Smartphone Option With Assurance Wireless

by Jimmie Boykins
(Clearwater, FLA, USA)

My question is; why can't people with Assurance Wireless have the option to purchase their own smartphone or android out-of-pocket? It just bewilders me that just because you're on that plan for whatever reason, you're being hampered for no apparent reason, or should I say punished? Virgin Mobile, Pease reply.

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Mar 20, 2017
Upgraded to ZTE NEW
by: BobD

I called after my alcatel flip finally died and was sent a ZTE Quest smartphone. Only 512k ram and limited internal space. Only really useful for calls and txts

Mar 17, 2017
$25 upgrade with assurance wirless NEW
by: Anonymous

mid-December called assurance wireless and requested a replacement phone....they sent me an Alcatel one touch...its ttl not like they it records txt....previous phone your txts wld be in different folder...sent,received,etc...this new phone lumps everthing together.

So called to inquire what other cell options were associated with AW...rep told me i could upgrade to a smart phone for $25...the brand name associated is maximus.

Mar 16, 2017
ESNs With 268 NEW
by: PrepaidWirelessGuy

I know someone said that Virgin had told them this, however, I don't buy it. Serial numbers generally cross phone types. In this case compatibility is more likely based on phone type that serial number.

I recommend you call Assurance and ask. While this is going to be annoying, I don't believe anyone can truly say what is and is not compatible at this point!

Mar 16, 2017
Is My Samsung Galaxy Ring Compatible With Assurance Wireless?
by: Anonymous

Someone sated that Virgin Mobile phones starting with 268 are compatible with Assurance Wireless. Is it true?

My Samsung Galaxy Ring number start with 268. Can it be compatible with Assurance? If not, when will it be? If so, how do I make it happen?

Mar 09, 2017
Thank You Carla
by: PrepaidWirelessGuy

Thank you for sharing your decision. Please circle back and let us know what provider you end up going with, and how you like them compared to Assurance! All the best.

Mar 08, 2017
Smartphone Options Dismal With Assurance Wireless
by: Carla in PA

After researching, I've decided to bid farewell to Assurance Wireless.

Although their level of Customer Care has been quite accepatable, reasonable factors were taken in consideration for my impending switch to another Lifeline service provider.

Agreed, is that there are better Lifeline cell phone providers with varying options available.

Thanks, for your very informative input on this website!

Mar 08, 2017
Assurance Wireless Compatible Phones
by: Anonymous

I called Assurance too. Said, was to look for Virgin Mobile phones "with MEID numbers beginning with 268 or 270 on the boxes. These phones are compatible with Assurance."

Mar 06, 2017
Upgrade Fee
by: PrepaidWirelessGuy

There's no guarantee that Virgin phones will work on Assurance. In fact, it's likely that unless it's an old payLo phone, it probably won't work.

You may be better off in the long run switching to another provider that will give you a free smartphone from day one, AND that support Bring Your Own Device!

Mar 05, 2017
Assurance Wireless Compatible Upgrades?
by: Carla in PA

Taken, that the Lifeline program is for those who meet their income requirements, in particular. Why would Assurance Wireless charge $25 for an upgrade?

In calling their Customer Care to inquire on the Coolpad Avail, I was told "$25 is for the shipping and handling."

Further, I have yet to see Assurance Wireless' website with a complete listing of the Virgin Mobile phones that ARE compatible with their service, should one choose to upgrade to a Virgin Mobile phone instead.

Mar 03, 2017
Smartphone Purchase for Assurance Wireless
by: Anonymous

I just got off the phone with Assurance. For $25 you can buy a smartphone, which is what I did.

Feb 23, 2017
Upgrade Fee
by: PrepaidWirelessGuy

Well that's interesting feedback! I've never heard anyone mention before about Assurance charging an upgrade fee for existing customers.

I recommend calling back and trying to talk to a different representative, or ask for a manager and plead your case.

If that doesn't work, consider changing Lifeline providers, most of which now offer a free smartphone to new customers, and some also allow you to bring your own phone with you!

Feb 22, 2017
Have To Pay To Upgrade
by: Anonymous

I called the Assurance Wireless to ask if I could transfer my phone number to a smartphone that my mother has given me, because she bought a new one. I was told "no", and that I would need to pay $25.00 for a smartphone though them.

