You are probably reading this because you want to enroll in the Lifeline Assistance program or are considering switching your current Lifeline provider.
In either case, knowing the best Lifeline providers in your state will help you choose a telecom company that suits your needs, which is what this post aims to do.
Lifeline is a US government-sponsored program established to help low-income consumers access phone service at highly affordable rates.
In many cases, eligible households can qualify for free phones and unlimited monthly talk minutes, text, and data.
To enjoy these benefits, eligible individuals must subscribe to Lifeline through government-approved service providers in their states.
If you want to take advantage of the government assistance program, this article provides a list of the most reliable Lifeline participating companies across the nation.
Let’s start by discussing what to consider when choosing a Lifeline provider.
Choosing the Best Lifeline Providers
While many telecom companies participate in the Lifeline Assistance program, they have varying performance levels and service plans. You want to carefully consider what a provider offers and make sure they suit your needs before subscribing to its service.
First, check to see if the Lifeline provider covers the state you live in. Although Lifeline covers all states, territories, tribal lands, and commonwealth, some service providers may not be available nationwide.
A Lifeline provider unavailable in your area is useless to you, regardless of the exceptional service, plans, and benefits it offers.
Plans and Features
Consider the service you’ll need before choosing a Lifeline provider. Do you want access to features like free 911 service and free roaming? How many free voice minutes, text, and data do you need each month?
Some Lifeline service providers offer limited talk, text, and data, with the option to purchase additional plans when you run out. Others allow you to combine Lifeline with the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), giving you unlimited service each month.
Free Phone and “Bring Your Own Device” Option
It is best to choose a Lifeline provider that offers free devices to eligible low-income consumers under the Federal Poverty guideline if you are looking to qualify for a free phone.
Although a free government phone sounds tempting, you don’t want to be stuck with an ancient device.
For this reason, be sure to choose a service provider that allows you to bring your own device if you don’t like the phone models available or prefer to skip the hassles of learning how to use a new smartphone.
Top 10 Best Lifeline Providers
1. SafeLink Wireless
SafeLink Wireless is powered by TracFone Wireless, Inc. The company provides free or low-cost wireless phone service to Lifeline subscribers in Indiana, New York, West Virginia, Illinois, Utah, Hawaii, and Michigan, among other states.
With this provider, you get free unlimited voice minutes and text to selected destinations each month, up to 5GB of hotspot data, and 25GB of high-speed, depending on your state and type of phone plan.
Other features of SafeLink Wireless include free 911 access, zero charge for 411 directory assistance, and 3-way calling. Subscribers can get rewards, such as free prescription savings cards for use in pharmacies and a 50% discount on Amazon Prime.
Besides the chance to get a free or heavily discounted smartphone, you can bring your own device and get a free SIM card to use with your current phone.
2. Assurance Wireless
With coverage spanning more than 40 states, Assurance Wireless is undoubtedly one of the largest providers of free and discounted phone service through the Lifeline Assistance program.
Eligible low-income subscribers can get free phones, monthly minutes, and unlimited text. By opting into the ACP through Assurance Wireless, you can receive free monthly broadband service to stay connected to critical healthcare services, jobs, and virtual classrooms.
Keep in mind that you cannot bring your own device with this Lifeline provider. If you choose Assurance Wireless as your Lifeline provider, you must use a phone provided by the company.
TrueConnect provides Lifeline service to customers in 37 states, the US Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico.
Households that qualify can get up to 6GB of high-speed data, free unlimited talk and text, as well as unlimited international calls to selected countries.
TrueConnect’s Lifeline phone plan includes a free SIM card, so you can enjoy free and heavily discounted services on your current phone.
You need to sign up for ACP to get a free smartphone or tablet.
4. enTouch Wireless
Rated one of the best Lifeline providers in the nation, enTouch Wireless is available in 34 states, including California, Arizona, Oklahoma, Idaho, Maryland, and Texas, among others.
