Jitterbug Phone Problemsby Barb Nefer
The Jitterbug cell phone is aimed at older users who don't like complicated cell phones. Jesse James Garrett of Business Week says it has many features that make it more comfortable for Baby Boomers, like large, easily visible buttons and a cushioned earpiece. It even greets users with a dial tone when they open the phone. While Jitterbug's features appeal to customers who are intimidated by technology, they also cause some problems and limitations to other users.
Jitterbug's phones are basic and lack many features that are standard on other cell phones. For example, Matthew Weinberger of New York Daily News says you cannot get a Jitterbug phone with a camera, GPS feature or music player. While Jitterbug's main customer base does not want these features, many other cell phone users consider them a necessity.
Unlike other cell phones, which can be unlocked and used with multiple carriers, Jitterbug telephones can only be used with Jitterbug's cell phone service. If a Jitterbug user decides to sign up with a different cell phone carrier, he will have to buy a new phone. Jitterbugs also lack a SIM card that can be removed by the user and used on different handsets.
Jitterbug's voicemail system is closely integrated with the phone, so users cannot check their messages on any other phone. It can only be accessed on a Jitterbug handset by using Yes and No buttons that ask the user whether he wants to check his voicemail. He must press these buttons instead of being able to simply dial into the system.
A Jitterbug phone user must have access to the Internet to turn major features off and on and to change certain settings on her own. If she cannot get online, she must call Jitterbug and have an operator make the changes.
Jitterbug service can be expensive when compared with other cell phone plans. The Daily News reports that its most basic plan is around $15 for only 50 minutes. More robust plans are available, up to a plan with 1,000 anytime minutes and 500 night and weekend minutes for around $80 per month. While the limited amount of talk time might work for some users, Jitterbug's plans could be too limiting for the heavier cell phone users.
Jitterbug charges around $150 for its cell phones, unlike many other carriers who offer free or discounted phones to new subscribers.