Are you one of those living in California but don’t have a smartphone or cell phone access? Nothing to be concerned about! We’re here with a broad discussion about Best California Lifeline Cell Phone Providers. They offer cell phone plans and even free phones when you qualify.
Lifeline is an FCC-approved program that started its journey in late 1985 to give assistance to impoverished peoples, mainly low-income individuals. Their motto is to provide cell phone and cellular network access to needy ones. Amongst several lifeline service providers in the USA, we’ll discuss California Lifeline cell phone providers.
Following, we’ve enlisted Best Lifeline cell phone providers California, which you can contact for getting Lifeline cellular services.
At a glance 10 best California lifeline cell phone providers:
2. TAG Mobile
10. Life Wireless
- The 10 Best California Lifeline Cell Phone Providers In 2023
- FAQs About the Best California Lifeline Cell Phone Providers
- What is the Lifeline Assistance program?
- What services do Lifeline providers offer?
- What is the coverage area for Lifeline providers?
- Can I keep my current phone number?
- Do I need to provide evidence of income?
- How much will I save with Lifeline?
- What is the maximum Lifeline discount I can receive?
- How can I find a Lifeline Assistance provider in my area?
- How can I complete my Lifeline renewal in California?
- Is it legal to apply for Lifeline in more than one provider at once?
- Can I switch my Lifeline Assistance Provider?
- Final Verdict
The 10 Best California Lifeline Cell Phone Providers In 2023
1. enTouch Wireless
Under the network of Verizon, enTouch runs their cell phone services, which is an MVNO previously owned by Boomerang Wireless.
If you want to have a cellular service that offers excellent LTE services and doesn’t hassle much, enTouch is the best one! They offer Lifeline coverages and cell phones Free for qualified users.
Before applying for their Lifeline services, you need to be eligible first of all. Just like other Lifeline service providers, you must need to be a user low-income profile.
That means you need to stay under the Federal Poverty Line requirement. You can also qualify if you have eligibility for FCC programs like Medicaid, CalFresh, SNAP, or fulfill the Lifeline guidelines of California.
Plan Details: They offer mainly two plans for the residents of California. Tribal and Non-Tribal plans consist of specific and different features. The basic features are as follows-
- In California, you can get up to 4 GB of data on a monthly basis
- You can get a chance to use unlimited data for a limited time only
- The benefits also add unlimited talk and text to eligible users
- Eligible users can get EBB advantages as well
- Provides stable and most comprehensive LTE coverage in more than 34 states
- It offers to brand new smartphones from the latest brands
If you go for the non-tribal plan, you can also get a chance to win Free smartphones. If you qualify, you can enjoy unlimited data access under the EBB program benefits. You can be eligible in two ways, through FCC programs and your income status.
2. TAG Mobile
TAG Mobile was founded in 2010, and it is a leading Lifeline assistance provider based in Dallas, Texas, USA. They offer free government cell phones, Lifeline benefits, and other related cell phone services in more than 20 states across the USA. Their tailored cell phone plans and Lifeline assistance have made more than 1.5 US residents smile.
TAG Mobile has three top-up plans under the Lifeline Assistance program. If you qualify for their Lifeline aid, you can get access to their EBB benefits as well.
For qualifying, you need to stay in one of the FCC aid programs like Medicaid, SNAP, SSI, TANF, FDPIR, FPHA, Veterans Pension, SBP, etc.
Plan Details: They have three data plans and two dedicated plans for text & minutes under Lifeline Assistance. Let’s discuss them in detail!
Data Plans: The data plans are- Lite, Plus, and Premium. Lite starts at just 5.95 dollars per month. It offers up to 500 MB local 4G LTE data. You have to pay 11.95 dollars per month for the Plus plan, and they give 1.5 GB of data. The Premium plan costs 19.95 dollars monthly for 3 GB of LTE data.
Talk & Text Plans: TAG has two talk & text plans- Premium and Platinum. Premium Plan starts at just 4.95 dollars monthly. It offers unlimited texts and 250 nationwide minutes. At $9.95 monthly, you can get the best family unlimited data plan.
TAG claims that they save up to 30-40 dollars per month for low-income families and help them have a meal on their table. For applying to Lifeline, visit their site, fill up the form, and put all the necessary IDs and proofs.
3. Assurance Wireless
Assurance Wireless is one of the Best California Lifeline Cell Phone Providers, mainly run by the T-Mobile network. It offers Federal Lifeline Assistance to qualified US residents, especially for CA residents.