I have no problem with that, only that it was time for me to get a new phone. I've had this phone for 3 years now. I figured I should have gotten one with an updated form. Now I would like some info on how this phone works. Does anybody have an idea? Thanks for reading and God Bless.

Feb 14, 2017
Response to Wow
by: Anonymous

You're a mindless twit who knows nothing about what you're talking about! There are people who deserve these free phone services and have a right to complain about the phone they're given!

So for you to complain about the people who get these services, come on, grow a brain and think. These people deserve to have something, not nothing.

Like you who think the rich deserve everything, and we deserve nothing because we're old or poor, or disabled when we need the service! The fact is that we have a right to complain. We're somebody, not a nobody.

Have a heart and think before you speak!

Feb 03, 2017
by: Anonymous

I am disgusted by half of these comments. Give me give me give me. I'm elderly give me, I'm disabled give me, I'm poor give me.... Sorry to say this, and I'm sure it will burn all, but the people who get it, but, THE GOVERNMENT DOES NOT OWE ANYONE A FREE CELL PHONE OR SERVICE. You're getting something for nothing!!

I can't see to text???? Get over it. Then don't text. Texting is not a God given right!! I am poor now, and am overjoyed that I can have something to talk on. I put myself in this boat that I can't afford a phone. I don't blame anyone but myself, and find it SCARY that unless a person has more they expect welfare. Get a job or two. Quit the BS excuses; you can work.

Disabled and fixed income? Oh well, sorry, obviously you did not make the right life choices, and now your disability or SS only pays a certain amount. The people who sacraficed went to school and worked, and their payments reflect their efforts.

I wish they would cut programs for people like you, and let nature take its course.

Jan 24, 2017
Android in Texas
by: Anonymous

I'm assuming it's both. My contract is good until the end of the year, but she said I have to recertify to get a new phone. She said I have to wait because she doesn't know how long it will take.

Jan 23, 2017
Android Phone in Texas
by: PrepaidWirelessGuy

Thank you for the note! So just to clarify, are you on the waiting list because they can't issue you a phone until you re-certify, or because they don't have enough stock to send you one now? Or both?

Jan 23, 2017
Android Phones in Texas
by: Anonymous

I just talked to a representative about getting an Android phone. She asked me if there's something wrong with my phone. I told her my reason, and she said they'll send me an Android phone. I just need to re-certify, and she doesn't know when I'm going to get one. She put my name down, I guess, on the waiting list.

Jan 20, 2017
Assurance Contact Info
by: PrepaidWirelessGuy

That's one of the numbers listed on their homepage. On their contact page they also have 888-898-4888 listed. You can also try, or their social media.

Jan 20, 2017
Android Phones in Texas
by: Anonymous

What is the phone number to the Assurance Wireless? I called 888-321-5880 and I got the answering machine. Someone posted a comment on Dec. 18, saying everyone will get smartphones, including current customers. Is that true? If so, when and how?

Jan 20, 2017
Texas Question
by: PrepaidWirelessGuy

Every indication thus far is that only new customers will get smartphones. However, that's not to say that if you proactively call to request one, they may very well give you one. I also recommend escalating to a manager/supervisor. If you do call, please circle back here and let us know what they said!

Jan 20, 2017
Android Phones in Texas
by: Anonymous

Do current customers of Assurance Wireless from Texas get free Android phones?

Jan 11, 2017
Lifeline Providers That Support BYOD
by: PrepaidWirelessGuy

I recently added a new page that lists most Lifeline providers, and includes whether or not they officially support Bring Your Own Device. You can find it here:

Lifeline Providers

Jan 11, 2017
Quest is Junk
by: Blessed in SoCal

As a disabled senior I am grateful to have this program and a phone. Unfortunately, the Quest phone supplied with the California FREEdom plan is junk.

I am tech savvy and this device gives me problems. Whether for texting or voice you have to fight with this phone to accomplish these basic tasks. What most of us want to do is save up our nickels and supply our own phone that WORKS. Does anyone know if AW/CF are letting us substitute our own smartphones yet?

Dec 31, 2016
About Purchasing Your Own Phone
by: Anonymous

Most people that are getting Assurance Wireless Lifeline can not afford to purchase a phone. If you can purchase a phone you can afford phone service.

