Author Topic: What is your experience with Consumer Cellular?  (Read 3035 times)

Frizhand

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What is your experience with Consumer Cellular?
« on: March 09, 2015, 10:59:15 AM »
I apologize if this has been discussed already.  For some reason the search feature on the Forums isn't working for me so I can't check to see if there is another thread on the  topic...

Does anyone have any experience with Consumer Cellular?  I have a plan on PureTalk for my son but the iPhone 4 we are using is having trouble using the cellular data. Long story short, from what I can tell from the Apple web site, it won't be an issue with Consumer Celluar because they are an authorized MVNO ('authorized' is my word, not theirs!)

In addition, I.P. Daley's Superguide says Consumer Cellular has "some serious caveats to the service that you should watch out for.."  What are these caveats??

If there is thread out there on the same topic a link would be a fine response!  Again, sorry if this has already been discussed.

begood

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Re: What is your experience with Consumer Cellular?
« Reply #1 on: March 09, 2015, 11:32:54 AM »
Following! Consumer Cellular is my first choice for  big-4 alternate too. After a less than wonderful experience trying to become a former DISH network customer, I'm wary of those "caveats" too.

Daley

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Re: What is your experience with Consumer Cellular?
« Reply #2 on: March 09, 2015, 11:50:30 AM »
In addition, I.P. Daley's Superguide says Consumer Cellular has "some serious caveats to the service that you should watch out for.."  What are these caveats??

My apologies, this is one of the situations where the forums and their per post text limit runs afoul of the guide itself, and why I plaster said guide with links back to the unabridged guide on my site, as stuff like what you're after doesn't have to be cut for the sake of space and overall wall of text length (people seem to be less overwhelmed by individual pages instead of a 23,000+ word single wall of text). The forums really don't do the detail level of the guide justice and instead just makes it appear more daunting than it really is. Thus the
Quote
For the complete, unabridged version of Daley’s Frugal Communications Guide which contains far more detailed topical information, reviews, supplemental information links, as well as hardware and software recommendations, please visit Technical Meshugana.
at the bottom of each topic post.

What you're after however, is from here:

Quote
Consumer Cellular – consumercellular.com

I will readily admit that in the past, I have bagged on Consumer Cellular. I haven’t cared much for their advertising rhetoric, AARP old person technology fear tactics, and “oh, how gauche” attitude they take towards prepaid services, and it helped given the ridiculous prices they had going for the longest time. Some of that (the pricing, anyway) has changed since AT&T dropped their package prices to MVNOs during Summer 2013 combined with their more recently swelled, million-plus, Matlock-loving AARP membership roles. The bottom line is, they have since gotten quite a bit more competitive with their pricing, especially on the data front. As to the customer service quality? Given the old people and AARP connection, they’ve got to keep their support levels up to keep their users happy and avoid user base backlash. They’ve also been around since 1995, and are a big enough fish now that they themselves are an AT&T wholesale reseller to other MVNOs. This makes them a good candidate for this list, no matter how much I don’t want to give any company who sneers at prepaid and gives Ron Maestri acting work to be a poor-man’s Patty Duke my approval. There’s still some serious caveats to the service that you should watch out for, but they’re a good option for GSM family plans and people who want to be voice-less data hogs. If you like the idea of Ting, but want GSM service? This might be the way to go.

Pros: Off-network GSM roaming support. Reasonably good customer support reviews. Shared service buckets between lines like Ting. Data tethering is not expressly forbidden. BYOD GSM phone support. Reasonably good voice, text and data package rates. One of the biggest MVNO companies in the US outside of America Movil. Package overage notifications. Postpaid, if you like that sort of thing. Free SIM cards. AARP discounts.

Cons: Manually adjustable package selections with insane overage rates if you don’t adjust accordingly. $10/handset monthly fee. Not a good deal for individual users. All the ugly policies that usually accompany postpaid cellular service.

It's also a bit dated on the pricing front, as they've recently done a modest bump to the minutes, texts and data on their packages about a week ago... but that should be covered in the 2015 guide overhaul. There's been a lot of changes recently with a few more coming up in the industry, and I'm waiting for the dust to settle a bit to ensure avoiding having to make too many edits after publishing.

Regarding the "ugly policies" of postpaid cellular service, just read their terms. They're nowhere near as heinous as say Republic, AT&T or any of the Tracfone/NET10/StraightTalk prepaid, but the terms are still a fair bit more broad and restrictive than the prepaid legal contracts from most of the providers in the guide, and a bit more financially burdensome if you run afoul of it.

That should answer your questions.
« Last Edit: March 09, 2015, 11:53:09 AM by I.P. Daley »

Frizhand

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Re: What is your experience with Consumer Cellular?
« Reply #3 on: March 09, 2015, 12:27:42 PM »
I've been to your web site before and I should have remembered that you have additional detail there.  Thanks!

I went (quickly) through the terms on their web site and didn't see a reference to a $10 monthly handset fee. If I BYOD do they still charge a $10 monthly fee?  I guess that question will be answered during the checkout process.


