Assurance Wireless is one of the many cell phone providers that give free phone and monthly service. In this guide, we’ll be looking at how you can do the assurance wireless replacement phone activation by yourself at home.
As you might know, the wireless assistance program is now on the T-Mobile GSM network. So, the old customers that were on the legacy Sprint network, which was CDMA, have been receiving replacement devices that work on the new network.
FYI: If yet to receive your replacement device, you should know t-Mobile will be phasing out the Sprint network by mid-2022. However, the 3G bands will be the first ones to go- by the end of March.
#14 Things to Know about Assurance Wireless
Apart from Q Link, Assurance Wireless is another lifeline provider that’s giving free phone service with life unlimited everything. In other words, the eligible customers are currently getting the free monthly phone service with not only unlimited texts but also talk minutes and browsing data.
However, the unlimited minutes and data comprise both the lifeline and affordable connectivity program (successor of the Emergency Broadband Benefit) benefits. So, the free allotments will revert to the regular allowances (a minimum of 1000 minutes & 4.5GB data) when the COVID-19 situation is no longer a pandemic.
But again, is the free phone program really worth it? Let’s look at some of the other positives, as well as drawbacks of the lifeline program.
Positives of Using Assurance Wireless
- Absolutely Free phones: when Assurance approves your application, you’ll receive a free smartphone you can make calls, text, and browse
- Nationwide Coverage: As mentioned, Assurance Wireless is now on the T-Mobile network, which has towers on all the metropolises across the country.
- Decent data Speed: although not the best, the lifeline operator offer browsing speeds at up to 16+Mbps on the LTE network
- Free mobile hotspot: the Assurance free data allowance includes 10GB of mobile hotspot to share with your other wireless devices like a laptop. If you still have the old phone, you might still be getting an unlimited mobile hotspot.
- Limited-time offers: the mobile operator tends to offer promotional offers, including free tablets and Amazon gift cards.
- Free emergency calls: on your Assurance phone, you can make free calls to 911 and 211 services. You can also contact the Assurance customer rep on 1-888 321-5880 at no charges, thereby beating Q-Link that deducts the usage from your monthly minutes.
- Free caller ID feature: indeed, you can activate the caller ID on your Assurance phone for free, thereby enabling you to know who’s calling even if he/ she’s not on your contact list.
- Discount Phone pricing: Assurance also does have a retail department, whereby you can get a device from as low as $25. (ps: the online shop is currently unavailable, probably due to the transitioning from Sprint to T-Mobile network).
- International calling & texting: the lifeline provider also allows you to make international calls to over 200 destinations. However, you’ll need to purchase the $10 or $15 pass.
Drawbacks of Assurance Wireless:
- Crappy Phones: Like Safelink or any other lifeline provider, Assurance “free” phones are entry-level brands that are a few years old. So, you might not be able to enjoy most of the latest features.
- No BYOP program: when comparing Access Wireless vs Assurance Wireless a while ago, we concluded that the latter didn’t have the BYOP (bring your own phone) option. Sadly, the feature’s still unavailable, as of February 2022. So, you’ll have to stick with the device they send
- Data Throttling: Unlike its carrier network, T-Mobile or Verizon, Assurance doesn’t exactly have “truly” unlimited data. So, you’ll experience slower browsing data after reaching the limit cap (at 35GB).
- Data Deprioritization: Similar to a prepaid mobile virtual network operator like Tello or Mint, Assurance Wireless will also get deprioritized when the T-Mobile network’s congested. And considering the lifeline service has lower data speeds, your downloads could drop to as low as 2-3Mbps.
- Spotty signal in rural areas: As we mentioned when comparing Tello and Ting last week, T-Mobile is largely in the major cities. So, you may experience poor reception when in rural areas.
A Guide on Assurance Wireless Replacement Phone Activation
First up, Assurance Wireless isn’t exactly lenient when it comes to device compatibility. Since the time it was a Sprint brand, it didn’t have the BYOP support, thereby you had to use devices they give you or select Virgin Mobile phones.
Nonetheless, T-Mobile is the new parent of the lifeline program, and, unluckily, will be decommissioning all the Sprint bands this year, 2022. So, can only use the service with only a locked Assurance Wireless phone.
Also, Assurance Wireless online shop is currently unavailable. So, you’ll have to contact customer care for a replacement phone. And since there’s no option to choose, you’ll have to wait for whatever device they mail.
But now begs the question, does one need to call customer care or there’s a simple trick on how to activate my Assurance Wireless phone alone?
Steps on How to Activate Assurance Wireless Replacement Phone
If I’d begin with answering the above question, you necessarily don’t need to call customer care to activate your Assurance Wireless replacement phone. The whole setup is a simple process you can do yourself wherever you’re, be it at home or work. And in this section, I’m going to take you through the two ways to do it:
Part One: How to Activate Assurance Wireless Replacement Phone with a New SIM card
First up, you can request Assurance Wireless for a replacement phone when you want to upgrade or replace a lost, stolen, or damaged one. In the case of stolen, loss, or upgrading, you might need to replace both the phone and the SIM card. And to do that:
You’ll Need to Have:
- The replacement smartphone
- New SIM Card (on T-Mobile)
- Assurance Wireless Account PIN
- New SIM card ID number (ICCID)
- Any working phone or laptop (optional)
Before anything else, you’ll need to update your replacement phone to the latest operating system, then activate the new SIM card.
