Best Cell Phone Plan for Seniors

While seniors might be the last holdouts when it comes to not using smartphones, only a minority of seniors today do not use one. Their usage habits might differ, and there might be special needs involved regarding settings and accessibility, but seniors can and will use smartphones just like everyone else. We think the need will become ever stronger in the coming years as landlines become less common. Today’s seniors may have had to use smartphones for work even ten years ago. Give them a lot more credit than some people would. 

Yet the above being true, that doesn’t mean that smartphones cannot meet the needs of seniors of all types and all levels of technological proficiency. Some smartphones and service plans are better than others for seniors.

Yet it can be complicated for those who aren’t used to shopping for plans. Fortunately, that is where we come in. We are familiar with the plans available to most people in the United States, seniors included. We have a general idea of what plans might work out best for them and have some additional information on how to make the most of those plans.

Here are the top cell phone plans for seniors, whether they use their phones daily or need something for the occasional emergency and peace of mind.

Our Criteria for Phone Plans for Seniors

There’s more to a phone plan than being “able to call people and watch videos wherever.” There are details in the contracts, service quality differences, and much more. Even the most minute differences can impact how much someone enjoys and uses their phone. This can especially be the case for seniors who might be looking for their first smartphone. So here are our selection criteria for plans:

Coverage and Availability: A plan isn’t worth much if it doesn’t work where you are. We looked at how reliable the plans are, no matter the location and the general availability of plans. This is becoming less of an issue as time goes on, but still a consideration as of this writing.

Price: Many seniors do not have a lot of disposable income, but that doesn’t diminish their need for a phone plan. The cheaper a phone plan is for some seniors, the better. In other cases, it is better to provide good value. While the exact circumstances can differ, it is always important and worth mentioning.

Customer Service: Telecommunications services and good customer service are not things you usually hear about in the same sentence unless people talk about the lack of it. However, some companies are much better than others. A senior must get a plan with a company willing to be patient with them and answer their questions in case of an issue.

Data Allowance: While seniors might not use as much data as people who are constantly on the move for work, a decent data allowance may still be necessary. Unlimited data is best, of course, but such plans are pricey, and a good balance may be required. Ideally, a good plan has a decent price point per GB. Additionally, there should be minimal penalties for going over the allowance if it exists.

Perks and Extras: There are often perks, subscriptions, and little extras that come with a mobile plan. However, in our honest opinion, most of them are not targeted toward seniors. A standard-definition Netflix subscription or a six-month subscription to Apple Music (which is more like a trial) should not be the deciding factor when picking out a phone plan. Nonetheless, those who would use the perks can add a bit of value to a plan.

Major Carrier or MVNO Plan: There are three major providers (Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile), and then there’s everyone else. Mainly everyone can be categorized as an MVNO or mobile virtual network operator. They lease extra bandwidth from the major providers and sell it to customers at a discount. Essentially, you need to know that an MVNO plan will be cheaper, but its users will not be prioritized potentially hindering service.

Contracts, Discounts, and Group Plans: This is where it can get much more complicated. With some carriers, you can cancel service anytime, but others have you prepay for a period of time or set you up with a contract (often one or two years). Each carrier works differently, and you must weigh the discounts and commitments against each other. 

There are also group plans, which we’ll discuss later. Just note that they can mean significant savings. However, some carriers encourage them to the degree where a plan isn’t worth it unless it’s part of a group plan. We’ll mention more about this with carriers below.

Additional Factors: There may be additional factors that might affect some people but otherwise might be ignored by most. Seniors who travel internationally may want a phone plan to accommodate them better. Perhaps security is a concern. Some phone plans are better with security than others. There are a few unique quirks about each phone plan, so know that there is one for practically everyone.

The 5 Best Phone Plans for Seniors

Now that you know what to consider, let’s look at five plans we think could be excellent plan for seniors, in no particular order:

1. T-Mobile Essentials 55+

One of the plans exclusively for seniors (or at least people over a certain age), the T-Mobile Essentials 55+ is a fantastic deal for those looking for a simpler plan with unlimited data. Unfortunately, it provides two lines at $27.50 a month (plus taxes and fees) with unlimited text, talk, and data. Other than that, it is, for the most part, a basic plan, but for the price and unlimited data, that is a tradeoff most seniors will be happy to make. 