Dec 18, 2016
We're Getting Smartphones!
by: Anonymous

That's right, we're getting smartphones. All users of Assurance Wireless will have smartphones; not just new customers, but all customers will get a new smartphone and 500 mins plus free Internet service starting next month. I talked to someone at Assurance Wireless, and that's what they told me. What a way to welcome in the new year by rewarding faithful and loyal users of this service!

Dec 08, 2016
We Deserve A Better Phone
by: Anonymous

The phones Assurance Wireless gives to its users are junk, and you can't see text messages well or hear phone call clearly! The fact is we deserve better phones, or the right to upgrade our phones!

We faithful and loyal customers deserve to have better phones just like the new customers who can get a smartphone while we can't.

Sep 08, 2016
Painful and Disabled
by: Anonymous

I have problems using my hands, and I am disabled. Texting is difficult for me even on a smart phone, but extremely easier than a feature phone. It's a shame to make me suffer more just to use this free phone. I thought it was supposed to be helpful, not painful.

Aug 16, 2016
How to get a phone with bigger buttons for free
by: Anonymous

I have seen some comments about problems with the size of the buttons on Assurance Wireless free phones. I have arthritis in my hands and that phone was impossible to use. I requested an accommodation and was offered a phone for purchase.

I contacted the FCC and made a discrimination complaint. I had to wait, but got a phone with bigger buttons for free. I also got the $20 option. I too am on a fixed income, and have to go without medication and other things my family needs because I just do not have $20.

That is why I am thankful for this phone option. I just need a phone I can use.

Jun 17, 2016
ZTE Quest more info
by: Anonymous

More info and specs can be found here:

Jun 16, 2016
Phone that works for the person
by: F. Wolf

I am certainly not here to grumble about a free phone service that I use and definitely depend on. With all due respect though, I'm not a spring chicken anymore so seeing clearly and hearing on most phones can certainly be, and often is, a major challenge. I am by no means suggesting that a very useful phone that also meets my income challenges be provided. Rather, I just need one with larger buttons than normal and volume can be increased for the hearing challenged. Is there such a thing??? Suggestions are welcomed.

Jun 16, 2016
Upgrade to an Android ZTE Quest free in CA
by: Anonymous

Anyone in California can get the Upgrade to an Android ZTE Quest - 3G for free. Just call 888-321-5880, and they set you up for free. You will also get 500MB of free data each month.

Apr 26, 2016
Please Don't Call Me Ungrateful!
by: Anonymous

I have the Assurance phone and yes, I am extremely grateful it is free. I am in my 70s and my eyesight is not what it used to be, so I contacted Assurance and asked if I could get a phone with larger buttons, or one that has a larger screen. I also explained that I am on a fixed income and can't afford to buy a new phone. Their response...No we don't have any other phones, go out and BUY the ALCATEL ONETOUCH SpeakEasy for $20.

What is it that they didn't understand about fixed income or a larger screen? This one they want me to buy is a flip phone with another tiny little screen and small buttons. It may be free but for me it is a struggle to see or hit those tiny little buttons.

So stop calling ALL of us greedy; greed has nothing to do with it.

Apr 21, 2016
Keeping the phone number
by: Anonymous

Can I keep my assurance number and get off the govt assisted Assurance wireless and get a smart phone?..with Virgin Mobile?

Apr 21, 2016
when will Michigan be able to get smart phone available to them
by: Anonymous

i live in Michigan and the only upgrade phone we had was pay-lo but virgin mobile does not carry they anymore in store. it make it very hard to text anyone because they dont have abc keyboard. i have 3 deaf cousin that make it had to talk to them if phone does not have keyboard take way to long to carry on a conversation i did have a brio phone but died so now stuck with a no keyboard phone it is not fair

Apr 21, 2016
Feedback from Assurance/Sprint
by: PrepaidWirelessGuy

Regarding getting a smartphone on Assurance, I corresponded with both Assurance and Sprint Prepaid Group representatives; here's the responses:

"Since 10/29/15 only California customers are being offered an android when they apply for the Assurance Wireless service. However, the applicants must still be approved by the CA PUC before they receive their Android Smartphone device.

