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Assurance Wireless from Virgin Mobile
Image © Virgin Mobile USA
A new service called Assurance Wireless from Virgin Mobile offers some low-income users initially free cell phone service and a handset at no cost. The service competes with SafeLink Wireless, which has a similar offering.

If eligible at Assurance Wireless, a low-income user gets a free Kyocera Jax cell phone and 200 free monthly minutes for local and long-distance wireless calling. Voicemail, call waiting, caller ID and access to 911 also come free.

While the Assurance Wireless service was announced on Wednesday with eligibility to more than 1.5 million lower-income households in New York, the program is also available in North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.

SafeLink Wireless
Image © TracFone Wireless
SafeLink Wireless, on the other hand, works with the FCC's Lifeline program. While the SafeLink offering is similar to Assurance Wireless, it has fewer monthly minutes and is good for one year.

The SafeLink Wireless program requires annual verification. Learn more about Assurance Wireless and SafeLink Wireless in my new article on low-income cell phone service.
December 14, 2009 at 8:19 am
(1) Sherry says:

I think that Tracfone had greatness of mind to start the Safelink program on cell phones. Safelink would still be the better choice because Tracfone has superior connectivity and it’s available in 19+ states. When the minutes run out and you want to buy extra, Tracfones minutes are cheaper.

December 20, 2009 at 3:13 pm
(2) Ali Blabber says:

I love how some people refer to the Safelink program as “an Obama phone.”


The program’s been in effect for 25 years and finally recognizes the reality of cell phones as a viable option for communication.

And the phones themselves are cheap, low-end devices, but the right wing echo chamber rails against this because of the perception that cell phones are somehow “luxuries.”


December 26, 2009 at 1:18 am
(3) Jacob says:

This is bogus! Why is Virgin offering phones to low income customers and providing a discount rather than lowering the costs for their existing customers?! I have used Virgin mobile for 3 years now and have never received any type of discount or anything for free for that matter and I am a broke college student (soon to graduate soon ftw!). Why not focus on your existing customers first, Virgin, and then look to acquiring a new demographic. I will be searching for a provider that takes care of their customers REAL soon.

December 31, 2009 at 3:38 pm
(4) Jasmine says:

I think it is ridiculous people are referring to this phone as an “Obama phone”. This government program came into affect way before Obama even was in office! It is a wonderful program for those who are eligible for the free phone to stay connected and help better themselves. The idea that Obama has anything to do with it is a complete myth.

January 4, 2010 at 7:51 pm
(5) Michael A. says:

How do I go about signing up for a phone through the assurance program? I am a disabled veteran and still waiting for benefits to come through from VA. It is getting harder everyday to do the things that I can do, but without communications other than going to the library to use a computer, life is a bear. Thank you for your time.

January 5, 2010 at 9:29 pm
(6) EnufZNuf says:

I didnít have a problem with the so-called ďObama Phone.Ē
It seemed reasonable to give poor people a cheap phone and a few minutes a month.
Go find a job. Go to the doctor. Get the car fixed. Whatever.
But this new Virgin Mobile program gives poor people 200 minutes a month.
Itís too much!
Whatís next? Iphones? Blackberries?
Virgin is using taxpayer money extravagantly.
Am I wrong?

January 14, 2010 at 10:02 pm
(7) chrissy says:

I am a single mom of a 5 year old and got laid off and have been focusing on school and with no income really I was unable to afford the plan I had on my sidekick 3 which had a 2 year contract and being a mom I HAVE to have a cell phone incase I am out and something happens with my son so when I heard about this I was thrilled and what was even more thrilling is that I could use any virgin mobile phone so i sold my sidekick 3 and got the virgin mobiles LG RUMOR 2

January 22, 2010 at 2:44 pm
(8) keith gillman says:

how do i sign up for free assurance wireless with free minutes

January 22, 2010 at 11:03 pm
(9) ruth says:

I hate the tracfone they do not work in the hills where I live and the customer service stinks!

February 2, 2010 at 12:59 am
(10) Sherri says:

Michael A.

Go to Assurancewireless.com. There is a phone # to call. You call that number, they take you name and address information, and then they mail you an application for this phone program. I just did this myself the other day after seeing the commercial on tv. I currently am a holder of Safelink. The service has been good, but even though they advertise 150 minutes/month, I only ever get 68 minutes per month. Not enough to last even 2 weeks. So when i saw that Assurance was offering up to 200/month, I decided to apply & hopefully switch. Good luck to you all applying for this phone. It really is very helpful to have this service, especially if you have school age children to keep in contact with. Makes you feel safer.

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