List: Free Cell Phone Providers for the Poor

Lifeline cell phone companies vary greatly in size and state-by-state availability. The two largest, with millions of subscribers each are Safelink Wireless and Assurance Wireless. In the third, forth and fifth positions are Budget Mobile, Reachout Wireless and Life Wireless, each with roughly three quarters of a million subscribers. Below them, the number of subscribers and availability across many states drop quickly.

Twenty-two Lifeline phone providers in all, we present them in alphabetical order in the following list. Most offer close to the same plans, but the plans do vary in the number of minutes and texts they offer. So make sure you compare each one offered in your state to make sure you are getting the best plan for you.

Absolute Mobil is a small company that participates in the free government cell phone program in Arkansas, Nevada and Puerto Rico.

Alaska Communications – They only do one state: Alaska. But they do it well: unlimited talk and text.

Alaska DigiTel – Another company that is focusing on just Alaska with unlimited voice calling and texting.

Access Wireless — This provider is quickly becoming one of the major players in the free government cell phone business. They currently offer the Lifeline Assistance program in Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, New Hampshire, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington and West Virginia.

American Assistance – The Lifeline Assistance program offered by American Broadband & Telecommunications, American Assistance is currently making free government cell phones available to eligible Americans in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

Amerimex Wireless – If you speak Spanish and you need a free government cell phone in Georgia, particularly in the Atlanta area, AmeriMex Wireless may be the company for you. The company has a unique business approach designed for hispanics.

Arctic Slope Telephone Association Cooperative – ASTAC is a small company that serves towns and villages along Alaska’s North Slope coast and down the state’s west coast as far south as Kotzebue, Noorvik, and Selawik.

Assist Wireless – This Lifeline cell phone provider offers cell phone plans in Arkansas, Maryland, Missouri and Oklahoma. They have a number of different plans.

Assurance Wireless – Assurance Wireless is a brand of Sprint Nextel. It began participating in the Lifeline program later than Safelink, but our numbers show it to have grown rapidly and is in Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

Blue Jay Wireless — serving free government cell phone customers in Arizona, Colorado, Hawaii, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Utah and Wisconsin.

Budget Mobile – This Lifeline cell phone provider offers cell phone plans in Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Washington, Utah, Texas, West Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming. They are working on certification for other states.

Care Wireless – This brand of prepaid phone company PlatinumTel Wireless offers phones in Illinois.

Cintex Wireless – This regional Lifeline provider offers cell phone plans in Arkansas, Maine, Maryland, Rhode Island or West Virginia.

ClearTalk – Not associated with another ClearTalk you may see, this provider’s geographic footprint is pretty small. The service is limited to the Columbia and Greenville/Spartanburg areas of South Carolina.

Copper Valley Wireless – One of several companies that serve only Alaska.

Easy Wireless – If you live in Oklahoma, Kentucky, or Missouri, you can contact Easy Wireless for your Lifeline cell phone.

enTouch Wireless – enTouch Wireless is now making free government cell phones available in twenty states: Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Texas, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

FeelSafe Wireless – the brand name of the free government cell phone program offered by Air Voice Wireless. The service is available in Kentucky, Michigan and Wisconsin.

Gulf Coast Wireless – serving West Virginia.

i-Wireless – This division of Cincinnati Bell serves Ohio only. Residents of Ohio should look into this service before settling on one of the big providers.

Infiniti Mobile – This provider only serves Oklahoma. There are many Lifeline cell phone companies in Oklahoma, be sure to check them all out.

Life Wireless – Life Wireless is free cell phone provider in the states of Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

Link Up Telecom – serving Maryland and West Virginia.

NewPhone Wireless – Available to residents of Louisiana only.

North American Local – Available to residents of Alabama.

nTelos Wireless – Available in select areas of Kentucky, Maryland, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia and West Virginia.

Q Link Wireless – Serves the states of Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

Getting confused? Go to the Lifeline Cell Phone Providers by States page.

ReachOut Wireless – ReachOut Wireless currently offers the LifeLine service in the following states: Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Texas, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

Safelink Wireless – Safelink Wireless is a brand of Tracfone. This is the largest, oldest and best known of the companies that offer free government cell phones. They have millions of customers in: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Connecticut, DC, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

Sprocket Wireless – serves only a few relatively rural areas of Oklahoma.

StandUp Wireless – StandUp Wireless is a free cell phone provider in the states of Arizona, Arkansas, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

Tag Mobile – Serves Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

TelAlaska – this provider serves only Alaska.

Telscape – this one-state only provider serves California.

Tempo Communications – Serving low-income residents of Kansas, South Carolina and Wisconsin.

Terracom Wireless – A regional provider that serves the states of Arizona, Arkansas, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Nevada, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, Texas, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

True Wireless – A five state provider that serves Arkansas, Maryland, Oklahoma, Rhode Island and Texas.

The Telephone Company – The regional company service various areas of Oklahoma.

Total Call Mobile – An expanding Lifeline Assistance company that currently offers free government cell phones in Colorado, Kansas, Hawaii, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, Ohio, Puerto Rico, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, Wisconsin.

U.S. Connect – Texas-based company that makes free government cell phones available in Arkansas, Maryland and West Virginia.

Yourtel Wireless – A regional provider that serves the states of Kansas, Illinois. Missouri, Maine, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Washington, Rhode Island and Washington. Sister company to Terracom Wireless.

Conexion Wireless – This primarily prepaid wireless phone company offers phones for Arkansas, Maryland and West Virginia. Note: It appears they may be out of business.

Lifeline Discount Cell Phone Providers

You many find that you qualify for the Lifeline Assistance program’s free phone plans, but that none of the companies offer service where you live. Or perhaps the free phone plans you did find in your area aren’t acceptable to you for one reason or another. The good news is that you have another option. The companies below, while not offering free cell phone plans, do offer substantial Lifeline discounts off their regular mobile phone plans in some states. If you can find one in your state you may be able to get a fantastic plan at a discount price:

ATT Mobility – Serves Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

Centennial de Puerto Rico – Serves Puerto Rico.

Claro de Puerto Rico – A company of Safelink Wireless, serves only Puerto Rico.

Cordova Wireless Communications – serves the the Cordova and Yakutat communities of Alaska.

Element Mobile – serves central Central Wisconsin.

Epic Touch/EpicPCS – Serves Kansas and Oklahoma.

Nemont Wireless – Serves Montana, North Dakota, and Wyoming.

SouthernLINC Wireless – Serves Alabama and Georgia.

Sage Telecom – Serves Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas, or Wisconsin.

T-Mobile – Serves Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Tennessee, Virginia and Washington.

Total Call Mobile – Serves Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Nevada, Texas, Utah and West Virginia.

U.S. Connect – Serves Arkansas, Maryland and West Virginia.

U.S. Cellular – Serves Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Maine, Missouri, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, and West Virginia.

Verizon Wireless – Serves Iowa, New York, North Dakota and Wisconsin.

Viaero Wireless – Serves Nebraska.

But wait, there’s more!

This just in: The new, innovative company cell phone company FreedomPop, known for offering free internet service, now offers a free cell phone plan if you have your own Sprint phone! Check it out.

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