Consumer Cellular pioneered no-contract mobile phone service in the United States. In operation since 1995, they currently serve more than 2 million customers. Partnerships with AARP offers exclusive discounts for seniors and they’re all-U.S. customer support team receives high rankings from both Consumer Reports and J.D. Power nearly every year. They deliver service using the networks of AT&T and T-Mobile to provide coast-to-coast coverage that rivals the bigger carriers.
Consumer Cellular uses a monthly postpaid model. Plans start at $11.88 per month. The most expensive plan at the time of writing is $70 per month. For light users, a per-minute billing option is available starting at $10 per month.
If you need a phone, this carrier has a great roster of options ranging from the latest flagships to basic, budget-friendly phones. Want to spread your phone costs out over a series of payments? Their Easypay system is available with approved credit. If you want to bring your own phone, they support most unlocked phones and previously used phones from AT&T or T-Mobile.
- Shared Connections: Share your monthly plan allotment with an additional line for added savings. All calls between mobiles on the same account are free. Perfect for families, this feature helps keep costs low while keeping everyone in touch.
- Bring Your Own Device: While many carriers require an unlocked phone for BYOD service, Consumer Cellular also works with AT&T and T-Mobile phones!
- Good Device Selection: Consumer Cellular goes beyond the usual array of phones to offer simplified phones and rugged phones perfect for younger kids or seniors.
Awards and Recognitions
How’s the Network Coverage and Speed?
Offering an accurate summary of coverage or speed with this carrier is difficult. This is because they use the networks of both AT&T and T-Mobile. Depending on your device and region, you might even bounce between both networks.
We recommend checking the summaries for the individual carriers to get an idea of what speeds to expect. You can use the links below!
For more information about coverage and networks in your area, be sure to check out their Coverage Map.
Do They Charge Roaming Fees?
Thanks to the ability to use two of the largest mobile networks in the U.S., domestic roaming isn’t a concern with this carrier.
However, international roaming is not supported by Consumer Cellular. If you’re using an unlocked phone, you should be able to swap in a prepaid SIM from a carrier at your destination or pick up a travel SIM before your trip.
What About Long Distance Fees?
All Consumer Cellular plans include calling to any number in the U.S.
If you need to place calls to another country, you’ll need to consult Consumer Cellular’s International Rates page.
Does Consumer Cellular Offer Wi-Fi Calling?
No. Consumer Cellular does not support native Wi-Fi calling or offer a Wi-Fi calling app.
How About Voice over LTE (VoLTE)?
Can I Tether My Phone?
No, you cannot tether on Consumer Cellular plans.
The Terms and Conditions state:
“Furthermore, plans (unless specifically designated for tethering usage) cannot be used for any applications that tether the device (through use of, including without limitation, connection kits, other phone/smartphone to computer accessories, BLUETOOTH® or any other wireless technology) to Personal Computers (including without limitation, laptops), or other equipment for any purpose.”
Can I Rollover Unused Data?
No. All Consumer Cellular plans reset each month.
What Add-ons or Bundles are Available?
Service plans through Consumer Cellular are simple. They do not offer bundles or add-ons. However, if you need to adjust your plan, you can do so at anytime on the website or through customer services.
Can I Bring My Own Device?
Yes! The carrier supports unlocked GSM phones as well as phones from AT&T and T-Mobile. You will need to order a SIM from their online store.
For more information on bringing your own device--or to order your free SIM--refer to their Bring Your Own Phone page.
Do They Require a Credit Check?
Monthly service agreements may require a credit check. At the time of writing, this is a "hard" credit check. This means the check will likely appear on your credit report.
To run the credit check, the carrier will need:
- Your name
- Current address
- In some cases, a government-issued ID--such as a Driver's License, State Identification Card or Passport--is required as well.
NOTE: Credit checks from carriers that pull your credit bureau report may impact your credit score. If you're not sure the best options for your credit profile, we suggest contacting the carrier directly before attempting to obtain service.
What About Activation and SIM Fees?
Consumer Cellular does not charge activation fees.
If you bring your own phone or tablet, they offer free SIM cards through their online store.
Do They Charge an Early Termination Fee?
No! You can leave the service at any time by calling customer support.
However, if you financed your device through Easypay, you will need to pay any remaining balance on your device at the time of cancellation.
Can I Port My Number To or From Consumer Cellular?
Yes! They follow all Wireless Number Portability requirements. If they have coverage in the area you’re transferring from and the account you wish to transfer your number from is active and in good standing, you should have no problems.
To complete the process, you will need:
- The phone number you wish to transfer
- The account number the phone number is on
- The name of the account holder
- The billing address on the account
- The PIN or security password on the account
For more information on porting your number to Consumer Cellular, consult their Phones and Services FAQ.
Will They Unlock My Phone?
Yes! For most current or former customers, unlocking is free.
General requirements include:
- The phone you wish to unlock must not have a remaining financing balance.
- The phone you wish to unlock must be active on the network for 6 months prior to unlocking.
- The phone must not be reported lost or stolen.
For additional details on unlocking requirements and the process involved, check their Terms and Conditions.
For additional questions about pricing, features and coverage, be sure to check our Consumer Cellular Q&A Forum. It’s filled with questions and answers from people like you looking to get the most out of their mobile service!
If you spot any errors or missing information, please let us know! It's appreciated and will help make this page better for everyone.