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Cellular For Seniors

Cellular Seniors Q & A

Q: What if I lose my cellular phone?
  • A: Most carriers will help you get a new phone and, in most cases, offer it at a good price, if you agree to another 2-year contract. If you eventually find your old phone, the carrier may charge you a "re-stocking" fee to take it back, but that would release you from the new contract. You might hold on to the 2nd phone as a spare as long as you don't mind the new contract. Customer Service will help you choose which phone is active. Prepaid phones usually need to be replaced by purchasing another. Insurance programs are rarely worth the cost.
Q: How does a wireless company give me "Free Long Distance?" I'm really paying for it, right?
  • A: You are correct that you still pay for every call, but if your account includes "Free Long Distance" it means there is no additional charge for calling anywhere in the US. Each call is charged as if you are calling next door. This may not be the case for people calling you. Cellular charges by time used, not by distance.
Q: My son wants to add me to his family cellular account. Isn't there a danger of using up all his minutes?
  • A: It's possible, but the advantage of "Family" plans is having lots of minutes to be used by different family members who use their minutes at different rates in different months. Even more important to you is that if you call any of those family members from your cellular phone to theirs, NO minutes are used by either party.
Q: Can I use my wireless phone for more than just calls and texts...how about email?
  • A: Yes you can use a "Smart" phone to access email and most web sites on the Internet, in addition to making Calls and Texts. Make sure that you have a plan that includes Data service...most "Senior" plans do not. Surprise data charges can be in the hundreds of dollars, or more, if you don't have the right plan.

Q: I really like my old wired phones including a nice new cordless phone. Can I switch to cellular and still use the phones I'm used to?
    A: Yes! You can get a Wireless Home Phone System and plug in all your exiting wired phones. You could save more than half of what the old phone company is charging you and also get all the same features cellular phones provide, including Unlimited Local and Long Distance Calls, Voice Mail, Caller ID, Call Waiting and lots more. We show how to switch.

Q: I'd like to try Prepaid, but I'd forget to refill every 90 days. What can I do?
  • A: There are several Prepaid plans that only need to be refilled once a year. You could refill at any time before that. You could choose a memorable date like your birthday, July 4th or New Year's. There are also a few services that will automatically renew for you from a credit card or checking account. If you do let a Prepaid phone expire you'll have a few months grace to refill before losing your number. The Prepaid services themselves sell only full-priced refills, but you can get Discount Prepaid Wireless Refills online.

Q: I just want a cellular phone for when I'm in the car. Can I leave it there?
  • A: Yes. The only consideration would be the phone's battery. An unused phone with a relatively new battery should be able to sit in the car for several months before worrying about recharging, as long as it is turned off. If you have any concerns, you can buy a car charger and use it only if you need it.
Q: Most wireless plans charge for hundreds of minutes I don't expect to use. Can I get fewer minutes and save?
  • A: Yes. Many cellular companies, especially the smaller ones, offer "Basic", "Security", or "Senior" plans, some of which are not advertised. There are plans that offer FREE service after your initial purchase. There are also "Lifeline" plans available to people on certain types of government support programs that could be very cheap or even FREE. If you don't qualify, there are many Prepaid plans that charge only for the minutes you use.
Q: If I get a cellular phone, I'll have 2 phones, wireless and landline. Do I need both?
  • A: No. In these days, a phone is associated with a person instead of a home, as in the case with your home phone. This is the case in over 30% of households in the US. You can drop your wired line and use just wireless, and still have the same phone number. Before choosing one over the other, make sure you can live with the requirement that you must keep your wireless phone charged. This is not a problem if you are already familiar with a cordless phone as your home phone.
Q: I want to keep my home phone. How can adding a cellular phone save me money?
  • A: First, you can make all your calls that are normally "Long Distance" with your cellular phone and only pay the normal rate. Then, you can reduce the services on your wired phone to just basic calling, removing the extra charges for Long Distance and Calling Features that are normally included with wireless phones at no extra charge.
Q: I'm not comfortable agreeing to a 2-year contract. Can I sign up for a shorter time?
  • A: Yes. Most contracts have gone away.  Some wireless companies have plans that don't require a long contract and  there are no contracts when you pay in advance. This includes all "Prepaid" plans. Also, there are several "Flat Rate" companies that offer feature-rich service and even Unlimited services. If you already have a contract, there are ways to Get out of Your Contract.
Q: I would like more information than is available here. Where can I go?
  • A: We have a number of links to other web sites with information about wireless phone service, Below.

More Senior Cellular Resources: 

CELLULAR CARRIER RATINGS & REVIEWS Compare carriers in your state, Pros & Cons.

SWITCHING TO PREPAID WIRELESS Pay only for what you use.

GO TOTALLY WIRELESS How to 'Cut The Cord': Wireless Alternatives to the Landline

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