We were also slightly split on whether we would recommend T-Mobile’s Magenta 55+ plan or their Magenta Max 55+ plan, but for the most part, we think the extra features are not worth the price for most seniors. However, seniors interested in AAA membership on T-Mobile, more mobile hotspot data, or more travel options might want to take another look.

Features and details of the plan entail:

  • The use of the T-Mobile network, which reaches across the country and can be considered quite reliable
  • Two lines on the plan for $27.50 each plus taxes and fees, totaling a bit more than $55 a month.
  • Access to 5G services, ensuring faster data speed in areas where there is the infrastructure for 5G.
  • Unlimited talk, text, and data each month. Note that speeds might be slower after 50 GB of data is used in a month.
  • Mobile hotspot data at 3G speeds. This is not very much, but it can be used for email or basic browsing in a pinch.
  • 2G data when traveling in Mexico and Canada. This is extremely slow, but it can send a message if need be.
  • Scam-blocking and call filtering options to keep away nuisances. 
  • Unlimited texting while abroad.
  • The use of data for SD streaming. Those who want 4K UHS streaming need to upgrade to the Magenta Max 55+ plan.
  • A dedicated customer service team that is regularly available.
  • No service contracts to worry about. People can cancel as they wish.
  • There is a minimum age of 55 to sign up for this plan.
  • A promise of “free stuff every week,” though this should be entirely ignored for your decision-making purposes. Don’t base your choice on unknown promises.

This plan is best for seniors who:

  • Have a partner that also requires a smartphone and decent service.
  • Want to have unlimited data and expect to use it.
  • Would like a much cheaper plan but would still want to stay with a major carrier to ensure quality, prioritized service.

2. Visible

Visible is a provider that is from Verizon but separate from it, providing lower cost service to customers using the Verizon network. It rides the line between MVNO and non-MVNO, as users might experience deprioritization, yet at the same time, Visible provides a more direct link to the network it works off of. It is among the most well known of the less expensive providers and may be a good choice for seniors looking for cheaper but reliable service, complete with unlimited data. This is a boon for seniors who may like to use data but don’t need the fastest speeds in the world.

Visible has built a good reputation over time and remains one of the best-known affordable providers in the United States. It has earned this reputation and can be trusted by seniors.

There are two plans with Visible, their standard plan and Visible+, but we think the standard plan will better serve most seniors.

Features and details of the plan entail:

  • Unlimited talk, text, and data across the United States. It should be noted that the data speed might not be as fast as it would be under a major carrier.
  • Access to a nationwide network of 5G and 4G LTE service.
  • Unlimited mobile hotspot usage, though seniors might not use this as much as other groups.
  • Unlimited talk and text service to Mexico and Canada.
  • Spam protection is beneficial for seniors who would otherwise get bothered regularly.
  • The use of Verizon’s infrastructure covers nearly the entire population of the United States. One would have to try not to get service.
  • The plan will cost $30 a month for a line. This includes fees and taxes. Seniors will have little to worry about in terms of extra fees and odd accounting on the side of the ISP.
  • While Visible does not have physical storefronts, customer support is always available if there is an issue.
  • The ability to add a smartwatch to the plan for $5/mo. We suspect most seniors will not take Visible up on this offer.

This plan is best for seniors who:

  • Want to use a wide-ranging network without paying an arm and a leg.
  • Want a relatively simple plan that will still provide the essentials. There are a few extraneous features and perks to drive up the price here.
  • Want an easy billing structure that does not contain hidden fees, taxes after the fact, and other tricks.

3. Verizon Welcome Unlimited Plan

For those who are interested in Verizon’s network but are less interested in the lower priority users who get Visible, the Verizon Welcome Unlimited Plan is the best option for most seniors across the country. It strikes a balance between some affordability (though it is still admittedly expensive for a phone plan) and decent speed, though perhaps not as high as some higher-end plans that cost $100 a month (we don’t think most seniors need those).

It is also uncomplicated, especially compared to Verizon’s other plans. Users get unlimited talk, text, and data on Verizon’s network. The data might not be as high-priority as some users, but throttling should not be too common. Hotspot usage is not included.

However, if there are four lines in the group, then the plan only costs $30 per line. That makes it much more affordable than many high-end options, and seniors enjoy Verizon's essentials.

For those who want more perks and options, there are other plans by Verizon that may be a better fit. However, a lot of these features won’t be used regularly by most seniors. A different carrier may also serve these users better.

