Reviewed: The 7 Free Cell Phones For Lifeline

Top 7 Free Cell Phones For Lifeline of 2017 | Video Review

Last Updated: August 09, 2017 by Ezra Glenn

These days, having a smartphone isn't just a luxury. It's a necessity. As the world becomes increasingly mobile, it's essential for everyone to have access to telecommunications and the web. For those who qualify, free cell phones and discounted plans are available through the Lifeline government assistance program.

All of the services presented here provide free cell phones to those in need. Determining which service is right for you depends on your needs and circumstances. Not all plans are available everywhere, so make sure to choose one that's right for your region.

Lifeline covers either cellular data or phone service, but not both. Getting a free phone is a good way to compensate for some of the costs of your plan that aren't covered. Most services offer basic phones for free, with options to upgrade to more advanced models at a discount.

The government provides incentives to the companies offering these phones. While there are services you will have to pay for, they're not trying to squeeze profits out of their low-income customers. All of them offer expandable plans and options for upgrades. There is no cost to sign up and, of course, the phones are free.Important notice: When you click links from this website, we may receive advertising revenue.

Our Top Picks

SafeLink Wireless is a program provided by TracFone to bring modern-day telecommunications to low-income households. They offer free and discounted phones to qualifying individuals through the federal Lifeline program. Their plans are available in 40 states across the country, as well as in Washington, DC and Puerto Rico. Customers benefit from their nationwide coverage that utilizes cell towers from all major networks. They don't require customers to sign up for a long-term plan, and a variety of phones is available.

To get started with SafeLink, simply enter your zip code on their website. They will then show you a list of plans available in your area. If you choose to bring your own phone onto one of their plans, you'll get better rates on upgraded plans. To sign up, they will ask you a series of questions. These include your name, date of birth, the last four digits of your social security number, and contact information. You will then have to provide proof of eligibility.

Eligibility for SafeLink is dependent upon on whether or not you qualify for the Lifeline program. While states make their own regulations regarding eligibility, if you qualify for Medicaid, food stamps, Section 8 housing, or are a veteran, you can get a free phone. If you're struggling with the application, there are enrollment locations across the country where they can help you.

Our #2 Pick Tag Mobile

Tag Mobile is a wireless service provider dedicated to ensuring that everyone has access to a cell phone. As a participant in the Lifeline program, they provide free phones and service plans to those who need them. They also offer upgrades on both devices and service for those whose needs exceed what is offered at their free tier. While eligibility varies by state, Tag makes it easy to enroll and get started quickly. It is currently available in 20 states nationwide.

The entry-level plan offered by Tag Mobile is completely free. It includes a smartphone, 500 monthly calling minutes, and unlimited texting, even to international numbers. They offer several upgrade options to those who need them. In some states, the plan includes cellular data. Customers can purchase additional minutes by topping up their account when necessary. They also have service upgrades for which you will be billed each month. These range from a few additional minutes each month to unlimited calling and data, all at affordable price points.

For those enrolling in the Lifeline program for the first time, Tag provides helpful step-by-step instructions. First, you must determine whether you qualify. They'll guide you through the process by outlining the requirements specific to your state. If you're already enrolled and want to switch to Tag's service, they make that easy, too. Simply select "Switch to Tag" in the dropdown menu under the Lifeline tab on their website. You can keep your phone number and even your existing device if you so choose.

Our #3 Pick Assurance Wireless

Assurance Wireless is one of the largest providers of phones and service as part of the federal Lifeline assistance program. It is operated by Virgin Mobile. Eligible customers receive a free Android phone as well as a certain number of talk minutes and megabytes of data each month. Free unlimited texting is included. You can also bring your own device onto one of their plans as long as it is compatible.

The service provided by Assurance Wireless is available in over 40 states. Eligibility varies by state, though in most cases, those qualified for any government assistance program can sign up. You need either proof of participation in one of those programs or proof that your income is below a certain threshold. Only one person may sign up per household. Individuals living in group homes are not bound by that restriction.

Assurance works with Android devices only. That means those with an iPhone or BlackBerry will have to work with whatever device is given to them by the program. For the most part, the free phone they offer is the ZTE Quest. They may also have options from Jax, Kyocera, and Alcatel available. You can port your existing phone number to your new phone, if you choose.

Additional Options

Our #4 Pick Access Wireless

As their name suggests, Access Wireless is committed to bringing wireless connectivity to customers of all kinds. As a participant in the Lifeline program, their mission is to get phones in as many people's hands as possible. Their service is available in 36 states and Washington, D.C. They use the Sprint network to ensure a strong signal is available in the areas they serve. Eligible customers receive a free phone and a year of service. Participants are required to re-certify each year, as is the case with all Lifeline providers.

Our #5 Pick Q Link Wireless

Q Link is a free cell phone provider under the federal Lifeline program. Similar to services like Assurance, it is designed for people who could not otherwise afford a phone plan. They offer basic calling and data services for free to qualifying residents of the states they cover. Eligibility is dependent on state regulations. Q Link will help you determine if you fit the bill and guide you through the approval process.

Our #6 Pick Easy Wireless

Easy Wireless is a cell service and phone provider. They are an authorized Boost Mobile dealer based in northeastern Oklahoma. They operate several retail stores in the area. Free phones and service are provided for qualifying individuals in Kentucky, Missouri, and Oklahoma. Smartphones from a variety of companies including Motorola, Huawei, Alcatel, LG, and Apple are available. The plans they offer are available to both individuals and families.

Our #7 Pick Life Wireless

Life Wireless provides customers with free smartphones and cell service through the federal Lifeline program. It is available in over 30 states and Puerto Rico. While eligibility varies by state, they can help you through the process of determining and proving you are qualified. In most cases, those receiving federal assistance of any kind can join the program. The plans they offer also vary by state. Most include some free minutes, data, and unlimited texting each month.

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