Lifeline + Safelink...HAHAHAHAH!

Bearing in mind that Safelink IS tracfone...

Just for yuks I applied for Lifeline & ACP.
Partial 'approval' came the next day.

Wanted more specifics, so I called their helpline.

The non-native semi-english speaker answered with 'welcome to tf'.
OK, 1st question answered.

2nd question she could not answer & had to transfer me..please hold...

I then asked about their 'free phone offer' & was told that is ONLY for CA. Woof.

3rd question - who is the provider ?? Safelink.
No - who is the service provider - Safelink.

Tried this way - can this be via AT&T - no answer.
Then asked if it was GSMA or GSMT - still no answer.

I looked at a few other Lifeline providers & none seem any better so far.

Put a paint job on tf & it is STILL just tf & as restrictive as ever.

This was a cute - but useless experiment.
Just makes me glad that I use US Mobile & that I can just be OK minus any more GSMA services.

If it's TF running it I'd be surprised if the default for new accounts was anything but Verizon network.

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Hi Redrotors & Thanks for your reply.

Checking here:

The only provider serving Vermont is:

And having gotten 'approved' already, I called that place to ask how to use the ID given, but they have zero live agents & not even any VM, so I tried email.

Only time will now tell if this is just silliness ?!?

Q Link Wireless is offered by the same company (Quadrant Holdings) as Hello Mobile. The company that among other plans has offered a $5/mo. inc. taxes unlimited/unlimited/500mb plan that can be purchased by the month, don't need to buy a year or multiple months, for a few years now.


AFAIK Hello is T-Mobile based only.
No idea what that actually means for Q Link offerings but just a heads up. In addition, CS feedback for Hello seems to indicate basement level customer disservice a la TF so keep your expectations low and you won't be disappointed :wink:

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Hello and Thanks Redrotors.
Of course I'd be delighted to get some free AT&T, but that seems unlikely.
Truthfully I'm just poking at the idea as my time may allow & I've got zero expectations - just curiosity.


I already sampled exactly what you describe above, thanks !!

I'm just waiting to see if they answer me at all and/or if their answers are in any way useful for me - if not, I can just fuggedaboud this whole idea very easily.

Thus far all I've seen of the Lifeline stuff points to the idea that poor folks will put up with all sorts of krappy services 'cuz they cannot afford to buy better ones.

As I've said here before, my present $5/month service is quite satisfactory, BUT;
If the FP GSMA could have been made to keep working for me it would have been a great bonus.

The 2 lifeline providers that use AT&T and serve Vermont seem to be:

Airtalk Wireless

Life Wireless

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@JVV my "google-fu" fails me.

Is there a master list of lifeline providers indicating what states they operate in and what network(s) they operate on?

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It wouldn't be Lifeline service, however, US Mobile says it will begin offering AT&T network service (which it is calling Deathstar) sometime this summer.

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Thanks for your thoughtful replies Folks !!

JVV - Airtalk does not appear to serve Vermont according to their site & their live chat is...dead - zero response.

I've used the contact form at Life Wireless & got an auto-reply, then a useless form reply that did not answer my query at all - so I called & got an ESL speaker as usual, told him that I have a Lifeline Application ID & have already been approved - and he did not understand the question, so I gave up.

Hello Redrotors.
I do not use big G for searching at all - I just searched 'free cellular' via DDG & pasted the best link it found, above.

Hi RolandH.
If/when US Mobile offers AT&T services, and IF there is a $5/month deal, I'd grab that instantly !!

Further observation=>
Lifeline is just a hassle !!!

Yes, also a DDG user (which uses Bing AFAIK). "google-fu" was just being used as a generic.

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I used this Vermont government webpage to see which providers serve the state.

That page website says Airtalk is available to Vermont residents. Just to make sure, I entered a zip code from Vermont there and was able to proceed in applying for Lifeline.

Resulting webpage says Vermont residents who are approved for Lifeline have the option of getting a phone (likely something that is barely usable) from Airtalk or using their own device. Lifeline plan is 1000 minutes, Unlimited Texts, 4.5gb of 5G+ data, and Unlimited calling to 80 countries.

The other company Life Wireless gives Unlimited Calls, Unlimited Texts, and 4.5gb of data that rolls over to the next month if not used. I believe there is no option to receive a free phone from Life.

In general for any lifeline provider, the expectations for support has to be set low as it is probably not realistic to get a native English speaker who knows everything about the service. Lifeline providers get from the government less than $10 per month for each user. That is why you get support people from overseas who only know how to read from a script. Just be glad if you fill out the application online correctly, get a package in the mail in a timely fashion, and everything you receive works as it should.


ETA: User error, I failed to scroll all the way to the bottom of the page to see the list.
Still curious how you discovered the underlying MNO (quickly?).

Thanks JVV
I found that VT govt. page but no place to enter a zip code on that page?
Link there led me to
Where I only get qlink & Im telecom (leads to Infinity mobile) as providers.
IDK, may depend on zip code used?

