Consumer Cellular, the MVNO that targets an older demographic has released a new phone plan for AARP members. Those who have a membership can now get two unlimited lines for $55 from Consumer Cellular. AARP describes itself as "the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering people 50 and older to choose how they live as they age."
The new offer is based on Consumer Cellular's $50/month for single lines unlimited data plan. It gives customers unlimited talk, text, and data with the first 50GB of data each month available at up to 5G data speeds before throttling to 2G data speeds. The company normally charges $15/month for each additional line added to the plan for up to three lines. So without an AARP membership, the plan would cost $65/month. Taxes and fees are extra.
There are nearly 38 million AARP members. An AARP membership costs $16/year or $12 for the first year with automatic renewal. The membership quickly pays for itself with the discount that Consumer Cellular is offering AARP members on its unlimited plan. AARP members normally save 5% a month on any Consumer Cellular plan.
Consumer Cellular Isn't The First To Offer Two Unlimited Lines For $55
If the $55/month price point for two lines sounds familiar to you, it's because for three years now T-Mobile has also offered a two unlimited lines for $55 plan for seniors everywhere. AT&T and Verizon however, have no such offerings available nationwide. Instead, both AT&T and Verizon offer two lines for $80 to those aged 55 and up, but only to residents in the state of Florida.
T-Mobile has actually gone on to start an advertising campaign featuring the website bannedseniors.com that calls out both AT&T and Verizon for a lack of senior discount plans. The campaign states that "92% of seniors in the U.S. can’t get a 55+ discount from Verizon or AT&T because they don’t live in Florida. 92%!! The Un-carrier is here to help."
AT&T has taken issue with the callout and has sued T-Mobile over its advertising campaign accusing T-Mobile of false advertising.
AT&T does offer an additional discount to AARP members regardless of which state they live in. But that discount is not very competitive and may be more for show above all else. AARP members can save an additional $10/month per line on AT&T's most expensive unlimited plan which is normally priced at $85/month for a single line and $150/month for two lines. Because of this offering, AT&T states that "T-Mobile’s claims are outright dishonest and completely false. It is not the first time they have spread misleading information. AT&T offers wireless discounts to people of all ages, including seniors in all 50 states. The only way to stop the un-truthful carrier is apparently in a court of law, and that’s where we are."
Jeff Moore, Principal of Wave7 Research, does detail in an article he wrote for Fierce Wireless that Verizon is starting to make some "under the table" efforts to further target the 55+ demographic. His firm noted that some Verizon single-line customers in that demographic have received a text message from the carrier offering them a $10/month discount on unlimited plans.
While AT&T is busy suing T-Mobile and Verizon busy making under the table efforts to target the 55+ demographic, Consumer Cellular is busy continuing to take action to try and make an actual difference in that market. BestMVNO recently reported that Consumer Cellular has started opening its own stores with the first doors opened near retirement communities. Additionally, the AT&T and T-Mobile powered MVNO has lowered the prices for multi-line customers and increased the data allotments of its plans.
"Consumer Cellular has been a beehive of activity this year, including adding more data to plans, launching at a minority of Walmarts, opening some stores, hiring Ted Danson for TV ads, and building its roster of care agents. This latest pricing move likely will add to its momentum." -- Jeff Moore, Principal of Wave7 Research