Unlimited Smartphone Deal Targets Users Aged 55 and Over

John Lister's picture

T-Mobile is launching a special phone plan for seniors, following on from AT&T. The difference is that T-Mobile's plan covers data, making it more useful for smartphones.

The T-Mobile plan allows for unlimited voice calls, texting and data use, albeit with some restrictions. Video playback is limited to standard definition, users can only share (tether) the connection with a computer at 3G speeds, and connections may be slowed if the user goes over 32GB of data in a month. (Source: t-mobile.com)

It's the same package available to all T-Mobile users, but at a special price for those over 55 years of age. They'll be able to pay $50 for one line or $60 for two lines. That compares with $70 for one line and between $100 and $120 for two lines for customer under 55.

AT&T Senior Plan Offers No Data

The plan is far from the only such 'senior discount' in the cellphone market, but is the first with unlimited features. AT&T offers a plan for over 65s that costs $30 and includes 200 minutes to be used at anytime, 500 minutes at evenings and weekends and unlimited calls to other AT&T customers. The deal doesn't include free text messages and doesn't allow for any mobile data, meaning it's restricted to basic (non-smart) phones. (Source: att.com)

In both cases the networks are making the offer because they believe it will work out more profitable overall. This could be because they believe older customers will use less data and/or make fewer calls and texts, thus lowering the costs to the network.

Price Discrimination May Win Customers

Another option is that they believe older customers are simply less willing or able to spend as much money as young people on cellphone bills and that these deals might win over those that would otherwise not bother with a smartphone or any form of monthly subscription plan.

By offering unlimited deals, T-Mobile appears to be banking on the idea that today's older users (particularly the 55-65 year olds) are no less interested in being online than younger users, and that the main difference between the ages is instead how much they are prepared to pay.

What's Your Opinion?

Do you or people you know aged 55 or over have a monthly phone plan? Would you benefit from a unlimited deal and if so, how important is price when choosing a plan? Does it make moral or business sense to offer reduced phone plan prices to older people?

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matt_2058's picture

Perfect timing on this. My father, at 77, just got his first smart phone. He was determined to have one, even though he will not touch a computer. With seniors, i think the companies are banking on lower rates of use all around compared to the younger groups. Most retirees have a spending plan, or at least a $ figure in mind, so that steers their decision.

crackberrymeister_3399's picture

I will likely move my two lines to T-Mobile from AT&T. I am currently paying $85/mo for two lines with 6 GB of data. Data is not that critical but $25 more a mo in my pocket is!

Dennis Faas's picture

I pay $15 a month for unlimited texting (really the only thing you need!), plus I have 500 minutes of talk for $25 and 500 megabytes of data for $20 and it never expires - it rolls over to the next month which is what I like. Rarely do I ever make a phone call - if I do, I use WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger which uses Wifi which does not eat into my phone minutes. Wifi is free because I'm at home most of the time. When I'm out I use Wifi hotspots when available.

If you're on the cheap, this is the best way to go if data is not ultra critical. Even so, you can set certain apps to use your 4G data and others that won't, so it won't eat away at your plan. Optionally you can turn data off and on when you need it.

thedoorway's picture

I've been using Republic Wireless for the past 2 years and have been exceptionally pleased. Republic focuses on using wi-fi whenever possible, saving you a ton of money. They also provide free voice roaming when you're out of their service area. I'm on one of the older plans. It pays cash back cash each month for any wireless data I bought that I don't use. Since I use wi-fi nearly all of the time, my TOTAL bill, including taxes, is usually ~$15 or less each month.

Their current base plan is $15/month for unlimited talk, text, and wi-fi data. For $20/month, you can get unlimited talk, text, and wi-fi data plus 1 GB of cellular data, for when you're away from wi-fi. For $30/month, you get 2 GB of cellular data.

Republic Wireless is a proven winner and is receiving remarkably positive reviews in independent cellular media. If you're looking to save money, you really need to check it out. https://republicwireless.com/cell-phone-plans/. Not an affiliate offer; just trying to be helpful.