In a past post, we revealed which phone, internet, and TV providers offer discounts for veterans. It turns out that some of the same providers, along with several others, have special packages offering phone and internet discounts for older people as well.
While these types of senior discounts aren’t as widespread as we’d like to see, there are some providers that understand that many older members of the population, especially those who are retired, aren’t earning as much as younger folk. Therefore, they’ve tailored packages, pricing plans, or discounts to give them a break.
In this post, we’ll reveal which US phone and internet providers offer senior discounts, before detailing some offers that UK residents can take advantage of. Let’s jump in!
In the US, several providers offer discounts solely based on age, with eligibility starting anywhere from the ages of 55 to 65. However, some discounts are exclusive to those with AARP membership. Anyone over 50 can join AARP for $16 per year and gain access to deals on things like travel, dining, entertainment, and apparel. Providers offering exclusive AARP discounts include AT&T and Consumer Cellular. We’ll delve into the details of those offers in their respective sections below.
T-Mobile offers a special deal called Unlimited 55 to anyone over the age of 55. For $55 per month you can get two lines with unlimited talk, text, and smartphone data. Only the primary account holder has to be over 55 to take advantage of the offer. The price includes taxes and fees as well as the AutoPay (the T-Mobile automatic payment system) discount of $5.
Higher tier plans are available if you want to upgrade your streaming capabilities and data. Existing customers can sign up over the phone, but new customers will have to visit a store and present a government-issued ID to prove their age.
The AT&T Senior Nation plan is targeted at basic phone users over the age of 65. For $29.99, you can get 200 Anytime Minutes, unlimited Mobile to Mobile Minutes (to AT&T Mobility customers), and 500 Nights and Weekends minutes. This applies to nationwide calling and no roaming or long distance charges will be applied. Note that this is only open to basic phone users and is not available for smartphones or tablets. The offer can be accessed over the phone or in-store, but not online.
There is also an exclusive AT&T discount offered to AARP members. This takes 10% off monthly recurring fees if you opt for the AT&T Unlimited Elite plan ($45 per month). Members can also earn a credit for switching to AT&T and purchasing a smartphone.
When it comes to home internet, some seniors may qualify for the AT&T Access program which provides internet to limited-income households, for example, those receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI). This service costs $10 per month or less and gives you up to 25 Mbps internet. There’s no deposit or annual contract and the price includes installation and in-home wifi.
Verizon Wireless used to offer a Nationwide 65 plan but this has been replaced with an unnamed discount option for subscribers over 55. However, this is only available for new customers who live in Florida. The discount price (when you enroll in AutoPay) is $60 per month for one line or $80 per month for two lines. You get unlimited 4G LTE data, unlimited talk and text, DVD-quality streaming, and mobile hotspot (600 Kbps).
Verizon does also participate in the Lifeline program which offers savings to low-income customers. There is a discount available for both phone and internet services.
If you’re in Arizona, another provider that offers Lifeline services is CenturyLink. Lifeline qualifiers who are 65 or older can get the Lifeline discount of $9.25 per month, as well as an additional variable discount.
Another provider offering exclusive discounts to AARP members is Consumer Cellular. Members receive 5% off monthly fees and usage charges, 30% off select accessories, and an extended money-back guarantee. There are multiple options when it comes to packages, but the company states that “…an average customer pays under $25/month for all the talk, texting, and data they need.”
AARP members can also get 5% off subscriptions to Consumer Cellular’s GrandPad, a tablet designed specifically for seniors.
GreatCall doesn’t offer senior discounts, but rather is geared entirely toward seniors. It offers mobile handsets that have been designed with the aging population in mind. Products include a smartphone with a simplified menu ($149.99) and a flip phone with easy texting and calling ($99.99).
Plans aren’t exactly cheap but they are highly customizable. They start at $14.99 per month for 250 minutes and no text or data and go up to $59.99 for unlimited talk, text, and data. You can also add a health and safety package which gives you an urgent response service among other features.
US Mobile doesn’t offer senior discounts, but it does provide flexible plans that could save you money. It claims that seniors pay an average of $15 per month for their phone plans. According to its plan breakdown, this will get you unlimited talk and text, and 2.5GB of data.
Charter Spectrum is one of the few internet providers offering a discount to seniors. The Spectrum Internet Assist program is available to any household in which at least one person is a member of the SSI program and is over the age of 65. It’s also open to those on the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) and the National School Lunch Program (NSLP).
A low price of $14.99 per month will get high-speed internet with no data caps, modem included. Wifi can be added for an additional $5 per month. Bear in mind that the plan and its price are not heavily promoted so make sure to ask.
