Excess Telecom is a wireless company and an approved Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) and California Lifeline Program provider. As the company is primarily known for offering free or discounted internet services through ACP, you may have heard that the company provides eligible low-income customers with highly discounted (often referred to as ‘free’) tablets. However, is it also possible to get an Excess Telecom free phone? In order for you not to have to dissect the company’s website, we did the digging for you and have provided you with all the information you need to know below.
About Excess Telecom and Its Services
Excess Telecom is dedicated to providing affordable and easily accessible premium wireless service throughout the United States, with the goal of bringing connectivity to those who require it most. As one of the rapidly expanding wireless companies in America, it holds licenses in all 50 states and has successfully served over 1,000,000 customers.
At Excess Telecom, they prioritize empowering their customers with the top-quality wireless service that they truly deserve. Their approach is to lend a helping hand, ensuring that every individual receives an affordable and reliable wireless device along with the ability to stay connected during crucial moments. As the company understands the significance of connectivity, it strives to make it accessible to all.
While Excess’s ACP discounts on monthly broadband services and tablets are available throughout the country, the company’s Lifeline discounts on monthly phone and wireless services and free cell phones are only available in the state of California.
Excess Telecom California Lifeline Offer
The Affordable Connectivity Program offers discounts on monthly broadband services and tablets. It does not offer free cell phones. On the other hand, the Lifeline program offers discounts on monthly phone and wireless services and free cell phones. As Excess only offers Lifeline discounts in California, only eligible Californians can receive an Excess Telecom free phone.
Excess Telecom currently only offers one California Lifeline plan, which includes:
- Free unlimited monthly minutes
- Free unlimited monthly texts
- 6GB of free monthly data
- A free cell phone
The California Lifeline Program is an assistance program provided by the state government of California. Only eligible California residents can apply and they must prove their eligibility. Note that only one discount per household is allowed (exceptions apply). Moreover, It is not permissible for households to receive discounts from multiple phone companies simultaneously.
How Can I Get an Excess Telecom Free Phone
To receive an Excess Telecom free phone, you must do the following:
- Make sure that you qualify for Excess Telecom’s California Lifeline program.
- Make sure that you can prove your California Lifeline eligibility.
- Apply for the program through the National Verifier and Excess Telecom.
Let’s take a closer look at these simple steps in the following sections.
How to Qualify for an Excess Telecom Free Phone
To receive an Excess Telecom free phone, you must qualify for the California Lifeline program. You can do so based on your low income or based on your participation in a qualifying government assistance program.
The household must meet the California income requirements for the federal poverty level. Currently, you can qualify for California Lifeline if your household’s total annual gross income is at or below these income limits:
- $32,500 for a 1 or 2-member household
- $37,700 for a 3-member household
- $45,900 for a 4-member household
- $8,200 for each additional member
These annual income limits are effective from June 1, 2023, to May 31, 2024.
Program Participation-based Eligibility
Alternatively, your household qualifies for California Lifeline if a household member participates in any one of the following government assistance programs:
- Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- Federal Public Housing Assistance or Section 8
- CalFresh, Food Stamps or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
- Women, Infants and Children Program (WIC)
- National School Lunch Program (NSL)
- Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
- California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs)
- Stanislaus County Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (StanWORKs)
- Welfare-to-Work (WTW)
- Greater Avenues for Independence (GAIN)
- Tribal TANF
- Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance
- Head Start Income Eligible (Tribal Only)
- Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations
- Federal Veterans and Survivors Pension Benefit Program
As Excess Telecom free phones are only available in California, you must be a California resident to participate. You must also be the only applicant in the household. Moreover, you must be at least 18 years old or an emancipated minor to be able to enroll.
If you qualify for California Lifeline, you can proceed to the next step.
How to Prove My Excess Telecom Free Phone Eligibility
Now you may know that you qualify for California Lifeline, however, it’s not you that must know – it’s the company and the institution that checks your application and eligibility on a national level. In other words, you will be required to prove your California Lifeline eligibility during the application process.
You may be asked to prove your annual household income or program participation (depending on how you qualify), as well as some personal information, such as age, emancipation, physical address, etc.
To prove your annual household income, you must provide a copy of a valid official document that includes your income and full name, such as:
- Front page only of the prior year’s state, federal, or tribal tax return
- Income statements or paycheck stubs for 3 consecutive months within the past 12 months
- Statement of benefits from Social Security, Veterans Administration, retirement/pension, Unemployment Compensation, and/or Workmen’s Compensation
- Alimony and/or child support documents
To prove your program participation, you must provide a copy of a valid official document that includes your full name, the name of the program and issuing establishment, and a valid date, such as:
- Identification card from a qualifying public assistance program
- Notice of eligibility or decision letter of participation from a qualifying public assistance program
You can verify your identity with a valid ID or passport. Your age can be proven with an ID or birth certificate. To prove your emancipation status, include a court document or emancipation certificate. And to show your physical address, use a copy of an ID, driver’s license, utility bill, etc. You may also need to provide your social security number and even proof of life.
