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MVNO Consumer Cellular signs content deal

Just because we don’t cover a certain MVNO on Prepaid Reviews doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Consumer Cellular, an MVNO of the AT&T network, has upped their multimedia offering. Previously, they were like many basic MVNOs, only offering basic services like calling and texting. However, they have struck a deal with ClearSky Mobile Media to provide their subscribers with premium content. This includes ringtones, games, wallpapers, and video clips.

These basic services are becoming a necessity for the remaining MVNOs. They need to pick up business, and it’s tough to do so with only voice and texting. While those services are the most important, adding a multimedia suite, even a basic one, can attract customers who otherwise wouldn’t be interested.

“Consumer Cellular has been eager to implement comprehensive mobile data services in an effort to provide our customers with the best possible mobile experience,” said John Marick, Consumer Cellular CEO. “However, as an MVNO, we must consider the technical complexity required to achieve full integration between our underlying carrier, our content services partner (ClearSky), and ourselves. For this reason, it was imperative for Consumer Cellular to select a service provider that not only had a compelling content catalog, but also the experience and technical expertise required to effectively integrate their products and services with a top tier, national carrier.”

Do any Consumer Cellular customers out there have a comment on this? Their service is available in a large number of areas nationwide, so should we add a review for them? Let us know.

12 Responses

  1. Greg Says

    I’ve been a Consumer Cellular customer for over 3 years. I think their main customer base is senior citizens who just want a basic phone, but I’m a few years away from AARP membership :) I just want a phone and the ability to send a few text messages. Maybe if they give me some multi-media I’ll use it, maybe not.

    Their plans are very simple, and while not prepaid, are no contract. You can cancel at any time with no obligation. Their plans offer fixed levels of up to 1600 anytime minutes ($60, no free nights/weekends) and no roaming charges in the USA. Additional minutes are $0.25, except on the 1600 minute plan, where they are $0.10. Text messages are $0.10 each, or you can add blocks of text messages to the base plan. There is a $35 activation fee charged upfront, but no change fees when changing plans. In fact, you can change plans during a billing period retroactive to the beginning of the period.

    They charge $10/month per phone for a Family Access plan (additional phones), but I’m not sure how the airtime charges work for that plan. It may be the case that if 2 “Family Access” phones talk to each other, each gets charged from the pool of minutes (e.g. 10 minutes of conversation draws 20 minutes from the shared pool). But, I don’t use that plan, so that aspect should be confirmed with then.

    Their selection of phones is small, although the most basic phone (Nokia 1600) is included with every plan for no additional charge. Rumor has it that you can get a compatible phone and swap the SIM, although they won’t tell you this themselves. However, given the lack of features they offer, I don’t see the point.

    I use them because I don’t like the idea of long-term contracts, I don’t use that much airtime, I’m not interested in using my phone for web access, and I didn’t want to mess with prepaying for airtime.

    Posted on July 21st, 2008 at 12:20 am
  2. Eric Says

    Hi All,
    I have been a CC customer for about a year on the family plan (I share minutes with my wife). We diligently check our usage each month and then adjust which plan accordingly. It works out to be so much cheaper than having two phones on our old AT&T service.
    As far as using other phones, yes you can. I have an itty-bitty camera phone with a built-in flashlight to boot – the Pantech c300. It is small enough to fit in the change pocket of my jeans, and displays numbers in a large and readable font. It has a good sound and long battery life, so I use it.
    As for getting on the internet, I would most certainly use this service. It is nice to find directions, movie listings, cheap gas, train times, or dinner on the go. Heck, I’d use it for quick emails and IM as well. Don’t think I would watch TV on it, but, hey, you never know…

    Posted on January 4th, 2009 at 9:40 pm
  3. Toni Sullivan Says

    How does this compare to what I have?

    I have Verizon, unlimited texting on 3 phones, 700 minutes to share between 3 phones per month. I pay 120 per month with all the taxes included.

    I am an AARP member and I am looking for some good deals. We have always paid through the nose for everything but now we are, like many others, in deep hurtful times right now, money-wise.

    Also, my husband has his own cell phone with Verizon on a seperate plan. How does your plan compare to his. We pay too much for his phone! He has unlimited calls and text and a computer card (internet card for computer) and it costs us 195.00 each month. Too Much Money!!!

    Please Reply,

    Posted on February 19th, 2009 at 2:34 pm
  4. richard Says

    hi, i recently kicked the habit and got rid of verizon. I googled cheap cell phone carriers and came up with consumer cellualar and am i glad i did. I am only 50 yrs old just looking for reliable phone service without all the bells and whistles and i am very pleased with the service. I live in the new york area and i have no dead spots crystal clear reception and i save money too.

    Posted on April 7th, 2009 at 6:39 pm
  5. Dana Says

    I’ve been with Consumer Cellular for over 2 years now, and have been very happy with them. Originally, I just wanted a basic plan because my use was limited. Now that I’m using the phone and text features a lot more, I’m thinking of looking to other carriers to upgrade my phone and features, but even at the higher end of the use spectrum, I think Consumer Cellular is pretty competitive, and I LOVE not having a contract!

