The 6 Ways to Get Free Cell Phone Service Without Paying Anything

At this point, we can now group cell phones as part of a basic need. But just like any other need, the service comes at a cost, which may be too much for some of us. In this article, though, I’ll show you how to get free cell phone service without paying anything.

Even so, some of the methods that I’ve put together are more of “life hacks” that will only give you a temporary solution. However, they might still come in handy in some cases.

When to Get Free Cell Phone Service without Paying?

Well, the answer to this question varies. That’s it largely depends on the current situation of an individual.

If you’re unemployed or have a limited income level, a lifeline phone program like Access Wireless or Safelink could sort things out. As a government-funded program, these phone services are available to underprivileged Americans who can’t afford the normal phone rates.

Secondly, you can enjoy free cell phone service without paying if you need a temporary solution. For instance, you could take advantage of the free Trial plans when visiting an area where your current carrier has poor reception.

More on that, almost all smartphones have the option to make free domestic and international calls or texts through the internet. You just need an active Wi-Fi connection, then download a free social app like Skype, Google Hangouts, WhatsApp, Signal, or Viber.

Lastly, you can also get free phone service through someone else. That “someone” could be either your parent, spouse, employer or even friend.

How to Get Free Cell Phone Service without Paying

Technically, there are about six different ways you could enjoy free cell phone service without paying anything. If you have a keen eye, you certainly have noticed them from the section above. They include:

Cell Phone ProviderType of Free ServiceFree Service PeriodRequirements
TAG MobileLifeline Discount12 MonthsLow income or Federal Benefit Program
TruConnectLifeline Discount12 MonthsLow income or Federal Benefit Program
Assurance WirelessLifeline Discount12 MonthsLow income or Federal Benefit Program
SafelinkLifeline Discount12 MonthsLow income or Federal Benefit Program
Access WirelessLifeline Discount12 MonthsLow income or Federal Benefit Program
VisibleFree Trial15 DaysiPhone on iOS 14+ & eSIM support
Mint MobileFree Trial7 DaysUnlocked compatible phone & valid credit card
Red PocketFree Promotional Service6 MonthsPurchase iPhone on the GSMA network

Apply for the Free Government Phone Service

Are you a low earner? Lost your only source of income from the COVID-19 situation? If yes, you can still keep in touch with your loved ones across the country and even outside the US through the Lifeline Assistance program.

As was mentioned earlier, this is a program with select wireless providers who receive funds from the government so they can offer free service to underprivileged Americans. And the best part, the program even includes a free cell phone with no credit check.

While some people refer to it as the Obama Phone, the general lifeline program has been there for almost four decades now. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) established it around 1985 and has since been adopting various reforms to give the beneficiaries a complete phone experience.

how to get free cell phone service without paying

For instance, early last year, we saw the introduction of the Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) through the $14 billion Congress funds. And in the program, the eligible lifeline subscribers would get increased data allowance to support those working or studying from home.

However, while discussing providers with free touchscreen government phones, we mentioned the FCC is very strict on its lifeline program. That applies to not only you applying for the service but also the lifeline carriers. Hence, the reason we also saw the Federal agents raid the Broward building where Q Link Wireless, a lifeline provider, operates.

FYI: As of 2023, the Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) will be now called the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP)

The Five Best Free Government Phone Providers in 2023

In general, the lifeline program’s very easy to apply online or by calling your desired provider. And the best part, the eligibility requirements are all pretty much the same across the various wireless providers.

The said requirements include:

  1. A low-income level of at or below 135% of the federal poverty level
  2. Participation in federal assistance programs such as Medicaid, Food Stamps, Supplemental security income, Tribal Programs, and others

But as was said, FCC has been working very hard in curbing fraud from both the beneficiaries and providers. So, you’ll need to provide the lifeline carriers with valid documentation, such as a birth certificate, state agency letter, and tax return papers.

Speaking of the carriers, the five best options you can check out are:

TAG Mobile

Offers a free smartphone, unlimited talk & text, plus 8.5GB of high-speed data


Offers a free Android smartphone, plus unlimited talk & text, 14GB of high-speed data (with mobile hotspot), and international calling

Assurance Wireless  

Offers free smartphone, plus unlimited voice minutes, texts, and data (with 10GB mobile hotspot). The high-speed data get throttled after reaching 35GB.

Safelink Wireless

Offers free smartphone, plus unlimited talk, text, and data(with 5GB of mobile hotspot), The high-speed data get throttled after reaching 25GB and also calling to Canada or Mexico’s free

Access Wireless

Offers a free cell phone, plus unlimited voice minutes, texting, and data (with uncapped mobile hotspot). The high-speed get throttled after reaching 15GB

Important Notes:

The free talk, text, and data allotments listed with the carriers above consist of both the lifeline and the ACP benefits. However, you can apply for lifeline program benefits alone, whereby you’ll now get the free service at the normal allowance rate.

