Since you’ve landed on this article, we assume you are looking for a free cell phone no deposit no activation fee, right? If so, you came to the right place.
Herein we will cover various aspects of free phones. We will start with the basics by covering what activation fees are. We will then take a look at government phones also known as Obama phones, which will be of great interest to you, especially if you are a part of a low-income household.
Then we will move on to take a closer look at the actual wireless carriers that enable certain users to get a free phone no deposit no activation fee. In some cases even free plans are available. Sounds impossible? Just continue reading and be amazed.
In that section, we will cover 5 providers that offer free cell phones no deposit no activation fee for you to take advantage of. We will provide you with all the details needed to make an informed decision and even attain a free cell phone no deposit no activation fee. How does that sound?
As we will be approaching the final parts of the article, we will cover how to avoid cell phone activation fees and then wrap things up by answering the most frequently asked questions, which should be of great help for many of you.
So, are you ready to dig in and learn how to get a free cell phone no deposit no activation fee? Let’s do this.
What Are Activation Fees For Cell Phone?
We believe in honesty, so we will tell you what we feel about the activation fees. In our opinion, activation fees are a way for wireless carriers to get additional money from their customers. It is their way to get a certain degree of commitment. We truly believe that activation fees should be banished altogether. Is it enough that you will be paying for their services? Should that cover the activation fees?
In an ideal world, the activation fees would really not be needed, however, for now, the majority of carriers want to squeeze as many fees out of their clients as possible. Though, we must point out that we, the customers, brought this on our own, as there are still many people who try various shady ways to get discounted phones and planes, which often includes illegal methods and frauds. Activation fees are there to protect carriers from the latter.
Normally, activation costs go to merchant fees for credit checks, EID verification, and other forms of fraud prevention contracted by major vendors.
Activation fees normally range between $35 and $45, which is not a negligible amount. As such, we will present you with methods to avoid paying this fee without playing unfairly or fraud-like activities on your end.
Now that you know what activation fees for cell phones are, you are ready to move on.
Does The Government Provide Free Cell Phone No Deposit No Activation Fee?
Let us answer the above question without any overdue with an affirmative ‘YES.’ Yes, the government really provides certain households with a free cell phone no deposit no activation fee.
Perhaps you’ve heard of ‘Obama phone’ before? How about Lifeline? Well, this is it. This is the way to get a free cell phone no deposit no activation fee. Of course, these phones are not available to just anyone or any household. There are strict eligibility guidelines and in order to get a free cell phone, an individual must qualify.
Lifeline Assistance is generally a government-supported program that offers eligible households a sum of $9.25 monthly towards their telecommunication service bill (either for landline, internet, or wireless services (only for one of those)).
However, luckily, many wireless providers decided to take the Lifeline benefits to the next level. As a result, there are now many ‘Lifeline-specialized’ wireless providers that offer free monthly plans and free smartphones to their customers.
In order to rip the benefits of the Lifeline Assistance program, you or your household must either meet the low-income conditions or have a member participating in one of the specified federal assistance programs. See details below.
There are two ways to qualify for Lifeline Assistance:
- Based on low-income – You can get Lifeline if your income is 135% or less than the federal poverty guidelines. The guideline is based on your household size and state. You need to show proof of income, like three consecutive pay stubs or a tax return, when you apply for Lifeline.
- Based on program participation – You can get Lifeline if you (or someone in your household) participates in one of these federal assistance programs:
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as Food Stamps
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- Federal Public Housing Assistance (FPHA)
- Veterans Pension and Survivors Benefit
- Tribal Programs (and live on federally-recognized Tribal lands):
- Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance
- Head Start (only households meeting the income qualifying standard)
- Tribal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (Tribal TANF)
- Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations
You need to show a card, letter, or official document, as proof that you participate in one of these programs when you apply for Lifeline.
The details about the application process will be cover in the following section.
Is It Possible To Get A Free Cell Phone No Deposit No Activation Fee?
If you read the previous section, you should be able to answer the above question without any hesitation. Yes, it is possible to get a free cell phone no deposit no activation fee through the Lifeline Assistance program.