The Nextel company and Sprint previously owned assurance Wireless, but now they are from T-Mobile. You can expect quality network coverages since they are operated by the country’s best network, T-Mobile.
Plan Details: Get all the benefits of a Lifeline cellular network assistance from Assurance Wireless without any costs.
- Offers latest smartphones from leading brands
- Provided smartphones come with free California numbers as well
- In their Freedom Plan, you can get unlimited voices
- Unlimited text is available for all coverage states
- Get up to 2 GB of 4G LTE data
Enjoy other privileges by topping up their plans through your credits. One great thing we appreciate most from Assurance Wireless is, they offer FREE smartphones. But there are several Lifeline service providers that charge fees for the provided smartphones.
If you want to apply for Lifeline benefits under Assurance Wireless, you have to first qualify for the basic Lifeline requirements. If you wish to be eligible regarding income, your income needs to be within 135 to 150 percent of the Federal Poverty Line.
4. Access Wireless
Do you want hassle-free Lifeline Assistance access? Access Wireless is here with their comprehensive Federal cell phone services. Access wireless is now switching with T-Mobile, which means you can get even better coverages and GSM LTE network facilities. We prefer you switch to Access Wireless for Lifeline benefits for nationwide coverage without any drops and buffering.
Apply to the Access Wireless Lifeline service through their official site. If you qualify for free government phones and reside in California, you should try Access.
One great thing about Access Wireless is you can add or refill minutes & data through your credits. They start supplying at just $10, so make an Access Wireless card without delay!
Plan Details: Access Wireless offers incredible perks in the Lifeline Aid Program. They offer only one line for each household under Lifeline coverage. You can add extra lines through Kroger Wireless if you or your family members require more. The Lifeline benefits are-
- Provides unlimited talk, text, and 500 MB of data
- Get great & brand new smartphones from the latest brands
- Offers nationwide coverage under a stable network
- Free long-distance domestic calling is also available
- Contact with your loved ones through International calling compatibility
If you get eligible for their Emergency Broadband Benefit(EBB) program, you can have more incredible benefits. They offer unlimited minutes, messages, and up to 25 GB of high-speed data in EBB.
If you use 25 GB of data, the speeds may slow down for the rest of the month. You can use the included data for mobile hotspot tethering as well.
5. SafetyNet Wireless
SafetyNet Wireless is a Lifeline Assistance Service provider which offers excellent deals for the residents of California. They enable you to enjoy Lifeline benefits without any costs if you qualify for their plans.
They come with unlimited plans and three different packages. Two starter plans come at $0 per month, and for the premium one, you have to pay 25 dollars monthly.
Plan details: All three of their plans are named at CA LifeLine Unlimited. The two basic plans offer unlimited talk and text along with 4.5 GB of LTE data.
They cost 0 dollars per month if you are a qualified participant for the Lifeline benefits. The last one offers up to 12 GB of 4G LTE data, unlimited talk, and text at 25 dollars per month. Sum of all plans are-
- Offers unlimited talk and texts
- Limited data offers at 4G LTE speed, and speed reduces after limit crossing
- Stable and comprehensive coverage
- Allows SafetyNet refills if you need extra perks monthly
- Offer free government phones from great brands
If you want to qualify for the SafetyNet Wireless Lifeline benefits, your sum of annual income needs to be at or below 150 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. You can also qualify if one of your family members is qualified for any FCC-approved programs.
6. SafeLink Wireless
SafeLink Wireless runs under the network coverage of TracFone Wireless. If you qualify, you can get access to free unlimited perks from SafeLink Lifeline Benefits.
TracFone Wireless covers the SafeLink Lifeline assistance by ensuring a stable and qualitative cellular network for low-income families.
With more than twenty million subscribers, TracFone is now one of the leading cellular service providers in the United States. SafeLink is one of the best California Lifeline service providers that offer free unlimited data, text, and talk to the residents of California.
Plan Details: SafeLink Wireless comes with a helping hand for the EBB-qualified participants with excellent Lifeline benefits that you won’t want to miss out on. All their benefits don’t require any payment, totally free!
The features are-
- Offers unlimited 4G LTE data access across the country
- Get unlimited talk and text with international calling accessibility
- Provides up to 10 GB of hotspot tethering access
- Get a free government smartphone from the latest brands
- Provides voicemail facility and Caller ID visibility as well
- Delivers free calling access to 411 and 911
SafeLink offers free Lifeline services through the funding credits from the Universal Service Administrative Company. If you enroll in the SafeLink Lifeline services, you can receive free airtime minutes each month until the first year.
