Having a cell phone can make your life much easier. However, phones can be expensive and not everyone can handle the cost of them. Sometimes, people feel like there may not be any support for their situation, which is not the case! Instead, there are opportunities out there for individuals in need to get a phone. These opportunities are available thanks to specific carriers that offer phones for free! Besides that, there are even opportunities for free unlimited data, free international calling, and more.

How Can You Get a Free Phone?

It may sound like a scam that you can get a free phone without knowing the details of how it’s possible. Luckily, it’s all legit and there are a variety of carriers that offer this opportunity. How can they do that? Well, it’s possible through the Lifeline Program. On top of that, individuals may also benefit from other support thanks to the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP).

What is the Lifeline Program?

Before we discuss what carriers can provide a free phone, it’s important to get some context! Lifeline is a program available thanks to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Even though it is a program available through the FCC, it is administered by the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC). The USAC has the responsibility of helping consumers through the application process, the recertification process, eligibility requirements, and more.

The goal of this opportunity is to make the cost of communication services easier to handle for qualifying recipients who are low-income.  Typically, this opportunity provides a monthly discount on eligible services such as telephone services, broadband internet services, or bundled voice-broadband packages. The discount amount is up to $9.25 but can be a maximum of $34.25 to recipients that live on tribal lands.

To qualify for this opportunity, applicants must be at or lower than 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. However, they may also qualify if they are currently a recipient of any of the following programs:

  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Federal Public Housing
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
  • Medicaid
  • Veterans and Survivors Pension Benefit
  • Certain Tribal Programs

What is the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP)?

The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) is also available because of the FCC. The goal of ACP is to give households support when it comes to handling the cost of broadband services. Through this program, qualifying households can get a maximum discount of $30 every month. However, it can be a maximum of $75 for households that are on tribal lands. Besides a monthly discount, qualifying households can also get a one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a qualifying electronic device like a laptop, desktop computer, or even a tablet.

To qualify for this opportunity, households must be at or lower than 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. However, households may also qualify if at least one member of the household meets one of the following conditions:

  • During the current award year, received a Pell Grant.
  • Meets the qualifications for an existing low-income internet program set by a provider that participates.
  • Takes part in an existing federal assistance programs like SNAP, Medicaid, SSI, Supplemental Nutrition for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), and more.

Who is Providing a Free Phone?

While you may not get a free phone from some of the more popular carriers, there are still opportunities out there to be mindful of. These opportunities are available from:

  • Assurance Wireless
  • Safelink Wireless
  • TruConnect
  • True Wireless

Even though these carriers may not be the most popular, they can provide an acceptable phone on a dependable network. Not every carrier is available for every area which is why it is important for you to search for carriers that service your location. Luckily, there is a tool available thanks to the USAC that shows consumers which companies offer this assistance opportunity near them.

Assurance Wireless

This carrier has the opportunity for a consumer to not only get a free phone but also get a generous plan. The generous plan includes free unlimited data, free unlimited minutes, and free unlimited text messages. On top of that, it includes free 10GB worth of mobile hotspot data! Thanks to the lifeline program, Assurance Wireless can provide qualifying low-income customers with all of the above! To qualify for this opportunity, a customer must meet either federal or state qualifications. This includes currently benefiting from other federal programs (like the ones listed above) or meeting income requirements.

Safelink Wireless

Another carrier that has the opportunity to provide a free phone is Safelink Wireless. This carrier can provide unlimited talk and text, calls to Canada and Mexico, 25GB of high-speed data, up to 5GB worth of hotspot data, and of course, a free smartphone! It is only available to those that qualify.


TruConnect is a carrier that can provide not only a free phone but also a free wireless internet service. Through the ACP, consumers can get up to 14GB of monthly data. On top of that, they can get a free Android phone (or Wi-Fi hotspot) if they qualify. Besides that, through Lifeline, customers can get unlimited talk and text as well as free international calling to select countries. All you have to do is add your zip code and email address to see if you can get connected!

True Wireless

Last but not least on this list of carriers that can provide a free phone is True Wireless. True Wireless believes that individuals have the right to the factors that come with affordable communication such as safety, opportunity, and connection. As a result, through partnering with the Lifeline program and ACP, this carrier can provide a free LTE Android with unlimited service. This carrier may even provide a free Android tablet as well!


Bottom Line

The cost of getting a cell phone can be a lot for people to deal with. If you are having a tough time with this expense, you will want to know what support opportunities are out there. Thanks to the Lifeline Program and the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), some carriers can provide qualifying consumers with a free phone on top of other beneficial perks like unlimited data, free international calling, and more.

If you are interested, you can see what carriers may be around your locality. You can search for them using the free tool available from the USAC. This will show you what carriers offer services with Lifeline and ACP. You may have more help than you think!