Due to safety reasons, make sure to never send out original documents. Instead, make clear copies (physical or digital – depending on how you wish to apply) of such documents using a copy machine, scanner, camera, or smartphone. Prepare these copies before starting the application process.
How to Apply for an Excess Telecom Free Phone
Let’s start with ‘where’ you can apply. Again, as it is only possible to receive a free phone through Lifeline and the company only offers Lifeline discounts in California, you can only apply for an Excess Telecom free phone in California (if that is your state of residence).
To apply for California Lifeline and an Excess Telecom free phone, follow these instructions:
- Contact Excess Telecom at 1-800-615-0898 or https://www.excesstelecom.com/contact-us/. Inform the representative that you qualify for California Lifeline based on income or program participation and that you wish to receive an Excess Telecom free phone.
- The representative will begin the application process for you. You may also begin the application process by yourself at https://www.excesstelecom.com/BUYFLOW/.
- Within a week, you will receive an application form via mail that will include an Enrollment Code and/or a PIN number in a pink envelope.
- Complete the form, sign it, and send it to the California Lifeline Administrator at California Lifeline Administrator, P.O. Box 138014, Sacramento, CA 95813-8014 along with any required documents.
- Alternatively, you can apply online at https://www.californialifeline.com/en/login.
- When completing a physical or digital application form, make sure to include all required personal information and proof documentation copies (physical or digital).
- If you don’t apply by the due date, you won’t be able to receive the Lifeline discount.
What Will Happen If My Application Gets Approved?
After you have submitted your application form, both the California Lifeline Administrator and Excess Telecom will review it and either reject or approve your application (depending on whether or not you truly qualify).
In case your application got rejected, contact the administrator to ask why and review your application yourself to see if you made any mistakes while filling it out. If you find any mistakes, you can ask to reapply. This time, make sure not to make any mistakes when completing the forms and attaching the proof documentation.
On the other hand, if your application gets approved, you will be notified within a few days. The administrator and the company should not take more than a month to approve your participation. You will be notified via mail, email, or another provided contact means.
Excess Telecom will then send you a free SIM card that includes your account information, as well as free monthly minutes, texts, and data, and a free cell phone. You will receive these items via mail to your home address. Once you have received the items, you can proceed to activate your Excess Telecom free phone. Afterward, you can enjoy your free device and free monthly services.
Excess Telecom Free Phone Activation Process
Upon receiving your free phone and SIM card from Excess Telecom through the mail, you can initiate the activation process.
- Start by powering off the phone using either the power button or the power off icon on the screen, pressing and holding the button, or using both simultaneously.
- Locate the SIM ejector tool included in the package you received.
- Find the SIM tray or slot on the phone.
- Open the SIM tray or slot.
- Carefully remove the SIM card in the appropriate size for your device.
- Insert the SIM card into the phone’s SIM tray or slot, ensuring that the metal chip faces the correct side and that both the SIM card and slot are clean.
- Close the phone’s SIM card tray or slot.
- Power on the device.
- Follow the prompts displayed on the screen to complete the activation process.
- Depending on your phone model, you may also find additional activation instructions within the Excess Telecom box, alongside the device and SIM card. Check for the presence of these instructions and, if available, make sure to adhere to them.
The activation process should only last for a few minutes. To check whether or not the device has been successfully activated after following these steps, try to place a phone call or use data in the phone. If you can, it means that the device is activated and that you can use your monthly benefits.
Note: Excess Telecom may apply a service activation fee, which is determined by the company and subject to its discretion. The specific fee amount may differ depending on the state, but generally, it is kept at a reasonable and affordable level. According to customer reviews, the Excess Telecom activation fee typically ranges between $11 and $20. This is a one-time charge, making it a reasonable and easily manageable expense.
Excess Telecom California Lifeline Rules and Restrictions
In order to receive the benefits and keep them, you must meet the following conditions:
- Only eligible households can apply and generally, only one benefit is available per household.
- You can only get Lifeline benefits from one company at a time.
- You must use your Lifeline services at least once every 30 days, otherwise, your service might be deactivated. You may be able to reactivate it by contacting the customer support service.
- Don’t attempt to make international calls or send international texts, as Excess doesn’t support those services. If you do so, your service may be deactivated.
- Your service may also be temporarily deactivated if you lose your equipment or have it stolen. If this occurs, make sure to contact the company’s customer support service as soon as possible, as you will be held responsible for any additional charges that occurred during this period. You can reactivate your services within 14 days with the found original device or a new device.
- In case you no longer qualify for the company’s California Lifeline plan and benefits, you must notify the company within 30 days.
- To check whether or not you can get a replacement phone or an upgrade, make sure to contact the company’s customer support.