AirTalk Wireless Reviews: New Network, Data, Free Phone Deals

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AirTalk is one of the many eligible telecommunication carriers (ETC) you can get free cell phone service without paying anything. You will also receive a free smartphone (and tablet) when joining for the first time. But in the AirTalk Wireless reviews available online, I’ve noticed some inconsistencies.

For instance, many of the reviews claim AirTalk Wireless is still limited to ten States, which is incorrect. Some are also saying the free government phone program is using AT&T networks to run. But as we shall see shortly, there have been some changes recently regarding the two factors.

AirTalk Wireless Reviews: A Summary of the Free Government Phone Service

FeatureAirTalk Wireless
Type of ServiceLifeline
Carrier NetworkT-Mobile
eSIM supportN/A
Unlimited MinutesYES
Unlimited dataYES (With High-speed Cap)
Cheapest Service Plan$0
Free Calls to Mexico/ Canada CallNO ($5/ month)
Personal HotspotN/A  
WiFi CallingYES
Extra PerksOffers decent free phones

Are you looking for a lifeline provider that gives free latest smartphones? AirTalk Wireless has a vast selection of phones, including from luxury brands like Apple, Samsung, Google, and LG.

Needless to say, this wasn’t always the case. The carrier started offering high-end devices in 2022 after HTH Communications acquired AirVoice Wireless, LLC.

AirVoice Wireless is the parent company of AirTalk Wireless. And this means the new acquisition added the HTH Communications umbrella with both prepaid and lifeline brands.

Note, AirTalk Wireless used to operate as FeelSafe Wireless. AirVoice changed the lifeline brand name from FeelSafe to AirTalk in 2022, right after the new ownership.

Sadly, however, not everything with the new owners has been great. Say the program allowance, FeelSafe Wireless had a free cell phone service for life unlimited everything with up to 22GB of high-speed data. But now with AirTalk Wireless, the free unlimited service has up to 15GB of high-speed data. You’ll have to $1/ month or $12/ year to increase your data allowance to 18GB or 25GB per month.

AirTalk Wireless Reviews: 8 Things to Know about the Free Government Service

AirTalk Wireless Eligibility

As a Lifeline program, AirTalk Wireless is available to all US citizens. But since the carrier doesn’t have dedicated physical stores, you’ll have to apply either online at or by phone at +1 (855) 924-7825. You can also submit your application request via email or apply in person with the traveling agents.

Before applying for the AirTalk Wireless free phone, though, it will be nice to be sure you will qualify. The service is only available to low-income consumers that are struggling with bills. You can prove eligibility by either a low income at or below 200% of the federal poverty guidelines, or else participate in a federal assistance program such as:

  • Medicaid
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Veterans Pensions & Survivors Benefit
  • Federal Pell Grant in the current award year
  • Federal Public Housing Assistance Program (FPHA)
  • Food Stamp or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
  • Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)
  • Head Start, Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations, and other Tribal programs
  • Head Start, Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations, and other Tribal programs
  • School Lunch or School Breakfast Program (even from the USDA Community Eligibility Provision)

In the income-based eligibility, you will notice I’ve used the 200% of the guidelines that the FCC has set aside for the Affordable Connectivity program (ACP). The reason for this is that AirTalk Wireless is only giving out a free phone with either the ACP-only or Lifeline + ACP combo plan. In the lifeline-only plan, you only get a free SIM kit, then you’ll have to bring your own phone.

AirTalk Wireless Network Coverage

AirTalk coverage is one of the things that changed after HTH Communications acquired AirVoice. Previously, the lifeline provider (when under FeelSafe Wireless), was on the AT&T network.

After the acquisition, AirTalk made a network deal with T-Mobile. And for that, you would now get service on either GSMA (AT&T) or GSMT (T-Mobile).

However, AirTalk Wireless seems to be in the process to ditch its old carrier, AT&T. The reason for saying this is that the operator is now sending out the T-Mobile-compatible SIM when you apply. When you also take a look at the AirTalk Wireless coverage map, it’s so much similar to that of T-Mobile.

