Get a free cell phone, unlimited nationwide talk and text, 10GB of data, (1GB of TurboZone data) for just $1 per month
NOTICE: Thanks to the new Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), you can now get Unlimited Data AND a free government cell phone at the same time. For more info, click here
General Communication Inc. (GCI) is a major telecommunications company offering cable TV service, internet access, networking, and cellular phone service in Alaska.
If we’re being completely honest, we can’t call Lifeline Assistance the “free” government cell phone program in Alaska. For some reason, all cell phone companies that offer government cell phones in Alaska are required to charge customers at least $1 per month for air time. For the purposes of this discussion, let’s call it the “$1 government cell phone program.” But we must admit that you get a lot for your one dollar bill.
Here’s what GCI has to offer:
GCI $1 Lifeline Plan
Unlimited nationwide talk
Unlimited nationwide text
12GB data monthly
It should also be noted that GCI comes right out and tells its customers that they are eligible for free replacement of their Lifeline smartphone annually. This might not sound like a big deal, but one the questions our readers ask us most often is, “My free government cell phone has been broken (or ‘lost’ or ‘stolen’) How do I get it replaced?” Many Lifeline companies refuse to replace their customers cell phones, so this is great news for GCI customers.
Unlike most other internet service providers and free government cell phone companies, GCI does not show any specific ACP or Lifeline + ACP Plans. It does offer one free ACP Plan, but finding it took a little sleuthing and some arithmetic on our part.
GCI’s Fast/ACP Plan
GCI’s “Fast” plan costs $79.99 per month, but when you factor in the company’s $79.99 monthly ACP subsidy, it’s possible to get it for free. It includes download speeds of up to 200 Mbps, upload speeds of up to 10 Mbps, and 250GB of high-speed data. Unless you’re a full-time gamer, it is damn near impossible to use 250GB in a month.
This plan would not be free in the Lower 48. However, all of Alaska is considered Tribal Lands and, therefore, all Alaskans are eligible for the tribal subsidy rate available based on their plan and location.
How to qualify for Lifeline discounts
You qualify for a Lifeline Assistance free government cell phone if you are on any of these programs:
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- Food Stamps
- Federal Public Housing Assistance
- Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program
- Alaska Temporary Assistance Program
- Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC)
- Adult Public Assistance (which includes aid to the aged, blind and disabled)
- BIA (Bureau of Indian Affairs) General Assistance
- Tribally Administered Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
- Head Start (meeting qualifying income standards)
- National School Lunch Program’s Free Lunch program
- Denali KidCare
- WIC Program (Women, Infants and Children Care Program)
- Pioneer Home Payment Assistance
- Alaska State Housing Corporation Programs
- Public Housing
- Interest Rate Reduction for Low Income Borrowers
- Home Investment Partnership
- Low Incumbent Housing Tax Credit Program
- State of Alaska Heating Assistance Program
- Veterans Administration Disability Pension
- Senior Citizen Housing Development Fund
- State of Alaska Senior Benefits Program
- Childcare Assistance Program, Pass I, II and III
You may also qualify if your Total Household Income is at or under 135% of the Federal Poverty Guideline for Alaska, which we’ve calculated for you in the table below:
|Income Based Eligibility for Alaska|
|Members in Household||Annual income|
|For each additional member add $7,965 annually|
How to qualify for ACP discounts
Who is eligible?
Current GCI Lifeline customers are eligible for ACP and can opt in. Other customers can apply at www.checklifeline.org using a qualifying program or by income.
Examples of qualifying criteria include, but are not limited to:
- Participates in certain assistance programs, such as SNAP, Medicaid, Federal Public Housing Assistance, SSI, WIC or the Lifeline program;
- Receives benefits under the free and reduced-price school lunch program or the school breakfast program, including through the USDA Community Eligibility Provision, in the 2019-2020, 2020-2021, or 2021-2022 school year;
- Received a Federal Pell Grant during the current award year;
- Has an income that is at or below 200% of the federal poverty guidelines;
- Participates in Tribal-specific programs, such as Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance, Tribal TANF, or Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations; or
- Meets the eligibility criteria for a participating providers’ existing low-income program
All of Alaska is considered Tribal Lands and will be eligible for the tribal subsidy rate available based on their plan and location.