How about other methods? Can those who do not qualify for the Lifeline support get a free cell phone no deposit no activation fee? Yes, but it can be tricky. You see, as explained in the ‘What are activation fees for Cell Phone?’ section, regular wireless providers use activation fees to at least partly protect themselves.
As such, the majority of providers do not let you join their network without paying the fee. However, every now and then certain companies run special deals, through which they offer free cell phones and sometimes even without any deposit and without the activation fee.
In this section, we will take a closer look at 5 companies that are currently offering free cell phones no deposit no activation fee deals to their potential customers. Three of those companies are Lifeline-focused carriers, which means that their services are reserved only for Lifeline qualified households. However, the other two companies that will be presented below make free cell phone no deposit no activation fee deals available to the general public.
Note: Keep in mind that the Lifeline-focused carriers tend to focus on smaller areas of the USA, which means that there is no Lifeline carrier that would be covering all the states. As such, make sure to check which providers are available for your ZIP code. Similar goes to regular commercial wireless carriers, though, the largest ones do tend to operate in all states.
Lifeline option #1: Assurance Wireless
Assurance Wireless offers its customers free phones with additional free monthly minutes, texts, and mobile data. The exact amounts vary from state to state. By far the best benefits are offered to California citizens.
Assurance Wireless services over 40 states and operates on Sprint’s network, which has been taken over T-Mobile in 2020. As such, you will be experiencing the benefits of great coverage and a reliable network.
When it comes to phone selection, Assurance Wireless is no exception. As with all Lifeline carriers, you do not get to actually choose your mobile device yourself. Rather, one is selected for you. You can expect an entry-level smartphone. Here are some of the phone models that have been offered to Assurance Wireless users over the last couple of years: ANS Rapidz, ALCATEL Dawn, ANS UL40, ANS Wiko Life, Wiko Life 2, Coolpad Avail, Coolpad Illumina, Coolpad Legacy GO, Coolpad Legacy SR, Kyocera Hydro Reach, L51, Unimax U673c, Unimax U683CL, Unimax693, ZTE Prestige 2, ZTE Quest, ZTE Quest Plus, and ZTE Tempo X.
To apply for the Lifeline directly via the Assurance Wireless website, hover over the ‘Lifeline Service’ option in the top menu, then click ‘Check Availability’ and enter your zip code.
Lifeline option #2: Qlink Wireless
Qlink Wireless is the second highly reputable Lifeline provider where you can get a free cell phone no deposit no activation fee deals. It offers some of the best smartphones (details are not provided). In addition to a free phone, Qlink also provides you with a free plan that includes up to 4.5GB of data, unlimited minutes, and texts (airtime may vary depending on your area).
Q Link Wireless serves more than 97% of the United States with the most reliable coverage available. It is one of America’s fastest-growing Lifeline service providers. The company provides free cell phone service with free monthly data, minutes, and unlimited texting to tens of millions of low-income Americans. Customers choose from various free monthly minute plans. Cell phone service includes nationwide coverage and the ability to call nationally or internationally. Subscribers enjoy no monthly bills, no fees, no credit checks, no surcharges, and no contracts.
The company also offers affordable prepaid wireless cell phone service, for Lifeline and non-Lifeline subscribers. To apply for Qlink Lifeline plan, visit their official website enter your zip code and email address, and click the ‘Apply Now’ button.
Lifeline option #3: Access wireless
Access Wireless is without a doubt one of the best free government phone providers in the USA. It provides its services in more than 30 states. To check your eligibility on their website, you only need to provide your zip code. To do so, visit their official website and click ‘Apply for Service’ in the menu bar. On the next page enter your zip code.
They offer free phones and great phone plans for low-income families. The most common option includes 1000 minutes, unlimited texts, and 4.5GB of data, though the exact free plan may vary from state to state.
As with all Lifeline carriers, you do not get to choose the phone.
Commercial carrier option #1: Verizon
Verizon is the most awarded wireless network in the USA and is one of the leading carriers. It offers reliable services and many special deals. You can get free phones either by signing for post-paid unlimited plans or with certain prepaid smartphones. Choosing the latter would be your best bet to get a free cell phone no deposit no activation fee deal (though activation fee may still apply).
