There are all kinds of wireless cellular service providers out there, and it can be challenging to choose between them. It’s helpful to look at things like the price of the plans, what perks are offered, how good the coverage area is, and more. Today we’ll be looking at Consumer Cellular and Verizon, and we’ll go over each of the areas that we mentioned. Once we’re finished, you should have an easier time deciding which of these sounds right for you.
We’ll begin by going over the main takeaways from the article.
- This is a company that doesn’t offer very many perks; instead, they try to lure customers in by offering plans that are quite affordable
- They use the networks of T-Mobile and AT&T, two of the better ones in the country; because of that, coverage area and reliability are a couple of their strong points
- They try to target older adults, particularly over the age of 50, though younger cellphone users who don’t need very much streaming data might want to sign up with them
- Plans with limited talking capabilities start at $15, and you can add streaming data starting at $5 per month; you do get unlimited texting with all of their plans
- They are known for providing excellent service to rural areas of the country
- They are implementing 5G LTE streaming in the US, and they have more of it at present than any of their competitors
- Their plans usually cost more than lesser-known brands
- Their network covers 70% of the US, which is better than AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile, among others
- Their prepaid plans for groups and families offer perks and benefits that are difficult to match
Consumer Cellular’s History
Consumer Cellular is a postpaid mobile virtual network operator that is based in the US. It was founded in 1995 by entrepreneurs John Marick and Greg Pryor. The company has accessories, no-contract cellphone plans, and cellphones for sale. They are headquartered in Portland, OR, and they employ more than 2,400 people. They focus their marketing mostly on older adults over the age of 50, as is immediately evident if you look on their website.
They use the networks of AT&T and T-Mobile. They also resell additional virtual operators wholesale wireless services. Last year, the company said that it had reached 3.5 million customers. They have been named one of America’s fastest-growing companies every year in the last decade by the Inc 5000 list.
Their business model is unusual if you look at their advertising and focus. Lots of national providers are trying to get high-use clients to sign up with them. Consumer Cellular is doing the opposite, working to lure more casual cellphone users. Those who do not use their devices very much and don’t need an excessive amount of data to form their base.
Verizon started as the Bell Atlantic Corporation back in 1983. Verizon Wireless is one subsidiary of the Verizon parent company, but there are many others. The last subscriber count for this industry giant was 118.7 million people, and these numbers will likely increase as we progress further into the new decade.
They are headquartered in Basking Ridge, New Jersey. They have a national 4G LTE network, which is considered to be among the most dependable. They offer services for lots of different devices, including iPhones, LGs, and Androids. They operate an LTE in Rural America program which was designed to bring service to parts of the country that are neglected by some of the other industry leaders.
In 2015, Verizon said that they intended to implement a 5G network that would bring more reliable and faster service to the US. This would be a fifth-generation network with speeds previously unseen in mobile phone usage. Some of that network is now operational. That is a significant selling point as Verizon works to increase its subscriber count here in 2020 and the years to come.
Does Consumer Cellular or Verizon Have the Better Network?
Network coverage is always something you want to look at carefully before you make a decision. In the case of Consumer Cellular, you’re going to be getting the networks of both AT&T and T-Mobile. AT&T is the third-best in the nation. They provide 58% coverage. T-Mobile is second-best, with 59% coverage.
This means that Consumer Cellular, despite having the reputation of a smaller, regional company, is pretty well covered in this regard. There are seldom customer complaints about their coverage area, though occasional gaps might occur if you live in a particularly rural area.
Consumer Cellular cannot compare to Verizon’s network, though, which is undeniably the best in the country. We already mentioned that they cover lots of rural areas that the other telecommunication companies neglect. Their service in more populated areas is excellent as well. There is also the fact that they have more 5G capabilities at present than any other US-based provider. T-Mobile and AT&T are scrambling to catch up, but for the moment, Verizon is the clear winner in this area.
How Are Their Service Plans?
What you get with the service plans of each company and how much they cost should be what you focus on next. Consumer Cellular gives you a single line with a talking plan of 250 minutes each month for $15, which is quite affordable these days. You can also get a plan with unlimited talking capabilities for $20 per month. If you want plans with streaming data, you can grab one with 500MB per month for $5 more added to your bill. 3GB will cost you an additional $10 per month. 10, 15, and 25GB per month plans will cost you an extra $20, $30, and $40, respectively.
Consumer Cellular’s marketing and plans paint a picture of who they want signing on with them. Their prices are quite low, but what you get with them is minimal. They want to bring in those who do not talk on their phones very often, and those who use limited streaming data. Consumer Cellular customers probably don’t use their phones to browse the internet very much, watch TV and movies, etc.
