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.

We present each free government cell phone provider below, in descending order of size.

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 38 states plus Washington, DC and Puerto Rico.

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 more customers than Safelink now. A division of Virgin Mobile, it serves 39 states and the Disctrict of Columbia.

Budget Mobile – This Lifeline cell phone provider offers cell phone plans in Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Georgia , Idaho, Iowa, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, South Dakota, Washington, Utah, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

Life Wireless – Life Wireless is free cell phone provider in the states of Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas and West Virginia.

ReachOut Wireless – ReachOut Wireless ­is a regional company that isn’t as large as some of the others, but still an outstanding option. They currently offer the LifeLine service in the following 25 states: Arkansas, 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.

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

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

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

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

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.

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

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

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, South Carolina, Texas, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

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

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.

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.

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

Wireless for Hope – A regional player in Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Missouri, Nevada, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico and West Virginia.

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.

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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