Then in addition you knew the underlying MNO so I thought you found a magical list or data base since that information is often difficult to find. Airtalk/airvoice isn't listed on prepaidcompare which is my first go to.

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Well said indeed:

And eggs-zachary what made me end the experiment - it just ain't worth the efforts & the providers are all full of baloney.

Granted that I did not put any long and/or devoted efforts into it, but what my trek into Lifeline lands revealed very quickly was very ugly - nothing that I want.

OK, seeing the link JVV shared, I went through the wireless choices there.
( Lifeline Telecommunications Program | Department of Public Service )

  • As mentioned earlier, SafeLink Wireless (tf) is a complete waste of time;
  • AirTalk Wireless does not appear to serve Vermont according to their site;
  • Q Link Wireless was yet another 100% waste of time;
  • As mentioned earlier as well - Life Wireless was a total zero.
  • TruConnect, wireless actually had a live phone agent answer, confirmed that they use TMob, and that even though already 'approved' one must re-apply via their site to see if it'll work out.
  • As to Infiniti Mobile - by the time I got to their site & tried a few things I was already burned out !!

The others linked there are local telcos w/o wireless offerings.

So, just for yuks I will re-apply at TruConnect even though they use TMob 'cuz they claim to serve my area (via zipcode) & give out free phones, supposedly.

The 'free phone' deal turns out to be $80 +tax - and when refused...

Even though they claim to cover Vermont - after the 2 minute app was done it says:

At this time we don’t offer service in your area. Check back soon!

Yep - LL is a total time-such after all & now I'm REALLY, TRULY done !!!

A free phone given to Lifeline users is not a government requirement. Companies that do have their own deal with some 3rd-party company to acquire phones. Airtalk for instance offers free phones. Catch is that they usually issue used devices. I have heard that Life Wireless charges a nominal fee for their base device. I am not sure if TruConnect normally offers a free phone with lineline or not. If they do, could it be that the free phone is out of stock?

Since ACP full funding just ended, a number of users are changing plans and/or services. So it would not surprise me if Lifeline companies are particularly difficult to contact now. The lifeline providers that do have relatively cheap devices could be short on supply if there is a big influx of new users.

As At&t only works in your area and Life Wireless you say is the only Lifeline provider using At&t, then there is no other Lifeline option. TruConnect might have figured out your local zip code has poor T-Mobile coverage, so they declined to offer you service.

If hypothetically speaking you ordered Life Wireless, would the service be usable? My guess is probably yes.

Should the price of the device be unreasonable at Life Wireless, an alternative would be to buy a cheap At&t prepaid phone.

When a company's top site says 'FREE PHONE', then allows someone to complete the entire process - it then confirms eligibility and goes to a summary page showing the (krappy) 'FREE PHONE' is $80 + tax with the only remaining step being to pay, and THEN=>

When said 'FREE PHONE' offer is removed one's region is no longer available, I call that...PURELY A SWINDLE to sell phones.

Apparently this whole concept is loaded with misleading stuff aimed at desperately poor people & I view it as totally shameful.
(Also I am glad to NOT be desperately poor.)

I suspect the free phone from TrueConnect might be only for those who sign up for both Lifeline AND ACP. But since ACP is gone, the free phone might not be available to most everybody. At least that is what it seems like without me actually filling out the application.

From their website:

How do I get a free US government phone?
The free phone doesn’t come from the government. TruConnect offers a free Android smartphone with our free ACP monthly phone service plans.

Anyway, I actually think a good number of people who order lifeline never even consider getting a device from the provider. Devices they include are either too old or too underpowered, so they would not even use it if it came for free. They would essentially call the provided phone e-waste. Instead, this group of people only care about the tower used by the provider & how many service units they are getting.

Hello JVV.
As I mentioned, IMO some sites are misleading to the point of open dishonesty:

Just FYI regarding that 'free phone' deal...
I was 100% approved by them for that LL deal;
I opted for the 'free' phone;
It was then $80+ at their checkout page which wanted my payment info;
I then opted away from that spend & suddenly their whole thing changed & closed that process on its own, and finally;
It told me that they don't even cover my state ?!?

In my POV that was ALL about selling me some krap phone & THEN later admitting they could not provide service for it.

And I bypassed the dishonest stuff which was so very obvious (like TruConnect).

Yes - ACP is done, but there are some of them which STILL show LL offers including a phone.

When a site claims to be giving away 'Android smartphones' it does make me curious to see what sort of junkers they are passing around.

As I previously mentioned, the vast majority of providers do not give free phones to Lifeline customers. Before when users were able to and signed up for both Lifeline & ACP with a free bundled phone, they received at best a 3gb/32gb/Mediatek phone. At worst, they got something that ran only Android Go. Users had no idea what they were getting before it arrived in the mail.

With the T-Mobile providers, they could almost literally hand out any phone as T-Mobile accepts most anything. At&t on the other hand only activates phones from their whitelist. So if somebody choses Life Wireless & also decided to pay a supposedly token amount for a phone, the device would be by definition be something listed here. Too bad you are not ordering from them as I would be curious to hear what device they send out.

See here:

(Mwah-ah-ah !!)