The best senior citizen cell phone plans for free allow senior citizens to save some cash. The US Government offers free cell phones to those actually in need of them and who come from low-income families. In addition, needy people can get a free cellphone through the lifeline program.
Besides the government’s offer, there are some plans exclusively designed for seniors by private companies. This article will give you in-depth information about the best senior citizen cell phone plans for free and some Plans offered by private companies to senior citizens at a low-cost or reduced cost.
Do seniors need a smartphone?
When searching for cell phone plans for seniors, the first question that comes to your mind is, “Do seniors need a smartphone?” Well, of course! Like every other person, seniors also need a smartphone to do various routine tasks and some other tasks.
Smartphones are not just meant to communicate with others for seniors. The primary use for seniors to use a cell phone is to stay connected. For example, seniors can use smartphones to make video calls or chat with their grandchildren or children.
Besides this, smartphones have GPS to let their kids know their exact location. It helps them track where they are and how they will reach home safely. Even you can also check how to track someone on google maps without them knowing. New technologies brought several health apps for seniors. Seniors can use these apps to get regular updates about their health.
Smartphones come with many other applications that can help seniors improve their lifestyles. Instead of going out for a walk, they can watch funny videos or spiritual videos, learn to develop good habits online, and use other apps to change the way they live. A smartphone can be their best companion, and for that reason, every senior citizen should own a smartphone.
Some features of smartphones are not valuable for seniors, so they don’t need a fancy or high-end smartphone. Instead, you can give them an essential phone with basic features. There are plenty of options available in the market from which you can get your grandparents a simple phone that doesn’t imbalance your budget and improves their lifestyle.
Here, we have prepared a list of uses of a smartphone for seniors. Seniors can use a smartphone for the following things:
- Making voice calls to their friends and family
- Make video calls to their grandchildren and friends whenever they need
- Sending text messages to their loved ones
- Checking the calendar
- Knowing about the upcoming festivals
- Reading about the daily news
- Using GPS to navigate
- Checking of health using healthcare apps
- Purchasing essential things online
- Surfing the web
- Watching their favorite movies, TV shows, and videos online
- Sharing photos with friends and family and much more
The Present Scenario
If we talk about the present scenario, nearly every senior owns a smartphone. According to a recent study, over 42% of the seniors aged 65 and above own a smartphone to do the basic things listed above.
The exact number was at just 18% in 2013, growing to 43% in 2021. Besides this, the Internet and other Internet-based services among seniors aged 65 and above have also risen to 67% from 12%.
The current scenario explains why seniors need a smartphone. If you plan to give your grandparents or parents a cell phone without putting a hole in your pocket, you should search for the best senior citizen cell phone plans for free.
There are many ways to get a free cell phone with a free plan for seniors 65 years and above. Let’s find out the ways now!
Best Senior Citizen Cell Phone Plans for Free
1. Government Lifeline Program
The US government offers free cell phones to eligible senior citizens through the Government Lifeline Program. The Lifeline Program was launched in the 1980s to give a communication medium to senior citizens. The same plan was revised in 2005, including extra services for better communication with seniors.
The Federal Government launched this program to ease communication and offer access to government jobs, healthcare services, and other opportunities to seniors and the disabled.
The Lifeline Program is designed to give a communication medium to seniors from low-income families. The government-backed program has set a criterion that offers free cell phone service to eligible senior citizens. As a result, the qualified senior citizens will get a free cell phone with free phone calls facility for a lifetime.
This program focuses mainly on senior citizens who come from low-income families and those who are disabled. The program also states that active members of any government programs will be qualified for this program.
Before you apply for this program for your loved ones, make sure that he has been active in any government programs. Here’s a list of the federal programs the applicant must be enrolled in!
- Low income
- Supplemented Security Income
- Food stamps
- Veterans Pension Benefits
- Federal Public Housing Assistance
The required documents and government programs are different from state to state. Therefore, the above list may vary from state to state, and for that reason, you should verify the same with your state government before you apply for this Lifeline Program.
Moreover, your family’s annual income must be less than 135% of your total income, the federal poverty level set by the government. If your application meets the criteria, you will be qualified to get a free cell phone with a lifetime phone calls facility.
Since The Federal Government backs the lifeline Program, the criteria and pricing of the same may vary from state to state. Therefore, before you enroll in this program, you need to check with your provider.
Why does the US Government offer Free Cell Phones to Seniors?
There are many reasons behind offering free cell phones to senior citizens and the disabled by the Federal Government. Here’s a list of reasons behind this Lifeline Program offered by the US Government.