At the moment of writing this article, Verizon offers two free prepaid phones; Orbic MAUI and KAZUNA eTALK MYFLIX. Both of these require a new prepaid line with Verizon. Aside from those free options, there are many other discounted options.
Commercial carrier option #2: T-Mobile
Another great and reliable carrier worth mentioning is T-Mobile. T-Mobile is one of the largest wireless providers in the USA and worldwide. Due to their greatness, they can afford to offer their customers special deals, including free cell phone no deposit no activation fee deals.
Like Verizon, T-Mobile also offers free mobile phones. There are various options available, especially if you are ready to sign up for multiple lines on unlimited plans.
Currently, you can get for free the following models (trade-in, buy-on-get-one, or other special conditions may apply): iPhone 12, iPhone 11, Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G, OnePlus 8T+ 5G, Samsung Galaxy A71 5G, Google Pixel 4a 5G, and many other Android phones.
The Process Of Getting A Free Cell Phone No Deposit No Activation Fee
Since the process is very similar for all Lifeline-focused carriers on one hand and all commercial wireless carriers on the other, we decided to take a closer look at each of the two within this section.
Note: Whether dealing with the Lifeline carrier or regular one, it is always recommended to visit the carrier’s official website or call their customer support to attain all the details prior to enrollment.
To complete the process online make sure you have the scans or photos of the required documents (identity proof, address proof, and low-income or program-participation proof). In case you decide to apply via standard mail, you will need those copies to be in a physical form (you can print them out or use photocopy services).
The Process For Lifeline-Focused Carriers:
When it comes to Lifeline-focused carriers you have can either apply for the Lifeline Assistance via the official Lifeline support organization and then enroll with the carrier or do the entire application process through the carrier, who will redirect your application via the same channels as the previous method.
- To apply via the official Lifeline support organization:
- Online: Visit https://nationalverifier.servicenowservices.com/lifeline, choose your state, and click the ‘Get Started’ button. Then simply follow the instruction on each step and complete the application process.
- By mail: In order to apply via mail, you need to first print out the application and fill it out (here is the link to English application: https://www.lifelinesupport.org/wp-content/uploads/lifeline/documents/LI_Application_NVstates.pdf; here is the link to Spanish application: https://www.lifelinesupport.org/wp-content/uploads/lifeline/documents/LI-SP_Application_NVstates.pdf)
- ENROLMENT: Once your application has been approved, you need to locate a Lifeline-focused carrier (https://data.usac.org/publicreports/CompaniesNearMe/Download/Report) and enroll in their free plan to attain a free phone no deposit no activation fee (not applicable for all Lifeline-focused carriers).
- To apply via carrier:
- Use this online tool (https://data.usac.org/publicreports/CompaniesNearMe/Download/Report) to find the Lifeline-focused carriers in your area. Then choose the one that suits you and that actually offers a free cell phone no deposit no activation fee.
- Apply online: Visit the carrier’s website and look for the ‘Apply Now’, ‘Lifeline’, ‘Start Here’ or similar button or link. Click on it. Then follow the instructions and complete the application process.
- Apply via mail: Visit the carrier’s website and go to the ‘Contact’ page. There you will see their address. Before sending your application and documentation, we recommend you call them and ask if you can apply via mail. If not, you can always apply via mail through the official Lifeline support organization (see previous main bullet point).
The Process For Commercial Carriers:
Unlike with the Lifeline support, here you do not need to qualify, at least not in that particular way. All you need to do is to find a carrier that offers some sort of special deal that includes a free cell phone no deposit no activation fee, check the details of the offer, and enroll (either by calling their support or simply by completing the order process on their website).
This may sound very easy and it is once you’ve found a carrier that offers such deals. However, the latter can be quite tricky. You can visit the websites of all popular carriers in your area but we recommend you start with the two companies presented above. Though, you should keep in mind that they may not have such offers available constantly.
There are many carriers that give customers a free phone when they sign up for service with them. Aside from leading contract-based carriers, such as Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile, you can also expect free phones at prepaid carriers, such as Boost Mobile, Metro by T-Mobile (aka MetroPCS), Cricket Wireless, and others. Various devices from Samsung, LG, Motorola, and even Apple are often offered.
