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Posted July 24, 2012

What’s the Best (No Contract) Smartphone for Seniors?

By John Marick

Aren’t smartphones designed specifically for younger generations? Not really.

We’ve found that seniors are increasingly interested in using smartphones to log on to the Internet and connect with friends and family.

Which brings me to what I consider one of the best, if not the perfect, (no contract) smartphone for seniors: the iPhone 3GS. I’m pleased to announce Consumer Cellular is making the iPhone 3GS available for only $200 per phone, including activation.

Best of all, you get the most iconic smartphone in the business with all of the usual Consumer Cellular benefits: no contract, low rates, and our award-winning, 100% US-based Customer Support team, cell phone experts who are always here to help.

This is a phone with a fast processor (the “S” stands for speed). And it has the user-friendly interface that consumers have come to expect from Apple. It’s light-weight, very mobile, and it has an easy-to-use touch screen that’s large enough so you don’t have to squint.

In short, the iPhone 3GS is very easy to use. And a pleasure, too, because there’s a virtual world of iPhone apps to choose from, enabling you to customize the device to fit your lifestyle.

Okay, why should you buy an iPhone from us? For starters, you can save money. Then, of course, there are all those other great reasons you chose us in the first place and why our customers love us: from affordable cell phone plans to our Usage Alerts that protect you from unnecessary overage charges.

These iPhones are factory refurbished and come with Consumer Cellular’s standard 1-year warranty.  Photos can be sent and received between friends and family from the phone’s email app. Regular text messaging works like a charm; however, in most cases, sending pictures via the message feature won’t work.

For some smartphone users, about the only thing hotter than an iPhone is a kitchen stove that’s been on all day. If you’re interested in getting an easy-to-use smartphone that really cooks, don’t wait too long. After all, the iPhone 3GS is built for speed.


75 thoughts on “What’s the Best (No Contract) Smartphone for Seniors?

  1. Patricia A. Ross says:

    What is the monthly charge for iPhone service?

    • Dominic at Consumer Cellular says:

      Hello Patricia. Thanks for the comment, our plans are the same price regardless of which phone you have. There isn't an extra monthly charge for customers who have an iPhone. Here's a link to more information about our plans:

      • Michael says:

        You referred us to consumer cellular's plans for costs on the iPhone…I went to them and for instance it has 700 minutes for $30. How do you figure data and texting into that 700 minutes? How does that work?

  2. Leslie says:

    YEA!!!!! Good work guys….
    Just the fact that these phones are refurbished??? $200 is alot of money to lose, if the phone doesn't work after awhile.
    Just a suggestion: AND
    How about a touchscreen slider smartphone/android…a phone with a touchscreen, and a querty keyboard

    • Dominic at Consumer Cellular says:

      Thanks for the comment, Leslie. You're right, the phones are factory refurbished and there's a 1-year warranty on them. If you need any additional information, please feel free to contact us at 888-548-6490. Thank you.

  3. Nancy says:

    It's about time! Thanks, CC.

  4. sharon says:

    I own your motorola smartphone and I am very happy with it. Is there an advantage to owning the IPHONE? I don't think I would purchase one that is refurbished though. Your comment would be appreciated.

    • Dominic at Consumer Cellular says:

      Hello Sharon. iPhones have become one of the most iconic smartphones on the market. Many people love the design and ease-of use. It's your choice, and Consumer Cellular simply wanted to offer more options to our customers. Some are loyal to Android smartphones (like your Motorola Bravo) while others prefer the functionality of the iPhone. If you have any additional questions, please feel free to call us at 888-548-6490. Thank you.

  5. Bette says:

    I got stuck with one of the Samsung ATT phones with the icons that don't do anything. Did this refurbished phone come from another company? Can it be personalized to fit our needs or does it come with non-functional aps that can't be taken off (like mine)?

  6. Jeanne says:

    Since it is refurbished, do the phones have scratches or marks on them? Thanks.

    • Dominic at Consumer Cellular says:

      Hello Jeanne. The phones are factory refurbished with a 1 year warranty. They're not physically damaged. If you need any additional information, feel free to call us at 888-548-6490. Thank you.

