Issue 19, February 2011
In This Issue
- Dialing In by CEO John Marick »
- Don't Forget to Connect! before Feb. 28 »
- Feature Focus: Texting »
- Customer Star: William R. Barrett »
- Your Questions Answered »
- Refer a Friend: An easy $10 for you »
- Our Grandparenting Contest Winner Takes Cruise of a Lifetime. Read More »
- How-To Videos Big Hit with Customers. Read More »
- Consumer Cellular Shares Mature Market Details with Companies and Attendees at CES 2011. Read More »
- Consumer Cellular Employees Give Back to their Communities. Read More »
We’re Here to Help
In addition to the extensive support you'll find on our website, check out these other information sources:
Put $10 in Your Pocket! That's what you'll do every time you refer someone who signs up with Consumer Cellular. They'll be happy, too. Not only will they get fantastic cell service at great rates, they'll also get a $10 credit on their first bill. Don’t wait to share the wealth! The best gifts don’t require contracts.
Want to tell a friend? Click here to send an email.
- Connect! Lite – Check the web 1-2 times per week; $2.50 a month
- Connect! Ready – Check the web 1-2 times a day; $5.00 a month
- Connect! Active – Check the web 3-4 times a day; $10.00 a month
- Connect! Complete – Check the web 7-9 times a day; $20.00 a month
Remember, order a Connect! package any time between January 11th – February 28th and get a $5 credit!
by John Marick
Last year we celebrated 15 years in an industry that’s seen more than its share of change. Which brings me to the Chinese New Year that began earlier in February: it’s the Year of the Rabbit, the emblem of longevity. It is said that people born during the Year of the Rabbit are sensitive, compassionate, and creative. They prefer to avoid conflict and are people-friendly. They project graciousness, good manners, and sound advice. In short, they are honorable and believe strongly in friends and family.
I like to think those traits are also a pretty good description of Consumer Cellular and the people we hire. The description could help explain our longevity in business and why so many of our customers love and recommend us.
Yet I believe we provide something more than a gracious, customer-friendly attitude: we offer great value. Our Customer Star this month, Billy Barrett, out of the Hollywood area, really nails it when he talks about our value proposition. By the way, he took the photo that accompanies his profile with his new Samsung A697 smartphone.
So, what do I mean by great value? From a wide selection of simple, easy and affordable plans to an inventory full of practical phones, consumers finally get a wireless service that makes sense. We give on-going discounts to AARP members and introduce special offers throughout the year to every customer. Case in point, I’d like to remind you to take advantage of our special Connect! offer before February 28. Texting and surfing the Web are a lot easier than you think — and fun, too.
Plus, we have customer-friendly programs, such as Family Share (only $10 a month per additional line) and free Usage Alerts, designed to save you even more money.
Clearly, the Consumer Cellular wireless service program that we’ve built over the last 15 years continues to work. In an annual online survey of wireless carriers, we received the highest customer ranking for no-contract cellular service as determined by ConsumerReports.org subscribers. And today, we have more than 500,000 customers!
The Year of the Rabbit might stand for longevity but Consumer Cellular is proud to stand for no contracts, affordable plans, world class phones and friendly customer service. In the month of February, after the holiday bills slow down or finally stop coming, it’s nice to know there’s still one great value out there for consumers. We plan to keep it that way… for a long, long time.
For more comments and industry insights from John, read his latest blog.
Add a Connect! package before Feb. 28, 2011 and get a $5 credit. We offer four Web/messaging packages, each designed to fit your usage needs and budget. If you just want to send a few texts or only need to check the Web once or twice a week, you can do it for only $2.50 a month with Connect! Lite. Or if you want to check the Web more often, say, seven to nine times a day, it’s just $20 a month. For more details, go to Services or to order, log in to your My Account page.
If you always wanted to try texting, now’s the time. See you online. Or as a text message might put it: CYO.
Remember the cereal TV commercial that ended with, “Silly rabbit, Trix are for kids”? Well, it used to be that texting was for kids. But not any more. Studies now show that texting is for all ages. According to the CTIA, the wireless industry association, the volume of text messages sent per user jumped up about 50 percent nationwide in 2009. And for the first time in the United States, using mobile devices to access data exceeded the use of mobile devices for voice conversations!
Best of all, as a Consumer Cellular customer we’ve got your texting needs covered with several text-capable cell phone choices:
- Samsung A177 - The ideal phone for texting for those with nimble fingers. It comes with a full standard keypad that enables you to easily type messages fast and stay connected to your friends and family. Learn more about the Samsung A177.
- Samsung A697 – The A697 gives you the benefits of a touchscreen cell phone at an affordable price. This smartphone includes a virtual computer keypad as well as a 3-inch display that’s bright, colorful, and easy to read. Learn more about the Samsung A697.