Eligible consumers get unlimited talk and text, as well as unlimited data. If you have family and friends in the UK, Mexico, Canada, and India, enTouch Wireless allows you to make free international calls to these countries.
You can get a free phone with service if you qualify. And even if you don’t, the provider allows you to bring your own device.
In addition to the Lifeline benefit, subscribers in certain states can apply for ACP internet service through enTouch Wireless.
5. Cintex Wireless
Cintex Wireless is a Lifeline participating company with coverage in many states and territories, including Arkansas, Maryland, Vermont, Maine, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Wyoming, Puerto Rico, and Washington.
Like several other Lifeline providers on this list, Cintex Wireless offers unlimited talk and text, and eligible consumers on the ACP subsidy can get free unlimited high-speed data every month.
With Cinetx Wireless, you can receive free modern smartphones like Apple iPhone 7, Samsung Galaxy A12, and a combo of tablets and smartphones for as little as $10.01.
6. StandUp Wireless
StandUp Wireless provides phone service in over 30 states. Along with unlimited talk and text, residents of Arizona, California, New York, South Carolina, and Texas, among others, can enjoy 10GB of high-speed data and unlimited additional data each month.
With nationwide coverage on T-Mobile, Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint networks, StandUp Wireless is, without a doubt, one of the best Lifeline providers in America.
You can receive a free smartphone or table if you qualify. Also, you can bring your own device if you prefer, provided it is compatible and unlocked.
Interestingly, you don’t have to change your phone number when you enroll in the Lifeline program through StandUp Wireless.
The provider offers porting service, which allows you to keep your old phone number.
This way, staying connected to family and friends is easy, and you won’t lose your important contacts or go through the hassles of giving out your new phone number to all your contacts again.
7. Easy Wireless
If you live in Arkansas, Missouri, or Oklahoma, you might want to consider signing up for Lifeline program benefits through Easy Wireless.
While this provider doesn’t cover many states, it provides reliable cell phone service on the Sprint network ― one of America’s leading networks ― so you don’t have to worry about dropped calls or poor cell signal.
Subscribers enjoy free unlimited data, talk, text, and hotspot services. Eligible low-income customers can get free smartphones.
And if you prefer, you can get a free SIM card to use with your current phone.
8. Assist Wireless
Assist Wireless provides Lifeline service in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, and Maryland. Its service is hosted by Sprint and T-Mobile networks and is provided over 3G, 4G LTE, and 5G networks, depending on your device capability and network availability.
Besides free phones and service to eligible customers, this company offers more perks and rewards than other Lifeline providers in the US.
In addition to free unlimited talk, text, and data, subscribers enjoy amazing rewards on the anniversary of their activation dates and birthdays. Also, customers can earn free accounts in several ways.
9. Terracom Wireless
Terracom Wireless is a Lifeline service provider with coverage in over 20 states, including Arizona, Colorado, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. Service plans vary between states, but they generally include free monthly unlimited text and 1,000 minutes of talk or more, depending on where you live.
You can bring your own phone if you choose this provider. And even if you don’t qualify for Lifeline, Terracom Wireless offers other affordable non-Lifeline plans to choose from.
10. Life Wireless
Life Wireless ranks among the best Lifeline providers with 4G LTE coverage in 36 states, including Ohio, California, West Virginia, and Arkansas. It also provides reliable 5G coverage in areas with the service.
Qualified low-income consumers can get free phones through Lifeline and enjoy free unlimited talk, text, and 15GB of data through the ACP. Even when you exhaust your monthly free data allowance, you can continue surfing the internet for free but at reduced data speeds.
This Lifeline provider has plans that include voicemail, 3-way calling, free 911 Service, call waiting, and zero roaming charges, among other attractive features.
You can switch to Life Wireless from any Lifeline provider and still keep your current phone number. In addition to receiving a free phone, you can get a replacement phone at a fee in case of a stolen or defective device.