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Consumer Cellular
Old 02-12-2016, 10:39 AM   #1
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Consumer Cellular

My dw and I are still using flip phones thru verizon. She is hounding me to get with times to get smart phones. Looking at Verizon plans, they are way too expensive (I'm frugal. my dw calls me cheap)).

We are looking at Consumer Cellular (w/ AARP discount). I am curious to hear all the pros/cons from CC customers on this site. Also, any phone recs that CC carries would also be appreciated.
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Old 02-12-2016, 10:50 AM   #2
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I don't use consumer cellular, but when I need to research an MVNO I also check out howardforums.com
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Old 02-12-2016, 11:00 AM   #3
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The nice thing about Consumer Cellular is that you can adjust your data/call plan as you go. So if you have high-usage month once in awhile you can adjust you plan on the spot so you don't get slapped with a high overage rate.
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Old 02-12-2016, 11:35 AM   #4
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I switched over from Tracfone to Consumer Celluar (CC) about a month ago and I love CC.

Rates are very reasonable, but not only that but actually, friendly, and very helpful customer service, located in the USA. Imagine calling up customer service and having a real person that listens and answers your questions.

There website is very helpful too with video tutorials on how to use the various phones that they promote. I found them great as I needed a crash course on how to use my smartphone after years of a flip phone.

One drawback (not really a drawback but something to be aware of) is there are no rollover minutes. The allocated minutes reset each month, but the is the flexibility of switching plans anytime you wish. Another possible drawback is if you travel out of the country (not sure about calling Canada or Mexico). CC isn't really for international calling as either the calls won't go through or you risk getting socked with international roaming charges.

Update: Actually looks like CC does offer calling internationally from the US. But if you go out of the US or on a cruise ship, things get much more dicey.
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Old 02-12-2016, 11:42 AM   #5
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I've been with Consumer Cellular for about 8 years now and have no real complaints. 90% of the time when I call for assistance, I get an American sounding person that is very helpful. Only time I've had a problem was when my son purchased a less well known Android phone....they could not fix the issue. It turns out, after some internet research, that group texting on an Android phone is not as ubiquitous as on IPhones. I would hope that support would be best if I had purchased the phones that CC carries.
As someone mentioned, you can constantly change the voice or data plans to suit your usage in any particular billing cycle. My monthly bill for four phones and occasional data usage is about $100 including all fees. Of course, WiFi use is encouraged and wireless data discouraged. I bill my teenagers for the data plan usage each month and they've modified their phone usage behavior. Communications within family on my ticket, their entertainment they pay for.
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Old 02-12-2016, 11:44 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by easysurfer View Post
I switched over from Tracfone to Consumer Celluar (CC) about a month ago and I love CC.

Rates are very reasonable, but not only that but actually, friendly, and very helpful customer service, located in the USA. Imagine calling up customer service and having a real person that listens and answers to your questions.

There website is very helpful too with video tutorials on how to use the various phones that they promote. I found them great as I needed a crash course on how to use my smartphone after years of a flip phone.

One drawback (not really a drawback but something to be aware of) is there are no rollover minutes. The allocated minutes reset each month, but the is the flexibility of switching plans anytime you wish. Another possible drawback is if you travel out of the country (not sure about calling Canada or Mexico). CC isn't really for international calling as either the calls won't go through or you risk getting socked with international roaming charges.
Thanks for the feedback. Did you actually purchase one of their phones?
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Old 02-12-2016, 12:06 PM   #7
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2 years ago we dropped AT&T and cut our bill by about 60%... bought our iPhones outright from Apple. CC will sell you a phone at cost and spread the payments out if you choose. Love their service. They use AT&T towers so there was no change in coverage or quality. Good luck...
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Old 02-12-2016, 12:10 PM   #8
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Thanks for the feedback. Did you actually purchase one of their phones?
Yes, I did.

Sears and Target sell CC endorsed phones in their stores. I went over to Sears and got my phone there. All the activation is done by calling CC. I debated with myself to either stick to a flip phone or dive into the world of getting a smartphone. I was leaning towards a flip phone but the one I was looking at wasn't much smaller (thicker when folded) than a small smartphone. So, for about $30 more I got an entry level smartphone (Motorola Moto E LTE) which I'm happy with.
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Old 02-12-2016, 12:11 PM   #9
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If you travel at all, get a name brand. T-Mobile is what I have.

Buy a phone from Walmart (walmart family mobile), and activate it on T-Mobile.

I have used Sprint, Walmart Family Mobile, and Virgin Mobile. Now T-Mobile, which has been the best.
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Old 02-12-2016, 12:13 PM   #10
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We have used Consumer Cellular for about six years, and still have the original phone we purchased from them for $35. Nothing fancy, no texting or pictures.....just a phone.
We have very low usage, and our monthly bill is $12.45. Have had no issues with the phone, the service, billing, or customer service ever.
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Old 02-12-2016, 01:13 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by golfnut View Post
My dw and I are still using flip phones thru verizon. She is hounding me to get with times to get smart phones. Looking at Verizon plans, they are way too expensive (I'm frugal. my dw calls me cheap)).

We are looking at Consumer Cellular (w/ AARP discount). I am curious to hear all the pros/cons from CC customers on this site. Also, any phone recs that CC carries would also be appreciated.

As for which phone to get, I'd say decide first if you want an iPhone or Android. For me, I went ahead and got an Android and the entry level one as if my needs change later, I can always upgrade. For now, I really don't need a very high res camera for taking selfies .

