Five Things to Consider When Selecting a Cell Phone Plan

If you’re looking to say “Yes” to a cell phone plan, here are five things to consider before agreeing to one:

  1. Company Reputation – How long has the cell phone service provider you are considering been in business? And what are the results of their tenure? Consumer Cellular, for example, has been offering cell phone plans for more than 15 years, and for two years in a row we’ve been rated the #1 no-contract cell phone company in the country. Longevity and reputation matter.
  1. Plans & Phones – Sure, you might be able to get an expensive phone for a discounted price, but that often means you’re stuck with a two-year contract—and severe penalties for trying to get out of your contract early, should you wish to. We don’t ask our customers to sign a contract and yet we still offer them phones from the world’s top cell phone makers at affordable prices. With Consumer Cellular, there are no activation fees for getting started and no fees for upgrading to a new phone or plan. And we back it all up with a no-risk, 100% money-back guarantee. The keyword for a good cellular plan is flexibility. So make sure you take the time to compare cell phones and plans. You might find that the best cell phone plans are also the cheapest.
  1. Customer Service – Let’s face it, you’re bound to need assistance at some point. But “service” is a huge question, one with an answer that can vary greatly from vendor to vendor. Here at Consumer Cellular our customer service team is 100% based in the U.S., so there are no lost-in-translation moments. We encourage you to contact us at anytime, say, by phone or email. You can help yourself to answers, upgrade your phone, or change your plan, as needed, on our secure website. Our policies are consumer-friendly, such as Usage Alerts, which help you avoid potential overage fees, and the flexibility to change your plan at any point. It’s your cell phone plan. We think you should feel free to use it as you see fit.
  1. Price – The truth is, most of us try to live within a budget, which means money or price is always an object. So don’t forget to check out the company’s pricing structure and history. What is the least amount you’ll need to budget for each month? How often has the company increased its prices in the last two or three years? Are there any hidden costs to consider, such as activation fees or will you be forced to pay for an unlimited plan when you’re a casual user? Consumer Cellular offers cell phone plans—including family share plans—that fit different needs and budgets, for as little as $10 a month.
  1. Coverage – Lastly, remember to ask about their coverage. Consumer Cellular, for example, uses the networks of the largest cellular network in the United States. This gives you direct access to the widest, most established cellular systems available. And remember, no roaming fees!

Looking for answers to the question which cell phone plan best fits your needs? When it comes time to say “Yes” to a cell phone plan, don’t forget to first think of the benefits of “No”: no contracts, no penalties, no overages, no roaming fees and no surprises. Now that’s a plan.

52 Thoughts on "Five Things to Consider When Selecting a Cell Phone Plan"

  1. Joanne says

    Hello Consumer Cellular:
    Love your service, but found while in Flagstaff AZ our phone's battery will drain very fast. I think it is because they only have analog service available up there?
    What do you think?
    We live in Tucson and never have that problem.

    reply to Joanne

    • Dominic at Consumer Cellular says

      Hello Joanne. Thanks for the post. It's not uncommon for batteries to drain at a faster rate when you're traveling. The phone is constantly looking for a signal. In areas where the reception isn't the best, the phone works harder to find that signal and that can drain the battery. On a recent road trip, I had to drive through an area with little-to-no cell phone reception. I decided to turn my phone off so it didn't drain the battery. If you need any additional assistance, please feel free to contact us at 888-548-6490. Thank you.

      reply to Dominic

  2. peggy kenner says

    i would like to change my phone to a touch screen,can i do this,you can put it on my next bill

    reply to peggy

    • Dominic at Consumer Cellular says

      Hello Peggy. Thanks for the post. You're free to upgrade your phone at any time. Please feel free to call us at 888-548-6490 and we'll be more than happy to assist you. Thank you.

      reply to Dominic

  3. Peter Stetson says

    I have a Verizon cell phone. Can it be converted for use on your system?

    reply to Peter

    • Dominic at Consumer Cellular says

      Good question, Peter. Unfortunately, Verizon phones aren't compatible with SIM card technology, so they can't be used on our service. Thank you.

