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Consumer Cellular is On Its Way to Reach 3 Million Customers

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Consumer Cellular has made a name for itself as one of the best wireless networks when it comes to overall satisfaction. Thanks to its affordable services, it has become a crowd favorite and has led it to be recognized as such. A proof of their success can be seen with the number of customers the AT&T and T-Mobile MVNO currently has.

Earlier today, the MVNO revealed that it has a total of 2.9 million customers using its services. With this number, the MVNO is expecting to reach 3 million subscribers before the year ends.

The numbers presented by Consumer Cellular reveal that they have a solid growth over the years. And more importantly, the MVNO has positioned itself as the second-largest MVNO in the country, next to America Movil's TracFone Wireless; which currently has 23 million customers.

Prior to today's numbers, Consumer Cellular had a count of 2.75 million customers in May. A year ago, the MVNO had a total of 2.5 million customers and just 2.1 million in August 2016. Considering that they had around 1 million customers in 2013, it's not hard to see how the company could reach 3 million subs by year end.

In the U.S., there have been a number of MVNOs that have launched throughout the years. But it doesn't seem like all of them end up with a success story. Even the larger brands that have entered the market do not have a guarantee that they will last very long, as in the case of Mobile ESPN and Disney Mobile. One of the most recent MVNOs to have shut down is RingPlus, which opted to offer free, ad-supported calling plans. So for an MVNO to last in this tough industry, they really need to bring something new (and worthwhile) to the table.

It seems like Consumer Cellular has been able to achieve this feat. One way the MVNO was able to excel is by providing service to a niche market. When it entered in the industry, Consumer Cellular targeted users who were 50 years old and above. But along with their success, it also paved the way for other carriers to follow in their footsteps (Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon). The only trick here is to offer something that others cannot. In the case of Consumer Cellular, it could be its bestselling GrandPad tablet, which is specifically targeted towards senior users.

If the MVNO continues in its slow but steady growth, it will likely reach its 3 million mark this year.



Source: Fierce Wireless

38 comments:

Comment Page :
  1. Consumer Cellular is great for two, very limited use cases:

    1) You need VoLTE, Wi-Fi Calling, and visual voicemail on AT&T, but are a low-data user. (The only other choices on AT&T with those features are Cricket and Straight Talk.)

    2) You are a heavy minutes user with 2+ lines in your family, need to be on AT&T with hand-holding US based customer service, but have low data use.

    Otherwise, with heavy data use, you're probably better off with Cricket (if you're okay with throttle) or Straight Talk (if you're not).

    And if you don't need those features but do have an iPhone, then Pure Talk is the better choice.

    If you don't need those features and also don't have an iPhone, then Red Pocket AT&T, Tracfone, and H2O or EasyGo likely offer better prices for your use.


    I feel really bad for people using Consumer Cellular on T-Mobile, because Consumer Cellular does not make great efforts to tell you which network you're being placed on (the two SIM card kits are very similar looking). You might as well light your money on fire, because there are much cheaper T-Mobile options out there, like Mint.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Consumer Cellular also has roaming (including data) on whichever network you end up with.

      Delete
    2. Roaming is good for those rare instances of people who spend weeks in deep rural areas not covered by AT&T native coverage, or for people who need coverage every single minute of the drive to some national park in the middle of nowhere.

      But for someone who doesn't fit those two use cases above, is the extra cost of Consumer Cellular worth it just for roaming? Doubtful.

      (And for someone who absolutely needs roaming while on a car trip, you can put $15 of Tracfone funding onto an old Verizon or T-Mobile phone as a backup device.)

      Delete
  2. Eh, nothing to see here.

    You can whip out your number, swing it in everyone's faces and sing your own praises all you want, but nobody's really impressed or interested until you get to the part about what you can do for your customers.

    If bragging about them is the extent of Consumer's competitive edge, then it'll remain a niche carrier just like it's always been.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying they should abandon or undermine their current customers, just that Consumer should make the deal sweeter for every customer both old and new.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you knew CC, you would know that they have been lowering prices every 6-9 months for years. Everybody gets those sweeter deals. CC also became an Apple Partner, expanded device selection to offer the latest flagships, finance with zero interest rate, added T-Mobile service alternative, sell a home phone device that shares your plan, and give postpaid roaming. None of the alternatives listed above @12:08 offer all these benefits.

