Consumer Cellular enters mPERS market

Company takes first step outside cellphones; VRI will do monitoring
Tuesday, July 14, 2015

PORTLAND, Ore.—Consumer Cellular, a nationwide mobile phone company focused on the 50-plus demographic, has entered the mPERS market with its new product, the Ally.

“This is really [our] first new product that’s not a traditional cellphone,” John Marick, Consumer Cellular CEO, told Security Systems News.

The company is approaching its 20-year anniversary in the cell phone business. “This mPERS product seemed like a natural fit to be able to extend to our customer base,” Marick said.

The company has been considering the space for about three years, he said.

The panic button fob is branded and brought to market by Consumer Cellular and manufactured by Numera—which was recently acquired by Nortek. The monitoring will be handled by VRI Monitoring, based in Franklin, Ohio.

“We’re going to start by focusing on [our existing customer base], and that will allow us to make sure that we’ve gotten our feet wet and know what we’re doing. Then we can roll out in a bigger way, advertising more to the general public,” he said.

The Ally, and mPERS in general, is an offering that’s been requested by customers, Marik said. Consumer Cellular has just under 2 million customers, most of whom are over 50, he said.

“We’ve had a partnership with AARP for about nine years, and really focus all of our efforts on trying to make our products and services designed specifically to meet the unique needs of that 50-plus crowd,” he said, adding that the relationship will help the company in releasing its mPERS.

What separates the Ally from other mPERS? “Everything is really included at the one base price,” Marick said. The Ally has fall detection, motion sensors, GPS location services and two-way voice capabilities.

“It’s kind of a confusing marketplace for a lot of people,” Marick said, Consumer Cellular is trying to simplify the process with no contracts and easy-to-understand pricing.