Comcast doesn’t offer a package specifically for seniors, but some may qualify for its Internet Essentials program. This plan is available to many customers who apply for various public assistance programs including the NSLP, Medicaid, Housing Assistance, SSI, and SNAP.
It costs $9.95 per month for 25 Mbps internet and in-home wifi on a no-term contract. No credit check is required.
Bonus tip: New phones can be very expensive, buying a used phone could save you 50% or more.
In the UK, providers are a little less willing to offer breaks to seniors. However, there are still a few ways to cut those bills and save a little money.
If you’re a Virgin Media customer, then you may already know about the company’s Talk Protected plan. This freezes home phone line rental charges for elderly customers and those with accessibility needs (for example, hearing, speech, sight, or mobility issues). As of January 2017, the rate was set at £17.99 per month with no future increases planned.
The plan includes evening and weekend calls to UK mobiles and landlines, calls to 0870 and 0845 numbers and directory enquires (118 180), caller display, voicemail, and paper billing. Customers can also receive £5 off other eligible Virgin Phone plans.
Note that during the pandemic, Virgin Mobile added unlimited free anytime calls to UK mobiles and landlines as part of the Talk Protected plan.
BT offers the BT Basic plan to a range of customers, including those receiving the Pensions Credit benefit. The budget service provides a low monthly rental fee along with a call allowance. It claims to be simple, but it seems to be a little confusing at first.
BT Basic costs £5.16 per month, including £1.50 to spend on calls. It also includes free weekend calls (up to 60 minutes) to 0845 and 0870 numbers (often used by banks and utility companies, among others). Additionally, you can pay up to £10 extra per month to make calls to UK mobiles.
The £10 price cap means you can make unlimited calls. However, there is a ‘fair use policy’ in play here, so if BT thinks a customer is using the offer ‘excessively,’ the company may be in touch.
If you want access to both phone and internet, then BT Basic + Broadband sounds like a great deal. For £10.07 per month, you get the phone line rental mentioned above, along with 10 Mb/s Broadband Unlimited, BT Virus Protect, BT Parental Controls, access to BT public wifi, and 5Gb of BT cloud storage.
The application process for these packages is a little convoluted. You have to call to receive a form, and once you return it, you might wait up to thirty days to find out if you’ve been accepted.
Another area where UK seniors can save is their TV license. Every UK resident who owns and operates a television is required to pay £147 per year for a TV license. However, if you’re over 75, you can get your license for free. For the initial free license, you have to actually apply, but it will automatically be renewed every two years. If you’re renewing your license at the age of 74, you can apply for a short-term license so you’re not paying past your 75th birthday.
Not 75 yet? If you’re over 60, and living in residential care, you can get a heavily discounted TV license for just £7.50. This offer is also available to people with disabilities. A housing manager must apply on your behalf.
Finally, if you’re blind or living with a blind person, you can get a 50% discount on your TV license. You can apply by mail by sending in the required form and fee along with a copy of your blind registration certificate.
Tips for choosing a phone and internet provider
No matter where you are, choosing the right provider and plan can be a daunting task. However, there are some basic tips you can follow to ensure you get the right deal.
1. Compare offers
Just because a provider offers a special discount for seniors doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the right deal for you. If you’re going to end up paying for additional features that aren’t included in the offer package, you may be better off going with a different plan altogether. Compare the prices offered by various providers as well as the different plans each one has.
2. Read the small print
One of the problems when comparing different providers is that they all layout their pricing differently. For example, some include taxes and fees in their prices while others don’t. Also, some providers charge exorbitant amounts if you exceed plan limits, such as those for minutes or data. What’s more, there may be one-off or additional fees, such as for equipment or installation. Check the fine print to see exactly what you will be paying upfront and each month.
3. Negotiate prices
Since prices and package features are listed online or on flyers, it may seem like they’re set in stone. However, there is often some wiggle room so it’s always worth asking. The representative you speak to may be able to lower the monthly rate, extend an introductory rate, or add some perks to the package.
4. Switch providers
Many people end up sticking with the same provider simply to avoid the hassle of switching. However, you could save lots of money in the long run if you’re willing to change things up now and again.
New customers often get fantastic introductory rates, with periods ranging from several months up to a year. If these are followed by steep increases, then you could simply switch when the offer expires and take advantage of another provider’s new customer deal.
However, bear in mind that some providers charge hefty early cancellation fees. This is yet another reason to read the small print to know what you’re getting into!
Do you know of any offers available for seniors? Let us know in the comments box below!
See also: How to avoid and detect elder fraud