      Delete
    2. Oh boy, where to start with that Anon 1:13 comment...

      1) Consumer Cellular is actually a really bad company to buy a phone from:

      a) The phones they sell are locked to Consumer Cellular until they are paid off -- even though you could buy the same phones *factory unlocked*, at roughly the same price, direct from the manufacturers themselves.

      b) The flagship manufacturers also offer zero interest financing just like CC. Except the manufacturers don't demand a $70, $180, or $550 down payment on flagships like CC does.

      c) CC apparently does not offer Buy One, Get One free deals on flagships like the carriers offer, or the steep Black Friday deals or spring specials, etc.


      2) Both Cricket and Straight Talk are also Apple Partners, which is why they also offer VoLTE and Wi-Fi Calling. Pure Talk is an Apple partner in the sense they offer proper MMS text messages and APN settings. And for Android users, of course, none of that matters.


      3) That "T-Mobile service alternative" is not something to be proud of. There are much cheaper T-Mobile providers out there, like Mint, Teltik, and Red Pocket. The extra cost of Consumer Cellular should at least pay for the more reliable AT&T network. Worse yet, CC sells sim card kits (and phones also) without always making it obvious whether the customer is getting AT&T or T-Mobile service.

      4) Is CC even selling Wireless Home Phone devices any more? All of the old links to the CC website for the Wireless Home Phone Base are dead, and the website search brings up nothing. And even when it did sell WHP, CC was just one of the MVNOs out there to offer it as an account add-on with unlimited calling.

      5) Roaming is largely pointless for many Consumer Cellular users on the AT&T network. Does that justify the extra cost? See my comment below.

      6) Those CC prices you brag about are nothing to brag about, especially after all the add-on fees and taxes:

      Here's one example.

      For 5 GB of data with unlimited talk and text, Consumer Cellular is $50 plus about $10 of state and local taxes and fees on average, or about $60 total.

      But that same $60 would get you unlimited data on Straight Talk AT&T.

      $60 would also get you unlimited data on Cricket.

      If you only need the 5 GB, it costs just $35 on Pure Talk or $40 on Cricket -- or even $26 after Cricket group discount.

      So each customer needs to make their own decision if the extra cost and less data is worth those features.

      Delete
    3. "So each customer needs to make their own decision if the extra cost and less data is worth those features."
      I agree. And CC will continue to grow and thrive. They offer a unique combination of pricing, customer service and phones with financing that make it very easy and convenient for their target customers to meet their needs with one-stop shopping.

      CC offers them a way to save money by only paying for what they use, not locking in a relatively expensive unlimited plan every month. And CC now offers reasonable prices ($4/GB rate) for large data amounts that customers only have to pay when they need it.
      The vast majority of typical CC customers are not going to spend their time learning all about their many possible combinations of phones and MVNOs. They are not going to spend time researching each MVNO's customer service satisfaction and phone compatibility/coverage issues. They're busy enjoying their lives and don't think wireless service is a fun hobby (unlike many of us).

      I have used CC, PureTalk, RedPocket, T-mobile pre- and postpaid (plus many other MVNOs and Sprint). Based on my experience, I think PureTalk, T-Mobile 55+ for two people, and AT&T Prepaid offer good, relatively affordable alternatives to CC.
      Red Pocket and Tracfone brands' customer service was awful when I needed it, and I could not recommend them to ANY CC target customer. PureTalk has excellent CS, but you give up roaming and phone selection, and their financing costs are too high. Tmo and AT&T Prepaid would be fine overall, but they don't offer the same ability/flexibility to save money for folks who don't use their phones much, and their overseas CS is not trained to be as helpful as CC's US-based staff.

      CC will continue to thrive based on their unique combination of advantages for their target customers.

      Delete
  3. Consumer Cellular is just another MVNO preying on unsuspecting older Americans. These guys advertise heavily in AAA and AARP magazines, yet they are more expensive than prepaid service directly from major carriers. Most of these folks don't need $30-50/month wireless plans especially when they are on fixed incomes. CC uses sleazy sales tactics to get grandma on a plan she doesn't need and can't afford. The prepaid market is booming with low-cost service, you don't need to pay a premium for good customer service there are better options.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Consumer Cellular is just another MVNO preying on unsuspecting older Americans"

      I disagree with the condescending assertion that senior citizens are feeble-minded prey of Consumer Cellular. The fact is that these senior citizens are making informed decisions that result in them choosing CC.