Remember that the smartphone option is currently available only on the state of California and they have the choice to apply for a basic phone or the smartphone. The new customers can apply by calling one of our live representatives at 1-888-898-4888 or through the Assurance website at the link below:"

"Current California customers can call customer care directly and just request an Android upgrade – 888-321-5880."

Apr 21, 2016
Smartphone Availability
by: PrepaidWirelessGuy

Smartphones being officially available on Assurance is relatively new. I couldn't find any reference to it on their website, including the FAQs. I reached out to them to see what they say. They're not particularly good at responding, so I wouldn't hold your breath, however, if I get a response I'll post it!

Apr 20, 2016
Smartphone In New York City
by: Anonymous

I would like to upgrade my phone to a smartphone, preferably a Samsung smartphone. I would like to know when it will be in New York City.

Apr 04, 2016
ReachOut customer looking for best alternative.
by: Kitty Kats

ReachOut ends this month. I've rec'd continual text solicitations for Android Smartphones for Safelink, but Safelink cust. service says NO! with apologies. As a senior citizen, easy to use and see features are important, as is intelligent, coherent, and audible customer services. I see probs with Assurance in the comments here. I'm sorry I won't be able to use my current phone that I'm accustomed to, a feature phone.

Mar 29, 2016
Assurance Wireless Now Has Smartphones in San Diego
by: Anonymous

You can now get a Quest smartphone thru Assurance Wireless in San Diego, CA.

Mar 25, 2016
Thank You
by: A Caregiver

I am my wife's caregiver. I qualified for the Lifeline program, and regardless of what kind of cell phone Assurance gives to low income people, I do thank the government for their help. And most importantly, the fact that I'm not receiving a bill, and being able to call and text unlimited is priceless. Who wouldn't like to have a smartphone with Wi-Fi included?

For those who qualified and got a phone without smart features please take a second out of your busy life and remember how excited you were waiting for the post man to deliver it, and found yourself able to call and text the doctor's office or your wife, etc. THANK YOU GOVERNMENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. FROM A LEGAL RESIDENT ALIEN.

Feb 13, 2016
It's Not Being Greedy!
by: I care

It's not being greedy to want a phone that works. Assurance wireless gave me a phone that barely works. Also, they told me that they would switch me to a smartphone in December 2015 if I signed up with them in October. Now they don't want to give me one.

The reason people want a smart phone is the phones they provide barely work correctly. They're phones that have not been on the market for over 5 years. I don't see a problem with spending 29 dollars at Walmart for a Virgin Mobile phone to have something function correctly when you need to use it.

Jan 22, 2016
I Tend To Agree...
by: PrepaidWirelessGuy

...That generally speaking there seems to be a lack of appreciation for this service. Yes, they should offer low cost smartphones, and even better quality feature phones. However, this is a free phone and service after all. Give it time and it will evolve, however, in the meantime, it helps a lot of people!

Jan 16, 2016
Why is everyone so greedy???
by: Anonymous

All I'm reading is complaints from people who don't appreciate the freebie that is given to them. Maybe the government should do away with the program altogether and then we'll see how many of you are willing to pay for that smart phone and service to go with it.

I helped my next door neighbor get Assurance and she's extremely appreciative. She is an unemployed single mom and the phone gives her a number for job searching and a place for the school to call if her kid gets sick while in class.

My neighbor isn't complaining that the phone doesn't have a camera or she can't download Flappy Bird onto it. The program works exactly as it is supposed to.

Be happy for what you're being given. Where will you be without the program?

Oct 22, 2015
# of Rings
by: PrepaidWirelessGuy

That's odd. They should be able to configure the number of rings before it goes to voicemail. You could trying setting up a free Google Voice account, and setting up their voicemail service. Then you can configure the number of rings yourself!

I agree, they definitely need to offer a higher quality phone. Even if they don't want to support smartphones, there are much higher (and still low cost) feature phones that they should be able to procure for the program. It's only a matter of time.

Oct 21, 2015
Two Rings Then to Voicemail Each Time
by: Anonymous

This is from Assurance website:
Competitive claim: Based on published price plans for national offer available in 40 states as of 8/18/15 of major Lifeline carriers with more than 400K customers (excludes state offers in CA and OK) there is a post that says assurance received $10 for each customer they have 400,000 customers at $10 each $4 million per month. And we get a phone that rings twice then goes to voicemail. I called and asked the Assurance Tech if they could change the number of rings to 4 so I could get to my phone. I was told they could not change the configuration.

