Consumer Cellular Offers Cheap, No-Nonsense Access to AT&T’s Cellular Network

Tell me about it. When I was working in Sweden a couple years ago I had unlimited data for $20/month. Here, with T-Mobile (and including even a second line for my wife on the same account) it’s $45/month with autopay.

Lack of competition. And because our regulators refuse to regulate, we just went from 4 national carriers down to 3. We should expect more of the same if we refuse to smarten up. I was taught free market capitalism had to do with efficiency through fierce competition. Things seem to have changed since back then. :laughing:

I had thought about that but decided it was easier to deal with an eSIM for overseas because then I didn’t need to open the SIM slot. Of course, that would mean I need to find an overseas provider who provides eSIMs.

Thanks for the tip. I have swapped SIMs before and would do it again to save not very much money and even less aggravation.

I’m not aware of CC offering an eSIM, but I forgot to ask. Does someone know?

In Australia we are half way between USA and Europe. Aldi supermarkets run a scheme, for data $95 a year with 25 g and for mobile $25 a month for 18g but that rolls over for ever so at present I have 64 g credit which is good if I decide to binge out or use the phone as a modem for heavy use

James Reynolds, no need at all for a microcell. Use wifi calling.

Many carriers no longer even offer a microcell because of Wi-Fi Calling. It’s kind of a shame because Wi-Fi Calling isn’t always reliable.

I switched to Google Fi and lowered my cost plus it works in 203 countries. Down side is there is no unlimited anything outside the U.S. I pay only for the cellular data I use. Make calls on Google Voices or WhatApp, stick to wifi for anything data intensive like streaming. My bill is never more than $30 a month.

i bought into the description “uses the ATT network” and tried CC 4 years ago.

Back then, my cellular iPad did not work at all. the CC network just would not take the SIM.

I also need to use my phone as a hotspot and sometimes turn on the VPN connection on my mac. that did not work.

i went back to ATT on my phone & put TMobile on my iPad.

I had no problems with CC on ATT but now got a TMobile SIM (they offer both) since that is better overseas, if we ever go back. And you have to explicitly ask them to activate the hotspot. Things you need to make sure are activated: visual voicemail, hotspot, wifi calling, international stuff.

My wife and I switched to Consumer Cellular several years ago when she retired and we lost her employer discount at ATT. Our only regret is that we did not switch to CC sooner, as we now average $42/month for two iPhones. We aren’t interested in joining AARP but we do enjoy a 5% discount when using an American Express credit card. (Apparently some cellular resellers do not qualify for credit card-related discounts.)

I appreciate that almost everything I usually need to do can be done on the CC website. I’ve only needed phone service at the very beginning and it was excellent. CC regularly rates #1 for customer service; it’s certainly much better than our experience with ATT.

A couple of years ago we decided to upgrade our 5 year old iPhone 5S units. CC had brand new 32GB iPhone 6S for $250, the only place I could find new phones. Elsewhere the iPhone 6S was going for around $240 for used/refurbished units. CC has an interest-free financing option too. The only “downside” is that buying a phone from CC requires a 6-month contract but it was a non-issue for us since we were already sold on CC.

One thing I haven’t seen mentioned is Consumer Cellular’s SIM lock service. The lock can be done by phone and when I did it I was told that I could use any passphrase I wished vs. just a PIN. Unfortunately, the customer support person did not tell me that until after I had provided a 4-numeral PIN. . .

Unlocking and changing the passphrase cannot be done by phone. CC has a process that requires various forms of ID and it is only done via mail. The change is handled by a dedicated customer security department. I consider this to be a significant benefit because it makes a SIM swap via social engineering impossible.

I don’t know anything regarding the availability of SIM locks and how they are handled at other carriers. But I consider this single feature to be a big plus. . . IMO it should be offered as an opt-out default at all cell carriers.


Just be aware that last fall the original owners/developers of Consumer Cellular sold out to a private equity firm. Recent interactions with the company have not been reported as positive. I was ready to jump from AT&T to CC. I had purchased the CC/AT&T sim cards from a local Target store when I decided to do ‘due diligence’. I returned the sims unopened.

Details on the acquisition here:

That’s a little disappointing, but I didn’t know and it hasn’t caused me any issues. I think private equity gets a worse rap than it deserves. I worked at Dollar General corporate when it was under KKR. They spun around a failing business, took it public again, and it’s now very successful. Of course, not every private equity story ends that way, but it’s not all horror either.

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As a $15 a month pre paid evangelist it’s import to note that none of these cheap services will give you a data plan for your Apple Watch.

One would think with the proliferation of eSims there would be an option for this? So the Apple Watch is some special case that can only get data via an agreement between Apple and carriers.?

I mentioned that in the article. I don’t know why data is limited to the big three carriers, but it’s frustrating.

I’ll suspect it’s because the carriers would greatly prefer people pay more for their services. And if a carrier notifies that you are close to your limit, they never suggest you turn on WiFi calling or other money saving opportunities.

What about this plan for an eSIM Apple Watch only for $10pm - what’s the catch?

What about it? $10/mo for a mobile accessory (like a watch or an iPad) seems like the same prices offered by many other carriers.

Note that this does not include the price of the watch itself or of your base mobile service. The $10 is simply the cost to add a watch onto an existing mobile data plan.

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From the link you provided, this is for adding a family member’s Apple Watch in family setup mode (e.g., for a child or yours or perhaps a parent). This gives the person with the Apple Watch some limited usage compared with a standard Apple Watch plan. (I suspect that TruPhone also has an option to add a regular Apple Watch account to your normal account for $10/month.)

Ok that’s what I was missing but my exact use case. Adults are on pre-pay but it looks like I could add this as a stand alone ESim and eSims from other carriers for one of my kids without having an account with that carrier no? We have a Series 3 cellular sitting in a box collecting dust.

I returned to this thread because I noticed it was suggested after I posted to another topic. . .

I haven’t noticed anything negative regarding the change in ownership. We’re still paying the same price for our two iPhones. Since I can do everything I need via the CC website I wouldn’t know whether its vaunted customer service has suffered any.

There are alternatives if things go downhill. . . If I remember correctly a couple are a bit cheaper. But I hope that we don’t need to switch.