Consumer Cellular

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Consumer Cellular
Industry Telecommunications
Founded 1995
Headquarters Tigard, Oregon, USA
45°23′54″N 122°45′00″W / 45.3984°N 122.7499°W / 45.3984; -122.7499Coordinates: 45°23′54″N 122°45′00″W / 45.3984°N 122.7499°W / 45.3984; -122.7499
Number of employees
1,000 (2014)[1]
Website Consumer Cellular

Consumer Cellular is a postpaid mobile virtual network operator founded by John Marick and Greg Pryor in October 1995. Based in Tigard, Oregon, near Portland, the company pioneered the no contract plan model, with a key focus of their marketing being retirees.[2] In September 2008, the company began working with AARP,[3] helping to enlarge the Consumer Cellular's subscriber base from around 30,000 customers in 2006 to more than two million in 2016.[2][4]

The company received the top customer satisfaction ranking from Consumer Reports in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2016.[5][6][7][8] The company has also been named one of Oregon's fastest-growing companies, listed on the Inc. 5000 growth list since 2009,[9] and ranked in the Portland Business Journal's Top 100 Oregon Companies list every year since 2010.[10][11] The company operates using network capacity from AT&T and T-Mobile, and also resells AT&T wholesale wireless services to other virtual operators as well.[12][13][14]


With most cell phone carriers gearing their services toward high-use business clients, John Marick and Greg Pryor founded Consumer Cellular in 1995 with the goal of providing affordable, no-contract cell phone plans to casual mobile users of all ages.[15] The company started out with an emphasis on the Pacific Northwest market, reselling service from AT&T. After AT&T's merger with Cingular, Consumer Cellular re-negotiated its contract with AT&T to allow national coverage through its network.[16] Today, T-Mobile seems to be a major player in Consumer Cellular's network and doesn't provide as reliable coverage as expected.[citation needed]

In 2008, Consumer Cellular became a preferred provider for AARP members,[17] making the company the first cell phone provider to market to retirees. As a result of this partnership, more than 85% of Consumer Cellular's current customers are older than 50.[18] The plans are relatively simple compared to other carriers, and have been advocated by such senior publications as the Senior Journal.[19]

In June 2010 Consumer Cellular's continued growth led to an expansion and official opening of the company's second U.S.-based customer support center in Phoenix, Arizona.[20] In August 2012 Consumer Cellular opened a third U.S.-based customer support center in Redmond, Oregon.[21] The company currently employs nearly 1,000 personnel between its Tigard, Redmond, and Phoenix locations. A fourth customer support center opened in Phoenix, Arizona in 2016. [4]

During the summer of 2011, Consumer Cellular announced a partnership with national retailer, Sears. Under the current agreement, four different types of Consumer Cellular phones are sold in 750 Sears stores nationwide.[22] In January 2012, it was reported that Consumer Cellular's revenue grew from $17 million to $185 million in six years by selling the newest technology to older American consumers.[23]

In April 2012, the company announced the launch of SIM cards to their product line to be used with phones which use the company's service plans including Apple's iPhone.[24] Consumer Cellular celebrated the company's millionth customer in February 2013 by giving back a million dollars; 100,000 to five non-profit partners and the rest to their employees.[12] To celebrate their 20th anniversary and 2 million customer milestone, Consumer Cellular donated $2 million to the Knight Cancer Challenge on behalf of their customers in 2015.[25]

In July 2013, the company introduced a smartphone financing program called EasyPay that is available to consumers purchasing smartphones that cost $300 and up.[26]

The company partnered with SquareTrade in August 2013 to provide its customers with cellphone protection plans.[27] Consumer Cellular began a trial run of selling in select Target Stores in March 2014,[28] which expanded to all stores in October 2014.[29]

As of 2015, Consumer Cellular was expected to exceed $1 billion in revenue for 2016.[4]

In June 2016, the company unveiled restructured rate plans for consumers, which increased the minutes, texts, and web data offered on plans with no increase in monthly prices.[30] It was also announced that as of July 2016 Consumer Cellular would be relocating its Portland, OR customer contact center and corporate offices to a larger facility in the city to accommodate significant staff growth.[31]