Features and details of the plan entail:

  • The plan costs $30 monthly, with four users on a group plan. Alone, the plan costs $65 per month.
  • Access to 5G networks where available. Additionally, 4G LTE network access where available.
  • A Call Filter spam block to remove many of the annoying calls seniors get.
  • Talk, text, and data in Mexico and Canada.
  • International texting to more than 200 countries.
  • Unlimited talk, text, and data on the Verizon network will reach practically any populated area in the United States.
  • Users of data might experience some throttling or slowdown in heavily congested areas.
  • Very few additional features and perks to keep the price relatively low.
  • The option to keep your phone when switching to this plan.

This plan is best for seniors who:

  • You can join a group of four users to maximize the discount possible. Otherwise, the price is too steep for what is on offer. It should be noted that as of this writing with the Welcome Unlimited Plan can only be paired with other Welcome Unlimited Plans, which may make it a dealbreaker for many families. 
  • Don’t mind a little data at times, but otherwise want a solid connection and reliable service on a great network.
  • Do not want any extras and just want to be able to use their phone in peace.

4. Mint Mobile 55+

We went back and forth a bit on which other MVNO plan we would recommend to seniors, but Mint Mobile has one of the best followings in the industry and a good reputation among those interested in what it offers. And better yet, they have a 55+ plan tailored to seniors and highly affordable.

It is a very basic plan, only having 4 GB of data that could be deprioritized. Seniors who would mainly rely on WiFi or do not use the internet much on their smartphones might be interested in Mint Mobile 55+ to save money.

Features and details of the plan entail:

  • The plan starts at $15 a month for three months of service. You need to prepay for at least three months at a time.
  • Free mobile hotspot usage for data. Note that this usage comes out of the monthly data allowance.
  • Unlimited talk and text. Additionally, there is 4G of data per month. Seniors looking for more data might want to look at other plans offered by Mint Mobile.
  • Free 5G access where it would be relevant.
  • Free international calling to Mexico and Canada.
  • Free WiFi calls and texts if someone prefers to use WiFi instead of a cell signal.

This plan is best for seniors who:

  • Want one of the most inexpensive plans on the market and simply want something they can rely on in an emergency with a bit more functionality.
  • Are okay with experiencing some deprioritization with data usage.
  • Who do not expect to use much data at all.

5. AT&T Value Plus

AT&T has quite a few plans on offer, many of them perfect for millions of people, but for the moment, we would like to focus your attention on the AT&T Value Plus plan. It is an option that provides one line to one phone for one person for $50 a month. And while that might seem like a bit for some people, compared to single-line plans from other providers and under other offers, it’s a significant discount for what is on offer. Unlimited data usually doesn’t come so cheap.

On top of the unlimited data, talk, and text, there is SD streaming, 5G service, and unlimited texting from the US to other countries. There is nothing exceptional, but that is by design. It is a by-the-numbers essential plan that seniors will appreciate and get everything out of. And it allows for more independence, being a one-line plan.

However, we would like to note that the facts that make the AT&T Value Plus plan great for seniors living alone without a group-to-join plan make it a lackluster choice for those who can be part of a group plan. In those cases, someone can get more features and potentially better service for the same price. Another AT&T plan might be better for those looking for even more options and perks.

Features and details of the plan entail:

  • Unlimited talk, text, and data. Unlimited talk and text are a given with almost any plan, but unlimited data is a great deal for the price.
  • The use of the AT&T network is widespread and reliable.
  • Unlimited international texting to more than 200 countries from the United States.
  • Access to 5G infrastructure. Note that this requires a compatible phone (not much of an issue for any new phones bought as of 2022).
  • Standard definition video streaming. This is fine for viewing videos on social media or a quick look on YouTube, but it doesn’t make for the best entertainment experience.
  • Secure features and spam and call blocking via AT&T ActiveArmorSM. This is great for seniors who do not want to be bothered by spam calls, though it should be noted that all major carriers are improving at blocking such calls.
  • The possibility to get a $10 discount per month if the user signs up for paperless billing and autopay.
  • The plan is, as of this writing, $50 a month. You do not need to be part of a group plan to get this reasonable price. In fact, this plan was designed for one person needing one line.

This plan is best for seniors who:

  • Do not necessarily need many perks that come with more expensive plans but want the full package regarding phone service.
  • Do not have a group plan to join or do not want to join a group plan. The AT&T Value Plus Plan is a great option for a senior living independently.
  • Are looking for an all-around plan while also not needing the absolute latest and greatest in technology.