    I definitely think you should add a review for them!

    Posted on April 21st, 2009 at 1:02 pm
  6. reddeb Says

    HELP – I live in the Colorado rockies near Glenwood and Aspen and have NO cell phone service and I am a cell phone novice. I am looking for a cheap reliable cell phone to use in the valley. AT&T works ok in the Roaring Fork valley, will Consumer Cellular have the same reception??

    Posted on May 17th, 2009 at 12:24 pm
  7. Owings Mills Man Says

    I was curious as to who’s towers CC used and they say they are AT&T, so reception should be as good as AT&T. I think I’ll give them a shot.

    Posted on June 4th, 2009 at 5:07 pm
  8. Roger Weeks Says

    My aunt switched us over to CC and I personally hate it so much. Limited to 4 phones to choose from. The best one being a phone from like 5 years ago. No room to upgrade to a new phone.
    The web access did not work and their tech support is worse then anything.

    Posted on December 16th, 2009 at 8:34 am
  9. Susan D Says

    I moved to Consumer Cellular on the advice of a coworker (you get a rebate if someone signs up that you referred!), and I can say from experience that you CAN swap your SIM chip into an existing phone as long as it is compatible. I had my old phone from AT&T and it worked fine. I just spoke with customer service (upgrading my plans) and they confirmed that not all phones are compatible, but usually those 3 yrs old or less or from AT&T should work fine; Samsung phones and smart phones will NOT be compatible, they say.

    I have had a good experience with CC. Good customer service, and I really like the flexibility of moving up & down with the minutes amounts (I use a lot more during holidays & vacations, not much at home) and it’s just plain cheaper. If you use a lot of minutes, CC may not be the best price (no free weekend or evening minutes, and no free minutes to talk with other people in the network, minutes do NOT roll over, etc.). But for me this is ideal and far cheaper.

    They do have AAA and AARP discounts, and the reception is great – I’ve often had reception when my husband, who had a Verizon phone, did not.

    The activation fee whenever you get a new phone is my only complaint – it costs $35 to activate any new phone, and their best phone is the KRZR K1 for $50 (so $85 altogether). That, to me, is kind of a rip off, but the low cost and no contract option make it up for me.

    And as I said above, you can always get your own phone and have CC just ship you the SIM card and not buy one of their phones – they do not charge any activation fee if you ask them to send the SIM chip only. I did this when I first signed up and didn’t have any activation charge. When I decide to get a new phone that I’ll probably just buy one on eBay and swap my SIM card into it, if I can find one I like for less than CC’s charges.

    I’ve been raving about this plan for a while, and am about to switch my husband & mother in law over to my plan. They were paying over $90/mo for a very low-level Verizon plan; we figure we will pay $60-70 for all 3 of us on CC. Very nice.

    Also, my mother-in-law is getting CC’s ‘Doro’ flip phone; it has great reviews and is hearing-aid compatible (and it looks slicker than the other ‘senior phones’ I have seen).

    The only alternative that seems reasonable for folks like me are the pay-as-you-go phones like Virgin and others, but if you let the minutes run out you have to get a new number.

    P.S. Consumer Cell has kiosks at some Sears & Kmart stores, so you can at least skim the pamphlet and check out a couple of the phones available (

    Posted on February 11th, 2010 at 1:12 am
  10. Mike Grieff Says

    Susan D has eased some of my anxiety of switching from AT&T to CC, with AARP, in a week or so when the AT&T contract expires. I really, want my wife to be able to use her AT&T Nokia 6085, and I really, want to keep my AT&T LG CF 360. I recently, unlocked my LG and am waiting on AT&T to get back to me with the Nokia’s code.
    I have been wondering about the specific AT&T stuff in the phones; Media Mall and Net, AT&T Music and GPS; those just, won’t work? Wouldn’t be a big deal, as we never have accessed those, anyway. We don’t do any internet, just, calls and text.

    Posted on October 26th, 2010 at 4:43 am
  11. dan b Says

    I have been using cc for a few years. I have 4 lines and the family plan with 2000texts and several hundred minutes and several gb of data. total cost is about 90 bucks. I would like to get a wifi enabled phone and wonder if anyone has tried one with their cc sim card?
    I have used motorola Karma and Razr which i bought from ebay with success. anyone else?

    Posted on March 2nd, 2011 at 11:23 am
  12. Don Says

    Beware if CC roams onto AT&T.

    I currently have T-mobile. In my rural town in Southeast NM, there is no T-Mobile local service anywhere and I have to roam onto AT&T. Service sucks because AT&T puts roamers at the back of the line for call connection. So, sometimes I can make an outgoing call and sometimes I can’t. If CC has a better roamer agreement than T-Mobile does with AT&T you may be okay in some small towns, but AT&T has a bad record of service in smaller towns. They probably do this so roamers will get discontented and switch to AT&T. Some way of getting new customers, eh?

    Posted on December 29th, 2011 at 5:38 pm

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