Sometimes free cell phones come in the form of instant rebates credited toward the full price of the phone. Or in limited-time deals, like getting a free second phone when you purchase the first one at the same time. These types of free cell phones are usually offered as bill credits that will be applied to your monthly service plan. There are plenty of free cell phone deals like these on the market at any given time, however, despite being offered a free phone, you may still be required to pay the activation fee. Though, deposit fees are usually not applicable for free phone deals.
Keep in mind that in order to be eligible for free phone deals, you may also need to bring your current phone number over to your new phone (port-in) and/or switch to that carrier and activate a new account.
Good Place To Find Active Free-Phone Deals
You can also use, sites like Whistle Out, where you can see all currently available free-phone deals, though to see if there is any activation fee related to that deal, you will have to visit the carrier’s site. They currently show iPhone 7 32GB, Samsung Galaxy A11, Pixel 4a (5G), LG Stylo 6, Samsung Galaxy A21, Samsung Galaxy A01, Motorola Moto E (2020), Motorola Moto G Stylus, Samsung Galaxy A20, Alcatel GO FLIP 3, LG K51, LG Stylo 5, LG Aristo 5, Samsung Galaxy J2, LG Fortune 2, Motorola Moto E6, T-Mobile REVVL 4, T-Mobile REVVL 4+, and LG Rebel 4.
How Can I Avoid Cell Phone Activation Fees?
If you are Lifeline eligible, you will be able to get a free phone, a free plan, and in most cases avoid the activation fee, as most Lifeline carriers do not charge their customers an activation fee. That said, qualifying for the Lifeline support is definitely the best way to avoid the cell phone activation fee.
Another valid way to avoid cell phone activation fees is to switch carriers during special promotion deals when new customers are promised no activation fee. Moreover, many carriers offer to waive the activation fee in case you upgrade your plan or get a new phone. However, if you are aiming to get a free cell phone no deposit no activation fee, then special deals (aside from Lifeline) are your best bet.
Can I get a cell phone with no credit and no deposit?
Yes. The best option for that is special deals when highly discounted or even free phones are offered. In case your household is eligible, Lifeline is also a great way to avoid a credit check and any deposit requirements.
In general, prepaid providers are the best place to look for phones with no credit and no deposit.
Is it possible to get free cell phone service for life?
No. We have never heard of such options. There might be special deals or promotional draws for free services, but those are always offered for a limited time, typically one year. Even with Lifeline services, which include free monthly plans, you are required to recertify annually.
Can I get a free phone with bad credit?
Yes. You need to find a deal that offers free phones without a credit check (prepaid options are your best bet). If you are eligible for Lifeline support, bad credit will also not stand in your way of getting a free phone.
Can I get a phone contract at 18 with no credit?
Yes. With many carriers, to be 18 years old is the requirement for monthly contract plans. Whether credit will be required depends on the type of plan and whether or not you plan on getting a device with that plan. TO avoid credit, prepaid options would be the best option.
Can I switch phone carriers without paying fees?
Yes. This depends on a carrier’s current deals. Often times special deals are offered to those switching over that waive all fees. In many cases, you can get the carrier that you are switching over to even ay any remaining phone fees with your previous carrier.
Can all people get a free phone?
Yes and no. Yes, when special free phone deals are offered to the general public. No, when there are no such deals. Moreover, Lifeline Assistance, which provides users with free government phones is only available to eligible households.
Some people say there is no such thing as a free phone, is that true?
That is not true. Sure there are free phones. We’ve covered some of the best options in the article above. If you are a member of a low-income household, you can easily get a free government phone based on the Lifeline Assistance program. Other ways to get a free phone include special promotional deals, lotteries, giveaways, and surveys.
Considering that you got to this point, you are a real semi-expert on the entire ‘free cell phone no deposit no activation fee’ topic. You know what the most valid methods to attain a free phone are and also how to avoid paying an activation fee.
Aside from Lifeline, you can always explore special deals, which are very common, especial around any holidays.
We hope you’ve gotten what you’ve come for and wish you good luck with your free phone attainment quest.