  7. David Schwausch says:

    Can we keep our existing phone numbers?

    • Dominic at Consumer Cellular says:

      Hello David. Thanks for the question. Yes, you may keep the same number as long as the number is currently active. Please feel free to call us at 888-548-6490 and we'll be more than happy to assist you with the process. Thank you.

  8. Don says:

    I read somewhere that refurbished Apple products come with the same warranty as new ones. The 1 year warranty that you refer to, is that from Apple, or Consumer Cellular? And is my information correct?

    • Dominic at Consumer Cellular says:

      Hello Don. Thanks for the question. I can't speak for how Apple handles their warranties. However, I can tell you that the 1-year warranty on this phone comes directly from Consumer Cellular. If you need any additional information, feel free to contact us at or at 888-548-6490. Thank you.

  9. Michael Horen says:

    I bought a Samsung phone from Consumer Cellular not long ago; do you give any sort of rebate if I return it when purchasing one of these refurbished iPhones?

  10. Kevin says:

    During the refurbishment process, was a new battery installed? Given the iPhone has a sealed, nonuser-replaceable battery, I would be disappointed if the battery failed prematurely. Also, does the iPhone use a SIM card? That's one of the benefits of my Bravo, such that I can use my SIM card in another phone should my primary phone break or become disabled. Looking forward to your reply.

    • Dominic at Consumer Cellular says:

      Hello Kevin. Thanks for the question. If the phone previously had an issue with the battery then yes, a new battery was installed. However, these phones come with a 1-year warranty directly from Consumer Cellular. The iPhone 3GS also comes with a SIM card. In fact, here's a link to a video that shows how the SIM card can be removed: Thank you.

  11. Al Horn says:

    Are these phones unlocked? I ask, because I'd like to be able to use the phone overseas with a different SIM card when I travel. Is that possible?

    • Dominic at Consumer Cellular says:

      Hello Al. Thanks for the question. We won't be able to guarantee the phone works overseas. Our phones are designed to work with our network and that's solely within the US. The only way to know for sure would be to test it out the next time you're overseas. If you need any additional assistance, please feel free to contact us at 888-548-6490. Thank you.

      • Linda says:

        I would like to use my iphone overseas in India and Brazil. Has anyone learned if this will be possible with an international sim card for travel?

        • Dominic at Consumer Cellular says:

          Hi Linda. We can't guarantee that the phone will work overseas with an international SIM card, especially since they're designed to work exclusively on our service here in the US. The only way to know for certain is to test the next time you travel abroad. Thank you.

  12. Tara says:

    About the iPhone you said, “in most cases, sending pictures via the message feature won’t work.” Does this mean that I cannot upload photos to Picasa, Facebook or send them to my email?

    • Dominic at Consumer Cellular says:

      Hello Tara. You can send and receive pictures via email. You”ll also be able to upload photos to the web (via Facebook or any other website). However, you won”t be able to send and receive pictures via the ”message” feature unless the person on the other end also has an iPhone. Here”s a video we made about sending and receiving pictures: Thank you.

  13. BILL BAUSERMAN says:


  14. Dominic at Consumer Cellular says:

    Hello Bill. Thanks for the question. At this time, I don't have any specific news to report about possible 4G phones and/or networks. Thank you.

  15. victoria torgrim says:

    OMG, I am so psyched!!! (Though I have had my Motorola Bravo for a couple months and love it). Thanks for expanding your Smartphone repertoire.
    Now, please increase the data plans!!
    What a GREAT company!

  16. Katherine Diller says:

    Is there a way to determine how much Data I might require. And can I change the amount I'm using if I don't need as much as I signed up for? The rate for going beyond the plan seems high. If I ask “Siri” a question is that data usage?

    • Dominic at Consumer Cellular says:

      Hello Katherine. It's tough to determine how much data you'll use until you're actually using the phone. However, this info-graphic could be helpful for you: Also, Siri isn't available on this iPhone model however, there are still voice recognition features that will allow you to make calls without using data. If you need more information, please feel free to contact us at 888-548-6490. Thank you.

