Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Jitterbug - A Service Provider Just for Seniors

Jitterbug is a mobile service providers that specialize in catering to the needs of senior users. The company is a mobile virtual network operator that works with Sprint and serves more than 5 million subscribers. Jitterbug offers simple handsets and service plans that are easy-to-use for senior citizens.

This mobile service provider for seniors offers subscribers two basic mobile phones, the Jitterbug and the Jitterbug OneTouch. The Jitterbug is a clamshell mobile phone that resembles a typical wireless land-line phone. It even has a real dial tone when one turns it on. The Jitterbug has all the qualities that a senior would require from a mobile phone. This device has a large display as well as big and widely spaced buttons on a simple numeric keypad. The Jitterbug OneTouch is similar to the Jitterbug except that it only has three buttons, instead of the numeric keypad.

The Jitterbug cell phones for seniors are simple and can be used by a user with basic telephone skills. However, they are a bit bulky and may be too simple for seniors who might want more flexibility. These Jitterbug handsets are offered for $147, which is a bit expensive for simple mobile phones.

Jitterbug offers pay-as-you-go and monthly plans with no contract requirements. These plans have monthly rates that range from $10 to $80 and the minutes expire after 90 days. Jitterbug subscribers are required to pay a one-time activation fee of $35. Jitterbug also provides a 24-hour operator service which provides directory assistance, connects calls or changes to the subscriber’s phone contact lists. It is important to note that calls made to an operator are deducted from the subscriber's monthly minutes. Jitterbug provides coverage in every state, but individual coverage will vary by location. This service provider operates on a CDMA network so international roaming is limited to only 26 countries.

The handsets and services of Jitterbug mobile virtual network operator are ideal for senior users. The services are affordable and simple to use. One will not find 3G data, streaming video services or music download services form this provider. Instead, Jitterbug is dedicated to providing clear, easy-to-use cell phones, helpful support, and affordable plans without monthly contracts.

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3 Comments:

Blogger rmj said...

I am an occupational therapy (OT) student interested in how cell phones are marketed to older adults in terms of catering to the meaning and purpose of such phones in their daily lives. This phone seems ideal for some seniors, however, what about those that need the large button and display features of this phone and want more flexibility of use. Also, these companies should consider that many older adults are on a very limited budget and the $147 (which includes the first three payments, activation fee, and shipping and handling) expense is quite a hefty price when you look at other cell phones on the market that easily sell for $39.99 with a new plan. Accessibility and choice are key factors here. Many seniors desire to tap into the cell phone technology but there are so many complex factors involved in the purchasing process. It has become quite obvious to me that even in the cell phone stores, there are hardly any phones on display that may appeal to this population. Older adults are much more likely to look into buying a phone at the store than on the internet, where these targeted phones are typically sold. And even more, many of the salespeople lack the patience and tolerance for the older adult population who may have a variety of questions to ask in order to find the "just right fit" phone for their needs. It has also been my observation that the salespeople are more concerned with advertising the latest high-tech phone on the market instead of the ideal phone for each individual customer. And what about the new trend of people of all ages moving towards using cell phones versus landline phones in the home? If an older adult chooses this option and wants to talk on the phone for a few hours in their own home, the cost of use would SKYROCKET because they do not have the choice of "free nights and weekends." Let's begin to pull away from the typical ageist thoughts towards the senior cell phone user and think of the practicality and the daily use of such phones. Not to mention, the baby boomers are moving towards being in the older adults of our society and it would behoove such cell phone markets to begin to look at their patterns of daily living in order to understand their needs as a cell phone users. They may want to be able to access the internet or text their loved ones, as well as have a need for the larger buttons and display screens. Let’s think outside of the traditional view of the senior citizen and really understand the needs of this growing population based on a holistic view of the person, the demands of the environment around them, and the meaning behind the use of a cell phone on a daily basis. Perhaps cell phone companies and the makers of such “senior-ready” phones should enlist the help and research conducted by occupational therapists. OT’s are knowledgeable of how to identify the needs of this population in order to allow for older adults to reach a higher level of independence in the community and be more skilled in the “occupation” of living--which is the premise of occupational therapy. All of which could not only benefit seniors, but also increase the marketing capacity and effectiveness of the cell phone companies to reach this emerging consumer population.

May 7, 2009 at 8:42 AM  
Blogger Troy said...

rmj's comments seem to be contradictory and non-conclusive. It sounds like a plea for a job? I think that Jitterbug is doing an excellent job of navigating through the business landscape of providing easier-to-use phones for those not interested in the complexity of a PDA/smartphone. There are already tons of companies offering increasingly complex solutions for those but Jitterbug is the only one providing increasingly simplified services. Also, their calling plan prices have been significantly reduced since this article was written and even offer family plans now.

I'm not an employee, just a very satisfied grandson of a Jitterbug customer.

October 17, 2009 at 12:09 PM  
Blogger GOGO's RANT BLOG said...

If you google Jitterbug there are lot of negative reviews and comments about the company and the service.
I am going to wait to buy my elderly mother something else for this reason.

April 11, 2010 at 7:27 AM  

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