I don't hear at all in my right ear, so I brought up the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and I am waiting to speak with a manager when I found this site. I agree with you guys they are raking in Millions, and they stick up with these cheap phones; that is just wrong.

Sep 17, 2015
List of Android Phones
by: Anonymous

To Garry or anyone who may know what were the names/models of the Android phones which Assurance Wireless informed you could be activated within certain areas of California?

Aug 24, 2015
I'd Rather Buy My Own Phone
by: Garry

I would rather buy my own Android phone than have the government pay $10 for a phone I can't hear. I have issues with my hands with writing and a cheap Android phone would do fine.

The so called "Idiot" who says if you can afford a phone you can pay for the pay providers isn't stupid, he just doesn't give a damn, and as such is too busy hating to think. There's a difference between stupidity and deliberate ignorance.

Assurance Wireless has a trial program going where they will send Android phones to people who live in select areas of California, but they claim to not know where these select areas are. If they think I believe they don't know where those areas are when they are the ones who send the phones, then they are so off base.

I also sent several emails, but they kept contradicting themselves.

First they say in their FAQ about the California Freedom plan, which I am on, that certain areas can activate an Android phone on their system if they live in certain areas of California.

I asked if I bought a phone from them could I activate it, and they say they can't activate unlocked phones. I didn't ask about unlocked phones!

Then they claim NO Android phone can be activated.

Then the guy gives me a short list of Android phones that can be activated, but then say only if I live in certain areas. What do they have? Special programming to prevent it according to the account address or special towers that only allow flip phones to work on them? That would be prohibitive and nonsense since they run of Sprint towers and all that coding isn't free.

I finally gave up in disgust.

Aug 20, 2015
Coolpad Arise on Assurance
by: Anonymous

I am wondering if I can use a Coolpad Arise with Assurance Wireless. I bought it at a Kroger store and found out they use the Virgin Mobile network (Sprint). I do not need to use data with the phone (I use WiFi for that). I only need the cell network for Voice Calling. Does anyone know if it is possible to do this? Thanks!

Jul 19, 2015
Assurance Will Transfer Service
by: Anonymous

My Aunt in California got an Obama Phone and she bought a (better) flip phone from Best Buy and Assurance transferred her free service. Piece of cake.

Jun 01, 2015
How They Decide What Phone
by: PrepaidWirelessGuy

That's a great question. My understanding is that Lifeline providers (like Assurance) get a fixed amount of money to provide the service. I don't know specifically what it is, however, I had heard that in the past it was $10/customer/month.

That would infer that providers can support the program in whatever way they want to achieve profitability. The cheaper the phone they can get away with providing, the higher the margin will be.

That's not to say that they can't provide better phones for similar cost to them. They also want simple phones that require minimal support. Smartphones can get complex (i.e. expensive) to support.

It's inevitable that the phone quality will increase. I'm actually surprised it's taken so long to make any progress. I think refurbished smartphones could be a great opportunity.

I'd be happy if customers wish to use this site as a forum to make a plea. I'd be willing to create new pages that discuss the issues in more detail, or include a formal letter/plea. Please let me know what support you need!

May 29, 2015
by: Anonymous

Universal Service Administrative Company oversees the service providers for this program. As required by the 1996 Telecom Act, telecommunications carriers providing international and interstate service and earning above certain revenue thresholds make universal service contributions.

I read the entire Rules and Orders and could not find any information on specifications requirements for free cell phones.

Assurance sent me a Kyocera S1360 and when I complained about the phone, they replied, "the only phone Assurance Wireless provides for free is the Kyocera Jax 1360, which is the phone you already have. You have the option of purchasing another phone on your own. The only phones that are compatible with the Assurance Wireless Lifeline plan are the Virgin Mobile PayLo phones".

I'm posting this information because a consorted effort is needed to get Assurance to adhere to the government' promise about what features your free phone will have.

Reach Out Wireless was my previous provider, they offered a iphone for $129. They don't service this area anymore.

The other provider in my area gives away new fully featured smart phones but their service area is limited.