CC's website has good descriptions of their endorsed phones along with videos of some of their phones showing their use for getting an idea of how they operate:

https://www.consumercellular.com/PhonesAndDevices/Index
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Old 02-12-2016, 01:32 PM   #12
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I haven't used Consumer Cellular but looked at it briefly. A few comments:

1. Do you pay separately there for talk and then pay again separately for data? If so, you need to compare closely the total cost there to the total cost at Verizon. With Verizon you basically buy a data plan and get unlimited talk. If Consumer Cellular has you subscribe to both a talk plan and a data plan make sure how the combined cost compares.

2. Consumer Cellular is on the AT&T network. Make sure that is a network with good coverage in your area. Where I live, for example, the only carrier network that gets decent coverage is Verizon. I can't sign up for something on AT&T because it gets lousy coverage at my house.

3. Remember that for a smartphone, the concept is that the phone is a little computer. The apps you use on it and internet usage and so on is way more important than the talking on the phone. What this means is that the choice of phone including iPhone v. Android really turns a lot on you want to do on the phone and what apps you want to use. A couple of years ago, for example, I decided to switch from my iPhone to an Android phone which was much cheaper. I found out that I hated it. Many of the apps I liked to use were iPhone only and, overall, thinking of a smartphone as a small computer, I liked the iPhone much better. So, I switched back to the iPhone. Note, I am not saying an iPhone is right for you. It depends on what you will do with your smartphone. If you haven't had one before, I would suggest doing some real research on the differences between iPhones and Android phones to try to determine which one you like better. And, of course, check them out carefully in the store.
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Old 02-12-2016, 04:48 PM   #13
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I have been with CC for about a year. My SO is retired ATT and we could get a big discount(40% I think), but CC is still cheaper and is on the same ATT network. Have had zero problems so far. Have 3 phones on our plan and zero problems with any. Bought the handset(smartphone) at Sears (Moto E and 2 MOTO G's)and called in to activate. If you are AARP you can get 5% off the monthly plan cost. If nobody else has offered, I can Pm you my name and phone number, if you use it when signing up, we both save $10 bucks your first month.HTH
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Old 02-12-2016, 05:57 PM   #14
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When I look at the Consumer Cellular site, I can see that I would save money compared to my current AT&T service, so that's tempting.

But as far as I can tell, it's useless when traveling out of the USA. You have to just find a WiFi spot and use something like Skype if you want to make or receive a call there. That's a deal breaker for me, so I wonder if I'm missing something. Do any users of CC travel overseas with their US phone number?
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Old 02-12-2016, 07:08 PM   #15
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braumeister,
I don't travel overseas. Which carrier do you currently use that works overseas?
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Old 02-12-2016, 07:33 PM   #16
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When I look at the Consumer Cellular site, I can see that I would save money compared to my current AT&T service, so that's tempting.



But as far as I can tell, it's useless when traveling out of the USA. You have to just find a WiFi spot and use something like Skype if you want to make or receive a call there. That's a deal breaker for me, so I wonder if I'm missing something. Do any users of CC travel overseas with their US phone number?

I took my Consumer Cellular flip phone to Scotland and was told I could buy a SIM card for it to work in that country. (I bought a card for my iPad and never used the phone.)

Just FYI.


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Old 02-12-2016, 07:42 PM   #17
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If you travel at all, get a name brand. T-Mobile is what I have.

Buy a phone from Walmart (walmart family mobile), and activate it on T-Mobile.

I have used Sprint, Walmart Family Mobile, and Virgin Mobile. Now T-Mobile, which has been the best.
A couple of years ago my son had T-Mobile. When traveling from PA to Iowa, coverage was terrible to non-existent for data. May be better now but we unlocked his phone, now use same phone on Consumer Cellular. Coverage sooo much better.
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Old 02-12-2016, 07:53 PM   #18
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One of the best places to do the research

http://www.prepaidphonenews.com/2011...and-plans.html

AirVoice Wireless uses ATT network and is one of the best deals out there.

Look at all of their offers, they have Pay as you go, there are also $20 plan, as well as $10 plan, if you do not use your phone often, the $10, 250 minutes is great. Read all of their offers before you decide. You need to bring your own phone, they are all prepaid plans.

Their customer service is one of the best, US based.


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Old 02-12-2016, 08:35 PM   #19
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braumeister,
I don't travel overseas. Which carrier do you currently use that works overseas?
AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon all support international roaming in my experience. Roaming charges for AT&T and VZW are very pricey though. It's usually just cheaper to buy a local SIM.

Honestly, we usually have our US phones on airplane mode when overseas to avoid surprise roaming charges. Sometimes I'll disable airplane mode when I'm expecting a text message (two-factor authentication) but I have data roaming permanently disabled.
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Old 02-12-2016, 08:53 PM   #20
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I used P-Tel's 'Pay As You Go' plan for the last few years and really liked it, unused minutes carried over and $60/year was enough to meet all of my voice/text/data needs (my needs are minimal). Unfortunately received a noticed at the end of last month that they were discontinuing services and had just one week to switch to a new service. Did a quick switch to T-Mobiles 'Pay Go' plan so I could keep my number but looking for alternatives. Consumer Cellular seems like a more expensive option for my minimal voice/text/data needs, will have to give AirVoice Wireless a closer look, their 'Pay Go' plan looks promising.
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