Since 2006, Red Pocket Mobile has offered low-cost, no-frills plans to seniors, and the company now even offers data plans and modern smartphones. Offering service through virtual links with the towers of major carriers, Red Pocket provides some of the most affordable yet high-performing plans we’ve seen. Their cheapest plans cost only $10 per month!
Low-cost plans: Red Pocket offers a low-cost plan at $10 per month, enabling them to offer some of the lowest starting prices of any carrier around.
No contracts: Red Pocket requires no long-term contracts, offering both month-to-month and annual plans.
Great service coverage: Red Pocket’s virtual network uniquely uses service from all four of the major networks, rather than just one. This gives their plans excellent coverage compared to other virtual networks.
Free international calls: Red Pocket allows users to call internationally without accruing service charges.
High-speed data limitations: When it comes to data, many of Red Pocket’s plans will throttle your data speeds after using a certain amount.
GSM vs. CDMA confusion: This carrier’s plans differentiate between GSM and CDMA phones, which refers to how data is transmitted. Most people have no idea what type of phone they have, which makes Red Pocket’s separation between the two a baffling distinction for most users.
Red Pocket Plans and Pricing
Starting Monthly Price
Talk and Text Allowance
$10 per month
$20 per month
Speeds slowed after 3 GB of data
$40 per month
Speeds slowed after 25 GB of data
$50 per month
Speeds slowed after 100 GB of data
Red Pocket Plans for Seniors
Red Pocket does not have a specific plan for seniors. However, their Basic $10 plan offers a practical way to cheaply buy a small amount of data and 500 minutes of talk time per month.
The company also allows you to bring your own phone and download the service through the SIM card they ship to you. This allows you to swap plans without having to get accustomed to a new device that you may not need.
Red Pocket is all about tailoring your plan to your needs. They allow users to choose their own network providers based on the service in their area. This is in addition to offering a wide range of plans that ensure that you will never buy more talk or data than you want to use.
Their month-by-month plans with no long-term contracts are another selling point for seniors looking for a low-stakes, affordable cell phone plan for casual talk, emergencies, or the occasional family call.
FYI: Since Red Pocket allows you to bring your own phone, you can purchase either a flip phone or smartphone from a third-party seller and use one of their SIM cards.
How to Purchase Red Pocket
To get started with Red Pocket, visit the company’s website to review the plans they offer. The main difference between the plans beyond the initial low-cost, limited talk plans is the amount of high-speed data they offer. If you don’t plan on using your phone to download apps or stream videos, you likely won’t need to buy into the high-speed data coverage.
The first selection you will make is whether you want to buy a mobile phone or keep the device you have and just buy a SIM card. After making that selection, you will need to click the plan you have chosen to review your network options. Before adding your plan to the cart, Red Pocket will ask you to choose between CDMA or GSM for a network.
If you check the status or “about” screen on your phone, you will see the phone’s IMEI number if it is using GSM technology or an MEID/ESN number if it uses CDMA. All you need to know is that while some phones are compatible with both, you will need to make the correct selection if your phone can only use one or the other. This means you may need to research what type of phone you have.
Next, you need to click “check your network” to ensure that your selected service has coverage in your area. After this, Red Pocket will take you to your cart and ask for shipping and payment options.
Red Pocket Pricing
Most of Red Pocket’s plans are monthly payments, but their $20 per month plan can be bought on an annual contract with monthly payments reduced to $15 per month. Otherwise, Red Pocket doesn’t use contracts to lock its users into their service.
Red Pocket also does not charge overage fees. Its service is all about charging customers purely for what they use. Uniquely, the carrier also offers international calls with no additional fees.
Red Pocket Network Coverage
Red Pocket is an MVNO, which stands for “mobile virtual network operator.” It means that they use the cell towers of the major carriers to power their services. Yet unlike most MVNOs, Red Pocket works with all four of the major networks, giving you a choice of which network has the most coverage in your area.
Importantly, if you bring your own device to your Red Pocket plan, you may be limited in which networks you can use. This is because of the aforementioned distinction that Red Pocket makes between GSM and CDMA devices, which could limit coverage for some users.
Red Pocket vs. T-Mobile
Unlike some major carriers like T-Mobile, Red Pocket does not offer a senior-specific mobile plan. However, their low-cost, low-data offerings cater to the needs of seniors who want to have a cell phone without paying extra for data that they will never use. Like T-Mobile, Red Pocket never increases the price of your plan or locks you into a long-term contract.
Red Pocket Basic
T-Mobile Essentials 55+
$10 per month
$27.50 per month
Must be 55+
Red Pocket offers numerous plans for anyone looking for a practical, pay-as-you-go contract for their mobile phone. They are best used for phones that will only be used in emergencies or for the occasional call or text. By contrast, the unlimited talk and data offerings from Red Pocket are limited by the price and size of their network.
Those who want the most number of features possible in their phone plans could do better with one of the major networks. However, if you’re looking for a practical, pressure-free take on phone service — with plans starting as low as only $10 per month — Red Pocket will only charge you for what you absolutely need.
To learn more about our favorite wireless providers, check out our helpful guides.
Outside of its lowest offerings, Red Pocket’s data speeds and prices struggle to compete with the most popular plans of the major carriers. They also use some confusing terminology in their setup process, which requires you to choose both a network as well as find out whether the phone you plan on using employs GSM or CDMA technology.
Ryan has years of experience researching and testing products that help people successfully age in place. After years of working for various publications such as Boston Magazine and The Believer, he has found his home at The Senior List, writing about all things related to caregiving and senior healthcare.