Just a smidgin of good news.
After months of just small uses now & then mine is still working fine.
If nothing else I am sure to make a test call or 2 periodically & thus far all have worked perfectly.
Of course given that I only (usually) now venture away from home once a week for provisions, my couple of regular calls get made with my unlimited Twigby service.
I still do have the Truphone SIM, but haven't used it any more since they diminished their services - though it may be useful if I need to do a cellular verification thing.
In conclusion I must add that the 9.95 it cost to get on my only free shipping order of this year was well worth it & could only be better for folks if their shipping charge for the tiny thing was made more reasonable.
This has been trouble-free so far & frankly the very second that it may become otherwise I'll just kill off that account as it is not in any manner essential & has already justified the 9.95 I paid to try it out after months of it working OK.
I did give it a payment card - it has not charged it - renews itself without making a peep - and I have no use for 911 on that phone so gladly it has done nothing about that a'tall.
We've not even needed to use any AT&T services since the latest updating on our Twigby stuff - so it may be that when both mine & my partner's AT&T methods run out and/or fail that we'll just let it go.
I'm glad to hear the FreedomPop (Walmart) SIM is proving workable in your area, One! (I remember from previous attempts that you weren't expecting any usable T-Mobile coverage.)
I have a couple of these, too. Yes, a credit card is required for renewal. (You can activate the SIM without registering a credit card, but you won't be able to renew the free plan without one. But that does give you a month to confirm that it's workable for you before registering a payment source.) Mine have also auto-renewed, without any charge. No overage charges or auto-top-ups, either.
As long as you don't need more than token amounts of data (100mb), this is really a usable plan.
Re: 911 fees & telecom taxes. I haven't seen any reports of anyone actually being charged these on a monthly renewal. (I did have to pay tax/fees on purchase.) I wouldn't be surprised if charges do appear for some users in specific tax jurisdictions, if FreedomPop is stuck paying them. (Typically, a $0 transaction isn't subject to fees, but it's possible that some jurisdiction may have fixed line charges that aren't tied to plan cost.)
Privacy.com allows you to use a "virtual credit card" and load it with only 1 dollar. That's what I did with FreedomPop and it has worked for 5 months now and no charges. Privacy.com basic service is free as well.