      reply to Dominic

      • Doug says

        The newer smartphones from Verizon have SIM cards in them. Will they work with your service?

        reply to Doug

        • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

          Thank you for asking, Doug. We’ve had success with phones from Verizon that take a SIM card. We will try any device with our SIM card, but we can’t guarantee that all features will work with our service. Luckily, we have a 100% Risk-Free Guarantee that will allow you try our service without worry. If you would like to get started, just pick up one of our SIM cards from your local Target or Sears store, or order one on our website here. We look forward to working with you!

          reply to Ashley

        • Randy says

          I just switched my wife’s and my Verizon iPhones over to Consumer Cellular. Mine is a 6s and hers is a 5c. They both handled the new SIM cards with no problem. Coverage is very good.

          reply to Randy

          • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

            That’s great to hear, Randy! Thank you for sharing your experience, and we appreciate you posting!

  4. Joe says

    I have been with your service for about 3/4 years and I really think it is the best cell phone for the money. I just received my first smart phone and do a lot of things with it. I like the way I can use wi-fi and cut down on the use of min's and data. I am older but with my new smart phone I feel younger. Thanks and keep things going great. Thanks

    reply to Joe

  5. sheila doster says

    i am hearing impaired and need a loud volume. what do you offer?

    reply to sheila

  6. Don Hailey says

    How is your company connected to ATT?

    reply to Don

  7. Dominic at Consumer Cellular says

    Hello Don. Thanks for your question. Consumer Cellular uses AT&T's network (and towers) but that's the only connection as we operate independently of them. If you need any additional assistance, please feel free to contact us at 888-548-6490 or at service@consumercellular.com. Thank you.

    reply to Dominic

  8. EKDBK says

    I currently have AT&T service – it's horrible. We seldom are able to get calls in our home – and we live in town, not in the country. There are a lot of “dead” areas in the places we drive most of the time. How will your service provide anything better for me?

    reply to EKDBK

    • Dominic at Consumer Cellular says

      Hello and thank you for your question. Our service runs off of AT&T's network. This means you'll likely experience the same reception levels with our service. Thank you.

      reply to Dominic

  9. Kaori says

    I am trying to choose between your company and Credo. I am switching from AT&T because their political and social views do not align with my own. Do you have a site where we can see just what this company supports?
    Thank you.

    reply to Kaori

    • Dominic at Consumer Cellular says

      Hello Kaori. Thank you for your question. Consumer Cellular is a privately owned company with no political affiliations. Instead we're known for our charitable contributions to the National Parks Conservation Association, the Oregon Food Bank, The Red Cross, The American Cancer Society, the Doernbecher Children's Hospital and many other organizations. If you're interested in getting a feel for our company, our Awards page (http://www.consumercellular.com/About/Awards) and our Monthly newsletter (http://www.consumercellular.com/About/Newsletters) might be a good place to start. Thank you.

      reply to Dominic

  10. Marc says

    With most companies these days,if you call customer service you get: if you want ____ press 1,if you want ____ press 2,if you want ____ press 3 etc.It may take up to thirty minutes of being on hold before you can talk to somebody.And if you do get to talk to somebody,that person is usually several thousand miles away and has difficulty understanding and/or speaking English.I DON'T KNOW HOW THOSE COMPANIES STAY IN BUSINESS.In my opinion,that is HORRIBLE CUSTOMER SERVICE!!There are many things that I REALLY LIKE about Consumer Cellular.My favorite thing is that each time I called customer service,I spoke to an American,who answered my questions promptly and I did not have to go through 30 minutes of automated voice prompts.Your company has always provided EXCELLENT customer service for me.Keep up the good work.THANKS

    reply to Marc

  11. joani says

    I love Consumer Cellular. I cancelled my service because we needed to get down to one phone and my husband has a contract with T-Mobile which is not up until April 2013. Can we get out of this contract without paying $200? I would love to go back to Consumer Cellular! Thank you!

    reply to joani

    • Tina at Consumer Cellular says

      Joani – You may want to check with T-Mobile. Most companies prorate the early termination fee. The longer you are with them, the smaller it gets. In addition, you might save enough with us to make back to cost of that fee. If you would like someone to help you figure out if changing over now would be beneficial, please find out what your fee would be and then give us a call at 1-800-686-4460

      reply to Tina

  12. Alan J Isaacs says

    Will I be able to use and obtain new apps with my Apple 5 phone if I switch from AT&T .