Still interested in hearing from anyone using the service.

Daley

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Re: What is your experience with Consumer Cellular?
« Reply #4 on: March 09, 2015, 01:59:21 PM »
I went (quickly) through the terms on their web site and didn't see a reference to a $10 monthly handset fee. If I BYOD do they still charge a $10 monthly fee?  I guess that question will be answered during the checkout process.

The base cost per line is $10/month, and that's whether you BYOD or not. It's like Ting's $6/month/line base price. Details here.

Quote
TALK PLANS (Nationwide Calling)

We put you in control with these simple, no-contract plans. All of our voice plans are designed to fit specific needs and budgets and you can change your plan at any time, at no charge. You can also take advantage of our low-cost family plan that lets family members share minutes and enjoy free calls between all phones on the same Consumer Cellular account. It's only $10 per month, per line added.

They have it set up in a way that's a little confusing, but it's essentially set up the same way Ting is (excuse the texting and data being combined into a single bucket option), only you have to switch between packages manually. They have it listed differently, but basically it breaks down thusly:

$10/month/line

$5 250 minutes
$10 750 minutes
$20 1500 minutes
$30 3500 minutes
$40 "unlimited" minutes

$2.50 300 SMS + 30MB
$5 1500 SMS + 150MB
$10 3000 SMS + 500MB
$20 "unlimited" SMS + 1.5GB
$30 "unlimited" SMS + 3GB
$40 "unlimited" SMS + 4GB

They instead include the first phone line's base price as part of the per minute costs. I prefer approaching their pricing this way instead, as it's a little more intuitive.

shadowmoss

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Re: What is your experience with Consumer Cellular?
« Reply #5 on: March 09, 2015, 04:01:49 PM »
I have Consumer Cellular, and have used them for a couple of years with no problem.  I had 2 criteria, and they meet them exceptionally well:  My Mom is on my account with me and we needed to share the minute pool.  Done.  And, I wanted customer service that could help my 84yo Mom is she needed it as I am not local to her.  Done.  Customer support has always been excellent.

Any GSM phone I've had works with them for voice.  For data, you need one that uses AT&T frequencies.  And it has to be unlocked.  I ran into these issues when I went looking for a new phone, and ended up just buying their top of the line smart phone to get around the data issues.  I like that I can switch my usage level on both phone and/or data anytime during the month.  I don't always know when Mom is using the  minutes more than average, and I keep the default levels on pretty much the lowest ones and adjust up on months that we use more.

Hope that helps.

Frizhand

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Re: What is your experience with Consumer Cellular?
« Reply #6 on: March 09, 2015, 04:08:56 PM »
I went (quickly) through the terms on their web site and didn't see a reference to a $10 monthly handset fee. If I BYOD do they still charge a $10 monthly fee?  I guess that question will be answered during the checkout process.

The base cost per line is $10/month, and that's whether you BYOD or not. It's like Ting's $6/month/line base price. Details here.

Quote
TALK PLANS (Nationwide Calling)

We put you in control with these simple, no-contract plans. All of our voice plans are designed to fit specific needs and budgets and you can change your plan at any time, at no charge. You can also take advantage of our low-cost family plan that lets family members share minutes and enjoy free calls between all phones on the same Consumer Cellular account. It's only $10 per month, per line added.

They have it set up in a way that's a little confusing, but it's essentially set up the same way Ting is (excuse the texting and data being combined into a single bucket option), only you have to switch between packages manually. They have it listed differently, but basically it breaks down thusly:

$10/month/line

$5 250 minutes
$10 750 minutes
$20 1500 minutes
$30 3500 minutes
$40 "unlimited" minutes

$2.50 300 SMS + 30MB
$5 1500 SMS + 150MB
$10 3000 SMS + 500MB
$20 "unlimited" SMS + 1.5GB
$30 "unlimited" SMS + 3GB
$40 "unlimited" SMS + 4GB

They instead include the first phone line's base price as part of the per minute costs. I prefer approaching their pricing this way instead, as it's a little more intuitive.

Thanks, that is more intuitive! feel pretty clueless right now!

Frizhand

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Re: What is your experience with Consumer Cellular?
« Reply #7 on: March 09, 2015, 04:11:03 PM »
I have Consumer Cellular, and have used them for a couple of years with no problem.  I had 2 criteria, and they meet them exceptionally well:  My Mom is on my account with me and we needed to share the minute pool.  Done.  And, I wanted customer service that could help my 84yo Mom is she needed it as I am not local to her.  Done.  Customer support has always been excellent.

Any GSM phone I've had works with them for voice.  For data, you need one that uses AT&T frequencies.  And it has to be unlocked.  I ran into these issues when I went looking for a new phone, and ended up just buying their top of the line smart phone to get around the data issues.  I like that I can switch my usage level on both phone and/or data anytime during the month.  I don't always know when Mom is using the  minutes more than average, and I keep the default levels on pretty much the lowest ones and adjust up on months that we use more.

Hope that helps.

I have an unlocked GSM phone, so it should work on any AT&T MVNO.  The feedback is helpful, thanks.