A Note for Seniors in Florida

Interestingly, there are several excellent plans for seniors from other service providers, but it should be noted that they are exclusive to Florida or a limited area. We recommend you look into them if you live in Florida, as many seniors do. We have excluded these plans from our list as they are only available to a small portion of the United States population.

Prepaid Phones and Advertised Options for Seniors

In your searches about phones for seniors, you might have noticed some prepaid phones for seniors available or phones with large screens with large fonts by default made for seniors. They might be specially marketed to seniors in catalogs or on specific television channels. 

However, while there might be a few helpful features here and the devices and plans are simplified enough, they don’t properly compare to new smartphones for general consumption. The “specialty” devices aren’t as powerful in most cases and should be regarded cautiously. As you might know, prepaid phones will not be any better, having minimal hardware. They’re primarily designed to be used for a bit and then dumped when convenient.

However, it should also be noted that the era of the prebuilt prepaid phone itself is winding down. Now there are more prepaid plans (perhaps like those mentioned above) that can go with practically any phone instead. It might not be as simple, but it offers more flexibility and works better with existing phones. Family members can give old phones to seniors who are less likely to use them, increasing longevity and saving money. 

However, while the special options are not something we wouldn’t recommend, there are a few things we like about them. Get a good case for any phone you buy (this is true no matter your age and phone), and make sure the screen is of a high enough quality to last a while. The better the picture, the more the phone can be easily used.

Finding a Smartphone for Seniors

With those notes on phones out of the way, what smartphone should a senior get? As a rule, there aren’t too many phone plans designed for seniors. For those that have special needs, it’s really about the phones. And if you are trying to get the right phone, you need to know what you are looking for.

There are plenty of resources about finding a good phone if you know a senior in need or are looking for a phone and you are a senior yourself. Make sure that the articles in question have your best interests at heart and are not simply trying to sell you a certain product because they don’t think you know any better. Such phones are easy to spot and should be ignored.

We recommend going partially by these resources and partly based on your own needs or the needs of the senior in question. People are different and might like different things from a phone. One person might want to take pictures of their garden and grandchildren, while another might enjoy a larger screen that’s as easy on the eyes as possible. Ask questions, and see what’s out there.

The good news is that outside of some features that must be part of phone hardware, smartphone operating systems, in general, have become much more accessible to people with various disabilities. All one needs to do is go into the settings and turn on those features as needed with some adjustments. For seniors that have difficulties with technology, to begin with, getting some help might be best. Any technologically savvy person in your life you trust should be able to make the changes in a few minutes. This fact makes choosing a phone these days often a matter of preference, not a necessity.

Adding Them to Your Family or Bundle Plan

On top of the above plans, someone can get on their own; there is another option: you can add someone to your existing family or bundle plan, significantly reducing the cost per line for everyone involved. If you’re someone getting a plan for a senior, you might be thinking of doing this already. If you are a senior reading this, perhaps ask a family member if they have a spot open in their plan (if spots are limited with their provider). Depending on the plan, it can save someone $40-$50 a month. 

Seniors can also get together and get a bundle together, assuming they all trust each other. While they might be often named “family plans,” it does not require that people be family members to be on the same plan. This might be best if a senior would not be a good fit for an existing family plan.

Whatever the situation, it is absolutely worth looking into. Each provider handles them differently, and some providers don’t have much of a group plan, so investigate it properly before committing.

Potential Senior Discounts

Depending on where you live or which company you are looking at, you might be able to get a discount for being a senior on your phone plan. Before signing the dotted line, check if the provider offers a discount. Note that this is less likely to be available with a group or family plans.

You may also not find a discount directly for seniors from a company but on offer from an organization for seniors. Groups like the AARP might offer discounts for members, and other groups, large and small, might be able to provide similar benefits. Don’t wait for such an opportunity or join an organization just for the phone benefits, but don’t pass them up if they are available.


Seniors need a smartphone plan like everyone else, though they often have different needs and considerations. We hope that this guide helped you find a plan that suits you or someone else in your life. Not every plan will be suitable for everyone, but we’re confident there will be a good choice among those listed above. We wish you the best of luck in finding the perfect plan and getting started, and we encourage you to return to this page as you feel the need.