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FREE (or almost Free) Wireless
There are several methods to get Free, or almost Free, cellular service. One of them could work for you.

You might qualify for subsidized cellular. Most wireless carriers offer a government-subsidized "Lifeline" or "Link-Up" service at a significantly reduced cost if you can qualify based on your income. You may also qualify for the Affordable Connectivity Program. Lifeline support lowers the cost of basic, monthly local telephone service and can be Free or just a few dollars per month. An eligible customer may receive the Lifeline discount on either a wireline or wireless connection, but the discount is available for only one account per household. Lifeline discounts do not apply to taxes or surcharges, and don't relieve the account holder from paying the monthly bill. Details on how to sign up are below.

Lifeline:

Qualifications to receive Lifeline discounts vary by state. The qualifying programs are either determined by each state's Public Utility Commission or the federal Lifeline/Link-Up program. Some states and U.S. territories do not provide state-funded discounts. If available, an individual may be eligible if he or she participates in one of the following programs:

  • Federal Public Housing Assistance (FPHA) or Section 8
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP - formerly Food Stamps)
  • Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
  • Medicaid
  • National School Lunch Program
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
  • Old Age Pension (OAP)
  • Aid to the Blind (AB)
  • Aid to the Needy (AND)
  • Aid to Children
  • Residents of Tribal Territories*
  • If your household income is at or below 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines, you may qualify for Lifeline based on income.  You will need to provide current documentation that shows your household income. Contact your chosen carrier for details.
*To receive Lifeline discounts in Tribal territories, you must reside on land that meets the Bureau of Indian Affairs definition of a reservation, specifically any federally recognized Native American tribe's reservation within an eligible carrier's coverage area, based on the zip code of your home address.

What Does LifeLine Cost?
Lifeline services range from Free to $20 per month. Don't confuse Lifeline plans with "Senior" plans that are offered by some companies. Lifeline (also called "LifeLink") is supported by government subsidies.  Individual states have different subsidies and some states have none.

To Sign Up For LifeLine Service:

If you qualify, you can contact wired and wireless telephone companies and ask about "Lifeline" service. You can shop among the programs to see which one will give you the best offer. These programs are not limited to your local telephone company, you can call your local wireless carrier.

Or Take the Easy Way:

There are companies that provide service specifically to Lifeline customers across the nation such as Q Link Wireless and SafeLink. Not all carriers provide Lifeline service and not necessarily in their entire coverage areas.  Also, not all states support subsidized wireless service and not necessarily at the same subsidy amounts. Some wireless carriers do not significantly discount LifeLine plans so shop carefully.



Affordable Connectivity Program


The Affordable Connectivity Program is an FCC benefit program that helps ensure that households can afford the broadband they need for work, school, healthcare and more.

The benefit provides a discount of up to $30 per month toward internet service for eligible households and up to $75 per month for households on qualifying Tribal lands. Eligible households can also receive a one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet from participating providers if they contribute more than $10 and less than $50 toward the purchase price. The Affordable Connectivity Program is limited to one monthly service discount and one device discount per household.

Apply in 2 steps:
1) Here is Where to Apply
2) Then Contact your preferred participating provider to select a plan and have the discount applied to your bill.
Some providers may have an alternative application that they will ask you to complete.

Who Is Eligible for the Affordable Connectivity Program?
  • A household is eligible for the Affordable Connectivity Program if the household income is at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines.
  • Received a Federal Pell Grant during the current award year
  • Meets the eligibility criteria for a participating provider's existing low-income internet program
  • Free and Reduced-Price School Lunch Program or School Breakfast Program, including at U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Community Eligibility Provision schools
  • SNAP
  • Medicaid
  • Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Program (Section 8 Vouchers)
  • Project-Based Rental Assistance (PBRA)/202/811
  • Public Housing
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • WIC
  • Veterans Pension or Survivor Benefits
  • Lifeline
  • Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance
  • Tribal TANF
  • Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations
  • Tribal Head Start (income based)
  • Affordable Housing Programs for American Indians, Alaska Natives or Native Hawaiians

Free Wireless from Boost Mobile!

The BoostOne app enables consumers to earn rewards that can be used towards free wireless discounts and free service every month across all service plans. Boost Mobile’s BoostOne app allows users to earn blockchain-backed “Boostcoins” by playing games, watching videos, and engaging with thousands of partners to complete offers to earn coins that can be redeemed for discounted and free wireless service.

In the future, Boost expects the coins may be used for additional goods and services like free phones, other third-party products and exchanged with other users. The BoostOne app is available from the Apple Store and Google Play.

Sign Up for Boost One


FREE, Emergency-Only Cellular!  

Everybody qualifies for this! Almost any digital cellular phone can call 911, sometimes even if the phone screen shows "No Service." This means even discarded or deactivated digital wireless phones can be set aside in a glove compartment or night stand and used to summon help. Don't expect a cellular company to give you one of these "free" phones. Instead, ask a friend or relative if they'll give you one of their old phones. You can call the associated carrier and ask if that particular phone model will work. Some may be missing a "SIM" which can be found on eBay or from some cellular stores. We include this option because it's possible, but we'd rather spend a few dollars for something more reliable.

Here are some important considerations for using an "old" cellular phone for this kind of emergency-only use:
  • The Call Must Truly be an Emergency
    involving life and death situations, fires, injuries or other dangers to people or property. They cannot be used to request a tow truck, gas refill or directions.

  • You Must be Within Cellular Coverage
    The phone must use a technology that is currently supported by US carriers: GSM or CDMA. It cannot be from a foreign country or use analog or TDMA (old Cingular and AT&T phones) technology.

  • Never Call 911 to "Test" the Phone
    Call your local police or fire administrative number from a different phone and ask for their assistance.


  • Check the Phone's Battery
    Look at the indicator on a regular basis or keep a charger handy.


  • If You Make an Emergency Call
    Give the dispatcher complete information including where you are and what is needed. Once you hang up they cannot call you back!  If you have a fairly new phone they may be able to determine your general location, but not your specific address.


Very Low-Cost Prepaid Cellular:

There are real Prepaid wireless plans than cost about $2-5 a month and maybe less! Don't expect to get a lot for a buck.


  • One of the best low-cost plans is from Tello. Their $5 introductory plan includes Calls and some Data.

  • For a little more, plans with more Talk, Text and Data can be as cheap as $10 per month.  Really!