Mobile phone plans marketed specifically to empty nesters? That’s exactly what T-Mobile is introducing this week, with version of its unlimited plan aimed at older adults without kids, or who have finally managed to cut their kids loose from the family plan. The catch? To get the best price, you have to sign up as a couple.
The T-Mobile One 55+ plan includes everything that standard T-Mobile plans do, like unlimited voice, texting, and data across North America and unlimited texting and data around the world (except in Andorra.)
It costs $50 for one line and $10 for the second, and the company claims that it will be checking IDs to make sure that users are 55 or older. That’s cheaper than the carrier’s regular plans, which start at $70 for one user, with the price per line going down until it reaches four lines at a total of $160.
Why does this plan exist?
T-Mobile sees a sweet spot in the mobile plan market: There are the biggest family plans with four or more lines of service, and then there are plans marketed to senior citizens, which are intended for voice-only lines and might lack data service.
Statistics show that seniors love their smartphones, just like the rest of humanity, and that they use them an average of 149 minutes per day, according to a 2017 report by Nielsen Mobile Insights cited by T-Mobile. Their generation is indeed the one that created the entire mobile phone industry, driving around with phones tethered to their cars or in giant bags.
“For years, the carriers have been patronizing the generation that invented wireless,” T-Mobile CEO John Legere said in a statement. “They thank these mobile pioneers by selling dumbed down ‘senior’ plans with exactly zero data and — get this — night and weekend minutes! That’s not just idiotic — it’s insulting!”
It just happens that the 55+ plan costs the same as two lines with the senior plans for users ages 65 and up that AT&T and Verizon market, which both cost $30 per month. Technically, it costs less, since T-Mobile switched to posting their plans’ actual prices that include taxes and fees.
If these plans appeal to them, customers over 55 should ensure that T-Mobile service, which can be spotty in isolated or rural areas, is solid where they live by asking around. They may have to find some younger friends or colleagues and ask them, since T-Mobile notes that only 8% of wireless users age 55 and over are customers of theirs.