  17. Tim says:

    How many gigs do they have? (8, 16, or 32)

  18. Tim says:

    I've been using a iPhone 3GS with a consumer cellular sim for almost a year now. Any chance we will be able to text pictures in the future? Thanks

    • Dominic at Consumer Cellular says:

      Hi Tim. Sending pictures via the message feature works if both the sender and receiver have iPhones. Otherwise, it's best to send photos via the email app. I don't have any information to report about this changing. Thank you.

  19. Judy says:

    Can you use the internet with your service and if so how much is that service? Is it an extra charge? I especially
    want to know if I could have access to Ebay. Thank you.

  20. Kristen Carmen says:

    I want to be able to send picture messages via txt. Is there a way that I could purchase an iphone 4G online and use it with my current plan here? Would a newer model allow picture messages to be sent? Do I have to buy a SIM card?

    • Dominic at Consumer Cellular says:

      Hello Kristen, thanks for your question. We can send you a free SIM card if you are interested in using a different iPhone however, that won't change the picture messaging ability – photos are still best sent using the email app. Another thing to consider is that iPhone 4's use a micro SIM card, and we don't offer them. Some people are comfortable with cutting our SIM cards down to the size of a micro SIM, but that's risky as you could damage the SIM card. If you have any additional questions, please feel free to call us at 888-548-6490.
      Thank you.

  21. Kevin says:

    Is the iPhone available in either black or white, or just black?

  22. Rosie says:

    I am pleased to see you now are offering the iPhone.
    Are your iPhones running the IOS 5 operating system?
    Thank you

    • Dominic at Consumer Cellular says:

      Hi Rosie. Thanks for the question. Yes, these iPhones are actually running the 5.1.1 operating system.

  23. Jack says:

    The thought of an iPhone is exciting.
    Can it be connected to iTunes to get podcasts? And be upgraded through iTunes?
    Also, is it a speaker phone and is the volumne loud?
    As a senior I definately need that.

    • Dominic at Consumer Cellular says:

      Hello Jack. Thanks for the questions. Yes, you'll have full access to iTunes, the App store, podcasts and Apple updates. There is a speaker phone and the volume can be adjusted to your preference. If you have any additional questions, please feel free to contact us at 888-548-6490. Thank you.

  24. Carole Dickerson says:

    I am sending this Motorola phone back but I need to remove the SIM card. I have the back off the phone and the battery out, but I need help getting the SIM card out H E L P

  25. Bruce Wagner says:

    OMG — I am so psyched to see you guys have Iphones! I was thinking about ending my time with you guys as I saw others had the Iphone, but checked your website and YAY — you have them too.

  26. Dave says:

    I have really been waiting for the iPhone!! I hope you will eventually offer upgraded versions such as the 4G, etc. I too was thinking of switching carriers due to the iPhone not being available.

  27. Dave says:

    What does it mean when you say…” In most cases, MMS capability is not available.” Most cases?

    • Dominic at Consumer Cellular says:

      Thanks for the question, Dave. MMS will work if both the sender and receiver have iPhones. Otherwise, it's best to send pictures via the email app instead. Thank you.

  28. John says:

    You mention you can send a free SIM card so one can test it out first.. in my case on an iPhone. It seems I would need to register for a phone plan first, in order to order the SIM – is that right ? The web site ordering requires a plan selection, and your customer service told me the same.
    So if I have any issues, or decide not to pursue the test any further, I would need to cancel the service, rather than just toss the SIM away.. is that correct?

    • Dominic at Consumer Cellular says:

      Yes, you're correct, John. If you need any additional assistance, please feel free to contact us at 888-548-6490. Thank you.

  29. Andrea says:

    In an earlier answer, you mentioned that in order to use the iphone 4 with Consumer Cellular, you would need to cut down the sim card to a micro sim card which is risky. Is this the only complication to using an iphone 4 with Consumer Cellular? Thank you.

