobile hotspot is included. Customer service is mostly by web chat with Visible, which could make resolving issues tedious.

Cricket Wireless

Plan name: 5 GB Plan.

Price: $30 per month.

At a glance: A talk-and-text plan with 5GB of data.

Things to know: You’ll have to step up to Cricket’s priciest unlimited plans to get mobile hotspot included. Cricket also offers a Group Save discount on its 10GB and unlimited plans, which is an attractive feature for people shopping for a family cell phone plan.

Get more financial clarity with NerdWallet
Monitor your credit, track your spending and see all of your finances together in a single place.

Best AARP discounts

AARP, a nonprofit organization catering to people 50 and older, offers discounts on plans from Consumer Cellular and AT&T.

Consumer Cellular

Plan name: Consumer Cellular.

Price: $20 per month.

At a glance: A talk-and text plan with a little data (1GB), and a few lower-tech device options for those who don’t want a smartphone.

Things to know: AARP members get 5% off any monthly service on any plan. Consumer Cellular also offers two lines for $55 per month with unlimited talk, text and data. Plans are compatible with techier iPhone and Android devices, too. If you go over your data limit for the month, you're automatically bumped up to the next tier — along its higher price. You won't automatically be bumped back down at the end of the billing cycle, so you’ll need to remember to reset your plan.


Plan name: Unlimited Premium PL.

Price: $75.99 per month after AARP discount.

At a glance: Unlimited talk, text and data.

Things to know: The price reflects an AARP discount of $10 per line per month. Members also can get waived activation and upgrade fees and a 15% discount on eligible wireless accessories.

Best pay-as-you-go plans

These choices from Ultra Mobile and Tracfone are good for people who don't really want a cell phone but want the ability to reach family or medical help in an emergency. For more robust features, like unlimited data and HD streaming, Boost Mobile offers pay-as-you-go plans to meet high usage needs.

Ultra Mobile

Plan name: PayGo.

Price: $3 per month.

Plan at a glance: Includes 100 minutes, 100 texts and 100MB of 5G/4G LTE data; additional usage costs 3 cents per minute or MB of data and 1 cent per message. Data, voice and text add-ons are also available ranging from one to seven days and $2 to $10.

Things to know: This plan is as basic and cheap as it gets. The PayGo plan is offered through Ultra Mobile, but it runs on T-Mobile’s network and is available at select T-Mobile stores. There are some downsides that come with “basic and cheap”: You need to get and activate an Ultra Mobile SIM card, and also have to top up your account every 90 days to keep your account and phone number active.


Plan name: Basic 30 day.

Price: $9.99 per month, or $8.99 per month with auto-refill.

Plan at a glance: Includes 30 airtime minutes to use for talk, text and web time in any combination over a 30-day period.

Things to know: You can split the plan’s 30-minute allotment between talk, text and data however you prefer. Any unused minutes roll over to the next service period, as long as you add more airtime before the 30 days are up to keep your account active.

Boost Mobile

Plan name: Boost Mobile Unlimited.

Price: $40 per month.

At a glance: Unlimited talk, text and data.

Things to know: An unlimited plan with none of the commitments. Video streaming is in standard definition; you can upgrade to HD streaming for $10 per month. High-speed data is capped at 35GB per month. The plan includes 12GB of high-speed mobile hotspot data. Boost, formerly owned by Sprint, was sold to Dish Network as part of the Sprint and T-Mobile merger.

Best flexible plan

Flexible plans are a great alternative to traditional pay-as-you-go service. You pay a set monthly fee each month, but usage is billed in tiers. If you use a lot of data one month but none the next, your bill will reflect that.


Plan name: Flex.

Price: $10 per month.

At a glance: Unlimited talk and text only; data is available at an extra cost.

Things to know: The $10 per month price assumes you don’t use data at all. For data, you’ll pay an extra $5 per GB. Ting contracts with T-Mobile and Verizon, so you’d use one of those networks.

Best emergency cell phone plan

Lively (previously GreatCall) plans are specifically for seniors. The Jitterbug, Lively’s signature phone, features big buttons, a loud speaker and a bright screen with large display text. Optional health services include the ability to speak with a live nurse or doctor; the help of a personal operator to make phone calls or add appointments to your calendar; and, at the push of a button, an agent to assist in an emergency.


Plan name: Basic.

Price: $19.99 per month.

Plan at a glance: Unlimited talk and text; data included as an add-on.

Things to know: Data packages are available, starting at $5 per month for 1GB. Data is required with the Jitterbug Smart3 phone. You can buy a Lively phone or plan on the carrier's website or Amazon, over the phone, or at select Best Buy, Rite Aid and Walgreens stores. Optional health services carry an additional cost, starting at $34.99 per month after a discount for paperless billing. Service runs on Verizon's network.