Nobody wants to have their cellphone shutoff because they have an income problem, but fortunately the government realizes that in order for people to get back to work, they need a phone for employers to call. Some internet to do those online applications wouldn’t hurt, and a way to text government services like the bus system or crisis lines is also helpful.
So, the FCC funds through the Universal Service Fund a program called, “The Lifeline Program.” These phones are simply that, a lifeline, not a luxury device. In my stated, it’s called Assurance Wireless, and other states use Safelink. They do offer flip phones, but are phasing them out in favor of smartphones because they are multipurpose and can be used to get access to other government needs based programs.
Here’s a few takeaways after we put one to the test for a month.
- With the data saver feature on the android based ANS UL 40, 1GB should last you most, if not all of the month.
- $5 per extra gig is a good deal, and can be paid for with cash via Virgin Mobile Top Up Cards, or even paypal.
- The credit and debit card payment system however was very unsatisfactory and charged a few times.
- Customer service will give you extra data if you complain and are nice. So be nice.
- The network is 4g, but it is Sprint, so the coverage could be better.
- You can use your data on the device itself, or tether. We recommend you tether to something beefier, and keep a powerbank handy.
- The display is tiny and the phone chews through it’s battery in 2 to 3 hours. So keep a power bank handy.
- The processor and ram make it sluggish and under powered. 1gb of ram is not enough.
- You can sign up for the program by fax, email, or at a outreach booth. I preferred email.
- You should be grateful this exists, and use it often as this is a use it or lose it benefit program.