Consumer Cellular's device lineup ranges from basic phones aimed towards seniors, from Doro (of which the provider is the exclusive U.S. carrier), to Android smartphones from Motorola, Samsung and Huawei.[32][33][34] As of 2015, the company offers iPhone as a supported device.[35]


Consumer Cellular's marketing focus is directed at reaching consumers aged 50 and older, demonstrated by the company's standing as a preferred wireless provider for AARP members in which it offers discounted rates and accessories for the organization's members.[36] Consumer Cellular has also established relationships with national retailers such as Sears, Target, and RadioShack in order to provide broader access to its devices and cell phone plans.[37][38] In 2013 Consumer Cellular began a television and online ad campaign depicting a retired couple on vacation portrayed by Tim Van Pelt and Jane Bement Geesman.[39]


In 2016 Consumer Cellular received the highest overall satisfaction rating in the mobile carrier category of PC Magazine’s 29th annual Readers' Choice Awards survey, earning the top designation of Readers’ Choice in the category, the same award that was given in 2014 and 2015. Survey findings also highlight that Consumer Cellular customers are more likely to recommend the carrier than customers from any other mobile carrier in the United States[40]

In the 2010 Consumer Reports no-contract cell phone service rating, Consumer Cellular's overall score was 87 out of 100. This was the top spot in a summary of six competing companies surveyed, in the "no-contract cell service" category.[5][41]

In 2011, Consumer Reports rated Consumer Cellular higher than any other cell phone service provider with a score of 87 out of 100 in their annual satisfaction survey. Consumer Reports also recognized Consumer Cellular as the best choice for basic phones and service.[42]

In 2012 and 2013 Consumer Cellular again received the top customer satisfaction ranking from Consumer Reports.[7][11]

In 2016, Consumer Cellular received the highest score among non-contract wireless providers in the J.D. Power 2016 Wireless Customer Care Full Service Study – Vol. 2.[43] In 2017, Consumer Cellular again received the highest score among non-contract wireless providers in the J.D. Power 2017 Wireless Customer Care Full Service Study – Vol. 1[44]

In 2016, Consumer Cellular duplicated its highest ever rating from Consumer Reports, scoring 89 out of 100. The company earned the top spot in the magazine’s customer survey for the 6th time in 7 years.[45]

The Portland Business Journal ranked Consumer Cellular as the 62nd Fastest Growing Company in Oregon in 2013, the company's fourth consecutive year on the list.[46]

In December 2012, Consumer Cellular was named to Inc. Magazine's inaugural Hire Power Awards recognizing private businesses that are adding jobs in the U.S. and rebuilding the economy.[47]

