Who doesn’t like to have a free smartphone from the government? In fact, governments from all countries should adopt this type of policy if they are capable. This will ensure a great means of staying connected to the near and dear ones.
Luckily, mobile carriers from different countries are offering free smartphones from the government, especially to help general citizens or those who are in financial crisis. Before that, you should know some facts about getting a free smartphone from the government.
It’s crucial to first understand information like your eligibility, the companies providing free smartphones, the types of free government smartphones, and the alternatives.
Don’t worry, we are going to explain everything in detail in this article. So, read carefully till the end.
Who Is Eligible For Free Government Smartphones?
First things first, to apply for a free government cell phone program, you need to know your eligibility. Basically, there are two ways to know your eligibility for a Lifeline assistance program.
First Method: Qualification through a government-aid program
This is the simplest way to qualify for a free government phone. You may automatically be eligible for a free government phone if you are currently registered in a program that provides financial assistance.
You should be eligible to get a free smartphone from the government if you are a participant in any of these programs –
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP
- Supplemental Security Income, or SSI
- Federal Public Housing Assistance (Section 8)
- Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations, or FDPIR
- Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance, or BIA
- Tribal Head Start (must be eligible for income threshold)
- Tribal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, or TTANF
- VA Survivors Pension
Second Method: Qualification through household income
This method depends on your household income. Suppose you are not a participant in any of the government-aid programs, then you need to prove your income level is equal to or below 135% (according to Federal Poverty Guidelines).
According to 2022, the poverty guideline should be $13,590 for 1 person household to claim a free government cell phone.
Your household limit is increased by $4,480 for each additional person. In other words, getting a free government phone gets easier the more people you have in your household.
However, the minimum income level depends on the state where you live. For instance,
- Your income level should be 150% or below for Texas, Florida, New Jersey, Michigan, or Ohio.
- 218% or below if you live in California.
- And for Nevada, it is 175% or below.
The Application Process For Free Smartphones From The Government
There is no hassle in registering for the Lifeline program. We are going to break down the steps in the simplest way. So, make sure you follow them accordingly.
- Step 1: First and foremost, detect mobile companies that work with the Lifeline Assistance program in your state.
- Step 2: After finding the list of mobile network providers, it is time to choose the best one. Go through the policies, offers, and agreements very carefully before choosing the perfect one for you.
You can go to each telecom company’s website and review what they offer in the Lifeline plan.
- Step 3: Once you find your suitable network provider, you need to register for the free government phone program. You can either enroll online or enroll by using a phone call.
We would suggest you register for the Lifeline program online. Compared to making a phone call, it is much simpler, and you can quickly upload any required documents.
It is advisable to sign up for Lifeline through a government assistance program. It is always difficult and time-consuming to enroll by demonstrating your income level.
14 Companies That Offer Free Government Smartphones
After learning the requirements for getting free government smartphones, you must be desperate to know the free Lifeline carriers, right?
Companies like Q-link, Assurance Wireless, Safelink, and those connected to the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) are some of the major contributors to the free government cell phone programs.
Today, the majority of Lifeline providers provide Android smartphones or BYOP (Bring Your Own Phone) plans.
Here is a list of the top 14 providers offering free smartphones from the government –
|Powered by: Sprint Network|
Operational Areas: Washington, Utah, Texas, Nevada, Colorado, Indiana, Idaho, Louisiana, Iowa, Michigan, Maryland, Maine, Minnesota, South Carolina, West Virginia, etc.
Q-link Wireless is one of the popular mobile service providers that is associated with Lifeline and ACP. It will offer unlimited text, talk, and free monthly data to eligible clients.
|Powered by: T-Mobile Network|
Operational Areas: Arizona, Minnesota, Arkansas, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Colorado, Georgia, Ohio, Puerto Rico, Illinois, Hawaii, Indiana, Kentucky, Rhode Island, Maryland, West Virginia, South Carolina, Wisconsin, Utah, and Michigan.
