How to Get a Free Device Without ACP

A lot of Americans found themselves relying on the support that the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) provided. However, as the program comes to an end, many of those recipients are scratching their heads wondering where they can find support. Thankfully, even though ACP may be out of funding, there are still opportunities to reap similar benefits like a free phone or discounted services. It’s just a matter of where to look!

How to Get a Free Device Without ACP

First, let’s provide context on the ACP so you can understand how to still benefit even when this program is out of funding. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) previously established the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), aimed at assisting eligible households with internet costs.

This program provided a monthly discount of up to $30 on internet service, with a higher potential discount of up to $75 for households on qualified tribal lands. Additionally, a one-time discount of up to $100 was available for purchasing a laptop, tablet, or desktop computer, provided that households contributed between $10 and $50 and purchased from participating vendors. However, each household could only benefit from one device and one monthly service discount. Eligibility for this program was determined based on household income, requiring it to be at or below 200% of the federal poverty line, and these poverty guidelines were subject to annual reviews and adjustments.

Lifeline Connection

While the above information just refers to the basics of the program, it was actually more powerful than just some discounts. In fact, the ACP would work with other programs like Lifeline at participating providers. This would allow recipients to benefit from free devices. For example, TruConnect is a provider that offered three different plans depending on the recipient. They had:

  • A plan for those that just received Lifeline
  • A plan for those that just received the ACP
  • A plan for a recipient that is eligible for both programs

If there was a recipient that was eligible for both ACP and Lifeline, they could get a free phone.

Without ACP, How to Get a Free Phone?

Now you may be wondering – how can you get a free phone if the ACP program is gone? Well thankfully it’s not as hard as you may think. In fact, there are plenty of carriers that are switching gears to account for this program coming to an end. Take AirTalk Wireless for example! This carrier is allowing users the option to transfer their ACP benefits to them, in order to receive a free smartphone (so long as it relates to the Lifeline and ACP combo plan). This allows recipients of ACP to still benefit even when funding runs out. This is just an example of one carrier. However, you will want to check with other carriers to see what their offers are.

Understanding Lifeline as a Support Program

The Lifeline program helps low-income people save on phone and internet bills. It offers up to $9.25 in monthly discounts, or up to $34.25 for those on tribal lands, plus up to $100 off initial connection fees for tribal land residents. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) created the program, but the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) runs it and handles applications, eligibility, and recertification.

Applying is easy. Just visit the Lifeline website, click “Apply Now,” and answer some questions about yourself. Eligibility depends on your income being below or slightly above the federal poverty line, your participation in federal or tribal assistance programs, or if your child or dependent is in such programs. To see if you qualify based on income, start your application and check the income requirements for your household size.

Carrier Benefits with Lifeline

Let’s keep using TruConnect as an example carrier. While they offer the option for recipients to get a free phone from their ACP and Lifeline combo plan, they still have plan options for those that are just Lifeline recipients! Their plan includes generous offerings like:

  • Up to 6 GB of High-Speed Data
  • Free unlimited talk and text
  • Free SIM Card (for your own device)
  • Unlimited international calling to certain countries

This is coupled with the existing discounts that recipients get from using Lifeline each and every month! This is just one example, but as a Lifeline recipient, you could also see perks outside of the standard offerings. In fact, some carriers may even offer a free phone just to Lifeline recipients! Which is why it is so important to check out what’s available.

Bottom Line

In summary, even as the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) winds down, there are still valuable options for Americans seeking financial aid with their phone and internet services. The Lifeline program emerges as a strong alternative, offering discounts and potential free devices to eligible low-income individuals and families. Companies like TruConnect demonstrate this by providing plans tailored for Lifeline recipients, including benefits like data, and unlimited talk and text. It’s worth exploring various carriers for similar opportunities, especially as they adapt to the end of ACP. So, if you need assistance with your phone or internet bills, check out Lifeline and carrier-specific offers. With the right research and application, you can continue to enjoy benefits similar to those once offered by ACP.