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To understand why there are free government phones, you need to first understand a little about the Lifeline and Link-Up programs. When these programs were first instituted, the Lifeline Assistance program and Link-Up America which are supported by the federal Universal Service Fund (USF), the intent was to help low income individuals by providing discounted home phone service. The programs are administered by the Federal Communications Commission and the Universal Service Administrative Company. However, those states that have instituted their own program, the eligibility requirements differ depending on state regulation. LaForey is a parent and a freelance writer who has done quite a bit of research on prepaid cell phones and free government phones.
My life link phone was stolen and some one is using it, what should I do to stop them from getting more free time on my phone? Republic is charging $299 (plus taxes and fees) for the Moto X, but they offer it with no long-term contract required.
The $10 per month plan: For an additional $5 per month, this Republic plan offers cellular access, but only for unlimited talk and unlimited texting.
As we said earlier, the Republic Wireless program may not be right if you’re looking for a free cell phone program. The 2016 List of Leaders: Who’s who in the free government cell phone businessThe first shoe to drop? Question of the day: Is there a website with all the dates and times of places where you can get a free government cell phone?
This is an on-going problem that our readers report regarding a number of free government cell phone companies. You need to visit our sister website -- CheapInternet.c om -- to find a wide range of low-income Internet plans.
Here's one way to find out: Google your phone make and model and "user manual" and you'll probably find the info you need. July 25, 2014We always say the more the merrier when it comes to competition in the free government cell phone business. Now it’s proving to be true as Safelink Wireless and Assurance Wireless, the two biggest names in the free government cell phone business, attempt to attract more customers by offering bonus minutes and texts to new customers.
New customers who enroll in SafeLink during our limited time offer will receive 500 minutes for the first 3 months of service. And for the first time in the history of the free government cell phone business, we see one company comparing its plan to competitors’ plans.
We think this is just the beginning of a vicious dogfight between Lifeline Assistance companies. For example, AT&T Mobility (Alaska only) and several local Alaska phone companies are already offering 1200 anytime minutes and national long distance for just $1 per month. When the Lifeline Assistance free government cell phone program originated a few years back, the standard plan offered by every competitor was 250 free voice minutes. As you can see in the Assurance chart, Safelink now offers new customers 250 voice minutes and 1000 texts per month, and Assurance is offering 250 voice minutes and unlimited texts.
This is all terrific news for low income Americans struggling to get by in today’s shaky economy.
I am severely disabled and could really benefit from getting one of these phones as I am home alone most of the time! The only advantage Assurance Wireless has over Safelink is that with Assurance Wireless, you can manage your account online.
If you do not have the phone after several months, then I say RUN do not walk to a different company!
I’m already with Assurance Wireless but my 250 free minutes always run out before the next month. The printable Safelink application can be printed from any standard inkjet or laser jet printer, and can be mailed or faxed for review. Online Safelink Application The online Safelink application is the most efficient as your submission will be reviewed more quickly.
Searching for an inexpensive plan on iPhone offer, or perhaps you wish to use an unlocked worldwide cell phone? Companies are flooding low-income households with free cell phones and minutes under a plan overseen by the federal government that is prone to abuse, a Dayton Daily News investigation has found. Just saying but how can I do my drug deals, get my free Gov’t bennies and do other off the books scams without my free cell phone YO! Yeah I mean it’s not like the government is also paying for their healthcare, housing, or food. But then I guess I am stupid as hell for bothering to shop for the lowest price plan to fit my budget when I could just go crying to Uncle Sugar. These appear to be recycled older phones, and have a small number of monthly minutes (250 domestic is the max) and one text counts as one minute.
These programs set the ground work for all of the existing free and government assisted phone programs. It helps offset the activation, installation and monthly service fees that can put a strain on families of low income. Each state has the option of relying solely on the federal program or instituting its own program. Republic Wireless got our attention recently when it began offering unlimited talk, unlimited text and unlimited data beginning at just $5 per month.

