Free Prepaid Phones - How Is This Possible?!
Are you looking for free prepaid
phones? If you're eligible, TracFone's SafeLink program,
Virgin Mobile's Access/Assurance Wireless, and a number of other
Lifeline government sponsored programs offer
free cellular phone service for low income households seeking support.
How is this program
the government is providing these authorized Lifeline programs with
money to enable them to offer
free prepaid phones. Of course, I don't know the specifics of
the actual contractual agreements, however, I've heard that
they get revenue in the realm of $10 per user per month.
While that doesn't sound like much, if the program is
constructed efficiently, with low operational costs, it can certainly
be a profitable program.
fact, I have heard senior executives managing similar programs that
their Lifeline divisions are in fact profitable to the point where it
absolutely makes sense from a business perspective for them to
participate. If it weren't profitable, carriers certainly
wouldn't voluntarily support it!
are our tax dollars going to support this program?
In fact, all telecommunications service providers must
to the Federal Universal Service Fund (USF) from their service
revenues. Some wireless companies pass on these fees to
would show up on a postpaid bill), while others choose not to.
So what's the catch?
honestly really isn't a catch to this free prepaid phone program.
The government believes that
with other services for low income households (ex. food stamps,
Medicaid, etc.), access to
cell phone service is more than important; it's critical. In
fact, the FCC states that "telephone service is considered a necessity
for daily modern life." The number of minutes included in the
free offer varies by provider, and most now include unlimited text
messaging as well. The included minutes are certainly
it's really meant for occasional or
emergency use, or to let your family know you're running
home soon, call the doctor, schedule job interviews, etc. If
you're thinking you can take advantage of
program to get free wireless service, and will be able to chat for
hours a day without having to add any money of your own, you'll be
there other options
As noted, there are number of authorized Lifeline service providers.
If you haven't already read it, learn more about how to
qualify, the benefits, and llist of Lifeline providers,
by visiting Free
Cell Phone Service
In addition, you
can visit the Universal Service
, or the Federal
Communications Commission’s website
to learn more
about these programs.
What states offer
Each program supports various states. There's an onerous
approval process that carriers must do on a state by state basis, so
you'll find that there are availability differences between providers
simply based on where they've been certified to rollout.
Also noteworthy is that the number of included minutes can
vary by state, and California even offers a free smartphone with free