Most of our daily activities are tied to phone and internet services via SIM cards or similar devices. While you can find cheap SIM cards, prepaid options vary between $30 and $80 on average, depending on what’s included in the plan and the operator.
Fortunately, you can get a free SIM card with data if you enroll in a government program like the Lifeline Assistance program or the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). These programs are designed to help low-income consumers pay for phone and internet services.
Keep reading to discover government service providers offering SIM cards with monthly data and phone service for free.
5 Government Benefit Programs Offering Free SIM Card With Data
Many Lifeline providers give free cell phones to eligible consumers, but not all offer a BYOP option (Bring Your Own Phone) or provide SIM cards with preloaded mobile data for free.
The following are some popular government service providers offering prepaid SIM cards and data free of charge.
TruConnect is a mobile virtual network operator in the United States, providing unlimited talk, text, and high-speed data through Lifeline and ACP.
With TruConnect, you can get a free SIM card with data if you qualify for Lifeline. The provider offers up to 6GB of high-speed mobile data with unlimited talk and text every month.
While TruConnect’s ACP plan does not include a free SIM card, subscribers who combine their Lifeline and ACP benefits can receive free SIMs or smartphones in addition to unlimited data, talk, text, and international calling.
2. Easy Wireless
As one of the leading providers of Lifeline and ACP free phone and internet services in the US, Easy Wireless helps million of qualifying consumers stay connected with free data, talk, and text.
The provider offers three service plans; Lifeline Only, ACP Free Wireless, and Lifeline & ACP Combined plans. Except for the Lifeline Only plan, other plans include a free SIM card with free unlimited data every month.
Regardless of the plan you qualify for, you can access text and picture messaging, voicemail, call forwarding, free 911 emergency services, and many other additional free services.
3. AirTalk Wireless
Airtalk Wireless is a fast-growing Lifeline provider covering many states, including Arizona, California, Idaho, Montana, New Jersey, Washington, Wyoming, and Puerto Rico.
When you enroll in a government phone service program through AirTalk Wireless, you will receive a SIM card with free monthly voice minutes, text, and data without paying a dime.
The company’s Lifeline plan includes the following:
- Free SIM card
- 5GB of data monthly
- 1,000 monthly talk minutes
- Unlimited monthly text
Subscribers on the ACP plan will receive 8GB of data every month, including unlimited talk and text.
In addition to a free smartphone and SIM card, the AirTalk Lifeline and ACP combined plan give 15GB of high-speed data every month as well as unlimited talk, text, and picture messaging.
4. QLink Wireless
As one of America’s largest Lifeline and ACP providers with nationwide 5G/4G LTE networks, QLink Wireless provides fast speeds and more coverage in nearly all parts of the nation.
You get a free universal (three sizes) SIM card with free activation when you sign up with QLink Wireless. Additionally, you will receive unlimited monthly data, talk, text, and picture messaging.
Although QLink Wireless offers free SIM cards, you can keep your old number with your preferred phone to keep things familiar.
Signing up with this company gives you access to about 10 million free Wi-Fi locations nationwide.
5. StandUp Wireless
StandUp Wireless is a Lifeline provider offering free phone and internet service to qualified low-income consumers.
In addition to free plans, the provider offers various paid plans, which are all affordable. The free plan is available when you bundle your Lifeline and ACP benefits, and it includes a free SIM card with activation. You also get free monthly high-speed 5G/4G LTE data and unlimited talk and text.
Other plans range from $30 to $110 per month, with each plan offering varying amounts of high-speed data and unlimited talk and text. However, you can get a free SIM card and one free month of unlimited talk, text, and 5GB of data when you subscribe to the company’s $30 plan.
Requirement for Getting a Free SIM Card With Data From Government Benefit Programs
While the government is generous enough to provide free and discounted phone and internet services, not everyone can take advantage of the offer. You must meet certain eligibility requirements to get a free SIM card and other benefits.
To qualify for phone and internet services through the Lifeline Assistance program, your household income must be below or at 135% of the federal poverty guideline. You can also qualify if you or someone in your household receives benefits from the following programs:
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or Food Stamp
- Veterans and Survivors Pension Benefit
- Federal Public Housing Assistance (FPHA)
- Tribal Head Start
- Tribal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (Tribal TANF)
- Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance
- Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR)
If your household income is above Lifeline’s threshold, you may qualify through the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), provided your income is at or below 200% of the federal poverty guideline.
You may also be eligible for ACP benefits if you or anyone in your household participates in a government assistance program like WIC, National School Lunch Program, Federal Pell Grant, SNAP, and Medicaid.
Getting a free SIM card with data is easier than many people think. If you have trouble paying your phone or internet bills, you should consider enrolling in a government program like Lifeline or Affordable Connectivity Program to get help with monthly phone and mobile broadband service payments.
The participating telecommunication service providers on this list are some of the most reliable in the US. You can sign up for Lifeline or ACP through them, but first, make sure to choose a service provider with coverage in your state.