What Kinds of Services Does SafeLink Wireless Offer?
SafeLink Wireless is an American wireless company that offers Lifeline and Affordable Connectivity Program-supported services and benefits. Eligible low-income customers can receive free monthly services with unlimited talk, text, and data (up to 25GB of high-speed data), up to 5GB of hotspot data, free talk and text to Mexico and Canada, and a free smartphone through the company’s government assistance program. Qualifying customers also get unlimited free access to the company’s nationwide network. Learn more about SafeLink’s network in the following sections.
Does SafeLink Have its Own Network Towers?
SafeLink Wireless is a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO), which means that it does not have its own network towers and infrastructure. Instead, the company is partnering with a much larger carrier with a much larger coverage area than’ SafeLink could ever hope to create for itself.
Being an MVNO and not having its own network comes with a list of pros and cons. One of the pros is the point we have already mentioned above – the network that SafeLink is using is much larger and more reliable than any network the company would create itself (after all, SafeLink is just a Lifeline and ACP provider and does not have sufficient resources to build the largest network in the country). In addition, the company does not have to worry about infrastructure maintenance and its customers get access to the huge and reliable network at much lower prices (even free of charge) than the network provider’s customers.
On the other hand, the fact that SafeLink doesn’t own the network gives the company little to no control over the network and there is not much they can do themselves if the network is having issues. In addition, all MVNOs have a common disadvantage over the network owners. In times of network congestion, the network owner will always prioritize its own customers, which may result in patchy coverage and poor signal for the MVNO’s customers.
What Network Does SafeLink Use?
SafeLink is a very proud partner of Verizon – one of the largest carriers in the United States. SafeLink is owned by TracFone Wireless, which, on the other hand, uses the networks of all three largest carriers – Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile (plus Sprint, which is now a part of the new T-Mobile). Officially, SafeLink uses TracFone’s network, but in reality, as TracFone is an MVNO itself, it uses the large carrier’s network (primarily Verizon’s).
How Good is SafeLink’s Network?
So, is SafeLink’s network any good? Well, considering that it primarily uses Verizon’s nationwide network, we can safely conclude that SafeLink’s network is great!
Verizon is the carrier that offers the largest 4G coverage in the country and the third-largest (and rapidly growing) 5G coverage. Verizon’s coverage reaches over 99% of the entire U.S. population and covers over 70% of the country’s territory. Verizon is also a very wealthy company, therefore it maintains its network towers and infrastructure frequently. As such, Verizon’s network is unlikely to let its customers down.
Fortunately, all of Verizon’s MVNOs also get to enjoy the strength, reliability, and other benefits of Verizon’s network. As SafeLink offers free services to eligible customers, its clients can enjoy Verizon’s great network completely free of charge.
Nevertheless, it is important to note that in times of congestion, Verizon will prioritize its own customers, which may lead to lower data speeds and patchy coverage for the customers of its MVNOs. In addition, we must realistically address the fact that all networks’ strengths depend on several other factors, such as the weather, terrain, physical obstructions, the proximity of the towers and their distribution, the direction of the wind, as well as radio frequency, and electrical interference.
SafeLink’s Coverage Area
Unfortunately, SafeLink doesn’t offer its own online coverage map. However, as the company’s coverage is (at least theoretically) identical to its network provider’s coverage, you can evaluate SafeLink’s coverage and check whether or not the signals are strong in your area by reviewing Verizon and TracFone’s coverage map.
Simply enter your address or ZIP code or find your location on the map and the system will tell you what kind of network is available in your area.
See Verizon’s coverage map at verizon.com/coverage-map.
Which Other Providers Use the Same Network?
The carriers that definitely use the same network as SafeLink are TracFone and Verizon. Moreover, all other Verizon MVNOs also use the same (Verizon) network, including:
- CREDO Mobile (Verizon)
- Lively (previously GreatCall) (Verizon)
- Net10 (Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile, AT&T, U.S.)
- Pix Wireless (Verizon)
- Page Plus (Verizon)
- Red Pocket (Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile, AT&T)
- Spectrum Mobile (Verizon)
- Straight Talk (Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile, AT&T)
- Total Wireless (Verizon)
- TracFone (Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile, AT&T)
- Ting (Verizon, T-Mobile)
- Twigby (Verizon)
- US Mobile (Verizon, T-Mobile)
- Visible (Verizon)
- Xfinity Mobile (Verizon)
Now, why is it important to know which carriers use the same network? Well, it is most important if you wish to bring your own phone to SafeLink. The phone you bring must not only be carrier-unlocked but also compatible with SafeLink’s network. Phones purchased from providers who use the same network as SafeLink should definitely be compatible.
How Does SafeLink’s Network Compare to Other Carriers’ Networks?
As virtually all phone and wireless providers in the country use the network of Verizon, AT&T, or T-Mobile (+ Sprint), we can compare Safelink’s network to other carriers’ networks by comparing the networks of the owners. Currently, the three largest networks compare like this:
- Verizon has the largest 4G coverage, covering over 70% of the country’s territory.
- AT&T has the second-largest 4G coverage, covering approximately 68% of the land.
- T-Mobile has the third-largest 4G coverage, covering around 63% of the country.
- When it comes to the 5G network, it is the other way around. T-Mobile has the largest 5G coverage, covering over 41% of the territory.
- AT&T has the second-largest 5G network, covering 18% of the territory.
- Verizon has the third-largest 5G coverage, covering approximately 13% of the land.
SafeLink’s customers can enjoy Verizon’s single-largest 4G LTE network and third-largest 5G network.