East Valley seniors 65 years and older can get a cell phone and calling plans tailored to their needs under a program introduced last week by Verizon Wireless.
The program, America’s Choice 65 Plus, includes two calling plans intended for those who don’t need large bundles of minutes. Also featured are wireless handsets with such capabilities as large-font menu, dedicated 911 key and three in-case-of-emergency keys for programming contacts who can be reached by pressing one button.
And the phone, called the Coupe, has a voice recognition feature in which the user can speak the name of the person being called and the phone will automatically dial that number, said Verizon spokeswoman Jenny Weaver.
“This is in response to customer requests,” she said. “Clearly there is a need for some people who want to have a wireless phone but have scaled back their minutes.”
The phone, which carries the Verizon brand name, has the capability of text messaging but is designed primarily as a voice device, she said.
The cost is $20 per phone.
Mark Goldstein, secretary of the Arizona Telecommunications and Information Council, said the program has useful features for seniors, although other carriers also operate limited-minutes packages. He was not aware of any others that are marketed specifically to seniors.
The one-button-push emergency feature is important for seniors, and “it has some of the ergonomic optimization for that age group that is smart stuff to give them.”
The two calling plans available are the 65 Plus Single Line plan, which features 200 anytime minutes and 500 night and weekend minutes for $30 monthly, and the 65 Plus Two Line Plan consisting of 450 shared anytime minutes and 1,000 shared night and weekend minutes for $60 monthly.
Although marketed in conjunction with the handset, the two calling plans can be used with any phone in the Verizon Wireless portfolio, Weaver said. Customers must be 65 or older to subscribe to the plans, she said.
More information is available at www.verizonwireless.com or by visiting Verizon Wireless Communications Stores at Circuit City.
Features of Coupe handset designed for users 65 years and older:
* Large-type menu.
* Dedicated 911 key.
* Three in-case-of-emergency keys for programming contacts.
* Color-coded identity features: white for volume control, red for battery charging port cover and blue for headset port.
* Voice recognition.