Consumer Cellular offers flexible, no-frills plans aimed at the senior demographic and those who don’t use their phone often. It topped the most recent Consumer Reports wireless survey in customer satisfaction among all postpaid carriers, including the Big Four cell phone carriers: Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile.
However, anyone looking for a standard unlimited talk and text plan with data will be disappointed with Consumer’s higher prices.
At a glance
- Plans start at $12.50 per month.
- Notables: Great customer service; flexible plans for those who don’t use their phone much; expensive if you want an industry-standard plan.
Consumer Cellular cell phone plans
Consumer Cellular’s plans are split into voice calling plans and text-and-data plans. You can combine allotments of minutes, texts and data to tailor a plan to your usage. Simply add the prices together to get your monthly cost.
Monthly voice rates are as follows:
- 250 minutes: $15.
- 1,500 minutes: $20.
- Unlimited minutes: $30.
There’s also a 25-cent-per-minute pay-as-you-go rate available for $10 per month.
Monthly text and data rates:
- 30MB, 300 texts: $2.50 per month.
- 200MB, 2,000 texts: $5.
- 500MB, unlimited: $10.
- 1.5GB, unlimited texts: $20.
- 3GB, unlimited texts: $30.
- 5GB, unlimited texts: $40.
If you go over your minutes, texts or data for the month, Consumer Cellular automatically bumps you up to the next tier, along with the increased price. Any data usage over 5GB comes with a $10 per gigabyte overage fee, along with slower speeds. Consumer Cellular does not allow more than 12GB of data use in a month.
» COMPARE: Best cell phone plans
Consumer Cellular’s network
Consumer Cellular is a mobile virtual network operator that operates mostly on AT&T’s network, but depending on relative network strength, some customers might be connected to T-Mobile’s network instead.
AT&T finished second out of the Big Four in both network reliability and data performance in RootMetrics’ latest Mobile Network Performance report.
Where to buy Consumer Cellular
You can buy Consumer Cellular phones and plans at independent cell phone stores, Target, Sears and some AAA stores in Oregon and Idaho. You can also shop on its website.
How Consumer Cellular compares on prices
Compared with other carriers’ standard unlimited talk and text plans, Consumer Cellular can get expensive. An unlimited talk and text plan with 1.5GB of data on Consumer Cellular will run you $50 per month.
Use the table below to see how Consumer Cellular stacks up against prepaid providers that offer unlimited talk and text with their data plans.
1GB or less 2-4GB 5-6GB 8-10GB Unlimited
$30 (talk and text only) $45 (6GB) $65
$35 (3GB) $50
$25 (talk and text only)
$40 (4GB) $50 (8GB) $60
$40 (6GB) $50
$15 (talk, text and Wi-Fi)
$60 (6GB) $90 (10GB) Sprint prepaid $45 (4GB) Straight Talk Wireless $30 (1,500 minutes, unlimited texts and 100MB data) $45 (5GB) $55 (10GB) T-Mobile prepaid
$45 (4GB) $55 (6GB) $75
$30 (talk and text only) $40 (2GB) $50 (5GB) $70 (10GB) $80
Stephen Layton is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Updated June 16, 2017.