American postpaid mobile virtual network operator
Consumer Cellular is an American postpaid mobile virtual network operator founded by John Marick and Greg Pryor in October 1995. The company offers cellphones, no-contract cellphone plans, and accessories with a focus on users age 50-plus. Including its corporate headquarters in Portland, Oregon, Consumer Cellular is completely U.S. based, employing more than 2,400 people at three additional locations in Phoenix, Arizona, and a support center in Redmond, Oregon.
Consumer Cellular provides wireless service using network capacity from AT&T and T-Mobile and also resells AT&T wholesale wireless services to other virtual operators. The company has been included on the Inc 5000 list as one of America’s fastest growing companies every year since 2009. As of 2020[update], the company has close to 4 million subscribers.
John Marick and Greg Pryor founded Consumer Cellular in 1995 with a goal of providing low-cost service to casual mobile users of all ages. In 2008, Consumer Cellular became a preferred provider for AARP members, becoming the first cellphone company to market extensively to the over-50 demographic.
The company’s first retail presence was established in 2011 with a partnership with Sears stores. In 2014, Consumer Cellular was introduced in Target stores, and in 2018 became available at select U.S. Best Buy stores. In 2013, the company introduced a smartphone financing program called EasyPay that is available to consumers purchasing smartphones that cost $200 and up. That same year, the company partnered with SquareTrade to begin providing cellphone protection plans.
In February 2013, in celebration of its one millionth customer, Consumer Cellular donated $1 million: $100,000 to each of five non-profit partners, and the remainder to its employees. To celebrate its 20th anniversary and its milestone of 2 million customers, it donated $2 million to the Knight Cancer Challenge on behalf of their customers in 2015. After reaching 2.5 million customers in the summer of 2017, it donated 2.5 million meals via Feeding America, and to mark the addition of its 3 millionth customer in October 2018, the company donated $500,000 to each of three charities selected by its employees. In August 2019, the company celebrated its 3.5 millionth customer by donating $350,000 to the American Red Cross through the Disaster Responder Program. In the fall of 2020, to honor its 25th anniversary, Consumer Cellular donated $2.5 million to Toys for Tots.
In October 2020, upon the decision of Marick and Pryor to retire, Consumer Cellular history was sold to the Chicago-based venture capital firm GTCR for a reported $2.3 billion. Ed Evans was installed as CEO, replacing Marick.
In 2018 it acquired the American rights to GrandPad, a touch-screen tablet designed for older people. The interface is designed for users to video chat with family members, view photos or check up on news. It can be connected to a network of motion sensors and a wireless hub.
Consumer Cellular offers low-cost, no-contract monthly cellphone plans with simple cutoff points to offer flexibility. Its cellphone selections include basic flip phones from Doro (of which the provider is the exclusive U.S. carrier) aimed toward seniors as well as budget and premium Android smartphones from Motorola and Samsung. In 2015, Consumer Cellular also began supporting the iPhone. The company expanded beyond cellphones in 2018 with the introduction of GrandPad, a simplified tablet designed for older users.
Marketing and awards
Consumer Reports subscribers have rated Consumer Cellular highest in the magazine’s annual review of cellphone service providers seven times. The magazine’s rankings are compiled from a survey of subscribers who grade carriers in eight different categories including value, voice and text quality, and customer support.
Consumer Cellular has been ranked by J.D. Power as “#1 in Customer Service among Non-Contract Value Wireless Providers, 10 Times in a Row.” The awards are based on the results of the J.D. Power 2016 V2 — 2020 V2 U.S. Wireless Non-Contract Customer Care Performance Studies and 2021 (V1) Wireless Customer Care Mobile Virtual Network Operator Performance Study, which focus on the experiences of wireless service customers who made a sales transaction with their current carrier.
In June 2017, a consumer survey conducted by the customer experience firm Market Force Information named Consumer Cellular the favorite wireless cellphone carrier among non-contract providers for the second year in a row. Carriers were ranked in multiple categories to determine customer satisfaction and loyalty. Consumer Cellular came out on top for best value, best coverage, fewest dropped calls, easiest to change plan, and best flexibility, among others.
Readers polled by PC Magazine ranked Consumer Cellular as top mobile carrier in its annual “Consumer Recommended” list for 2018. The rankings were based on a company’s net promoter score, with Consumer Cellular’s score of 87 out of 100 being described by the magazine as “user love that is almost unheard of in the tech world.” Consumer Cellular has also been selected as “Favorite Wireless Carrier” by PC Magazine readers 6 years in a row in its “Reader’s Choice” survey.
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- «Consumer Cellular Gives Back to Fight Hunger». 24 May 2017.
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- Consumer Cellular Celebrates 3.5 Millionth Customer by Gifting $350,000 to the American Red Cross
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