Note that, after being eligible for enrollment, you can have the service for up to one year. After the ending of your subscription, you may have to recertify or apply for the program again.
7. TruConnect Wireless
TruConnect is one of the best california lifeline cell phone providers that run under the network of both Sprint and T-Mobile. They offer government launched Lifeline cell phone services to impoverished individuals and households.
Just like other Lifeline aid providers, TruConnect also comes with a set of requirements for eligibility. While you enroll for their assistance, you need to qualify the criteria for availing yourself of their benefits.
They offer Lifeline assistance cell phone services in several states of the USA. Their coverage includes California, Nevada, Texas, Missouri, Kansas, Kentucky, and other stateside. With LifeLine aid, TruConnect Wireless also offers EBB benefits for qualified participants.
TruConnect Wireless mainly focuses on providing cellular services in California, as most residents cannot receive cell phone access for high reimbursement levels.
Plan details: What do you think of hassle-free and cost-efficient cell phone services? They will require no contacts, no fees, no strict requirements, and lastly, no charges, isn’t it? Yes, TruConnect Wireless is one of the most easily manageable cell phone providers that offer more benefits and hassles less.
The advantages are-
- You can get a free cell phone from the government.
- Up to 14 GB of LTE data for EBB qualified participants(up to 12 GB for Lifeline eligibles)
- Get unlimited talk and text for domestic usage
- Free international calling is available for selected coverage destinations(for EBB participants)
- They offer a wide range of smartphones from top-rated brands
For the qualified users of TruConnect Wireless, they offer international calling without costs for specific destinations. Coverage countries are- Canada, Mexico, South Korea, Vietnam, and China. For participating, they require no bills, no credit checks, and no fees. Just enter your email, necessary details and sign up within minutes.
8. FeelSafe Wireless
FeelSafe Wireless is a Lifeline service provider based in Mississippi, and they offer excellent GSM cellular services to eligible participants free of cost.
The network coverage of AirVoice Wireless powers FeelSafe Wireless. They provide GSM cell phone services in California, Michigan, Mississippi, Kentucky, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and other states of the USA.
FeelSafe Wireless is mainly a brand name of the Lifeline assistance services provided by AirVoice Wireless. AirVoice Wireless is operated by the network coverage of AT&T, which is one of the most comprehensive carriers of the US.
Through AirVoice Wireless, you can get California Lifeline AT&T services as well. Below are the LifeLine offerings for California residents.
Plan details: Those who don’t have cellular access will understand the importance of a decent GSM standard network. You can get the best family cell phone plans with free phones and monthly cellular network coverages through FeelSafe Wireless if you are a low-income individual.
The LifelIne benefits of FeelSafe Wireless are-
- Get unlimited domestic talk-time minutes
- Send unlimited texts to your loved ones
- Get up to 2 GB of free data access bundle
- Offers 911 calling services
- Get great free government smartphones from leading brands
- You can add extra minutes, text, and data through top-ups starting at just $5 per month
Even if you have run out of free perks before the ending of the month, you can add extra benefits through your credits. They cost just 10 cents per minute, 10 cents per text message, 10 cents per MB of data as well.
9. StandUp Wireless
StandUp Wireless is a LifelIne service provider which is approved by the Federal government of the USA. It is one of the smallest federal-approved government cell phone and cellular service providers.
Like others mentioned above, they also offer absolutely free cell phones, talk, text, data, and more for eligible participants. For the residents of California, they provide California Relay Service via 711 for Lifeline services.
They offer Lifeline assistance programs in more than 30 states. For instance, California, Maryland, Minnesota, New York, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Louisiana, Arizona, Hawaii, and more states.
StandUp Wireless plans are pretty different from others, as they offer a BYOP facility as well. Moreover, you can use a free SIM card with your existing GSM or any compatible handsets.
Plan details: They offer nationwide coverages to the LifeLine eligible participants and EBB eligibles. StandUp provides you a basic plan with an additional BYOP device adding facility as well.
The other perks of their plan are-
- Get up to 1000 domestic minutes
- Offers unlimited texts regardless of the carriers
- Get up to 3 GB of 4G LTE data access
- It provides a free SIM card and also allows you to keep your existing number
- offers great GSM handsets and the latest smartphones from top brands
You need to fill up the federal Lifeline guidelines for qualifying into their Lifeline benefits program. You need to show proof that your annual earning is below or at 135 percent of the Federal poverty guideline.