Take Advantage of the Carrier’s Free Trial Service

Apart from the lifeline provider, you can also get a free cell phone service without paying through a carrier’s trial period. Of course, the method will only guarantee you service for a few days- in most cases a week or two. But it could come in handy in some situations.

For instance, let’s say you’ve traveled outside your local carrier coverage, you can look for carriers of the new region. Then, enquire about the free trial plan if your stay there will be for only a couple of days.

Even so, it’s not many wireless phone providers will let you go for a test drive at $0. In fact, I’d say Visible and Mint are the only decent carriers with this option for now. And since they both support the eSIM, you can run the free service trial in minutes without having to wait for a physical SIM card.

But again, the two carriers are still different companies, thereby the requirements to qualify for the free service trial will also vary.

Mint Mobile Free Trial Plan:

If you’re within the T-Mobile coverage area, you can get the Mint Free Trial plan without paying anything at all. The service is very easy to apply, in which case you can activate immediately on the eSIM or up to two days if you’ll need a physical SIM card.

As for the plan structure, the test plan includes 250-talk minutes, 250-text messages, and 250MB of high-speed data. You can even make free calls to Canada and Mexico.

That said, though, the Free trial plan is only valid for seven days, after which it expires even if you hadn’t used all your allowance.

Another thing, Mint does require you have a valid credit card when applying for the trial plan. However, my guess is that the need for a card is to prevent one from applying twice as they usually don’t charge anything from it.

Visible Free Trial Plan:

If within a strong Verizon household, the Visible free trial plan also does allow you to call, text, and browse without paying anything. In fact, you might even find it better than the Mint Mobile deal from not only a longer trial period. But also you get the full network experience, including the Unlimited talk, text, and high-speed data.

Moreover, Visible doesn’t require a credit card to create and activate your free trial account. But you’ll need a device that supports the electronic SIM (eSIM), plus your valid name, email, and zip code.

As for the said device, the prepaid provider has its Free trial plan available to only Apple users. So, you’ll need to have at least an iPhone XS/ XR since the previous models don’t have the embedded eSIM chip.

Similar to Mint, Visible will immediately cancel your free service at the end of the trial period, which is fifteen days.

Wait for the Free Promotional Service Deals

Indeed, you can also get free cell phone service without paying by taking advantage of the free service deals from the carriers. However, the option’s not as friendly as with the Free trial plan since these service offers are usually limited-time promos. So, you can come across it in the morning, but as you come back in the evening to apply you find it’s expired.

Furthermore, the free promotional service deals aren’t exactly “free” to apply. In most cases, you’ll need to first purchase a product (usually a particular phone) from the carrier.

how to get free cell phone service without paying

The good thing, though, is that the free phone service you get in return usually lasts for a longer period- up to six or twelve months. A perfect example would have been Red Pocket and Mint, but for now, I’ll recommend the former.

Red Pocket FREE Phone Service Deal:

The main reason I’ve picked theRed Pocket Free Phone service offer is for it’s very easy to apply. The prepaid carrier has also partnered with all major providers. Thus, you can join its service with the network that works best in your current area.

As for the conditions to qualify for the free phone service, Red Pocket requires you to order an iPhone with any of the plans on the GSMA network. The deal’s available on even the iPhone SE, which is currently going for $349 (after a $50 instant discount). Thus, saving you up to $300 in the end since the free phone service is for the next six months.

Optional: Other Ways to Get Free Phone Service without Paying

The three other ways you can enjoy a free phone service without paying anything include:

  • Join a Family Cell Phone Service Plan

In short, this simply means joining a family plan with your loved ones who won’t mind paying your usage. Your “sponsor” could be either a parent, spouse, relative, or even a friend.

  • Business Cell Phone Service or Mobile Stipends

Many companies and corporates usually give free phones and or services to help in business-related communications. In case of emergencies and don’t have your personal phone, you could use the company-issued one.

As a matter of fact, some companies do allow you to use their phones for personal calls, texting, and light web browsing. You just need to maintain the applicable conditions, specifically refrain from streaming or transferring large files since the data is usually a shared pool.

  • Use the Free Social Apps Available

Last but not least, you can also enjoy free cell phone service without paying anything by using the free social mobile apps. And the best part, you can make both domestic and international calls or texting.

Even so, you still need working WiFi to enjoy the various phone services. Also, you’ll have to make sure the other person you’d like to communicate with has the same free app on his/ her phone. The said apps include Skype, Google Hangouts, Viber, WhatsApp, Signal, and Facebook Messenger.

Final Thoughts:

Well, you can now see it’s very possible to get free cell phone service without paying any dime. Whether it’s loss of employment, low income, or perhaps you’re traveling outside your local network, either of the six methods should give you a workable solution.

However, the top three options are the lifeline program for low income, the free trial plan when you need a temporary service, and the free social apps if you have a WiFi connection. The family phone plan could also work if a loved one agrees to pay for your usage.