Since September 2012, Consumer Cellular has been named to Oregon Business' "100 Best Companies to Work for in Oregon",[48] CareerBuilder's "Top Companies to Work For in Arizona",[49] and The Oregonian's "Top Workplaces".[50]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Spencer, Malia (May 28, 2014). "Consumer Cellular closes in on 3 milestones with scads of zeros". Portland Business Journal. 
  2. ^ a b Baker, Linda (July–August 2013). "Consumer Cellular hooks up seniors". Oregon Business. 
  3. ^ Orlov, Laurie (May 18, 2009). "Consumer Cellular serves AARP target audience -- now and in the future". Aging In Place Technology Watch. 
  4. ^ a b c
  5. ^ a b "Consumer Reports: Best cell phone companies". WABC. December 7, 2010. 
  6. ^ "Smaller Carriers Top Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile and AT&T" (Press release). Consumer Reports. December 6, 2011. 
  7. ^ a b Reisinger, Don (November 29, 2012). "AT&T yet again the worst-rated carrier in U.S. The carrier was far behind the leading major carrier, Verizon, which won out on voice and data services in a new Consumer Reports study.". CNET. 
  8. ^
  9. ^ Inc 5000 profile for Consumer Cellular
  10. ^ "Consumer Cellular Named One of Portland's Fastest Growing Private Companies for the Fourth Consecutive Year". Yahoo Finance. June 24, 2013. 
  11. ^ a b Weisbaum, Herb (November 21, 2013). "Which company offers the best cell-phone service?". Today Show. 
  12. ^ a b Palenchar, Joseph (February 12, 2013). "Consumer Cellular Celebrates 1 Million Subscribers". Twice. 
  13. ^ "Consumer Cellular grows fast by reselling carriers' minutes". Portland Business Journal. Retrieved 23 January 2013. 
  14. ^ Reedy, Sarah. "Consumer Cellular targets the mobile mature". Connected Planet. Retrieved 23 January 2013. 
  15. ^ Max, Sarah (July 30, 2013). "Catering to Boomers, a Cell Phone Company Takes Off". Entrepreneur. 
  16. ^ Reedy, Sarah (March 23, 2009). "Consumer Cellular targets the mobile mature". Connected Planet. 
  17. ^ Springer, Pete (August 24, 2008). "Small Portland Cellular Provider Teams Up with AARP". Oregon Public Broadcasting. 
  18. ^ Cauley, Leslie (August 18, 2008). "If you're 50 or over…". USA Today. 
  19. ^ Smidt, David (February 19, 2008). "Senior Citizens Can Find Special Cell Phone Plans and Discounts". Senior Journal. Archived from the original on January 17, 2013. 
  20. ^ Consumer Cellular Opens Customer Support Center in Phoenix
  21. ^ "Redmond's new call center opens". The Bend Bulletin. August 8, 2012. 
  22. ^ "Sears Recognizes Consumer Cellular for Outstanding Performance in Consumer Electronics Category". Yahoo Finance. May 22, 2013. 
  23. ^ "Consumer Cellular grows by catering to mature demographic - Portland Business Journal". Retrieved 14 June 2012. 
  24. ^ "Consumer Cellular Launches ard - Yahoo! Finance". Retrieved 19 June 2012. 
  25. ^
  26. ^ Zeman, Eric (July 25, 2013). "Consumer Cellular Intros EasyPay Financing Program". Phone Scoop. 
  27. ^ "Consumer Cellular adds SquareTrade protection plans". Telecompaper. September 4, 2013. 
  28. ^ Rogoway, Mike (March 30, 2014). "Consumer Cellular, approaching a half-billion dollars in annual sales, gets tryout with Target". The Oregonian. Retrieved 1 April 2014. 
  29. ^ Rogoway, Mike (October 5, 2014). "Consumer Cellular plans national rollout at Target, fueling Tigard company's growth". The Oregonian. Retrieved 16 October 2014. 
  30. ^
  31. ^
  32. ^ Taub, Eric (November 3, 2009). "More Tech for Older People". New York Times "Gadgetwise" blog. 
  33. ^ "Consumer Cellular Offers Android Smartphone Without a Service Contract" (Press release). Consumer Cellular web site. September 8, 2011. 
  34. ^ "Introducing Our Newest Smartphone, the Moto G" (Press release). Consumer Cellular web site. February 19, 2014. 
  35. ^
  36. ^ Hunt, Kevin (May 18, 2013). "Why Consumer Cellular Is Better Than Your Wireless Service". The Hartford Courant. 
  37. ^ Rogoway, Mike (October 5, 2014). "Consumer Cellular plans national rollout at Target, fueling Tigard company's growth". The Oregonian. 
  38. ^ Palenchar, Joseph (October 6, 2014). "Consumer Cellular To Sell Into Target". Twice. 
  39. ^ "Who are the actors who play Connie and Jack on the Consumer Cellular TV commercials?". American Profile. April 4, 2014. p. 2. 
  40. ^ "Readers' Choice Awards 2016: Smartphones and Mobile Carriers". PC Magazine. March 2016. 
  41. ^ "Best cell-phone plans and providers". Consumer Reports. January 2011. 
  42. ^ "AT&T rated lowest (again) in our annual satisfaction survey". Consumer Reports. December 6, 2011. 
  43. ^
  44. ^
  45. ^
  46. ^ "Consumer Cellular Named One of Portland's Fastest Growing Private Companies for the Fourth Consecutive Year". Yahoo Finance. June 24, 2013. 
  47. ^ "Meet the Job Creators". 
  48. ^ "The 2013 list: top 33 large companies to work for in Oregon". Oregon Business. March 2013. 
  49. ^ "Top Companies to Work For in Arizona". Best Companies AZ. 2013. 
  50. ^ Mortenson, Eric (September 15, 2012). "Friendly bosses, great businesses". The Oregonian. 

External links[edit]