Free Prepaid Wireless Phones

by Ethan
(Los Angeles)

Are free prepaid wireless phones, or wireless phones in general, a basic human right? This is a very interesting topic! Personally, I think it's a stretch.

I agree with the side who questions the use of government funds (i.e. our money!) to pay for people to have wireless phones. Yes, wireless phones (prepaid or postpaid) are extremely convenient, can can even save lives, but I question whether it's a basic human right. Especially when you consider that you've got people with no homes, sick, and cannot put food on the table. Is having access to a cell phone really going to change their quality of life?

I also wonder why that money doesn't go towards offering more food stamps, more or better education for children, access to health care or medicine, etc.

I think it's a great argument to say that prepaid wireless providers (or any wireless provider for that matter) should offer this service as a way of giving back to the community. Rather than receive government funding, provide wireless carriers offering this service a tax benefit for doing so, but do we really need to spend our taxpayer money?

I'd be interested too see data that shows that having access to wireless service improves people's quality of life and happiness that makes this type of program worthwhile. There simply seems to be so many other critical social needs to consider, no?

Comments for Free Prepaid Wireless Phones

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Mar 03, 2015
Free smartphone NEW
by: Jennifer

I would really like to have to have a free smartphone. They are really expensive and I'm on a fixed income. Please help me out I would really appreciate it would make me so happy

Oct 20, 2013
Free Cell= improvement of life?
by: Anonymous

Where I live there are many persons who are homeless; unemployed; on disabilty (SSI OR SSDI)Z etc who have gotten those "free" cell phones. Believe I could see if some of these people were actually using those free phones to "better" themselves/lives but most dont. These "free" phones are being used for "casual" usage (calling friends to "meet up" later; "just to chat" in a "casual" conversation, texting "friends" just to "check in" withthem, etc)- NOT for intended use. Some of these people with these free cellphones have no intentions of using those phones to "look for work" or whatever else these phones could be used for to better their lifestyles. When you look at it that way- then "NO" those free phones should not be a given for just any body. Just b/c a person is living in what is called "poverty" doesnt mean these free phones should be a "given". The government needs to "screen" the people they give the free phones to and how those people are using them. If they arent being used for their intended purposes- the government should step in and take back the phone/ service to those who fraud the program's use.

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Free Cell Phones Don't Make Sense

(Toronto, Canada)

While I believe that a cell phone is extremely useful, if you cannot afford one, then you do NOT get one. The government needs to provide basic necessities like food, a roof and health care to those in need. Everything else should be paid for by the individual him/herself when and if he/she can afford to do so. At least, that's my position. :)

Comments for Free Cell Phones Don't Make Sense

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Feb 20, 2013
Free Cellular is For The Best
by: Anonymous

For everyone that feels free cellular service is a burden on taxpayers, you must first understand the reasons it exists. Free cell service helps low income and disabled citizens to get and hold jobs, it also is given to those people who need emergency services. Some of those that receive only a small fixed income because they may only be able to afford their living expenses, and barely scrape by. The cellular services only offer a small amount of minutes, and if the person would like, they can PURCHASE more minutes, also the phone they receive is just a cheap basic phone that does not have any extra features, If they want a better phone they have to PURCHASE a different phone. People always want to put down free things for low income, and disabled, but at least it keeps them from stealing a cell, also so their children's schools can get ahold of them. DON'T BE SO JEALOUS, CELL PHONES ARE A NECESSITY IN THIS DAY AND AGE, SINCE PAY PHONES ARE BECOMING OBSOLETE AND SOON WILL VANISH. QUIT HATING.

Oct 22, 2012
Free Cell Phones don't make sense? Then what about government subsidized "free" bus services?
by: Anonymous

Though free cell phone service may seem counter intuitive, I can agree that a basic cell phone without GPS or internet service may be ideal. Most people want the up to date devices too. However internet service is a bit much and text messaging with a vibrating alert seems ideal for the deaf and hard of hearing.

What about the so called free bus pass service on local public transit? It isn't free, the state and local tax payers have to pay the individual fares for the disabled and poor work best, instead of the old talk typing services that were once offered to the government. However 911 still cannot be reached by a text message, that's a shame though.

What about the so called free bus passes for the poor and disabled? The tax payers have to pay for the fares, but the disabled consumer must pay for the pass, and the pass isn't free, it's gone up from two dollars to twenty dollars, but an unlimited riding pass for the disabled should be considered a privilege, not a right. Essential for jobs and appointments, yes, recreation no.
A recreational bus ride should be paid for at a reduced rate, probably about a twenty five cent to a dollar fare seems ideal for most transit customers. However a ride that requires multiple buses can get quite expensive for a round trip.

Jan 25, 2011
by: Anonymous

Giveaways have got to stop, look at ca. If you can't afford a cell phone - too bad; ether borrow one or find a land line. Free internet access; peachy, now that they have internet access, we'll have make sure they all have new computers. Now I'm so happy that all the poor people have a cell phone, internet access and computers. But wait; now that they have a cell phone and internet access they will be able to find a job. Hooray!! But alas, they don't have a dependable car to get to their job. Government to the rescue, I think that all poor people should be able to a new car for free - including insurance and the necessary government credit card to pay for gas and repairs. It's too bad that my wife and i work for a living and pay for everything that we have - 2 12 year old trucks, a 6 year old cell phone that's only a phone. Thanks govt. No unicorns on our lawn in the morning.

Sep 13, 2010
Overall Cost - Makes Sense!
by: PrepaidWirelessGuy

Thank you for your comments. That makes a lot of sense actually, and I have no doubt that's the case. It will be interesting to see how these free services evolve over the next few years!

Sep 04, 2010
It's statistics - the alternative costs governments more
by: Anonymous

The reason why governments provide subsidized (not necessarily free) Universal Service phones to low income people isn't intuitive (like they'll obviously die without food). It's that timely help is significantly cheaper than delayed help, when statistically averaged over the whole low income population that the government is legally required to help.

Of course 911 is free on most unregistered cell phones to get a timely ambulance response for heart attacks and strokes, but the timely help principle statistically applies to many services one can't get through 911.

For example, it's vital that the government assist employment. Though some people don't, most people need a phone to get and hold a job, like calling a taxi when their car breaks down. But statistically, low income people with subsidized phones cost the government less to help than those without phones. The government is funded mostly by taxpayers, so bizarre as it looks to them, subsidized or free cell phones reduce the overall tax requirements.

Dec 30, 2009
Free Cell Phone Service is Crazy!
by: Anonymous

I couldn't agree more! I can't understand why people, and the government think that offering free cell phone service to people who can't afford it makes any sense at all. I hear there's talk about providing access to the Internet as well to low income families. I can understand how access to information can help with knowledge and education, but there's always public libraries.

Anyway, I think this idea is just so silly and strange. I'd like to hear from people who think this is a good idea and why. I think the idea of wireless companies offering free service at their own cost is the best idea!

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