Many people assume that the US free cell service is not going to be as good as paying for a subscription although this is not entirely true. There are a number of high-end cellphone providers that are part of the free program. Even companies like Sprint/Nextel and Virgin have subsidiaries that offer free programs.
The Lifeline Program
The government has had the Lifeline program in place since 1985. It offers a phone as well as phone package to those who are below the poverty line. There is a long list of requirements that must be met to get onto the program, though anyone who is already receiving government aid usually qualifies.
The program has recently expanded out to include cell phones. Now a person is able to choose a provider that works within their state in order to get free cell service.
Some of the features that providers are offering include:
- Free phone
- 100+ minutes free
- Free texts
- Free voice mail, call waiting
All of these features are absolutely free. It can give people to opportunity to make calls to an employer, leave a phone number for a job application, and reach out to family. There are significantly less payphones in the world than there were 10 years ago and so offering a cell service to those in need can help.
When It’s Not Enough
The free cell service upsets a lot of people because it only offers on average 100 minutes. This is not enough for the average person making phone calls on a daily basis. Many of the cellphone providers that are on the Lifeline program have identified this and it is why there are now pay plans. It is now possible for a person to obtain additional minutes on their plan. This is still drastically lower than if they were to go to AT&T or Sprint and buy a high street package. On average, a person can get a plan with 300 minutes for about $15 – $20 a month.
Each person who qualifies for the program will have the opportunity to choose their provider as well as whether they want the free plan or the additional paid plan. They will have to re-qualify for the program each year to ensure they are still below the poverty line and not simply taking advantage of the government.
Why Free is Good
The free cell service can still be a great service for a variety of reasons. The first and most obvious is that the service is free. It may not be able to connect to the Internet, but it is given out complimentary.
The companies that provide the service are well-known. Many of them have been in the cell and telecommunications industry for 10 years or more. Some are solely dedicated to being part of the government’s Lifeline program while others are subsidiaries of the big names such as Sprint, Virgin and AT&T.
With more cellphone towers popping up around the country, it is easy for a person to get the cell service they need. Ten years ago, it would have been hard to get a signal in many places. Now, a person can use a cellphone and almost guarantee that they will get a signal.
When a person can qualify for a free cell service, it can work to their advantage. The main thing is to look at the various providers that offer the cell service. This will make it easy to look at what the package they’re offering to determine if it’s suitable for the user. Anyone who wants a free service will be able to control what they get. If it isn’t enough, there is always the option to pay.
Mandy Waters is a freelance writer who contributes on behalf of Scratch Wireless; the only smartphone plan with free wireless for your smartphone and unlimited texting whether on Wi-Fi or cellular. Get free cell phone service from ScratchWireless.com today.