      I have personally decided that their product does not meet me needs, even though it meets the needs of plenty of others.

      To show how preposterous your accusation of Consumer Cellular being elder-fraud is, just check their ratings with the Better Business Bureau.

      "CC uses sleazy sales tactics to get grandma on a plan she doesn't need and can't afford."

      Correction: they advertise honestly, and Grandma makes the informed choice that CC meets her needs. "can't afford" is meaningless: if she can't pay, she won't be their customer.

      Delete
    2. We loved CC, so we told our kids about it. They were "preyed upon" by Verizon's misleading sales tactics and were paying $150+/month, even tho they did not even need unlimited. CC charges them ~$60/month on their shared plan that gives them lots of flexibility as needs vary. Just one reason why CC was voted the Best Bargain Carrier for Couples recently. And that was before the rates for data and text dropped significantly. CC is not just your father's carrier anymore.

      Delete
  4. Just goes to show how marketing works. You can bet better deals if you shop around. For example most seniors who uses little data should get Unreal
    Plan for $10 per month.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. " For example most seniors who uses little data should get Unreal
      Plan for $10 per month."

      I'd hold off on such a recommendation. "Unreal" is a branch of FreedomPop, which has a business model based on deception. And it is very new.

      Delete
    2. Why settle for second tier MVNO that runs under Sprint and has less than stellar business practices? Sorry but this senior will take a pass on FP's Sprint based startup, not even for $10 a month. (I use RP's 1,000-unl-1Gb @ 13.76 per 30 days)

      Dale

      Delete
    3. The point is these are prepay MVNO without any contract. You can try a service for a month and if you don't like it you can port out and try another. For most people is large cities and urban areas Sprint will work fine. Try the low price $10 Unreal or Red Pocket or Ting and if it doesn't work move on.

      Delete
    4. "Unreal" Seriously, I wouldn't recommend Unreal just because of their association with FP.

      Delete
    5. And since it's brand new, and perhaps not even out of beta yet, those 3 million customers of C C should just sit back and have phones? Silly propositions.

      Delete
  5. Jason in PortlandJune 22, 2018 at 7:57 AM

    I'm not sure where "started in 2013" came from, as Consumer Cellular has been around since the 1990s. I personally had service with them from 2001-2005 during their previous "cheap cell phone service for everyone" phase.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The sentence is ambiguous. I will change it. Consumer Cellular launched in 1995, they had one million customers in 2013.

      Delete
    2. You might want to check the part about the "bestselling" Grandpad. I've seen many listings of top selling tablets, and the Grandpad is never mentioned.

      Delete
    3. "top selling tablets, and the Grandpad is never mentioned"
      Texted though English classes? The tablet is a bestseller >>for Consumer Cellular.<<

      Delete
    4. Then it is even more meaningless and belongs even less in the news post. Grandpad, as the only tablet CC is selling, is the worstseller AND bestseller!

      Delete
  6. Simce when did straight talk have volte and wifi calling on at&t?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Straight Talk AT&T users started gaining VoLTE and Wi-Fi Calling in December 2017 and continuing into early 2018:

      https://www.howardforums.com/showthread.php/1903398-VoLTE-and-WiFi-calling-on-att-straight-talk

      iOS 11 (or possibly 10.3) is required in order to use the newer iPhone carrier settings file that grants ST AT&T those features.

      Delete
  7. A lot of ignorant comments here. People choose Consumer Cellular for the customer service. Trying to deal with any other MVNO's call center is ridiculous. Also, CC allows you to change plans anytime you want, as many times as you want.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sure are but that's because most are young whippersnappers and they have been told they are entitled to say anything they like!

      Delete
    2. "Change plans", harumph.

      If you go over your selected data limit, CC automatically moves you into the next more expensive data bracket for that month --- but then they don't return you to your original data plan for the following months.

      So it's a pain in the butt. Each month you need to access your account to downgrade to the least expensive plan.

      If you typically use 750 MB but one month stream just 5 hours of Netflix on the road (10 GB), you'll be overpaying an extra $30 / month until you reset your data plan, maybe years down the road.