Another top name in the list of mobile service providers is American Assistance. Customers can get nationwide free messages, voice calls, and even smartphones if they qualify.
|Powered by: Sprint Nextel Operational Areas: Alabama, California, Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Kansas, Delaware, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New York, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Ohio, Washington, North Carolina, etc.|
To enjoy 350 minutes of wireless voice calls and a free 500 MB of data, sign up for the Assurance Wireless Lifeline program. And it is very easy to get an Android smartphone or iPhone if you are a customer.
|Powered by: HTH Communications, LLC|
Operational Areas: A total of 50 states, including Rhode Island, Arkansas, Maryland, Maine, and West Virginia.
Cintex Wireless comes up with great unlimited free plans. You can even get phones like the iPhone 7, Samsung Galaxy S9, or Google Pixel if you qualify for its Lifeline program.
|Powered by: TracFone Wireless|
Operational Areas: Arizona, Alabama, Connecticut, California, Hawaii, Indiana, Nevada, Missouri, Michigan, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, Texas, Tennessee, Virginia, Utah, West Virginia, and Washington. etc.
If you are looking for unlimited text, talk, and free international calling, then switch to Safelink Wireless. Although there might be some restrictions, you can still get a free smartphone.
|Powered by: Mobile Virtual Network Operator|
Operational Areas: Kansas, Arizona, Arkansas, Indiana, Illinois, Colorado, Iowa, Louisiana, Minnesota, Maine, Missouri, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Nevada, Rhode Island, Texas, West Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.
With the Terracom Wireless Lifeline plan, it is easier to pay monthly bills. Eligible consumers can enjoy unlimited talking, texting, and monthly mobile data.
|Powered by: AT&T Network|
Operational Areas: Colorado, Kentucky, Michigan, Maine, South Carolina, Arkansas, Puerto Rico, Wisconsin, Washington, Utah, Pennsylvania, etc.
Life Wireless offers limitless everything, along with 5GB of hotspots and a free smartphone. So, this is a luring program for anyone. You just need to qualify, that’s it.
|Powered by: Surge Holdings Inc.|
Operational Areas:5 American states (Oklahoma, Arkansas, Maryland, Texas, and Rhode Island)
True Wireless stands out for its quality wireless service. Its Lifeline plan includes bigger and better offerings like LTE mobile data, extended coverage, and premium Android devices.
|Powered by: Verizon Wireless|
Operational Areas: Arkansas, Maryland, Oklahoma, Indiana, South Dakota, Wyoming, Louisiana, Kentucky, West Virginia, Wisconsin, etc.
There is no doubt that you will get a free smartphone from enTouch Wireless if you qualify for its Lifeline program. Customers are exempt from any hidden fees. They will be blessed with unlimited data, text, and talktime.
10. StandUp Wireless
|Powered by: Mobile Virtual Network Operator Operational Areas: Georgia, Arizona, Louisiana, Colorado, Arkansas, Idaho, California, Hawaii, Kentucky, Indiana, Kansas, Maryland, Iowa, etc.|
StandUp Wireless ensures nationwide coverage. Along with a free phone, you will get 10 GB of high-speed LTE data when you become eligible for its Lifeline plan.
11. Tag Mobile
|Powered by: Mobile Virtual Network Operator|
Operational Areas: Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, California, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Maine, Minnesota, Michigan, Missouri, Oklahoma, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Texas, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.
Tag Mobile is now offering 8 GB of free data every month when you enroll in its government program. Also, if you are eligible for its government-assisted program, you can purchase cell phones at a discount.
|Powered by: GCI Communication Corp|
Operational Areas: Mostly in Alaska.
For only $1 per month, GCI or General Communication Inc. will cover nationwide talking and texting for you. However, the company primarily serves Alaska.
13. Easy Wireless
|Powered by: Mobile Virtual Network Operator|
Operational Areas: Mostly in Oklahoma, Missouri, and Kentucky.
Easy Wireless helps its customers financially with an ACP or Lifeline program. Aside from getting a free smartphone and everything, you have a chance to buy an 8-inch tablet for just $10.99. This is truly amazing.