Of course, T-Mobile has coverage in all the states across the country. But the signal in many rural areas, especially in the Western region, isn’t as good as AT&T.

It’s also worth noting AirTalk Wireless no longer limits its service to ten States like before, as some people claim. You can join from either of the fifty US States, where the coverage is available for both 4G LTE and 5G.

AirTalk Wireless Roaming Benefits

Even with nationwide availability, AirTalk Wireless doesn’t exactly have native coverage in all places. There are locations you will find that only has a single signal bar, whereas others are a complete dead zone.

Fortunately, AirTalk supports domestic roaming, accessible to all customers free of charge. So, you’ll still have a usable service when outside the native network. You just have to enable data roaming and make sure your high-speed data has a remaining balance.

When driving through (or visiting) areas with no native coverage or roaming partners, your AirTalk free phone will still be usable. The company supports WiFi calling, whereby you can make calls or text via Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP).

The good thing with WiFi calling is not just that you get to use your phone even with zero bars. But your calls or texts, even though working through WiFi, will still route over your carrier network. And for that, you (or your recipient) don’t require any special app to complete the communication.

Note: AirTalk Wireless has no international roaming, not even in Canada or Mexico. So, you’ll have to use other means to keep in touch with your contacts when you step out of the US.

AirTalk Wireless Free Phones

AirTalk Wireless offers some of the best free touchscreen government phones, including flagship brands like Apple, Samsung, LG, and Google Pixel. This is something you won’t find on most of the eligible telecommunication carriers who usually give you entry-level phones.

To make things even better, AirTalk Wireless allows you to apply with the device you’d love to receive. And only when your chosen phone is unavailable will the operator send you a different brand that’s equivalent to it.

As mentioned earlier, AirTalk has the option to bring your phone to its service. You just have to make sure your device is compatible with the carrier and its network.

Network compatibility means your phone for AirTalk Wireless should have the correct frequencies. And when the lifeline service was on AT&T, the frequencies were bands 2, 4, 5, 12*, 17*, 29, 30*, & 66. Then N2, N5, N66, N77 (C-Band), N258, & N260 for 5G connection.

But now AirTalk uses T-Mobile towers means your device must have bands 2, 4*, 5, 12*, 66, & 71* for LTE. Then frequency bands N71, N41 (C-Band), N258, N260, & N261 for 5G network.

*marks the primary bands, which offer extend-range coverage, with a signal that travels far and penetrates through walls. Your device requires at least one of the primary bands (the more the better) to work.

So, most phones of AirTalk Wireless programmed with the GSMA network (on AT&T) will not work on T-Mobile-compatible SIM cards. It’s the reason many customers have been complaining in community forums they received a device that doesn’t work with their SIM.

Quick Note:

HTH Communications, the parent company of AirTalk Wireless Lifeline and AirVoice prepaid, is one of the largest phone refurbishment companies in the country. The company is the reason you can get luxury brands like Apple on our free phone program here.

AirTalk Wireless Free Tablet

Besides phones, AirTalk Wireless is one of the service providers with ACP free tablets from the government. And thanks to the new owners, HTH Communications, the kind of tablet AirTalk give you is also from luxury brands like:

  • Apple iPad 3
  • Apple iPad Mini
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab S2/ S3
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab A (2020 Edition)
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab A (2018 Release)

AirTalk Wireless Data Speeds

Unfortunately, many people have been having an issue with their data on AirTalk Wireless. I’ve noticed quite a handful claiming to record less than 1Mbps, while others get only 4Mbps.

Of course, many carriers used to cap their data speeds to 5Mbps in the past. But of competitiveness in the market, they removed this cap and the users could browse at speeds similar to prepaid services.

In AirTalk Wireless free phone, you would get around 100Mbps on 5G and 25Mbps with LTE in 2022. But the APN settings that AirTalk provides seem to route through AT&T, yet the SIM card given is on T-Mobile. And I’m suspecting this is the cause of the data issues lately.