Alaskan communities served by GCI
Here’s a complete list of Alaskan communities in which Alaska DigiTel/GCI offers its $1 per month Lifeline service: Adak, Akiak, Akiachak, Akutan, Alakanuk, Aleknagik, Ambler, Aniak, Anaktuvuk Pass, Anchor Point, Anchorage, Anderson, Angoon, Anvik, Atmautluak, Atqasuk, Barrow, Bethel, Big Lake, Brevig Mission, Buckland, Butte, Cantwell, Chefornak, Chenega Bay, Chevak, Chignik, Chignik Lagoon, Chignik Lake, Chitina, Chuathbaluk, Chugiak, Clark’s Point, Clear, Coffman Cove, Cold Bay, Cooper Landing, Copper Center, Cordova, Craig, Cube Cove, Deering, Delta Junction, Dillingham, Diomede, Dot Lake, Douglas, Eagle River-Chugiak, Eek, Egegik, Ekuk, Eielson AFB, Eklutna, Ekwok, Elfin Cove, Elim, Emmonak, Ester, Fairbanks, False Pass, Fort Greely, Fort Wainwright, Fort Yukon, Galena, Gambell, Girdwood, Glennallen, Golovin, Goodnews Bay, Grayling, Gustavus, Halibut Cove, Haines, Healy, Hollis, Holycross, Homer, Hoonah, Hooper Bay, Hope, Houston, Hydaburg, Igiugig, Iliamna, Juneau, Kake, Kaktovik, Kasigluk, Kasilof, Kasaan, Kenai, Ketchikan, Kiana, King Cove, King Salmon, Kipnuk, Kivalina, Klawock, Kobuk, Kodiak, Kokhanok, Koliganek, Kongiganak, Kotlik, Kotzebue, Koyuk, Kwethluk, Kwigillingok, Levelock, Little Diomede, Lower Kalskag, Manokotak, Marshall,McGrath, Mekoryuk, Mentasta Lake, Metlakatla, Meyers Chuck, Moose Pass, Mountain Village, Naknek, Napakiak, Napaskiak, Naukati, Nelson Lagoon, Nenana, New Stuyahok, Newtok, Nightmute, Nikiski, Ninilchik, Noatak, Nome, Nondalton, Noorvik, North Pole, Nuiqsut, Nunam Iqua, Nunapitchuk, Oscarville, Ouzinkie, Palmer, Pedro Bay, Pelican, Perryville, Petersberg, Pilot Point, Pilot Station, Platinum, Point Baker, Point Hope, Point Lay, Port Alsworth, Port Heiden, Port Lions, Port Graham, Prudhoe Bay, Quinhagak, Ruby, Russian Mission, Saint Mary’s, Saint Michael, Saint Paul, Salcha, Sand Point, Savage, Savoonga, Saxman, Scammon Bay, Selawik, Seldovia, Seward, Shageluk, Shaktoolik, Sheldon Point, Shishmaref, Shungnak, Sitka, Skagway, Soldotna, Stebbins, Sterling, Sutton-Alpine, Talkeetna, Tanana, Tatitlek, Teller, Thorne Bay, Togiak, Tok, Toksook Bay, Trapper Creek, Tuluksak, Tuntutuliak, Tununak, Twin Hills, Tyonek, Unalaska, Unalakleet, Upper Kalskag, Valdez, Wainwright, Wales, Wasilla, Whale Pass, White Mountain, Whittier, Willow, Wrangell
Be Sure to Compare GCI with Other Options in Your State
This is just one of the many Lifeline Cell Phone providers in your state. Some states have over a dozen cell phone providers to choose from. Plans and phone choices often vary substantially between providers and you owe it to yourself to look at them all. To begin your comparison shopping, please see our phone providers by state page and click on your state.
Website: GCI Lifeline page
Phone: 265-5400 (Anchorage); 1-800-800-4800 (Statewide)
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