Best 4G-capable mobile phones for seniors

All 3G mobile networks will cease operating in Australia later this year and, when they do, many phones designed specifically for seniors will no longer work. Here are some of the best 4G-capable seniors phones to keep your loved ones connected.

You’ve probably seen TV commercials extolling the virtues of the super-fast 5G telecommunications networks. Faster downloads, clearer phone calls, videos without buffering. It’s all very fancy and high-tech.

The 5G network has been gradually rolled out over the past few years, and now reaches nearly all Australians, with total 5G coverage expected to reach 95 per cent of the population by 2025.

But with this expansion has come the winding-down of the much older (and slower) 3G network, leaving just the 4G and 5G networks. The last 3G network towers are scheduled to be shut down by Telstra in June this year.

For most of us, the loss of 3G will be barely noticeable, as most of today’s phones and electronics are fully compatible with both the 4G and 5G networks.

But for many older Australians, the shutdown will mean their smartphones, many of which are configured for the 3G and even 2G networks, will cease to operate.

If this is your phone, or the phone of an older relative, it means it’s time for an upgrade. Thankfully, there are plenty of 4G- and 5G-capable seniors phones on the market – and Aussie companies lead the way when it comes to their design and manufacturing.

What is a seniors phone?

A seniors smartphone, as the name suggests, is a smartphone designed specifically for seniors who may be less tech-savvy or have mobility or cognitive issues.

Seniors smartphones are a simplified version of a regular smartphone, with greatly reduced functionality and other features designed to make it easier for an older person to use.

These features can include oversized text and icons, physical buttons, simplified notifications and SOS features. Many seniors phones are unable to connect to the internet and are restricted to sending texts and making calls.

Best 4G phones for seniors

Big Purple Phone

It’s hard to mention seniors phones without mentioning the Big Purple Phone (BPP). The phone was designed by Australian woman Libby Henderson while separated from her 85-year-old mother during the pandemic. She found her mum had trouble operating her existing phone and was unable to make video calls.

The latest version of the BPP features a touchscreen layout and is fully compatible with the 4G and 5G networks.

The BPP has one-touch buttons for accessing calls, texts, a camera and photo gallery. It even features its own secure social app for family and friends, to reduce the chances of a loved one falling for a scam.

The phone is manufactured in partnership with Nokia, so the BPP is a physically robust device that can withstand a few knocks. But the quality doesn’t come cheap, with the latest model starting at $599 for the basic phone without the proprietary social app, or $699 for the model with everything included.

Seniors Phones Big Button 4G mobile phone

Seniors Phones is another Australian-based company that makes a range of mobile and home phones designed for seniors.

Their Big Button 4G mobile phone is perfect for the less tech-savvy senior in your life. It features large, physical buttons and no touchscreen. Network functionality is limited to texts and phone calls, but the phone does come with a 0.08MP rear-facing camera.

It also features an FM radio, Bluetooth connectivity for hands-free operation, and the ability to take dual SIM cards.

The reduced functionality means a reduced price. You can get the Seniors Phones Big Button 4G mobile for $99 from their website.

Big Buttons 4G flip mobile

Based in Melbourne, Big Buttons is another Aussie company taking seniors phones seriously. Its 4G flip mobile model features a simplified design, again with oversized physical buttons.

What sets this model apart, however, is the clamshell design of the body, which allows it to be closed for protection. This makes it suitable for people with mobility or shaking issues who may be more prone to dropping their phones.

It also features a physical SOS button on the rear of the phone, which means it can make a good substitute for an SOS call pendant, which many people are reluctant to carry with them.

The Big Buttons 4G mobile flip phone is $400 from their website.

Opel Mobile Lite 4G phone

Last, but certainly not least, is Opel Mobile’s Mobile Lite 4G model. The Sydney-based company specialises in phones for seniors, children and people with disabilities.

Very similar to the Seniors Phones model, the Opel Lite 4G is a low-cost, no-frills phone for those who just want the basics.

Like the others, this phone features large physical buttons and basic call and text functions, as well as a torch, camera, and FM radio, all accessible with one touch.

The phone is sold unlocked to any network for $79 from their website.

Do you use a phone operating on the 3G network? Could you, or someone you know, benefit from a seniors phone? Let us know in the comments section below.

Also read: How to recycle your old mobile phone

Brad Lockyer
Brad Lockyer
Brad has deep knowledge of retirement income, including Age Pension and other government entitlements, as well as health, money and lifestyle issues facing older Australians. Keen interests in current affairs, politics, sport and entertainment. Digital media professional with more than 10 years experience in the industry.


  1. If you are with Telstra, and want to check whether or not you will need to change your current phone after (or preferably before) 3G closes, text the number “3” to the phone number “3498”.
    You will get an (automated but I believe accurate) text reply from Telstra telling you, based on their records of what your phone handset is.
    Worth a try!

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