- Doro PhoneEasy 410 – Large buttons with a backlit keypad and a bright screen on the clamshell PhoneEasy 410 make texting a snap. It is simply the perfect phone for seniors. Learn more about the Doro PhoneEasy 410.
- Doro PhoneEasy 345 – The full color display on the 345 is large and bright, so names and numbers are easy to read when texting. Another ideal phone for seniors. Learn more about the Doro PhoneEasy 345.
- Nokia 2720 – This small, handy device is our most affordable texting phone. Learn more about the Nokia 2720.
- Nokia 2680 – An easy to use slide and dial phone that includes texting and picture taking. Learn more about the Nokia 2680.
- Motorola W259 – And, of course, last but not least, even our free phone supports texting, giving you a truly affordable option for keeping in touch. Learn more about the Motorola W259.
If you already have one of the above phones, you may need to just add a Connect! package to your plan for texting. To help you get started, we’re now offering up to a $5 credit if you add a Connect! package by February 28 of this year.
Still not sure which texting phone is for you, then just give us a call at 1-888-345-5509 and we’ll help walk you through your choices. Or if you are ready to start texting, simply log in to your My Account page and add the Connect! package that best fits your needs.
William R. Barrett
If you live in the Los Angeles area and work in television or film, you are in what is known as “the industry.” William “Billy” Barrett, a new Consumer Cellular customer, is semi-retired from “the industry,” and still works four to six months a year on TV and film set construction.
With two daughters, one grandson, and three dogs, Billy is finding plenty to do now that he’s no longer creating backdrops full-time for Hollywood stars.
Billy might be new to Consumer Cellular but he’s an experienced cell phone user who traded in his beeper in the 1980s when cell phones were first made available to the general public. Put another way, he knows a good cell phone deal when he sees one.
“I just got my first Consumer Cellular bill. It was $38.68 with Internet,” said Billy. “My bill from my previous service provider had always been $84.53 — with no Internet and an old phone. With Consumer Cellular I got a smartphone for $60. My previous carrier wanted $200 and another 2-Year contract.”
Billy selected Consumer Cellular because he was tired of paying high prices. The last straw came when he and his wife tried to secure popular concert tickets for their daughter for her birthday. The Ticketmaster lines were jammed, so they kept speed dialing until they finally got through. When it was all over and their daughter had her birthday concert tickets they were surprised to get hit with a cell phone bill that was hundreds of dollars. (Consumer Cellular’s free Usage Alerts program would have warned them about exceeding their minutes, helping the couple to avoid both surprise and unexpected fees.) From that point on, Billy was determined to find a better wireless deal.
Eventually he discovered Consumer Cellular, signed up, and ordered the Samsung A697 smartphone. “I picked the Samsung because I could get a smartphone with Internet for way less than my old plan that included just an old flip phone with a tiny screen.”
With his previous plan and phone, Billy was unable to access the Internet or do any texting. But with his Samsung A697 he is texting, in his words, “all the time.”
So, what’s the bottom line for Mr. Barrett? “With Consumer Cellular I have a smartphone and no contract and still save $45.85 a month — that's a savings of $550.20 a year,” said Billy. “I can almost buy a car with what I’m saving… LOL!”
To read other customer comments, visit us on Facebook.
To view customer videos, go to YouTube.
In each issue we ask our Support team to recommend — and answer — commonly asked questions about our products or services.
How come my phone keeps turning off or going blank?
When not in use, your cell phone is designed to conserve battery life by dimming the display screen. This is called Standby Mode. Although the display is dark, the phone is still on and ready to use.
I’m getting Usage Alerts, but I pay by the minute. What do I do?
If you selected a plan where you pay by the minute or by the message, you will begin receiving alerts once your usage reaches levels where you could save money by selecting a different pricing plan.
In general, if you plan to use your phone more than 35 minutes a month, you are probably better off with one of our monthly plans. You can upgrade your plan at any time:
- Log in to My Account.
- Click “View or Change Plan.”
- Or call our Customer Support team at 1-888-345-5509.
My phone is making a beeping sound. Should I be worried?
A beeping sound is normal and usually indicates one of the following:
- Your battery may be low. Check the battery-charge indicator.
- If you have Call Waiting, someone may be trying to reach you. Press the green key (above the 1) to answer the second call. See Call Waiting for more details.
- One of the phone keys may have been pressed accidentally.
- You may have a voice or text message in your mailbox.
- Your alarm clock feature could be activated.
For more quick answers to your questions, visit our Customer Support page.
