Update Feb 6, 2020: Virgin Mobile USA service has been discontinued. You may be able to continue using your existing phone with Boost Mobile instead. Also, Boost has no-contract plans and new phones available.
Phone service providers are (thankfully!) waking up to the fact that senior citizens want SIMPLE mobile phones! I have found a couple of services that offer phones that cater to seniors’ needs:
After paying over $100/month for mobile phone service from AT&T for myself, my husband, and my father, I decided to look elsewhere. My husband and dad rarely made calls and I was always having “usage charges” (charges over my normal monthly fee for extra minutes, texting, etc).
Virgin Mobile provides NO CONTRACT phones for as little as $20/month. I was able to shop for the phones at nearby stores to find a phone with buttons that were large enough for my dad, and was able to buy a couple of smartphones (phones that come with extra feature for mobile internet use) from the Virgin Mobile website for myself and my husband.
My dad is on the Virgin Mobile Paylo plan. For $20/month he gets 400 minutes of talk time and a fairly simple phone that cost around $20. My husband and I pay $25/month each for 300 minutes and unlimited data (internet use) and text messaging.
Virgin Mobile uses the Sprint network and I have found coverage to be reliable throughout central Florida, from Wedgefield to Groveland.
If you sign up online (or get someone to help you do that) you can avoid an activation fee for the service! You have 30 days to try any phone you buy.
I do not have personal experience with Consumer Cellular, but found an ad for them in a magazine. They offer a senior phone (a phone with larger buttons and better volume), with plans starting as little as $10/month and the phone itself costing $60. If you are an AARP member, you can get a discount, also.
However, that $10/month fee does not include ANY minutes. You have to pay .25/minutes for talk time. This plan is good for someone who only wants a phone for emergencies. Other plans are available, too, but I didn’t see anything that matches the plan I have with Virgin Mobile. The AARP discount and the phone itself may make this service the best choice for you though.
If you are an AARP member, you have either 45 days or 45 minutes (whichever comes first) of phone use to try the phone and service for no obligation. (Otherwise, you have 30 days or 30 minutes, whichever comes first).
A $35 activation fee applies also.
Comment or use my contact page if you’d like help with choosing a mobile phone service! I know it can be so frustrating to find a service, figure out how to use a new phone, etc., so I’m happy to help.