Showing posts with label Lifeline. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Lifeline. Show all posts

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Free Cell Phone Plans To Those Who Qualify

Assurance Wireless, a division of Virgin Mobile, launched a service yesterday that provides a free cellphone and 200 free monthly minutes to qualifying low-income Maryland residents, the company said.

Assurance is able to offer the free service because it obtains a per-customer subsidy through a federal program whose goal is to improve land-line and wireless phone access. Customers who exceed the 200-minute allowance have to pay for subsequent service at 10 cents per minute.

The subsidy comes from the Federal Communications Commission's Universal Service Fund, which supports a program called Lifeline. The program helps provide for telephone access in under-served areas across the United States.

Assurance is the second company in six months to offer low-income residents with free cellphone plans in Maryland. In November, TracFone Wireless Inc. announced they would give free cell phones and 64 free minutes a month to eligible low-income customers in Maryland through its service, Safelink Wireless.

Customers eligibile for the cell phone programs typically have to be participating in a federal program, such as Medicaid, food stamps, public housing, or they may qualify based on low income. Potential customers can call 800-395-2171 or visit on the Internet.