Best Cell Phone Plans for Seniors

In this article...
  • With so many carriers and options, choosing the right cell phone plan for a senior can be daunting. Learn about the best plans and carriers for seniors.

When you’re looking at cell phone plans, it’s important to choose one that fits your specific needs as a senior. While some seniors use their phones to keep in touch with loved ones via calls and texts, others may use their phones more moderately and consume more internet data. Choosing the right plan will save you money. Start by understanding the overall categories of plans available:

  • Talk and text plans: A talk and text plan gives seniors text messaging and phone call capabilities. This is a great plan for those who prefer traditional phones over smartphones, although you can still use these plans on more modern phones. If you don’t intend to use your phone to browse the internet, download apps or watch videos online, this is a good plan to choose.
  • Phone plans with data: More tech-savvy seniors who want video and internet on their phones may opt for a plan that includes data. With data capabilities, you’ll be able to download applications, such as banking apps to help keep track of finances. You’ll also have the ability to participate in voice calls with your loved ones who don’t live nearby. 
  • Prepaid cell phone plans: The previous two plans usually entail a contract of 1 to 2 years. For seniors who would rather avoid binding themselves to a single device and carrier, a prepaid phone plan is a good alternative. These plans allow you to pay upfront for the number of voice minutes, text messages and data you need. They’re good for seniors who only use their phones occasionally or in emergencies. 

Regardless of the plan you choose, you’ll also need to decide on how much talk, text and data you’ll need each month. Most carriers come with unlimited options, meaning you won’t have to worry about going over and paying extra charges, but those plans can be a little pricey. 

There are also considerations for seniors who like to travel, as different carriers have roaming charges for using their service outside designated areas.

The Best Cell Phone Plans for Seniors

A good way to determine the best plan for you is to ask yourself a few simple questions. For example:

  • Do you normally talk to friends and family for long stretches, or do you briefly check in from time to time? 
  • Do you plan on using your phone to browse the web, check Facebook or video chat with family and friends?
  • Do you have family and friends abroad or travel frequently?

Answering these questions helps you narrow down the cell phone plan that’s best for your needs.

Next, we’ll look at the carriers that offer the best senior phone plans for each scenario.


Lively is a cell phone carrier that mainly serves seniors. The company provides affordable plans and offers additional health and safety features and an array of phones designed with seniors in mind.

Among the health features that Lively provides are Urgent Response, Lively Link and Urgent Care. With Urgent Response, you can get live support that confirms your location and delivers the help you need at the press of the button. Meanwhile, Lively Link alerts your friends and families when you use the Urgent Care feature. And with Urgent Care, you can speak to qualified doctors and nurses to answer any medical questions, day and night. 

Lively also offers several other senior-friendly services and an array of smart devices that help keep you connected and safe.

Lively’s phone plans are affordable, starting at $14.99 for a basic plan or $19.99 for unlimited talk and text. Data costs extra, though you can purchase unlimited data to add to your plan for $29.99.


T-Mobile bills itself as America’s largest and fastest-growing 5G network. This makes it particularly well-suited for seniors that love traveling, as roaming charges won’t end up as surcharges on your monthly bill. 

While T-Mobile doesn’t offer the health and safety features of a carrier designed with seniors in mind, the company is no slouch when it comes to providing senior-specific plans. Starting at $27.50 per line for two lines, the carrier’s Essentials 55+ plan provides unlimited talk, text and data. Dedicated customer service is a phone call away if you have any questions about your device.

Each plan tier adds more features that benefit those with wanderlust. T-Mobile's Magenta plan adds data and texting abroad while providing 5GB of data in Canada in Mexico. Moving up to the MAX plan gives seniors the same but with an additional 40GB of mobile hotspot data to connect your other devices to. Both plans also include free Netflix and AAA membership for 1 year.

None of T-Mobile’s plans require a contract, so you can cancel at any time.


AT&T is one of the oldest and largest carriers around. It provides a vast cellular network that covers most of the US, providing reliable voice and text and great data speeds for mobile internet access. AT&T also has award-winning customer service, so if you anticipate regular assistance with your phone, this factor might impact your decision.

While AT&T is a reliable carrier with a vast network, it only offers senior-specific plans in the state of Florida. Individuals 55 and over can get unlimited talk, text and data in the US, Mexico and Canada for $60. You can also get an additional line on the plan for an extra $20. 

If you’re an AARP member, you can save even more with AT&T. If you sign up for the carrier’s Unlimited Elite plan, you’ll save an additional $10 per line with AARP membership along with waived activation and upgrade fees. 

While AT&T doesn’t offer too many perks for seniors, if you happen to reside in Florida and do a lot of traveling throughout North America, this might be the best carrier to choose. 

How Much Data Do I Need on My Cell Phone Plan?

The average person uses between 2GB and 5GB of data every month on a smartphone. Use of a traditional cell phone for making calls will fall well below this threshold, so if you prefer a phone for voice calls only, data isn’t something to worry about. On the other hand, if you use the web a lot, watch videos and have video chats, you’ll want to check your data usage on your phone to see how much you’ll need every month.

Is There a Free Cell Phone Plan for Seniors?

The federal government provides a Lifeline Assistance Program for seniors with specific income requirements. The service provides discounts on phone services for voice, text and data. To find out more about the program and see if you qualify, check the FCC’s Lifeline Program page.

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