Moreover, you can qualify if one or more members of your household are in FCC aid programs(SSI, FPHA, TANF, Medicaid).
10. Life Wireless
Life Wireless is one of the best California lifeline cell phone providers funded by the Universal Service Administrative Company. They offer a comprehensive cell phone service under the network coverage of AT&T.
They offer Lifeline coverage in California, Kansas, Georgia, Wisconsin, Nevada, South Carolina, Maryland, Vermont, and other US states.
It is mainly a regional cell phone service provider which usually offers basic cell phone plans in more than 30 states. But they enable Lifeline assistance to specific nine states and some other tribal lands.
Life Wireless has pretty specific and dedicated programs and offerings for each state. But their main focus plan is divided into two segments- tribal & non-tribal.
Plan details: For California, they have two plans with unlimited talk and text features, but their difference is noticeable in data and MMS offering. Plan 1 offers unlimited MMS and 3 GB of data. But plan 2 offers 100 MMS and 3 GB of free data.
The benefits of Life Wireless are-
- Provides nationwide calling
- Offers free domestic long-distance calls
- Unlimited Text Messaging
- International calling is available at no extra roaming costs
- Three-way calling and Voicemail service is available
- Offers Caller ID and Call Waiting services
Life Wireless also offers tribal plans for Oklahoma, where you can get unlimited talk, text, and 1.5 GB of data along with a free smartphone. If you want added values, they also have voice top-up and top-up data options for each month-to-month cell phone plan. They start at just $4 for 100 minutes and 1 GB of data.
Qualifying Criteria For Lifeline Program
There are two criteria that you can apply or qualification into the LifeLine benefit programs. As you’ve seen above, all the providers have similar Lifeline eligibility requirements, but some providers have slightly different requirements.
Qualify By Federal Programs: In general view, regardless of the providers, there are some FCC programs that you need to qualify for getting Lifeline benefits. Some of the programs are CalFresh, TANF, SSI, CalWorks, Veteran Benefits, WIC, NSL, Head Start, Medicaid or MediCal, etc.
Qualify By Income: For the Lifeline qualification, your annual income needs to be at or under 135 to 150% of the Federal Poverty Line. However, a few states have announced particular income statuses that you can check regarding your state and preferred provider.
FAQs About the Best California Lifeline Cell Phone Providers
What is the Lifeline Assistance program?
The Lifeline Assistance program is a government-provided cell phone service that offers discounted rates to low-income individuals. The program is available to residents of all 50 states and Washington D.C., Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
What services do Lifeline providers offer?
Lifeline providers offer a variety of services, including voice, text, and data. You can pick the provider that best fulfills your demands.
What is the coverage area for Lifeline providers?
Lifeline providers offer nationwide coverage.
Can I keep my current phone number?
Yes, you can keep your current phone number if you switch to a Lifeline provider.
Do I need to provide evidence of income?
Yes, you will need to provide evidence of your income to qualify for the Lifeline program. This can include pay stubs, tax returns, or letters from government assistance programs.
How much will I save with Lifeline?
Lifeline providers offer discounted rates on voice, text, and data services. The amount of discount varies by provider.
What is the maximum Lifeline discount I can receive?
The maximum discount you can receive through Lifeline Assistance is $9.25 per month.
How can I find a Lifeline Assistance provider in my area?
To find a Lifeline Assistance provider in your area, visit the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) website. The FCC maintains a list of all providers in the United States. You can also contact your state’s Public Utility Commission for more information.
How can I complete my Lifeline renewal in California?
The process is pretty simple. Just call your state’s Lifeline administration center using your phone number. They will ask for the necessary PIN, phone number, enrollment date, or other codes. After you’ve completed it accurately from your side, they’ll do the rest.
Is it legal to apply for Lifeline in more than one provider at once?
No, you can only apply for Lifeline benefits from one provider. From one household with qualifying participants, you can get these LifeLine benefits for one time only.
Can I switch my Lifeline Assistance Provider?
Yes, you can! You can switch from one provider to another through the Benefits Transfer if you’re not happy with your current service provider.
Now you know the details of some of the best California lifeline cell phone providers. If you qualify for the mentioned criteria, it is your chance to grab fantastic cellular services under the LifeLine benefit.
Pick one that you find convenient regarding your state and requirements. We hope you have made the right choice for your family’s cell phone access.