Jitterbug (under the Lively umbrella) has a real corner on the market when it comes to making both flip phones and smartphones for seniors. Their phones feature big buttons and big icons that make cell phone use more accessible for an aging population.
In this article, we’ll take a look at the product line, monthly costs, device activation and some actual customer reviews.
Here’s What You Need to Know About Jitterbug Phones
Jitterbug flip phones and smartphones (now known as Lively Flip and Lively Smart) are built with the goal of providing cell phone service to an under-served senior population.
They’re easy to use, easy to see thanks to big display screens and easy to understand. In fact, money expert Clark Howard believes Jitterbug has really identified a sweet spot in the market.
“There’s a real business opportunity out there for entrepreneurs who can develop products that take modern technology and make it easy for elders to use,” he says. “After all, seniors have all the money; why should technology exclusively be geared toward young people?”
Table of Contents:
1. Phone Selection
Lively has two main cell phone options: the Lively Flip and the Lively Smart. (The Jitterbug Flip and Jitterbug Smart2 are no longer available to purchase on Lively’s website.) Both are from the makers of Jitterbug.
Lively Flip (Regularly $99.99)
The Lively Flip is a basic flip phone with the following key selling points:
- Large screen and buttons
- Easy menu
- Long-lasting battery
- Powerful speaker
- 8 megapixel camera
- Urgent response button
The Lively Flip phone is available at retailers like Best Buy, Amazon and Walgreens. Find a retailer near you here.
Lively Smart (Regularly $149.99)
The Lively Smart is an entry-level smartphone with the following key selling points:
- Large 6.2″ screen and simple menu
- Voice typing
- Video chat
- Long-lasting battery
- High-quality camera
The Lively Smart cell phone is available at retailers like Best Buy, Amazon and Walgreens. Find a retailer near you here.
2. Phone Plans
The Lively Flip and Lively Smart both run on Lively which is powered by “the nation’s most reliable wireless network.”
There are basically two ways to get into a Lively phone plan — either by purchasing talk, text and data à la carte or by purchasing a health and safety service package that offers discounted minutes.
All plans have call waiting, caller ID, long-distance and roaming, but taxes and fees are not included.
When you visit the Lively website, the first plan you’ll see is for the Lively Health and Safety Packages which all include urgent response. (Keep scrolling for talk-and-text only options.)
Lively Health and Safety Packages
|100 minutes: $5||500 texts: $3||100 Mb: $2.49|
|750 minutes: $10||1,000 texts: $5||250 Mb: $5|
|1,500 minutes: $15||2,500 texts: $10||1 GB: $10|
|Unlimited talk and text: $20||Unlimited texts: $15||2.5 GB: $15|
|Unlimited talk, text, data: $40|
You can use Lively’s service without the health package.
Lively Talk and Text Only Plans
|250 minutes: $14.99||500 texts: $3||100 Mb: $2.49|
|1,000 minutes: $19.99||1,000 texts: $5||250 Mb: $5|
|2,500 minutes: $29.99||2,500 texts: $10||1 GB: $10|
|Unlimited talk and text: $39.99||Unlimited texts: $15||2.5 GB: $15|
|Unlimited talk, text, data: $59.99|
3. Device Activation
Once you buy a Jitterbug device from Lively, you have to activate it before you can use it. Since Jitterbug doesn’t have physical stores like the big wireless carriers, the website walks you through the process of activating your device online.
Once you enter the ZIP code where the device will be used most often, you’ll be prompted to give the following information:
- Name of the device holder
- Your relationship to device holder
- Serial number of the device (located on the product’s box or on activation card in the package)
You’ll also have to provide your email address and create a password for your account. If you run into any difficulty activating your Jitterbug phone online, you can always give the company a call at 866-482-1424.
If you plan to port an existing number to a Jitterbug phone, you should first contact the Activation team at 866-397-9291 to confirm your number is eligible for transfer.
4. Customer Service
Jitterbug’s parent company, Lively, offers U.S.-based customer service when you call 800-733-6632.
While both devices have an urgent response button, you have to purchase a plan from the Health and Safety Package in order to have access to an Urgent Response agent.
5. Customer Reviews
Lively has an A rating with the Better Business Bureau, and an average of 3.67 out of 5 stars when it comes to customer reviews filed with the BBB.
Many readers of Clark.com have already tried either the Jitterbug Flip phone or the Smart2 and give the service mixed ratings. Below are some excerpts of what our readers are saying.
“I’ve had a Jitterbug for at least eight years, loved the features and enjoyed good customer service. A couple of caveats, though. I don’t pay for a text plan because I don’t text, but I often receive spam texts from others and must pay for each one individually. GreatCall advises me there is no way to block unwanted callers or texts. The camera only faces forward, so I can’t take a selfie. I used to be able to download photos to Facebook, but that function has gone away.” – jvthomp
“My wife and I have owned Jitterbug Flip phones for three years, primarily for on-the-road convenience, and have been quite satisfied; no texting, voice texting or mail box. $14.99 each a month. The cameras are adequate but now we are moving up to one of us carrying the Smart2.” – York Onnen
“I just replaced my old Jitterbug Flip with a new one and am very disappointed. First it is bigger, more bulky. Second, it has to be charged every 2-3 days vs. my old version which required charging once a week.” – Theresa Massey
“I made the mistake of ordering a basic Jitterbug (Alcatel OneTouch) Flip phone…The voice quality and reception are lousy and the thing is way too complicated for my liking. To its credit the camera seems to work OK, but that doesn’t mean anything to someone who still uses 35 mm film and a Polaroid camera. I’m glad I’ve never given up my copper-wired landline phone.” – RetiredHappy
To read the full reviews, be sure to view the comments below. And if you’re a Jitterbug customer, be sure to leave your own comment!
The Lively Flip phone from the makers of Jitterbug can be a solid entry-level plan for the right user, provided that you heed some of the customer warnings from above.
One of the nice things about both the Lively Flip and the Lively Smart is that they offer the convenience and ease of a cell phone without locking you into a long-term contract.
However, if after reading this you decide you need a different option altogether, be sure to check out our list of the Best Cell Phone Plans and Deals. It’s updated monthly!