Low-income Californians have another reason to celebrate — SafetyNet Wireless, a new competitor in the Lifeline Assistance free government cell phone business, is now offering its California customers unlimited talk, unlimited text and a little bonus on top of that.
SafetyNet Wireless also offers government-subsidized cell phones in Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. But the company’s plans offered in California put its plans in other states to shame.
Here are SafetyNet’s three California plans:
California LifeLine Unlimited – You get unlimited talk and unlimited texting absolutely free if you qualify. Voicemail, Caller ID and Call Waiting are included.
California LifeLine Unlimited + 100MB Data – You get unlimited talk and unlimited texting plus 100 MB of data each month. That’s not enough data to allow you to surf the internet, but it’s certainly enough for a reasonable amount of email each month. Also included are free Voicemail, Caller ID, and Call Waiting.
California LifeLine Unlimited & 3GB Data – Like the two plans described above, this SafetyNet plan gives you unlimited voice and unlimited minutes, but it also includes 3 GB of data each month. The catch? Instead of being free, it will cost $28.10 per month. It also includes Voicemail, Caller ID, and Call Waiting.
We’re the first to admit that SafetyNet’s 3GB data plan is too costly for most financially-struggling Californians, so we’d never recommend it unless you’re desperate for more data. But the first two plans are terrific, especially the 100 MB plan. If you just need internet service for emailing, this might just be the perfect plan for you.
What’s the SafetyNet Wireless story?
SafetyNet’s website gives a very clear clue when it says, “SafetyNet Wireless, a division of AmeriMex Communications, offers Wireless service subsidized by the Federal Lifeline program and state programs where applicable, which provides discounts on monthly telephone service for eligible low-income consumers.”
FreeGovernmentCellPhones.net follows the Lifeline Assistance industry very closely, so we’re well aware of AmeriMex Communications. It’s a company that has focused almost exclusively on Spanish-speaking residents of the United States.
Since SafetyNet has been set up as a separate division, the obvious conclusion that can be drawn is its marching orders are to capture English-speaking residents of the United States.
Our next thought is that it’s very difficult to compete against Carlos Slim, the world’s richest man, for the Spanish-speaking customers. Slim, of course, owns the largest phone company in Mexico AND Safelink Wireless, the largest company in the free government cell phone business. This is nothing more than an assumption on our part, but it’s quite possible that AmeriMex’s parent company saw the handwriting on the wall and decided to throw a wider net and go after a larger pool of potential customers by targeting English-speaking customers.
(Note to SafetyNet Wireless: If our assumptions are incorrect, please let us know and we’ll be happy to correct this article.)
How to qualify for a free phone plus unlimited talk, unlimited text and data, too
If you’re a low-income resident of California, there are two ways for you to qualify for a free government cell phone from SafetyNet Wireless.
The first way is by participating in another state or federal assistance program, such as:
- CalFresh, Food Stamps or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
- Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- Federal Public Housing Assistance or Section 8
- Women, Infants and Children Program (WIC)
- National School Lunch Program (NSL)
- Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
- California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs)
- Stanislaus County Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (StanWORKs)
- Welfare-to-Work (WTW)
- Greater Avenues for Independence (GAIN)
- Tribal TANF
- Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance
- Head Start Income Eligible (Tribal Only)
- Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations
The second way to qualify is by having a total household income that falls at or below 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. Determining that number requires a bit of mathematical manipulation, so we recommend that you go to our “Do I Qualify” page, where you can find a simple chart that lays out the numbers in a clear, concise format.
California competition heats up
Now that SafetyNet Wireless is offering free government cell phones in California, that makes a total of six companies offering unlimited talk and unlimited texts in the state. Others are offering 1000 minutes or more and other variations.
In other words, there’s never been a better time to sign up for a free government cell phone and there’s never more ways to do it.
Click here to check out all the California competitors and their plans at our state page.