Verizon targets seniors with Coupe

Verizon Wireless is taking a cue from Great Call, the senior-focused MVNO that offers the Jitterbug service, and targeting the over-65 age group with a wireless phone and a selection of rate plans. The Verizon phone, called the Coupe, costs $19.99 with a two-year contract, and features a dedicated 911 key and three programmable in-case-of-emergency keys.

The senior-dedicated service has two rate plan options: The America's Choice 65 Plus Single Line plan offers 200 anytime minutes and 500 night and weekend minutes for $29.99 per month. The American's Choice 65 Plus Two Line Plan offers 450 shared anytime minutes and 1,000 night and weekend minutes for $59.99 monthly access.

Although Verizon's smart to target this market, Iain Gillott, founder of iGR Research, said that the company's offering leaves a lot to be desired. "I think Verizon has started down the path but they haven't gone all the way yet. I'm surprised they didn't put a camera in this phone."

In an iGR study released today on the senior market, the firm found that most seniors that have wireless phones use the camera and the calendar functionality but they don't use text messaging or access the Web. The study estimates that approximately 10 percent of seniors (or 3.5 million) want a wireless phone but don't have one. "If a carrier can get the service and the phone right, they have a potential 3.5 million subscriber market available today," Gillott said.

For more on senior-oriented wireless services:  
- see this press release from Verizon Wireless
- see this study from iGR