With Verizon, you are looking at something entirely different. They have the most plan options for any wireless company, and they are actively courting young people. They offer limited data plans for $35, $50, and $70. With those, you get 2, 4, and 8GB of data, respectively.
They also have unlimited plans, the prices of which range from $70 to $90. Where you can save money with them, though, is when you get their family plans. Those same unlimited plans will cost you from $35 to $55 if you sign on for four lines. That’s worth considering if you have a family with some kids who often stream movies and TV and browse online.
What Perks Do These Companies Offer?
Perks are another area on which many consumers focus. With Consumer Cellular, don’t expect very much in this area, though. Since they are trying to sell plans that don’t cost as much, they can’t offer many perks that would drive up their prices. With them, you can get a discount on your monthly bill if you belong to the AARP. This is another instance of them trying to bring in older cellphone users. You could add family and friends for $15 per line, which is quite reasonable. That’s the company’s way of attempting to use you to bring more business their way.
Verizon is the opposite: there are a ton of perks that you can enjoy with them, particularly if you sign up for their more expensive unlimited plans. For starters, with some plans, you can score Apple Music for Android or Apple devices.
You could also get Disney+ for one year with several of the Unlimited packages. With them comes a full complement of Marvel, Pixar, National Geographic, and Star Wars properties. Those Unlimited plans don’t come cheap. Still, if you have kids in the family that you need to keep entertained, it might be worth it. Look on their website for details of what you get with each plan.
Are There Any Limitations About Which You Should Know?
One factor to consider is that there are some phone models that neither of these companies might allow you to use. This is likely if you have a lesser-known brand of phone. You will have to check in with each provider if you want to make sure that a device you already have will be allowed on their network. If you have something like an Apple or an Android device, though, you should be okay in most cases.
The only other real limitation that we should mention is that if you only have a smaller amount of money to commit to your service plan each month, it might be tough for you to go with Verizon. They have a lot going for them, but that doesn’t change the fact that another company, like Consumer Cellular, is almost always going to be cheaper.
If you are in college and don’t have a lot of money, you’re paying child support, you’re out of college but have student loans, or you have a lot of medical bills, it seems likely that you’ll want to explore some more affordable options.
Which Phone Models Can You Use?
With either company, there are many phone models that are acceptable. You’re going to get a lot more options with Verizon, though. If you go on their website, you’ll see the iPhone XS Max for $41.66 per month, or the Samsung Galaxy S10e for $31.24 per month. Those are 24-month, 0% APR prices. There are lots more top-of-the-line models from which to choose.
With Consumer Cellular, you’re going to see a more limited selection, and you won’t find the newest phone models either. That is because the company feels that the clientele they are attempting to attract probably won’t want to drop $1,000 or more on the latest device models. You can get something with them like an iPhone 6 at a very reasonable price, or you can always bring your own phone if you have one already.
How’s Their Customer Service?
The customer service for both of these companies seems excellent. You can reach out to either one through a phone call or Live Chat on their websites if you would prefer that. If you want brick-and-mortar locations, though, Verizon will be your undisputed winner. Consumer Cellular, when you get right down to it, is still a regional provider best known in the Northwest. Their products and services are only sold in 350 Best Buy locations.
Verizon has more than 2,300 retail stores around the country. You can find one easier if you live near a major city. Regardless of where you are, though, the likelihood of there being a Verizon retailer nearby versus a Consumer Cellular one is always going to favor the larger and more prominent company.
Which One Should You Choose?
Now, you should be able to make a more informed decision as to which company is best for you. What it comes down to is this: Consumer Cellular is a smaller regional provider that does not offer as much. Their service network is reliable, but there are not as many retail locations. They don’t give you much in the way of perks, and they are more interested in your business if you’re an older adult. On the other hand, most of their plans are considerably cheaper than those offered by Verizon.
Verizon boasts the best and biggest network around, with the most 5G. They have many more retail providers than Consumer Cellular, and they have more plans from which to choose. Those plans come with more desirable perks, and Verizon’s advertising model demonstrates that they’re trying to snag customers of any age, especially families with working adults and kids who use lots of streaming data. The plans are almost always going to be more expensive, though.
Which one of these you choose is probably going to depend on how much money you have to spend, where you are in your life, and how much data you feel you need. If you’re not on your phone watching TV and movies all the time, and you don’t have as much money to spend on your phone plan, it’s going to be Consumer Cellular. If you have a family that eats up lots of streaming data and you have a little more disposable income, then Verizon is likely to get your vote.