Cell Phones

80 year old needs a cell phone and plan, suggestions

  • Last Updated:
  • Aug 23rd, 2019 10:31 am
[OP]
Deal Addict
Nov 17, 2007
1988 posts
442 upvotes
Kitchener

80 year old needs a cell phone and plan, suggestions

Dad just died last month and now my mother needs a cheap plan. She would use it for local calls in Toronto, calls to NYC. Most of the family has iPhones and it would be nice for her to be able to face time. I'd probably get her a used iPhone, but am wondering where to get a cheap plan as she's on a fixed income. If need be I'd subsidise the cost, but I'd rather not because she'd be upset if she found out, doesn't want to be a burden.
I know I could take care of the bill and tell her what to pay me back, but it would cause family conflict.
I'd appreciate suggestions on plans to get and suggestions for which (used) iPhone to get her.
Iphone haters, please refrain from negativity as Facetiming is what she wants so she can see her grandchildren.
Thanks in advance.
14 replies
Deal Expert
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Dec 12, 2009
19295 posts
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Toronto
I assume this is for phone calls only or mobile data is needed for facetime? If it calls only, I think Public Mobile $10 plan ($8 with auto pay) coupled with non expiring $5/500 Canada wide minutes and $15/400 minutes US minutes would work.
̶K̶o̶o̶d̶o̶ ̶$̶4̶0̶/̶6̶G̶B̶
Public Mobile 2016 fall promo, $23/1GB, $38/5GB, $28 RBC 5GB promo
Fido $0.00/3GB+tablet, $10/4GB+tablet
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Nov 1, 2009
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Koodo $25 talk & text plan, plus the $2 add on for 1000mins LD when WiFi is not available.
Sr. Member
Jun 21, 2008
503 posts
120 upvotes
mississauga
sorry for your loss
will she be using wifi or data for facetime, roughly how many minutes per month usage
i'm with public mobile $25 plan (less $2 for autopay)for unlimited canadawide talk and unlimited international text and 1Gb data which i use to call my brother in the states using google voice
Newbie
Jun 18, 2019
93 posts
37 upvotes
Sorry for your loss.

I'm not sure if you want to go through the hoops of setting it up and joining a group but that at&t plan is a good get it and not worry option. Unlimited talk, text, and data for as low as 24usd if you join a group.
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Sep 13, 2006
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Muskoka
Hi

I think you are after something simple and no contract. That pretty much eliminates the AT&T option, and that is probably overkill.

Prepaid would be my suggestion. As suggested by @will888 the $10 Public Mobile plan would work with the 2 add-ons mentioned. But if you want some cellular data (iMessage will use data) I would upgrade to the $15 that includes a little data or $25 that includes 1GB data. Either of these option would still require the $8 200min add-on that would allow you call USA. All of these plans are $2 less when you use auto-pay - recommended.
Koodo
Public Mobile
[OP]
Deal Addict
Nov 17, 2007
1988 posts
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Kitchener
Thanks everyone. I investigate these options.
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Jan 2, 2012
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KINGSTON,ON
Does she really need to use a mobile phone? If not, perhaps an iPad would be better for FaceTime.

Only reason I say this, is because I went through a similar situation with my mother in law.
She's in her 80's as well, and trying to explain how to even use a smart phone for voice calls was excruciatingly painful for both of us. She actually went back to using a Motorola bar phone; (and when I say "went back", I mean taking it with her in the car for emergencies. She still primarily uses a landline).

I signed her up Speakout Wireless, and I'm sure she has over $100 in accrued airtime, as it rolls over if you top up before expiration.

If your mother has internet access, the FaceTime calling will be free via WiFi, thus keeping costs down.

Lots of seniors have difficulties with technology. With the iPad, it would be a single purpose device, just like a rotary phone was. The screen is also much bigger than an iPhone.
If she really needs a mobile phone go with Speakout or Petro Mobility, and just get her a basic dumb phone.
[OP]
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Nov 17, 2007
1988 posts
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Kitchener
Thanks MrFrugal1, a well reasoned suggestion. She really wants it for when she's out and about. She still drives and takes the bus, otherwise an iPad would make sense. Hmmmm, she does have some really big purses though. Smiling Face With Open Mouth
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Feb 26, 2011
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Calgary
sam123 wrote: Thanks MrFrugal1, a well reasoned suggestion. She really wants it for when she's out and about. She still drives and takes the bus, otherwise an iPad would make sense. Hmmmm, she does have some really big purses though. Smiling Face With Open Mouth
iPad Mini + some flip phone with just minutes for emergencies.
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Jan 2, 2012
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sam123 wrote: Thanks MrFrugal1, a well reasoned suggestion. She really wants it for when she's out and about. She still drives and takes the bus, otherwise an iPad would make sense. Hmmmm, she does have some really big purses though. Smiling Face With Open Mouth
Just as jwslam mentioned, and to reiterate what I was getting at in my post, a pay-as-you-go flip/bar phone and an iPad Mini would be the most economical solution.

Does she really need to use Face Time while on the bus? There are so many free wifi locations, surely she could wait until she got to the mall/McDonalds, or wherever, no?
I'm not saying don't get her a used iPhone, just maybe not a data plan. As soon as you get any plan, the price skyrockets, so you'll either be burdening her with the cost, or getting grief from family members for you subsidizing it yourself.

We all want to keep our parents in the tech loop, but if she's going to use it infrequently, the cost per use is crazy.


As an aside, I found out a while back that my in-laws were on a Bell mobility "plan" that was $90 per month for two phones. Not smart phones, so no data, just 100 minutes of local calling plus USA calling, They'd been paying this for over ten years, (so pre-iPhone, to put it in perspective.) I almost croaked.

I asked my mother-in-law how many calls they collectively made per month, and she said, "About four or five". When I told her it was costing $18 per call, she was a bit sheepish, and said my father-in-law had set it up, and she never really thought about it. Needless to say, that Bell "plan" got terminated with extreme prejudice.
[OP]
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Nov 17, 2007
1988 posts
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Kitchener
Thanks jwslam and MrFrugal1, I think that's a good solution. I know I've got an old moto g around somewhere and while I've read about tablet plans with data, I've never really understood what they were about. She's not got wifi in her condo, so some sort of tablet plan makes sense, especially if the data doesn't expire. I'll look into finding a used iPad mini. Is there a model that'll suffice and not break the bank that any of you guys would suggest?
Sr. Member
Jun 21, 2008
503 posts
120 upvotes
mississauga
fido has a tablet plan for $15 per month with 4 gb, can use that for facetime(get 50% off after 3 months loyalty YMMV)
[OP]
Deal Addict
Nov 17, 2007
1988 posts
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Kitchener
That would probably be more than enough. Thanks for the steer and I don't mean on the hoof. Smiling Face With Open Mouth You gals/guys are wonderful. Thanks again for all the help.
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Feb 26, 2011
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Calgary
I've had luck buying from these guys
http://www.ebaystores.ca/wireless-canad ... p=10&_sc=1

It used to be a better deal when eBay had coupons though...

Basically I would look at any iPad that has a fingerprint reader... that's a pretty good baseline for cutting out anything too old
I bought this from them, as well as a few phones for my mom.
https://www.ebay.ca/itm/Apple-iPad-Air- ... 8535e9b421

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