      Delete
    3. The new CC automatic upgrades work much better. They used to charge you 25c/mb if you ignored the alert messages that you were getting close to your plan limit and didn't change plans. Now you just set a monthly reminder and push a button on your app to downgrade if necessary.
      So fast and simple even a caveman like the person mentioned above could probably do it!

      Delete
    4. The word "overpay" implies some sort of fraud or deception. But this policy is clearly laid out. You aren't overpaying, you are paying what you agreed you would be paying in such circumstances. No more, and no less. No overpay, or underpay.

      I found the candor of the company Consumer Cellular along with its reputation to be sterling. But the company's plans didn't offer near enough data for me, so I went with someone else.

      Maybe you are one of those who should go with someone else so you get a lot more data. Instead of whining that the company makes you pay what you agreed to pay when you end up using more data.

      Delete
    5. That's definitely one way of apologizing for corporate shenanigans --

      "Hi Seniors! Yes, we targeted you with ads for 'simple, reliable, and affordable' phone service. But, guess what, unless you log in, by app or by website, to your account settings every 30 days -- you could be stuck with months of overpayments because your grandson streamed a few cartoon movies during summer vacation 2016. But you agreed to it, so tough luck!"

      Instead of customer-friendly billing systems that automatically push customer data limits back to their original, chosen settings, let's just keep charging customers the rate of that one month with heavy use...

      I guess Anon 6:18 thinks it would be okay for Consumer Cellular to randomly charge you $500, if that was listed somewhere in the 17 page Terms of Service 🙄

      Delete
    6. I agree. It is SO HARD to click on an app to change you plan, which takes another click! WOW that is asking SO MUCH of people. And these people could so EASILY ignore the message they got in those few months when their usage went over their normal plan limit. These hapless older people are obviously not responsible for ANY of this and should just pay more with another carrier for UNLIMITED data service whether they need it or not! Then they won't have ever lift a finger or worry about managing ANYTHING.

      Delete
    7. Haha. It's so funny when the ADD generation lectures that plans targeted primarily to seniors who want to save money must be ADD-proofed. So these older people, who were taught to accept responsibility for their actions, can just chill out and act like those who were taught in school that it's never their fault! Those scammy corporations need to ADD-proof limited plans because customers should NEVER be held responsible for their actions or non-actions!

      Delete
  8. CC bumps users up to a higher data plan when they go 1MB over their limit and still charges them the higher rate in subsequent months. Absolute scam. Dennis ought to mention that caveat in the post.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. CC customers aren't upset about this change; they still say they love CC.
      Customers DIDN'T like paying 25c for overages, or having to carefully watch their mobile data use when they got close to the limit.
      Unlike most MVNOs, CC customers can still get a paper bill every month, so it's hard to ignore the few months where they go over the limit and make a simple change IF they want the previous plan. Customers also got an email or text when their plan was upgraded.

      Only bloggers who will never use CC are 'outraged' by his "scam." These people's opinions really don't matter, do they?

      Delete
    2. CC is not trying to scam their customers. CC lets you set data usage alerts, so customers won't go 1MB over your plan limit if they don't want to.

      Delete
    3. The very few CC customers who can't be bothered to read alerts, monthly paper or online bills when their usage changes, but still want to pay less than the cost of unlimited plans, have a good alternative carrier. No, they don't have to give up Excellent, well-trained North American CS. They don't have to give up alerts and tools the help save money and control costs. In fact, they will have BETTER tools that let them avoid EVER going over their voice, data or text threshold(s). And they don't even have to pick a "Plan" at all. The carrier? It's Ting.
      Ting scores just a high as CC in customer satisfaction. They also offer voice and sms, but not data roaming so some CC customers will want broader data coverage than Ting offers. Ting's shared plan prices are very competitive to CC's unless the customer *routinely* exceeds 1000min/2000sms/2GB/month (typical 2 shared lines). I've used both Ting and CC. Both are equally fine choices whenever they are a good fit for usage and meet coverage needs.

      Delete
    4. They tell you if you use more data, you will be charged more. And if you do use more data, that's what happens. What can be more ckear???

      It's only a "scam" in the minds of those who believe that Consumer Cellular should give them unlimited data for free.

      Delete
  9. is it just me, or am I the only one who isn't entitled here and doesn't blubber and whine about everything being a "scam" if it doesn't give everything away for free and costs more than I like?

    i.e. "if it's not free, it's a scam"

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Obviously not, if you read some of the replies above.

      Delete
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