Consumer Cellular vs Jitterbug

Our experts compared these two affordable cell phone carriers side-by-side. Read on for our recommendations.

Our favorite is GreatCall

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Side-by-side comparison:

Side-by-side comparison: GreatCall
Editor's Rating
2.8 / 5 stars
4.1 / 5 stars
Price Range $15 - $40/mo $14.99 - $49.99/mo
Overage Fee No fee- automatic upgrade to next plan Yes - fee varies per type of overage.
Cancellation Fee N/A N/A
Contract Required No No
Contract Length N/A N/A
Prepaid Plan Option Yes Yes
Unlimited Data Option Yes Yes
Family Plans Yes No
Nationwide Coverage Yes Yes
International Coverage Yes Yes - US & Canada only
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Editors Recommendation

Consumer Cellular and GreatCall are similarly priced and both a great option for seniors. If you are looking for cell phones designed specifically for seniors and have additional features to support health and wellness, then GreatCall is a better option. However, if you live internationally and/or are looking for family plans, then Consumer Celluar is a better choice.

Consumer Cellular and Jitterbug are two companies that are geared more toward the older generation. Not quite seniors, but not quite interested in all the technology and the pricing that goes with it. Consumer Cellular has paired with AT&T/T-Mobile for their cellular service while Jitterbug is primarily available through GreatCall. Jitterbug phones, however, can be used with other carriers if the user is willing to pay the higher fees for their talk and data-driven packages.

Consumer Cellular vs Jitterbug Differences

Consumer Cellular offers multiple devices, primarily the top of the line iPhones (X, Xr, and 8 Plus) and Androids (Galaxy Note 9). With its cellular service being provided by AT&T and T-Mobile, Consumer Cellular offers nationwide service options. Although there are areas where coverage is spotty, the ability to connect in all 50 states is an advantage. Phones can be leased or purchased upfront depending on your preference. Consumer Cellular is also partnered with AARP and offers discounts to members.

The GreatCall cellular service that supports Jitterbug’s phones offer nationwide coverage that includes Hawaii. Alaska, however, is not part of the package at this time. Jitterbug only offers two phones in addition to a wearable pendant for medical alert options. Jitterbug’s phones are purchased outright. There are no leasing options available.

Jitterbug vs Consumer Cellular Similarities

Consumer Cellular offers affordable package options that are designed for individuals who may not be interested in the more high-tech aspect of cell phones. They are paired with AT&T so they can offer nationwide service in most areas. They offer packages that include basic talk features as well as data-driven packages that offer talk/text/data to the clients who want to have those options.

Jitterbug offers a simple voice plan as well as talk/text/data plans for those who would prefer the more advanced Jitterbug Smart 2 phone option. If the consumer chooses to use GreatCall as their carrier, they will have nationwide coverage that includes Hawaii. Both phones are easy to use and can be purchased outright. There are no contracts so customers can pay on a month-to-month basis.

Service Area

Consumer Cellular uses AT&T and T-Mobile cellular as its designated carrier. This offers Consumer Cellular customers nationwide coverage. Although there are several small areas in the United States where coverage is questionable, in most cases, the service is strong and doesn’t fluctuate.

Jitterbug is primarily supported by GreatCall cellular service. There are circumstances where the Jitterbug phones may be able to be used with other carriers like Verizon. GreatCall’s coverage extends nationwide over the continental United States and does extend to Hawaii as well.

Phone Options

Consumer Cellular offers several cell phones for customers to choose from. In addition to the Android Note 9, they also offer several iPhones including the X, Xr, and 8 Plus. They also offer many mid-tier phones that are much more cost-effective and don’t have a lot of the other smartphone features.

Jitterbug only offers two phone options. They include the Lively Flip and the Jitterbug Smart 2.

Costs & Contracts

Consumer Cellular allows you to pay for your phones upfront. If you want to use their EasyPay option, you can pay a portion of the phone’s cost upfront and make payments on the rest. The outstanding balance will be charged in addition to the plan’s monthly fee. For example, you can buy the iPhone x for $900 outright or pay $300 upfront and pay monthly payments on the balance. If you only want a basic talk plan, your package could cost as little as $10 a month plus the lease. If you want a more “unlimited” plan, your total will go up to $40 a month plus the lease.

The Lively Flip can be purchased from GreatCall for as low as $75, while the Jitterbug Smart 2 can be found for as low as $87 on Amazon. The MSRP through GreatCall is approximately $150. Urgent care calls will cost approximately $4 each. GreatCall offers three packages that range in price from $19.99 to $34.99 per month with the most expensive offering text and data options.

Our Conclusion

Consumer Cellular is a great choice for AARP members who like the fact that the service is offered by AT&T and is still affordable.

Jitterbug is often the choice for elderly seniors who don’t want all the bells and whistles but still want the convenience of a cellphone with medical alert options.