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.

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.

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 able to provide some support. Take Metro by T-Mobile for example! Metro is giving away 5G phones at no cost, and there are no hidden fees involved. The price you see is what you pay. Visit a Metro store and you could walk out with a free Google Pixel 6a or REVVL 6 5G. To qualify, you need to transfer your number to Metro, select a plan that costs $40/month or more, and cover the tax. For those who prefer shopping online, the Galaxy A14 5G is available with no activation fees, and you can also add a voice line to your current plan.

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 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.

Other Carriers That Can Offer Free Phones

Besides free phones available from Metro by T-Mobile, there are other carriers that can provide free phones. Also keep in mind that this list just scratches the surface! You can do your own research to see what other opportunities may be out there. Carriers worth mentioning include:

  • Verizon: Verizon often runs promotions that make new phones affordable, including free phones with a 36-month bill credit plan. These deals, which are great for upgrading without high costs, include various models and brands, trade-in options for free upgrades, and buy-one-get-one-free offers ideal for families.
  • Cricket Wireless: Cricket Wireless offers the Motorola Moto G 5G 2024 for free to new customers who transfer their number and start a $55/month plan (plus potential extra charges). This deal excludes upgrades and may lock the phone to Cricket’s network for six months.
  • AT&T: AT&T’s limited-time promotion offers the iPhone 15 Pro for free with certain conditions. The deal provides over $950 in credits over 36 months with a 0% APR installment plan and no down payment for those with good credit.

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. It’s worth exploring various carriers for similar opportunities. 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.