NOTE: NO LONGER OFFERING LIFELINE SERVICE
nTelos Wireless is an odd name and the company’s free government cell phone program is even odder. Because it’s not free. In fact, it’s one of the most expensive “free” government cell phone programs out there.
First of all, here’s how the company’s website describes nTelos: “nTelos Wireless is a leading provider of wireless communications services to consumers and businesses in select areas of Kentucky, Maryland, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia and West Virginia. Offering dependable high-speed nationwide coverage and all the latest devices and smartphones, we offer everything the national brands do – for less!”
Well, most of that may be true, but the “for less” is definitely questionable when it comes to Lifeline free government cell phones. The Federal Communications Commission lists nTelos as a Lifeline supplier, but we scoured the nTelos website and could find nothing about its Lifeline Assistance program. We finally sent an email to the company’s customer service department to ask if it participated in the free government cell phone program and, if they did, what it offered.
Here is the response we received:
“Thank you for contacting us. I will be happy to assist you with your question. We have a program called Tel-assist that is offered as an emergency phone program. This plan will give you 200 minutes a month for rate of $1.00 per month. There is an initial payment required of 10.00 to start the account. You have to purchase your phone, and any additional services would be added to the cost. You can inquire in any nTelos retail store to start your account, and need proof of other assistances, such as SNAP or SSI to qualify. If you have more questions, please let us know.”
Please allow us to summarize: You have to pay $1 to get fewer minutes than most other companies offer. You have to pay $10 to open an account, which is $10 more than most other companies charge. You have to purchase your cell phone, which is free from most other companies.
Other than that, it’s a great deal.
Only two possible conclusions can be drawn from this: (1) nTelos really has very little interest in the Lifeline Assistance program, or (2) nTelos doesn’t understand the concept of free government cell phones.
Draw your own conclusion.
1154 Shenandoah Village Drive
Post Office Box 1990
Waynesboro, VA 22980
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