14. Infiniti Mobile
|Powered by: KonaTel Operational Areas: California, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Nevada, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Vermont, and Wisconsin.|
Infiniti Mobile offers unlimited talk, text, and data, just like the other mobile wireless providers mentioned above. Its government-funded program also permits a BYOD option.
|Please Note Of these 14 mobile carriers, each operates in a specific state. So, before choosing one, make sure it works in your state. The best way to confirm this is to enter the zip code of the state where you live.|
What Types of Free Government Phones Can You Get?
At first, we will never know what kind of cell phone you will receive. You may get a glimpse during the application process or when you read their offerings. But it’s not always certain.
To begin with, not all mobile network providers offer free cell phones for their government-funded programs. So, it very much depends on the network service provider as well. However, you can relax because it’s becoming more common to give away free smartphones these days.
Even if you do get a smartphone, it is more likely to be an Android. The Kyocera Hydro, ZTE Prestige 2, Alcatel Dawn, REVVL 4, and Coolpad Haylo are some of the more popular models of phones.
If you are extremely lucky, you may get a free iPhone SE, iPhone 11, Google Pixel, or Samsung Galaxy S9.
Alternatives to the Government’s Free Smartphone Program
If you don’t qualify for the free government cell phone program by any means, there are some cheap alternatives to getting a cell phone. To assist those who lack access to the ACP or Lifeline program, some of these cost-effective plans are described below.
US Mobile Unlimited Plan
With this plan, you can avoid the extra fees associated with using wireless data for just $3 per month. Moreover, it is powered by Verizon and T-Mobile networks. So, this is not only an economical plan but also the cheapest one for the best coverage.
Tello Cost Effective Plan
This is one of the cheapest plans when we are looking for an alternative to a free government cell phone plan. For only $10 a month, consumers can enjoy unlimited talk, text, and minutes with 1 GB of mobile data.
FreedomPop Free Plan
This is a wise plan. It offers 10 messages, talk time for 10 minutes, and 25 MB of mobile data for 30 days. Surprisingly, you don’t need to pay for anything. You just need to buy the SIM kit for $10, that’s it.
Gig Plan from Spectrum Mobile
Customers can pay for data usage on a pay-as-you-go basis with this limited Spectrum Mobile plan. It is appropriate for users who require less than 3GB of mobile data per month.
Although you can get a Spectrum mobile, you need to switch to Spectrum Internet. However, it’s worth a try because it can help you save a lot of money.
Frequently Asked Questions
Aside from the factors that are mentioned above, there are some questions that come to people’s minds frequently. We tried to answer a few of those questions.
What is a Lifeline program?
Lifeline is a program to help millions of people every month with free wireless services. The program is only applicable in the US and is funded by the government. You can’t expect to sign up for the Lifeline Assistance program unless you are an American citizen.
Various network providers are connected to this program to make communication more affordable. Different companies offer different facilities through this program.
What is the best free government cell phone?
The type of free government cell phone depends significantly on the mobile carrier. Some companies may offer premium smartphones for free, whereas some may offer smartphones from their standard line.
Here is a list of the best free government cell phones that you can get right now-
- iPhone SE
- iPhone 11
- Samsung Galaxy S9
- Samsung Galaxy A03s
- Samsung Galaxy S22
- Motorola Moto g Stylus
- Motorola Moto g Fast
- Nokia 5.4
Nevertheless, a few telecommunication companies have developed their own lines of smartphones. For example – the QLINK Smartphone is an exclusive one from Q Link Wireless.
Can I get a free iPhone from the government?
The answer is – you may get a free iPhone from the government only if you are lucky. Free iPhones from the government are very hard to come by. Not all network providers include iPhones in their list. Most of the time, they prefer keeping Android phones for a free government program.
The free government cell phone program wasn’t always like this. Back in the day, the government used to provide tiny cell phones without free talktime or data. There were no camera options on the free cell phones. On top of that, people complained about the critical application processes to prove their eligibility.
However, this isn’t the case anymore. Now, the Lifeline program from the government offers limitless talking, texting, 4G internet, and up to 1000 minutes of free talktime when you first sign up. You will also receive smartphones with cameras rather than typical cell phones. If you are lucky, you can even get smartphones with the latest variants or even iPhones.
There you go! This was almost everything you ever needed to know about getting free smartphones from the government. So, no more confusion.