- Turn on your Assurance Wireless replacement smartphone
- When prompted, allow the hands-free activation for the phone to connect to the carrier’s network
- Update the operating system of the replacement phone. Thus, go to the Phone settings> About phone> System Update. Then, tap System Update again and repeat the steps until no latest updates are available.
- After the last update, your replacement phone will restart
- Once it turns back on, you might get a prompt to customize your phone. But since it’s something you can do later, tap the “Skip” button to complete the step 6 first
- In this step, you’ll now activate your new SIM card that came with the replacement phone. So, go to Assurancewireless.com using a laptop or a different phone with an internet connection
- Next, click the “My Account” tab on the top and log in with your phone number. If using a smartphone, you can find the “My Account” tab by tapping the three lines on the top right.
- After a successful login, tap the bold “Activate Now” button.
- Then, enter the ICCID number (has 20 digits) printed at the back of your SIM card plate
- Reenter the ICCID on the appropriate input box. Then, tap the bold “Next” button.
- When prompted, review your free service plan, then tap “Next”.
- After tapping the “Next” button, you’ll receive a Success message, which means your new Assurance Wireless SIM card has been activated.
- Now insert the SIM card in your Assurance Wireless replacement phone (if you haven’t already). Then, power on the device, whereby you can start making calls, text, or going online to the web and social media.
Apart from online, you can also activate your Assurance Wireless replacement phone & SIM card offline. You just need to dial 611 from your device and follow the automated voice instructions until the end.
In this activation method, you’ll also get a prompt to enter your Assurance Wireless Account PIN. So, make sure you know it- usually printed on the approval letter that you received after qualifying for the first time.
In case you encounter any issues with activating your Assurance Wireless replacement phone, you can always reach customer care on the number 888-321-5880. Then, one of the available representatives will help you complete the setup.
Part Two: How to Activate Assurance Wireless Replacement Phone with An Old SIM card
If the Assurance Wireless replacement phone was to replace your damaged or outdated device, chances are you still have the activated SIM card (on the T-Mobile network). So, in this case, the setup process will be pretty easy and quick.
What You’ll Need:
- The replacement smartphone
- Your Activated Assurance Wireless SIM card
- Any working phone (optional)
The setup process here’s pretty much similar to Part One above. The only difference is that you already have an activated Assurance Wireless SIM card.
So, you’ll just need to follow the Step 1 through 4 of Part One above to update the operating system of your replacement phone. Then, power on the device and continue making calls, texting, or browsing.
In case of any issue, you can as well get in touch with a customer representative on number 888-321-5880.
What Kind of Assurance Wireless Replacement Phone Can I Expect?
As already mentioned, Assurance Wireless retail shop is currently unavailable. Thus, you can’t choose the device to use on their free service, other than what they send.
As for the kind of replacement phones that you get, they’re still the entry-level models you get when joining. The six most common brands include:
- WIKO Life 3 (U316AT)
Features a 5.4” display, Android 11 Go, 4G LTE connectivity, 16GB internal storage/ 2GB RAM, 32GB MicroSD support, M4/ T3 HAC rating, & 5MP man camera
- Schok Volt SV55
Features Android 11 Go, 4G LTE connectivity, M4/ T3 Hearing Aid Compliance, 16GB built-in memory/ 2GB RAM, 256GB MicroSD support, & 5MP main camera
- UNIMAX UNIU693CL
Features 5.0” display, Android 9, 4G LTE connectivity, 2MP main camera, 16GB built-in storage/ 2GB RAM, up to 128GB MicroSD support, & M4/ T3 HAC rating
- UMX U696CL
Features 5.5” display, Android 11 Go, 4G LTE connectivity, 16GB internal memory/ 2GB RAM, up to 256GM MicroSD support, 5MP main camera, & M4/ T3 HAC rating
- Coolpad Legacy SR
Features 5.5” display, Android 9, 4G LTE network support, 16GB internal memory/ 2GB RAM, 64GB MicroSD support, 8MP main camera, & M4/ T4 HAC rating
- Wiko Life 2 (U307AS)
Features 5.5” display, Android 9, 4G connectivity, 16GB internal memory/ 2GB RAM, 32GB MicroSD support, M4/ T3 Hearing Aid Compliance, & 2Mp main camera
- ZTE Prestige 2
Features 5.0” display, Snapdragon 210 processor, 16GB built-in memory/ 2GB RAM, up to 32GB MicroSD support, M3/ T4 HAC rating, & 5MP main camera
At this point, you can see it’s very easy to do the Assurance Wireless replacement phone activation on your own. If you already have an activated SIM card (on T-Mobile), the setup process is even simpler- just swapping the SIM and updating the firmware of the new phone.
If you had previously backed up data, especially the contacts, you can also restore them from your Google account under the phone’s settings. And if you had backed them in Outlook or WhatsApp, you’ll need to reinstall those apps in your new replacement phone.
That said, though, it’d be great if Assurance Wireless initiated the bring your own phone program sooner. Otherwise, it’s proving hard for a lot of people to enjoy their lifeline service with the supposedly “free” devices, which are very limited in capabilities and features.