This is an article directed towards assisting elders (65+) evaluate the potential benefits that could be gained from a senior cell phone plan. Seeing the pros and cons of senior cell phone plans can bring to light a good deal or a potential saving.
In 2014, 74% of the people ages above 65 have cellphones and 19% of these cellphone owners have smartphones (according to Mobile Tech). These statistics reveal the fact that most of the elders are still accustomed to using cellphones at a more fundamental level (meaning low data and text usage). Hence, there might still be a good portion of the elders that could consider using senior cell phone plans.
The two senior plans, At&t senior nation 200 and Verizon nationwide 65+, are really the only two senior plans that are advertised within the major 4 carriers (At&t, Sprint, Verizon, T-Mobile). I am going to abbreviate them as SN200 & N65+ respectively as I discuss them further on. Keep in mind that the each cellphone plan targets a particular population. For example, a business that is looking to give cellphones for its employees only for contacting purposes might only need the minimum coverage plan. On the other hand, a family of 4 that texts each other 24/7 will be needing a plan that requires unlimited text. Each population uses its cellphone in a distinct manner, thus you need to find a plan accordingly.
With that being said, the SN200 & N65+ are not designed for all seniors. There are certain advantages and drawbacks to these plans. Below, I am going to compare SN200 & N65+ with regular individual cell phone plans, and explain the difference in individual sections of the plan. Also, I will not be discussing any family plans, since its average monthly rate per person will almost always be lower than individual plans. If you can afford to get a family plan, that’s probably the best option.
Both the SN200 & N65+ has great flexibility as to the details of the plan starting at $30/mo. However, these plans are made in such a way that the basic option is the only option that isn't overpriced. You can take apart the whole plan and just select the options you need, but any additional services (text, minutes, and data) besides the basics will deem the plan too costly for the coverage. While if you have an individual regular plans, it almost always includes decent additional services for around $40-$50. A senior plan with the exact same services as an individual plan will at least be $15 more.
Remember what I said about the any additional services is simply too costly? Just by adding unlimited text onto either N65+ or SN200 is already a $20 charge. That is $50/month total with the basic access fee. With this price, you can get a better deal with a basic individual plan. If you are considering getting a senior plan for an older family member, make sure that he or she is not an excessive texter or else it’s $0.20/msg and $0.25-$0.30/media msg for any outside plan text. These numbers may look small, but they can accumulate very quickly. It’s like making an international call without a plan. They will charge you a high penalty fee per minute.
The data fee is again not worth it. If you add any data plan on either senior plan, it's starting at $30 for 2GB for N65+. SN200 is no better with $25 for the addition 2GB data. The pricing is almost on par with individual plans from the same carrier except without the unlimited talk or text. This heavy charge on data is one of the ways to discourage users from using anything past the basic senior plan. No data plan is the only way to reap the benefits of this plan.
The contract length for N65+ & SN200 is 2 years, which is same as the other plans. The only current plan of all the carriers without a contract is the T-Mobile’s Uncarrier Plan, which provides a lot of flexibility, and you get the phone you paid for.
This is where the SN200 and N65+ differ. SN200 has unlimited minutes when you are calling to a person also using At&t plus 500 minutes for nights and weekends. N65+ is the opposite with limited mobile to mobile minutes (200 mins) and unlimited nights and weekend. All the individual regular plans now days all have unlimited talk, so there are no comparisons between them.
First, I just want to thank you for reading this far, and this is my personal evaluation of the senior cellphone plans in order to help people not overspend. If there are some aspects that I missed or you would like for me to address, please let me know. The senior plans basically plans for the seniors population that hardly use cellphones at all.
For the folks that love to text your friends, download apps, and use internet, this plan is not for you. You’re probably better off joining a family plan. If you don't fit the requirements for a family plan, even individual plans are better in quality for the price you’re paying. Hope this helps. I love to get feedback. Any comments is appreciated. Thank you.