Our Grandparenting Contest Winner Takes Cruise of a Lifetime
Pam Payne, the grand prize winner of our first-ever Grandparent of the Year Contest, was joined on her winning Caribbean cruise by her two kids, Tashina and Trever; her grandson, Wade; and her sister, Paula, and her two kids, Tonya and Adam. None of them had ever been on an airplane or large ship, so it was a new experience all-around. “We always vacation together,” said Pam. “And I could not leave any of them out of this wonderful experience.”
The family spent five days aboard the Navigator of the Seas, a Royal Caribbean ship that’s been called “a revolutionary masterpiece.” The ship has it all: from rock-climbing wall to five-story theatre. Their suite had a balcony where they could step outside and enjoy the view at anytime. While on board, the family played miniature golf, went to the movies, and enjoyed the very large arcade and shop on the Promenade. There was also an ice skating rink, but, in Pam’s words, “We’re from Ohio and it was December. We were not interested in anything to do with cold weather!” They visited ports in Haiti and Jamaica, taking in plenty of sunshine and warm temperatures.
“It was a vacation we will never forget,” said Pam. “We have photo albums and videos that the kids and Wade will be able to look at years from now and pass on to their families, just as my mother passed on so many loving memories to us. Thank you, also, Consumer Cellular for giving grandparents the opportunity to share their stories with everyone. I am a fan and will be logging on this year to vote on my favorite story!”
To learn more about Pam’s winning essay or our next grandparenting contest, go to the Grandparent of the Year Gallery.
Counting our newest posted videos (Samsung A697, Samsung 177), we now have 60 How To videos on YouTube. We wanted to share with you some of our stats about usage. As of Dec 29, 2010, the total number of views is 113,100, with “Voicemail” the single most popular video at 12,111 views. The Doro 410 has collectively attracted the most views at a total of 24,082 viewings (for five videos). Runner-up was the collective total for the Nokia 2760 (at 14,894 views). Tour videos always get the most views for each phone. The single tour video that received the most views is the Nokia 2720 Tour. All in all, we have Tour videos for five different phones and together those videos have generated 14,583 views.
If you have not yet watched our How To videos, we encourage you to go ahead and give them a try. Visit our How To Videos page and look for the videos created for your phone. They’re free, fun to watch and don’t take a lot of time.
Consumer Cellular was pleased to be one of the 2,700 technology companies to attend the Consumer Electronics Association’s 2011 International CES® tradeshow, held in Las Vegas, Nevada. Preliminary attendance figures indicate more than 140,000 industry professionals and consumers attended, setting several CES records.
“We took advantage of the huge turnout at CES to meet with consumers interested in cell phone technology and services,” said John Marick. “We also met with several other companies who serve the mature market to discuss ways of bringing more value to our customers. It was a promising and electrifying few days.”
The Consumer Cellular booth was next to the Doro booth (makers of the award-winning and senior-friendly PhoneEasy 410 and PhoneEasy 345 cell phones), enabling both companies to work closely with interested visitors. Using a theme of “Your connection to 50+ America,” Consumer Cellular helped to promote the incredible market opportunities available for technology businesses wishing to serve the Boomer and beyond demographic.
For the employees of Consumer Cellular, the season of giving is year-around. Both our Portland, Oregon, and Phoenix, Arizona sites stepped up and volunteered in a big way in 2010. Here’s a summary of the volunteer activities we engaged in last year:
- Four Oregon Food Bank Events: Consumer Cellular employees, friends and families donated 278 hours in 2010 repackaging bulk food for local food pantries.
- Two On-site Red Cross Blood Drives: 78 donors donated 78 pints of blood, impacting 234 local lives.
- Two Race for the Cure Events: An amazing 85 team members raised $9,420 in donations in Portland and Phoenix combined.
- Making Strides Against Breast Cancer: A number of employees participated in an awareness walk raising $270 in donations.
- School House Supply Drive: Employees donated $1,601.86 in school supplies. With the Consumer Cellular matching program, that made our total donation $3,203.72.
- Fill the Bag Food Drive: We donated 16,305 pounds of food (based on converting the money donated to pounds of food). Put another way, we supplied 12,542 meals to our Portland and Phoenix communities.
- Holiday Giving Tree: In support of Albertina Kerr (Portland) and Save The Family (Phoenix), we adopted several families and provided wonderful gifts from the Giving Tree including clothes, toys, sports equipment, toiletries, gift cards, books, games, bedding, etc. Albertina Kerr helps children, adults and families in Oregon with mental health challenges and developmental disabilities, empowering them to lead fuller, self-determined lives. Save the Family helps homeless families become self-sufficient.
Here at Consumer Cellular, we seek to make a difference with our customers. It’s equally important to us to make a difference within our respective communities.