My Kyocera S1360 phone has no camera, tiny screen and volume is as loud as it will go and still can't hear the ring. I'm fed up, but before I quit the program, thought I'd see if others are interested in joining together to change this.

Why do other providers offer more and better phones but Assurance restricts the phones you can used?

May 27, 2015
I'm Not a Beggar
by: Anonymous

I am elderly and I do not beg. The statement below is on

"These free phones aren’t cheap wireless phones or a discounted models. These are recent model, fully-featured cell phones, backed by prominent mobile phone companies. You won’t get an iPhone, but you’ll get a basic, modern phone."

The phone Assurance sent me is a cheap phone, no camera, 1"x 1-1/4" screen and font is very small. I have poor eyesight. I would appreciate having a phone that is easy to use. I wrote Assurance twice. Their answer is your phone is a "program" phone and I can upgrade if I want. I cannot find how to up grade my phone.

I have filed a complaint with FCC against Assurance.

FYI for the haters, I am 75 years old and retired. I started working when I was 13 years old. I raised three children, (non of which have been in jail or on welfare). I'm on a fixed income.

May 03, 2015
Beggars Can't be Choosers
by: D. Bunker

In answer to your question S.Walsh I think you sound like a self-entitled idiot. If you qualify for one of the free phones being offered then take it and be grateful. If you want a smartphone then pay for one and activate it on a compatible pay service. Ever hear the saying, "Beggars can't be choosers?"

Apr 01, 2015
Smartphone for the Disabled
by: Anonymous

You know, some folks have disability in their hands, so using a smartphone would be easier: just speak and the words get typed for you when texting.

Mar 14, 2015
Caveman.s phone
by: LQ

Assurance needs to catch up with the times. These antique flip phones are a thing of the past.

Please update your system so your subscribers don't have to hide to use their phones. This is the 21st century. Wake up.

Let us be able to get the phones we want.

Feb 19, 2015
That's Hilarious!
by: PrepaidWirelessGuy

Thank you for sharing that story; it really is hilarious!

Feb 18, 2015
Kind of Ironic
by: Timothy

Over a year ago I switched from Assurance Lifeline program to Telscape Lifeline program. Because at that time Assurance only offered 250 free min each of talk and text, and a free "Jax" phone.

Telscape raised the bar (at least in California) by offering 1000 min of talk and text each per month, and they gave you a free refurbished Android phone (with no data plan at all).

The smartphone they send you appear to be all the same model. But they look very generic when you first get them. By that I mean you can't find a brand or model anywhere on the phone. But after a few months the very skillful paint job that was done on these phones wears off. And guess what, they are all "Virgin Mobile Chasers".

Oct 21, 2014
by: Anonymous

I myself have a $5.00 Assurance phone that is not worth turning on if all you can do is make stupid calls on it. I have a smartphone I purchased off of eBay for $39.95, so get it out of your heads that you have to pay $75 to $100 dollars for a smartphone.

My question is why can Assurance not let you bring your smartphone to Assurance Wireless on a BYOP plan?THERE ARE THINGS TO DO WITH A PHONE EXCEPT RUN YOUR MOUTH TALKING.

Oct 08, 2014
Smartphone On Assurance Is Possible
by: Brian B.

Hi Everyone - I flash smartphones to Assurance Wireless. My email is brianbri6 (at) My cell is 401 400 0403. Most Verizon and Sprint smartphones work. Contact me for more details.

Aug 24, 2014
Government Phones
by: Anonymous

These sites that are in the free government program such as Assurance Wireless and Safelink, and a couple more send you the cheapest phone on the market. Most of them are not worth $10 or less.

It would not cost them any money out of their pocket, or out of the government's pocket to let you use your own smartphone. Yeah, I get a government phone that's worth about $5.

I also got a smartphone, and you're still in the dark ages if you think you have to spend big bucks for a smartphone. I gave $39.99 for mine, so cut out the crap saying they cost $80 to $100. I got mine off eBay.

Aug 14, 2014
by: David Ogg

I have heard over and over the argument that if you can afford a smartphone you can afford your own service. Do these idiots realize that smartphones can cost as little as $80.00? No one said give them a $700.00 iPhone or Samsung Galaxy. Walmart has one for $49.95. Straight Talk LG L34C Optimus for $29.95 no contract. Think before you make accusations.