    reply to Alan

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      Great question, Alan! As long as you have one of our data plans, you will be able to use your iPhone and the App Store in the same way as you did before. Thanks for commenting!

      reply to Ashley

  13. Rhonda Fitzgerld says

    My father in law wants to give me his old IPhone 4. Can I use it with your service? He LOVES Consumer Cellular!!!

    reply to Rhonda

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      That’s an excellent question, Rhonda. If the iPhone 4 is an unlocked GSM phone or has been previously used with Consumer Cellular, it should work on our network. All you need to do is give us a call at 888-345-5509. We can answer any questions you may have about using the phone with our service, and we can get a SIM card on the way to you. We’re sure you’ll love our service as much as your father-in-law does!

      reply to Ashley

  14. JD says

    wife’s Huweai phone shows no bars around the house, voice quit, texts show up slowly. I guess it’s working elsewhere–though texts come late. My red-flip Doro phone only shows 3 bars, at home- 77060.

    reply to JD

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      Thank you for posting, JD. I was able to look at your account, and I see our customer service team is shipping you a new SIM card now. Per your conversation with Jacob, our customer service representative, this new SIM card should resolve the service issues you’ve been experiencing. If we can help you with anything else at this time, please don’t hesitate to call us at 888-345-5509. Thank you for reaching out to us today!

      reply to Ashley

  15. Phil Anderson says

    I am presently a relatively new Cell. Cons. customer. Will these phones operate from another country such as Canada calling back to the U.S.?

    reply to Phil

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      We’re glad to have you, Phil. Your phones will work within the United States, and are not designed to be used in Canada or other countries. The phone might work, but you may be subjected to costly international roaming fees. We recommend keeping your phone in airplane mode and using Wi-Fi where available. I was able to take a look at your account and see that you are using the Moto G, one of our popular smartphones. You can use Skype or Google Hangouts to connect with others while out of the country without cost. If we can answer any questions for you about where your phone will have service, please give us a call at 888-345-5509. Thank you for commenting today!

      reply to Ashley

  16. Jackie Hamilton says

    Can people with bad credit get a phone?

    reply to Jackie

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      Great question, Jackie! We offer a variety of price options, and our phones start at just $30! You can view our full lineup here. Some of our devices do have EasyPay financing available, and we do run a simple credit check. If you like, we can talk with you about which phone or plan would be the best fit for you at 888-345-5509. Thank you for reaching out to us, and we hope to speak with you soon!

      reply to Ashley

  17. Al says

    Will smartphones used with T-Mobile work with Consumer without being unlocked and if not how is the best way to handle the unlocking. I have a Galaxy S 5 and a iPhone 6 both on T Mobile now. Thanks!

    reply to Al

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      Great questions, Al! Before you can use those phones with our service, you’ll need to have them unlocked by the original carrier. In most cases, you just need to ask, though you may need to provide some information from the device. The good news is that it sounds like your phones would be a great fit with our SIM card once they have been unlocked. You can learn more about using our SIM card here. And of course, we’re happy to answer your questions over the phone at 888-345-5509. We’re so glad to hear you’re interested in our service, and we hope to see you as a customer soon!

      reply to Ashley

  18. Lotus says

    My husband is afraid he will lose all his contact numbers stored in his phone, if we switch to Consumer Cellular…and he continues to use his old flip-fone. 😉 Will he ?

    reply to Lotus

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      Great question! If you’re planning to use our SIM card with the flip phone, any contacts saved to his device will be untouched. We recommend exporting his contacts to the SIM card just in case, and we’re happy to walk you through that if you like. Just give us a call at 888-345-5509, and we will be ready to assist you. Thank you for posting, and we look forward to speaking with you soon!

      reply to Ashley

  19. Jericka A says

    I’m looking to switch from AT&T. Are the data speeds the same? I have the old legacy unlimited data plan right now with AT&T and want to make sure it’s comparable. Thank you!