- For Security purpose
- For personal safety
- To improve the lifestyle of the seniors and disabled
- For health checkups through apps
- For easy communication
- To improve mental health
Besides senior citizens and the disabled, the same program is made available to those in tribal areas where there is no income source available for many individuals. Those who enrolled in the tribal assistance program should also apply for the lifeline program to get a free cell phone with free phone calls facility.
2. Affordable Phone Plans for Seniors
Many popular wireless services and network providers are present in the US with unique plans for senior citizens. Yes, popular network service providers have specially designed these plans to offer low-cost plans for all the benefits listed above to seniors.
As per recent studies, mobile phones among seniors are multiplying. Seniors spend their time on mobile phones just like the young generations with different purposes. However, they do use smartphones more frequently.
The use of smartphones may vary from person to person, so one should find out the correct category. The types of different cell phone plans are listed below; find out more about which plan is suitable for you from this list!
Types of Different Cell Phone Plans for Seniors
- Text and Voice Calls Plans: The Text and Voice Call Plans are exclusively designed for those who use their cell phones to send text messages and make voice calls. These plans are a perfect fit for those who use an essential cell phone and not a smartphone. 50% of seniors use a regular cell phone with basic features. Therefore, they should explore this category of cell phone plans instead of searching for smartphone plans. The reason seniors with an essential cell phone should go with this plan is affordable. Compared to the data plans, the introductory text and voice call plans are inexpensive. In addition, the same plan can be customized whenever needed, which is more reason to go with it.
- Prepaid Plans: Prepaid Plans are yet another good option for senior citizens. You need to recharge your device upfront as per the services you want to use. You can choose the right plan offered by the service provider and pay for it to activate the plan. The current plan can be changed anytime you want by paying the additional charges for the new plan.
- Unlimited Phone Plan: Seniors who use smartphones for watching videos, games, shows, video calls, and more should choose the unlimited phone plan. The unlimited phone plan includes unlimited voice calls, texts, and data. Depending on your basic needs, you can choose the right plan offered by the service provider. However, each provider’s list of plans differs; you should compare their pricing before choosing the plan.
- No-Contract Plans: To choose the new cell phone plan, you need to ensure that the current plan is on a no-contract plan. Since the competition in the market is high, many providers offer their affordable plans without any commitments. Therefore, you should choose plans with a no-contract option to avoid hassles in the future.
Here, we have compiled a list of the affordable or low-rates phone plans available for senior citizens. Explore these plans and choose the one that meets your basic requirements:
MintMobile offers cheap cell phone plans exclusively to senior citizens. The basic plan starts at $15 per month. This plan gives you 4GB of data. You can change the plan anytime, and the $15 plan remains active for three months.
Seniors who use smartphones should go with T-Mobile’s unlimited data plans options. The 2-line plans will cost you $55 per month. The two-line plan for seniors aged 55 and above is available with unlimited data, voice calls, and texts.
T-Mobile also provides free access to its 5G services to seniors under the existing plans. Seniors will not have to enroll in a special 5G pack to access the 5G network services.
AT&T is also offering affordable unlimited data plans to seniors 55 years and above. The special unlimited plan for Seniors from AT&T starts at $60 per month. The same plan will cost you $80 for a two-line connection. The plan includes unlimited 5G data, voice calls, texts, and more.
Learn Also: How to Get AT&T Hotspot for Free?
Verizon has its special 55Plus plan for seniors. The 55Plus plan will cost seniors $60 per month for a single line and $80 for two lines. In addition, Verizon’s 55Plus plan offers unlimited 4G network access with an unlimited hotspot sharing option.
These are some of the most popular cell phone plans available for seniors at low cost by the popular network service providers. You need to verify the above-listed plans with the service provider before choosing your plan. Since the plans keep on changing, you should verify them to find out the right plan for your needs.
3. Virtual Network Operators
Mobile Virtual Networks are wireless carriers that use the infrastructure of the already established network service providers such as AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, etc., in the United States.
The Virtual Network Operators are designed to provide various cellular services and wireless services to their customers at lower costs. They act as resellers of network services. Seniors should check the plans offered by the Virtual Network Operators to get the cell phone plans for free or at a low cost.
Virtual Network Operators can be accessed through their mobile apps. Many such providers present in the US offer free data, voice calls, and text services to all types of citizens. Seniors should enroll in such apps to get free data and communication services that they can use during emergencies.
