Published on: Apr 3, 2020

Free smartphone? Is there something like that? Apparently, there is!

In a capitalistic world, getting something for free usually creates doubts over its veracity. Especially something as expensive as a smartphone. But there are legit ways you can get a free smartphone online.

Don’t believe me? Check out this list.

Free Government Smartphone

Did you know that the government sponsors smartphones for those who actually need it?

Digital communication has undoubtedly become a part of our everyday lives. But not all people can afford a smartphone. People relying on security checks or are earning less than the liveable wage usually have no extra cash to spare for a mobile phone. So if their phones broke, getting a new one can mean skipping several meals.

To address this, the government partners with lifeline providers to give out free phones to qualified Americans.

But the federal government has strict rules as to who can avail of the free government phones. The qualification criteria are similar in most states with a few variations in others. Thus, it’s best to ask your local smartphone provider if you qualify.

In general, people who are eligible for the following government programs can also qualify for free government smartphones:

  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
    Medicaid
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or more commonly known as Food Stamps
  • Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance (BIA)
  • Public Housing Assistance
  • Tribal Head Start
  • Veteran’s Pension and Survivors Benefit
  • Tribal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
  • Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservation (FDPIR)

These government-provided smartphones come with up to 1,000 minutes of voice calls and unlimited texts per month. (Related: Best Ways to Get Free International SMS)

To apply for a free government smartphone, you first need to check what lifeline provider is available in your area. Simply visit the lifeline assistance services in your state. Then, check your eligibility. Most of the time, its the lifeline providers that screens and approves the applicants. If you meet their requirements, fill up the application form from their website. Then wait for the approval notice in your mail.

Some of the lifeline providers where you can get free government phones are:

Phone Plans

Another way of getting smartphones at no cost is by availing of a phone plan. Most network providers offer mobile plan bundles that come with a free smartphone.

For a monthly fee, the network provider will give you a free smartphone with corresponding data, voice calls, and text allowance. Most phone plans have lock-in periods ranging from 12 months to 2 years. It’s a great option if you need a new phone but has no readily available cash yet. (Related: The Best and Cheapest Phone Plans for 2020)

Depending on the amount of your plan, most smartphones you can get through this arrangement are pretty decent. They might not be the latest models but most of them are just a generation away. So you still get good specs without spending upfront.

Among the cellphone carriers that offer phone plans with free smartphones are:

  • Sprint
  • Verizon Wireless
  • T-Mobile
  • AT&T
  • Cricket
  • Visible
  • Tello
  • US Mobile
  • Google Fi
  • H20 Wireless

Contests and Giveaways

One quick Google search and you can come up with hundreds of contests and giveaways promising free smartphones as prizes. But before you take the bait, make sure it’s legit.

To spot a fake contest or giveaway, watch out for these red flags:

  • It’s asking for registration fees.
  • The terms are too good to be true.
  • It’s asking for your personal information. (This isn’t necessarily a red flag but you should be careful in disclosing your personal information online.)
  • If the website design or the contest rules seem dodgy.

Apart from these, there are a lot of legitimate and really great contests out there where you can win a smartphone for free. (Related: How to Live Cheaply: 9 Tips for Frugal Living in the US)

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About The Author

As an avid traveler, loves to write blogs about traveling and how to save money when making international calls.