    reply to Jericka

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      I’m happy to answer your question, Jericka! We offer nationwide 4G LTE service where it is available, and you can take a look at the coverage in your area by viewing our coverage map here. Thank you for posting, and we hope to see you as a Consumer Cellular customer soon!

      reply to Ashley

  20. Laure says

    Can my ATT landline number be the number?

    reply to Laure

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      Thank you for posting, Laure. We can usually port any number to our service as long as it is still active. Just give us a call at 888-345-5509, and we can work with you to start the transfer process. That way, you’ll keep your same phone number, but you’ll save money each month! We appreciate you taking the time to reach out to us, and we look forward to assisting you!

      reply to Ashley

  21. Sabrina says

    Just got this plan and I am worrying and wondering if it works off at & t towers in West Virginia I ask but need reassurance please and thanks

    reply to Sabrina

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      Thank you for posting, Sabrina. We’re happy to look at the coverage in your area and verify which towers you are using. Just give us a call at 888-345-5509 at your convenience and we will assist you. We appreciate you posting, and hope you have a great day!

      reply to Ashley

  22. Michelle says

    I want to sign up but every time I call either number the line rings busy. Are you growing too fast to handle your customer service? This is a major set back in my decision. Please advise perhaps a time when lines aren’t so busy.

    reply to Michelle

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      Thank you for posting Michelle, and please accept our apologies for the wait you experienced. We’re happy to help you get started at 888-345-5509 now. Thank you for your patience, and we look forward to welcoming you to Consumer Cellular!

      reply to Ashley

  23. Mystery jordan says

    One. I would like a truly unlimited plan on data for streaming music and video.

    Two. I think that you should have a plan between 250 minutes and 1500 minutes of talk time. That’s an awfully huge range.

    reply to Mystery

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      Those are both great suggestions, so thank you for taking the time to post. I’ve passed your feedback on to our management team for review. We always appreciate it when customers tell us about features or services they would like to have, as it aids us in creating plans that work best for our customers. We don’t have any new plans to announce right now, but if we do in the future, we’ll be sure to post about it here on the blog, and provide other communications with the details. Thank you again for reaching out to us today, and we hope you have a wonderful day!

      reply to Ashley

  24. Patricia Martin says

    I am considering consumer cellular. I have now have a tracfone. Would I be able to keep my tracfone # or would I need to call tracfone to release it?

    reply to Patricia

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      Thank you for asking, Patricia! In most cases, you can keep your phone number. Just make sure to keep your previous account open until we’ve confirmed that the transfer is complete. When you’re ready to sign up, it’s quite useful to have a previous bill on hand so that you can easily find the account number and any other necessary information. We’re happy to answer any other questions you may have or help you create an account at 888-345-5509. We appreciate you posting today, and we look forward to assisting you!

      reply to Ashley

  25. Rita Godwin says

    I’m presently with At&T and want to switch to affordable plan with unlimited minutes and data. Also, I am At&T retiree. Can I use retiree discount! In addition, the phone screen crack can I get replacement?

    reply to Rita

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      Thanks for reaching out to us, Rita! We offer a variety of flexible plans, including unlimited talk and text. You can view all of the options here. At this time, we are only offering a discount to AARP members. As for your phone, we have a variety of options including flip phones, as well as iPhone and Android smartphones. Check them out here! We’re also here to answer any other questions you may have, and even help you get started. Please call us at 888-345-5509, and we will be ready to assist you! Thank you again for posting, and we hope to welcome you to Consumer Cellular soon!

      reply to Ashley

  26. Mike Keating says

    So if you get the 2 gig data plans what happen when you reach the limit. Does it convert to expensive overages or does the speed move to slower like 2 g with some companies

    reply to Mike

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      Great question, Mike. We offer automatic upgrades, so that you won’t be subject to costly overages and you won’t run out of data. If you exceed your 2GB plan, you’ll automatically be upgraded to the next plan, which offers 5GB of data at the same speeds. We’re happy to answer any other questions you may have at 888-345-5509, so please don’t hesitate to give us a call. Thanks for posting, and we hope you have a great day!

      reply to Ashley

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