The company just announced that it is now offering the hot, new Motorola MotoX for just $299. In fact, you could sign up for a Republic plan one day and cancel it the next day if that’s what you wanted to do.
But it’s still one hell of a bargain for those who want more from their cell phone plan. This plan gives you unlimited talk, unlimited text and unlimited data via both wifi and 3G cellular.
For various reasons, unlimited accounts are only available in California, Oklahoma and Alaska. At this point, we'd suggest that you call customer service and demand to speak to a supervisor. If there is, changing to a different Lifeline Assistance cell phone company is free and you'd get a new number, too. Virtually all phones now have built-in cameras, but you never know which make and model you'll get. And this can only be good for Lifeline customers as the competition for their business heats up. In Oklahoma, several companies are already offering 750 voice minutes and 1000 texts per month for just $1. That gradually expanded to 250 voice minutes OR 250 texts and that soon increased to 250 voice minutes AND 250 texts.
We all can’t afford to pay more and they are giving you FREE texts, so it is much simpler to text than to pay more monies! The investigation found the free cell phone program is growing rapidly because cell phone companies are promoting it heavily and is so commonly abused that 26,500 Ohioans this month have been notified they are violating the rules.
I'm going to make a sign and stand on the street corner demanding my 4s with 4G service.
The government has made suckers out of anyone trying to pay their own way and play by the rules. Uncle Suckah gives them everything, they become bloated, literally, on the freebies and when the collapse comes, they go beserk because those freebies no longer exist. For those states that rely solely on the government program, the eligibility is based on Federal guidelines. The phone provider companies are not limited to the big name providers such as AT&T, Verizon and the like. If you see an item and a charge for Universal Service, that means your phone provider is passing some of the cost for the program on to you. Your phone provider cannot collect more in universal service charges than they actually paid, nor can they charge universal service fees to Lifeline customers. The only catch is that they require you to purchase their internet-ready cell phones at market prices. You probably won’t notice the difference unless you check out the green on-screen indicator. But if you are willing to pay a little more to get a lot more, Republic and their new Moto X phone may be exactly what you need.
This offer is limited and only for New Customers, it will expire after September 15th, 2014. You will continue to receive UNLIMITED FREE Texts each month for as long as you are eligible.
We’ll undoubtedly see more companies making better offers by offering more minutes, more texts, and more services for free.
AirFire, a Wisconsin-only cell phone company is offering 500 voice minutes and 500 texts every month for free.
The program is paid for with fees mandated by the government and tacked onto most cellphone and home phone bills, often listed as the Universal Service fee. He got exactly zero cents in any Federal or State benefits and lost all of his Social Security since he never married and didn’t have any children. Phone providers also include paging service companies, wireless companies and even VOIP companies such as Vonage (VoIP stands for voice over internet protocol: You know those phone companies that use the internet for making calls).
And Dart, an Oklahoma-only cell phone company, is now offering unlimited talk for just $1 per month.
It is redistributed to phone companies that provide free or discounted service to low-income residents.
I get pi$$ed off when someone wastes my time or wakes me up for no good reason and I suspect that many people are paying for service they don't really need. That means all your calls, all your texts, all your data must be accessed via wifi signals. If you live and work in a wifi rich environment and are willing to trade occasional inability to find a wifi signal for all that the plan offers, this could be perfect for you.
A program subsidizing basic phone service for the poor has been around since the 1980s, but the decision in 2005 to add prepaid cellphones to the program has led to ballooning costs and little oversight of the rule that each household only gets one free phone or discounted line, the Dayton Daily News investigation found. They have to do something like that for the food stamps anyhow (more than one person being fed together gets less than integral multiples of the one person rate).
If you get the 4G with Republic remember you might not have use of it except in large cities.
This is part of an effort by the Federal Communications Commission that has identified 269,000 people in 12 states suspected of abusing the system with more than one subsidized phone or land line.