    • Dominic at Consumer Cellular says:

      Hi Andrea. Thanks for the question. I think you might be the same Andrea that we've been in contact with on Facebook. Other than the SIM card, the phone will need to be configured in order for text and data to work. We'll be able to assist you with that. However, we'd recommend testing this with a brand new number to make sure everything works to your liking. Please feel free to contact us at 888-548-6490 if you have any additional questions. Thanks!

  30. Brad says:

    a few people have asked about data usage but none have directed this toward your plans. Will you be offering more reasonable data plans, competitive with other providers? The largest data plan listed is 500MB, when MOST I phones use Gigabytes (GB) of data per month. For $30 per month you competitors offer between 1.5GB (3 times more) to 3GB (6 times more) for the same price. Calling plans from Consumer are great, will data plans improve to better support smartphones?

  31. Dominic at Consumer Cellular says:

    Hi Brad. Thanks for the comment. I don't have any news to report with respect to changes in our data plans. However, throughout our history, we've always bumped up minutes, texts and data without charging customers more. I should also point out that our Connect! plans combine text AND data. So, for $30/month you're not just get 500 MB's of data, you're also getting 5,000 text messages, too.

    I've also learned that connecting to a WiFi connection has helped saved my data consumption rather substantially. I personally have two iPhone users on my account – and we use less than 300 MBs of data each month (total). Even though we use our phones all the time, we're not racking up the data charges as we're connected to WiFi in most places we go. If you need any additional information, please feel free to contact us at 888-548-6490. Thank you.

  32. sarah says:

    I heard the iphone 3 is going to be discontinued because the iphone 5 is comming out. When is the iphone 4 going to be a part of consumer cellular??

  33. Jafef says:

    So why doesn't my iPhone 3GS work with ConsumerCellular? I thought all 3GS phones did, apparently mine does not.

    • Tina at Consumer Cellular says:

      Jafef- We can not guarantee that all iPhones will work with our company unless it was purchased through us. If you would like us to try and help you get it working, please call 1-800-686-4460 and we will see what we can do.

  34. MariaG says:

    Does the Motorola Bravo smartphone you offer send pictures via text messaging or does it have the same limitations the iPhone has texting pictures?

    I've heard the iPhone requires frequent updates which can cost the consumer. Is this true of the Consumer Cellular plan as well?

    Thanks…you offer excellent customer service!

  35. Dominic at Consumer Cellular says:

    Hi Maria. Yes, you may send and receive pictures via text messaging on the Motorola Bravo or any of our Android smartphones. I personally used both the Bravo and the iPhone 3GS and loved both of them. I recently updated my iPhone to iOS 6 – but I made sure that I was connected to a WiFi connection so I wasn't in danger of using all the data on my cell phone plan. If you need any additional assistance, please feel free to contact us at 888-548-6490. Thank you.

  36. JohnL says:

    I am considering joining Consumer cellular with Huawei 8652 or iPhone 3GS. Am wondering if iPhone 4 will ever be part of CC phone choices?

    • Dominic at Consumer Cellular says:

      Hi John thanks for the question. I don't have any specific news to report about other iPhone models however, we're always looking to add new devices to our cell phone lineup. If you need any additional assistance, or if you have any questions about our current cell phones, please feel free to contact us at 888-548-6490. Thank you.

  37. Jamie says:

    If I own an iPhone 4 or 4S that was on the AT&T network previously, can it be added to a Consumer Cellular phone plan?

    • Dominic at Consumer Cellular says:

      That's a good question, Jamie. The unique thing about the iPhone 4 and 4S is that they both require micro SIM cards instead of the regular sized SIM cards that we use. However, we'll have micro SIM cards available in about 2 weeks. I would recommend contacting us in two weeks at 888-548-6490 or at and we'll be able to assist you. Thank you.