AirTalk Wireless Free Phone Plans

AirTalk Wireless doesn’t exactly have the best free phone service plans when you compare it to Safelink vs Q Link. YES, the lifeline-only plan is similar to most competitors. But with the ACP-only or ACP combo plan, the operator has pushed the better allowances behind a paywall. See below.

 FeaturesLifeline-Only Phone PlanACP-Only Phone Plan Lifeline + ACP Combo Plan
Free SmartphoneNOYESYES
Talk Minutes1000 minutesUnlimitedUnlimited
Text MessagesUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited
High-Speed Data4.5GB  8GB15GB (then 2G speeds)
Personal HotspotNONONO
Upgrade (Optional)N/A$12.00 (18GB data)$12.00 (25GB data)  

In the new AirTalk Wireless free phone plans, the lifeline-only deal offers 1000 talk minutes and 4.5GB of data, just like the days of FeelSafe. The part that has changed is when you add the affordable connectivity program (ACP) benefit. You now get 15GB of high-speed data (then unlimited 2G data) instead of 22GB.

Nevertheless, you can get AirTalk Wireless Lifeline + ACP combo plan with 25GB of high-speed data with an upgrade. The upgrade fee is only $12/ year or $1/ month.

AirTalk Wireless Data Deprioritization

Although a free government phone service, AirTalk Wireless is still a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO). And similar to most MVNOs, the lifeline company gets deprioritized data, whereby the data speed will drop during network congestion.

Moreover, AirTalk has a hard stop for the data of Lifeline-only and ACP-only free phone plans. So, you won’t be able to operate even light data tasks like Google Maps.

In my chart above, you’ll notice the AirTalk Wireless Lifeline + ACP combo plan has unlimited everything, including talk, text, and data. The drawback is that the operator will throttle your data to slower (2G) speeds after reaching the high-speed cap.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Can I switch to AirTalk Wireless if I’m currently with another provider?

Yes, indeed, you can switch to AirTalk Wireless from another provider today. It’s been a trend recently from the assurance that the company will give you a free high-end smartphone (and/ tablet).
Other pros and cons of AirTalk Wireless you might want to know before switching from your current provider include:
It now has both LTE & 5G
You can bring your own phone
Includes free domestic roaming
Supports WiFi calling & texting
Offers decent free phone service allowance
It has international calling at affordable rates
It gets deprioritized data
Throttles data on all service plans
The service doesn’t support tethering/ hotspot

Does AirTalk Wireless offer any promotions or discounts for new customers?

AirTalk doesn’t have promotional offers like those Qlink or TruConnect offers when you join. But on the plus side, the one-time discounts of tablet AirTalk Wireless offer its new customers include high-end devices like Apple iPad and Samsung Galaxy Tab. The free phone you also get is from the luxury category, such as iPhone, Galaxy, LG, Google Pixel, etc.

How is AirTalk Wireless customer support?

Like most Lifeline phone providers, AirTalk Wireless customer support still has many areas that need improving. They will still get back to you once contacted (on either telephone at +1 (855) 924-7825, email at, or via social media platforms like Facebook). However, the agents seem to take a lot of time to reply or get hold of your calls.

Join with a 5G Phone for the Best

Although there’s still more to cover in our AirTalk Wireless review, these are the most relevant details you should know before joining. The program can help you save at least $300 on the basic (lifeline-only) plan and over $400 with the free premium deal of Lifeline + ACP combo.

It’s unsatisfying AirTalk will need your dollar to get the 25GB of high-speed data SafeLink and Qlink give for free. But the 15GB data on the free deal is still better than other competitors, such as Easy Wireless and TAG Mobile.

Speaking of data, we’ve just seen the deal AirTalk Wireless has made with its Carrier Network includes deprioritized data. So, I’d recommend applying the service with a 5G-capable phone if possible. It makes sure you still have a usable data service when the data speeds drop from heavy traffic on the cell towers.

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