Jul 30, 2014
Judgers Have So Much Time To Hate...
by: Anonymous

I work in the sector that provides assistance to elders, and persons living with disability who live on minimal income. Through no fault of their own. Although abuse can be found in every system, there is widespread compliance in these programs despite what conservative radio, and those with an agenda want people to believe.

Consider this: The ability of a disadvantaged person with health issues to have a cell phone beyond basic capability can help them maintain connections to supportive agencies, friends, family members, churches, civic organizations, etc. But the very best reason for a person with a disability or elder to have a cell phone with a larger screen is the ease with which they can reach out for help in case of a fall, or medical emergency. A diabetic or person with macular degeneration NEEDS a larger screen to make a call, even to dial 911, or to text a relative for immediate assistance.

Following a partially debilitating stroke, a person in this emergent condition, can, with the advantage of a smartphone, dial for help by pushing one or two buttons. The first hour after a stroke is critical for the prevention of permanent damage. Just one of these better functioning phones can save other safety net programs like Medicare or Medicaid, 100s of thousands of dollars.

Yes, I will repeat for the haters: One subsidized smartphone can save the system HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS. And, yes, for those so whipped up into a frenzy about Govt waste, just imagine that your economically disadvantaged elder neighbor, who lives alone, has a stroke while taking garbage out the back door. Though the stroke has affected the entire left side of her body, she could push quick dial to a neighbor or 911 even while debilitated, if she is used to a large screen phone.

I know it can work as we taught our own 84 year old father to do just that. AND, again, the 1st hour after a stroke not only can make a world of difference to the sufferer, but that one emergency can be resolved IF TREATMENT IS ACCESSIBLE. A life can be saved, and the independence of the individual can continue, thereby saving the safety net systems uncountable costs, while protecting quality of life.

The need and drive, building and building over 30 plus years to avenge ones disgust over economic hardship in those who may be worse off is not a value. And it does not, nor will it lead to saving money. Cutting off the poor from service, including a refurbished smartphone with a large screen, will not lead to utopia. It will lead to expensive disasters, and increased expense along the way.

Shame on everyone spewing hatred and automatic suspicion of their community members who genuinely need help that will only save money. Yes, abuse exists, but it has already been proven that Medicare, even with abuse, is far less expensive than private insurance where profit and overhead costs as much as 20% or more than your grandmother's Medicare.

Anecdotal stories of this person or that person abusing the safety net, while true, are not, nor have they EVER been, the big picture story of the vast majority of those who genuinely need and qualify for the help. Please realize that when you are angry or afraid, you cannot see the facts impartially, or have compassion...compassion that you may need yourself one day.

Jul 19, 2014
This Is What America Has Come To
by: greggcovert

If you can afford a smartphone, you should be able to afford to pay for your phone service. There has to be better oversight of all the government hand outs!

Jun 09, 2014
That Might Be Taking It A Bit Far
by: PrepaidWirelessGuy

I don't know if you can really argue that it's discrimination. It's about cost and profit. If they provide a free smartphone, it will cost significantly more to provide and support.

As prices continue to decline, including the prospect of providing refurbished phones, it's only a matter of time before Lifeline programs will have smartphones available.

Jun 08, 2014
by: S. Walsh

Simply put, it is discriminatory to expect that someone less fortunate should not have access to the same basic rights, of life, liberty...and the pursuit of happiness. This should include choice of phone. A reason should not have to be given to want a smartphone, as said by others. With a lack of resources as it is, this would help make transportation, less of an issue, as well as access to Internet being more affordable, help finding, or completing work...etc. I think it would be almost a class action lawsuit, what does everyone else think??

May 24, 2014
smart phones with assurance wireless
by: Anonymous

Is there anyway that I can purchase a smart phone and link it with my assurance wireless plan?

Nov 06, 2013
Smart Phones With Assurance Wireless
by: Anonymous

My Assurance Wireless phone is the only phone I have, and I too have been given one of the newer Galaxy SIII Sprint phones, but cannot use it. I really don't understand how or why if Assurance
Wireless offers an unlimited talk, text, and Web plan for $30 monthly (which requires the newer phones to access the Web), why we are not able to use the newer smartphones.

Feb 17, 2013
Smartphone & Job Seekers...Just my experience
by: Thankful & Appreciative, but...