The number of prepaid cellphone companies offering the service in Ohio grew from one last year to four this year.
One provider, TracFone, which markets its free service by the brand name SafeLink, was the only provider offering the service in Ohio since 2009 and averaged $3.5 million in revenue a month through the fall.
Those commercials for Verizon that show the map show the 4G map coverage only and 3G is pretty much everywhere so their ads are really misleading.
Assurance Wireless, which is owned by Sprint, entered the Ohio market in May and took in $2.2 million in October. That competition has led to the program becoming more visible, but also more susceptible to abuse.
The competing companies do not typically share information to check whether a new applicant is already receiving free service from another provider. Yes, you will have to pay $299 for the phone upfront but it pays for itself in a few months. Even if you have to pay an early termination fee it will save you money over the next year or two. His cancer has been in remission since 1996, but the treatment caused a host of health problems that left him unable to work.
New TV commercials tout the Assurance phone, which was one of three prepaid wireless providers to enter the Ohio market this year. The other new plans are i-wireless from Cincinnati Bell and ReachOut Wireless from Nexus Communications. Cincinnati Bell charges for the phone itself and roaming charges, and offers plans starting at 250 minutes a month for free. It offers up to 250 monthly minutes for free or less if users want unused minutes to roll over. With $32.7 million in program revenue in Ohio through October this year, TracFone is already exceeding its revenue from 2010, according to data reported to the FCC. Assurance received $2.9 million from August through October, the only months it has reported. Cincinnati Bell’s prepaid service has received $161,617 so far this year and ReachOut has yet to report any revenue. The rest of the program funds went to discounting traditional cellphone or home phone service. Program growth unlimited While this program itself is not new, the advent of cheap prepaid phones makes it more difficult to make sure only one person per household is getting the benefit. The program has doubled nationwide in the last decade from an inflation-adjusted $667 million in 2000 to $1.3 billion in 2010, according to the Federal Communications Commission. Oversight responsibility in Ohio is placed upon the companies, which usually rely on the honor system and require users to state when they apply if they already have subsidized service. It found that the addition of prepaid wireless to the program led to a 25 percent increase in the cost of the program from 2008 to 2009 with an even bigger annual increase likely in 2010. It received $189.7 million in low-income support payments in 2009, accounting for 18 percent of the total market and 90 percent in the increase, the GAO reported. TracFone officials told auditors their success is due to successful marketing to low-income customers, spending $2.4 million on ads in January 2010.
Census Bureau estimates there could be more than 50,000 people making less than 150 percent of the federal poverty guidelines in the Dayton Metropolitan area alone.
Pflanz said studies have shown that having such phones helps people get jobs, become taxpayers and contribute to the economy.
Pflanz said his company cross-checks subscribers to make sure they don’t already have service, and hands data over to the FCC so they can check for duplication among companies. Two states, 111,000 duplicates But the GAO found the program lacks clear, measurable goals.
The GAO found SafeLink phones for sale online and pointed out that prepaid phones have no way of knowing if the subscriber is still in possession of the phone.
And 76 percent of the performance audits conducted found at least some cases of multiple subsidized lines per household, contrary to program rules.
In December, USAC completed an audit of TracFone in parts of Florida and Tennessee and found 111,682 subscribers received benefits through both TracFone and another phone company. The audit also found TracFone claimed 303 duplicate addresses and telephone numbers and issued a finding against the company for $3,013.
Amid mounting concerns of abuse, the FCC in June issued an order confirming that the program is limited to one line per household, and directing the USAC to identify duplicate users and tell them they must pick only one line. In those states, they compared the subscriber list from the top four providers in the program. In Ohio, they compared subscribers to TracFone, AT&T, Frontier North and Cincinnati Bell. The effort has eliminated 200,615 duplicate lines in the first seven states where it was completed, according to FCC officials. FCC considering changes The FCC is considering rule changes to address these problems in the long-term.

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