The List of the Popular Mobile Virtual Network Operators
If we talk about the US’s popular mobile virtual network operators, then…
- Virgin Mobile
- Boost Mobile
- Credo Mobile
- Republic Wireless
- Freedom Pop
They are the top-rated and highly recommended Mobile Virtual Network Operators in the US. These providers offer low-cost and no-cost plans to needy people. The Freedom Pop is the most popular among all the above-listed options.
Freedom Pop lets you purchase their cell phone at discounted rates or allows you to use their service on your existing mobile phone. If your mobile phone qualifies for Freedom Pop’s service, you will get 200 minutes of free Talktime, 500 MB of free data to use on a 4G LTE network, and 500 text messages.
Besides this, Freedom Pop also offers plenty of low-cost cell phone plans to all users. Senior Citizens have no particular plans here; however, the same plans are available for seniors who will get 500 MB of free data, 500 minutes of free Talktime, and many other services for free.
4. Communication Apps
For seniors who spend most of their time in the home or in the area where free WiFi hotspot networks are available, numerous apps are available for them to get free unlimited calls, video calls, and more.
We have popular communication apps for free voice calls and video calls. Skype, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Google Duo, and many other apps are free. These apps work on WiFi networks and give you free voice calls and video calls facility with other valuable features.
You can use the Skype app to pay for your cell phone number, which you can use to make voice calls to your loved ones who live in a different country. However, most users use apps like WhatsApp to communicate with their loved ones. They also use Facebook Messenger and other social networks, offering free video calls and chat services.
Seniors with a bit of knowledge of using smartphones should use these apps as they are available for free and require no particular configuration. Connect your smartphone to an active WiFi network and start using these apps for free video chats, voice calls, etc.
5. Switch to a new Service Provider
Since the competition in the market is high, some carrier providers offer free phone and data services to those who are joining their network by switching from a different service provider.
Service providers such as Cricket, Sprint, etc., offer free cell phones with free data to senior citizens and the general public who switch their carrier provider and choose their network.
You need to verify the ongoing promotional deals from these providers. They might ask you to sign up for their limited plans by paying the fees to avail the benefits of free phone, free data, and more. Just search for the available offers and switch to a new service provider!
Frequently Asked Question (FAQs)
Q. How to choose the best senior citizen cell phone plans for free?
To choose the right plan for seniors, you must prepare a checklist of things they need on their phones. Know about your basic requirements first, and then explore the available plans offered by the popular network providers. If you come from a low-income family, there is a particular Lifeline Program backed by the Federal Government.
Q. Can I get a free cell phone if I switch to a new provider?
Some network service providers offer you a free cell phone if you switch to their network from another provider. If your current plan is on no-contract or if the contract is already over, you can switch to a new carrier provider and can avail the benefits of getting a free cell phone or at a discounted rate from the provider. You need to research the same before you plan to switch to a new carrier provider.
Q. Which details are required for Senior Citizens to switch to a new carrier?
You need to attach the list of documents as per the application process set by the network provider. You may ask you to show your address proof, your name, your contact number, your phone’s IMEI number, and your phone number.
Q. Can senior citizens switch their existing plans?
Yes, senior citizens can switch to a different phone plan by simply reaching out to their customer care team. Before making a voice call, check out the list of the available plans and ask for the one that suits your basic requirements.
Q. Which features do senior citizens use the most?
Senior citizens use voice call, and text message features the most. In addition, senior citizens who use smartphones use GPS tracking apps, healthcare apps, and free video calling and voice calling apps.
Q. How much do US Senior Citizens use smartphones?
As per a recent study, over 67% of US citizens aged 65 and above use smartphones with Internet data plans.
Q. How much does a senior cell phone plan cost?
A typical cell phone company charges as low as $28 per month for senior citizens. However, the price of the plans may vary depending on the requirements.
Q. How do I know about the special plans available in my area for Senior Citizens?
To know about the particular data and cellular plans offered by the cellular network providers, one must search for the same on the web. In addition, they may visit their official websites and search for new and existing plans and promotional plans. This is the best way to know about the special plans available for senior citizens.
The Bottom Line:
Every senior citizen should own a smartphone to do various tasks that can improve their lifestyle. For example, instead of walking or sitting with other seniors, they should utilize technology to learn new things and develop new habits to stay up-to-date. Explore the list of the best senior citizen cell phone plans for free and the ways to get low-cost or no-cost plans for seniors. We have also provided all the information you need to get yourself a free cell phone for your parents or grandparents.