I'm in the same boat as the previous person - I can't afford a smartphone, nor a data plan. However, I too was offered someone's hand-me-down, but had to pass it up due to this issue.

My primary issue is with my vision - even with my glasses, I have great difficulty focusing in on the tiny fonts used on the standard-issue phones provided by these companies.

In addition, I've discovered that most employers only accept on-line applications for a job. A smartphone & a trip to the nearest free Wi-Fi hotspot would be incredibly useful. I am on a VERY strict & limited budget: without a vehicle, without internet, without cable, and no newspaper service... all things that would be of great help in being able to find a job, so being allowed a wi-fi capable phone & local access to free wi-fi would be a HUGE asset to others in my situation!! (heck, I'm so broke that I, sadly & embarrassingly, can't even afford the small service fee to use the local libraries computer/internet station).

I totally relate to the issues concerning the huge increase in cost associated w/ Customer Service being bogged down by issues that you mentioned, due to the complexity of smartphones. Would it be possible for them to just service the basic operation of the phone, and talk/text? (ok, except that I can see a problem arising from issues like the phone freezing due to down-loaded stuff - phone owners would just HAVE to realize that in circumstances like that, they'd need to take it upon themselves to correct.. a "perform at your own risk" type of thing).

Feb 16, 2013
by: Anonymous

My son upgraded his phone and gave me his old smart phone. I would like to hook it up. I stay with Assurance Wireless because I can't afford a monthly bill, but would like to have an updated phone to use. Please consider the newer phones; your phones are dated back to the early 90s.

Jul 25, 2012
Smartphones Will Come, But Let's Understand The Details - Part 1
by: PrepaidWirelessGuy

Ah, yes, the smartphone question! I’ve seen this question arise more and more, especially since prepaid wireless smartphones have become so pervasive amongst prepaid carriers. And, of course, if you already have a smartphone that’s compatible with Assurance Wireless networks (i.e. Sprint or Verizon), why can’t you use it?!

I expect that similarly to how people use to say that prepaid will never have smartphones, it’s only a matter of time before this is allowed. In fact, if you have a compatible phone that’s off contract, it’s probably even cheaper for them to have you use a phone you already have, than to provide you with a phone that they have to pay for (even if it’s subsidized by the government).

Although I truly believe that it’s only a matter of time, and I also expect these free cell phone services will even provide a basic smartphone at some point in the future, there are some considerations that people may not have thought of.

In order to keep costs low for these programs, as many of you have already reported, trying to get live support to answer even the most basic questions is very difficult. Now consider the complexity of troubleshooting smarpthones. People can call in with all kinds of issues that don’t even relate to their service. For example: I can’t get my Bluetooth to work. My WiFi doesn’t work. I downloaded an app and it’s crashing my phone. How do I setup email? My camera doesn’t seem to work. I’m trying to make a Skype call but having trouble.

As you can imagine, the list is truly endless. The reality is that the cost to support these more complex smartphones is not trivial, and carriers would rather not have to deal with that level of management within their business. This is particularly true for a lower margin program.

Jul 25, 2012
Smartphones Will Come, But Let's Understand The Details - Part 2
by: PrepaidWirelessGuy

Generally speaking, carriers spend a lot of time and energy certifying their phones on their networks to ensure that they work and perform as desired. That’s why even carriers with compatible networks don’t allow activations across networks. i.e. They will generally not activate phones that they didn’t sell.

Assurance is a good example of a company that makes this even more confusing. Unlike i-wireless’ Access Wireless Lifeline program that allows any of its i-wireless phones to be activated on Access, Virgin allows only Assurance phones and payLo phones to be used.

Will they ultimately allow other Virgin phones, including smartphones to be activated on Assurance Wireless; it seems inevitable!

All that said, if someone qualifies for a free cell phone and service, but wants to go out and pay cash for a smartphone, it certainly does sound odd that they would prioritize their budget to spend so much money on a phone, no? It’s different if you already have one before you ran into hard times, or if someone gives it to you as a gift. However, understanding the difference between these scenarios would be impossible for a carrier to evaluate. So the spirit is such that if you need this type of free program, that you don’t have the money to spend on phone with features beyond just the basics, which they provide for free. Some food for thought.

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