  38. Pam says:

    Hi, I am thinking of purchasing the Iphone 3GS from you, you say in your last post that the micro SIM cards will be available in a few weeks, does that mean the Iphone 4 will be available also then> I would hate to purchase the 3GS today and then see the 4 available next week

    • Dominic at Consumer Cellular says:

      Hi Pam. Thanks for the question. The iPhone 4 isn't part of our cell phone lineup but we have Micro SIM cards available today. If you have a device that accepts a Micro SIM (like an iPhone 4 or 4S) we can send you a free Micro SIM. If you're interested in pursuing this option further, please feel free to call us at 888-548-6490. Thank you.

  39. Edward Sypher says:

    I would like to download an app for Roots Magic6 on my iphone 3GS. Is this possible?
    If so, what is the procedure. I will appreciate your answer.

  40. Gail Thomas says:

    Can I take the sim card from my wifes Huawei 8652 and put it in my iphone 3GS .Her phone was damadged and my iphone3GS is an at&t older phone but in good working condition.Gail

    • Tina at Consumer Cellular says:

      Thank you for your question. Yes, you should be able to take the SIM out of the broken phone and put it into the iPhone. We can't guarantee that it will work, but in most cases it does, and it certainly won't hurt to try. If you need help with this or have additional questions, feel free to call us at 1-800-686-4460

  41. Jamey says:

    First world problem… I have a family of 4 and all of us have wanted to have a smartphones for years.

    We share an iPad and an iPod touch between us, so we all know the iOS environment well.
    I resisted splurging/indulging on iPhones due to the high ongoing monthly service charges of $300+/month, to have four iPhones with 2GB or 4GB of shared data from ATT or Verizon.

    My wife was the first to get an iPhone 5 from Verizon when it was first released in September 2012 as she wanted ONE device for calendar reminders rather than her aging Palm TX + flip phone. The rest of the family has continued using our aging flip phones for the past year.

    Say YES to MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operators)

    Pre-Paid iPhones are relatively new and I considered some of those options before now…Most still cost ~$40-$50 per phone per month + the cost of the phone…and some are on the smaller networks like Sprint or T- Mobile.. I wanted to stay with one of the bigger networks like Verizon or AT&T
    Here is a list of MVNO in the USA (click on the heading that reads “Host Network” to sort that column alphabetically)

    Some months ago a friend of mine got his family, of four, refurbished iPhone 3GS through Consumer Cellular for $150/each and he reported that his total monthly bill for all four of them was around $100, including taxes.
    That got me thinking and researching…IF the Consumer Cellular’s reselling of AT&T’s service worked with the iPhone 3GS it would also surely work with other iPhones (4s, 5, 5c, 5s, 6, 7 etc….)

    I learned that Consumer Cellular does not yet (as of Fall 2013) provided nano-SIM cards and a quick web search revealed that it is readily possible to cut down SIM cards to nano-SIM size.

    With my research complete I recently purchased four AT&T GSM iPhones (a 4s for my daughter in high school $240 used, a 5 for me and my wife $380 each used and a 5s for my daughter who is graduating from college this Spring $700 new) Total $1700.

    The 4s accepted the stock micro-SIM provided by Consumer Cellular and the 5 and 5s all accepted the cut down to nano-SIM sized cards perfectly well.

    My Verizon bill with 4 basic flip phones was $130/month. My Verizon bill with the 1 iPhone 5, and 3 flip phones was $180/month. BuBye Verizon

    Now we all have iPhones AND my family is saving over $200 per month with Consumer Cellular compared to full price AT&T… Our $1700 initial outlay will be repaid in less than 9 months, and then the rest will be gravy.

    All four phones currently get a 4G connection in my region now and 4G LTE will reportedly be enabled by Consumer Cellular and AT&T, later this year.
    First phone $30/mo. + each additional line $10 x 3 = $30/month + 2GB Shared Data $30/mo. ($15/mo. each additional GB thereafter) $90 ($85.50 with AARP discount) + taxes

    Consumer Cellular offers a 5% discount with AARP membership $16/year, or under-50 affiliate $12/year.

    Referral gives the new sign up and the referrer BOTH a $10 usage credit.

    I welcome the referral credit that benefits you as well as me… My mobile number, for the referral, is 805-637-ate744

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