The ability for the financially disadvantaged to get a free cell phone in these tough economic times is moving at breakneck speed across the country. While the Lifeline Assistance and Link-Up programs were helping people afford landline phones since 1996. It wasn’t until 2008 that the first state certified a company to provide cell phones. That was when Tracfone launched Safelink Wireless in Tennessee.
Safelink Wireless went on a tear from state to state, expanding their subscriber base into the millions. Meanwhile, other companies like Virgin Mobile’s Assurance Wireless and Nexus Communications’ ReachOut Wireless were formed and are moving into states across the country as well.
In all, there are 38 states, plus Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico, where the government cell phone program is available to low-income and others already on government assistance.
Check your state
To check on your own state’s providers and specific qualification criteria, just click on your state below. Some states have all three of the aforementioned companies (the “Big 3″) and perhaps even some smaller players. Some states have one or two companies, and sadly if you do not see your name on the list, your state does not yet have service. But it could very well soon, in fact, it’s very likely.
Alaska | Alabama | Arkansas | Arizona | California | Connecticut | District of Columbia | Delaware | Florida | Georgia | lllinois | Indiana | Iowa | Kansas | Kentucky | Louisiana | Maine | Maryland | Massachusetts | Michigan | Minnesota |
Mississippi | Missouri | Nevada | New Hampshire | New Jersey | New York | North Carolina | Ohio | Oklahoma | Pennsylvania | Puerto Rico | Rhode Island | South Carolina | Tennessee | Texas | Utah | Virginia | Washington | West Virginia | Wisconsin
Is your state not on the list?
If your state is not listed, we can alert you when it is. Just add your email address to our email updates list by keying your email address into the form below. Whenever a new carrier is approved in any state we will alert you; plus you’ll get other news from our government cell phone news page.Subscribe to Email Updates of new state service!
If you think you qualify, read up! There are lots of providers out there. Narrow it down by state; Georgia has four providers and they have slightly different plans. The basic program [national] provides 250 mins and 250 texts/mo free with ways to get extra minutes and data for a monthly fee.