Is Safelink a good service? Does it provide the latest smartphones? And can I transfer my Safelink phone number to another carrier if I move to a different location? If you’re looking for a free government cell phone, these kinds of questions are very important to get answers. And I’m not just saying this for Safelink but also any other lifeline program you might be interested in.
Nonetheless, Safelink is our main topic today, in which case we’ll look at how you can transfer your old phone number to another provider. This process is usually known as number porting and it can surely come in handy in a number of situations.
Before we can dig into that, though…
Is Safelink Wireless Really Worth it?
Similar to Assurance wireless, or any other lifeline program for that matter, Safelink provides free cell phones and services to eligible applicants. You have the chance of winning if you’re in any of the government-sponsored welfare programs or your total household income is at or below federal poverty guidelines.
Another thing, Safelink nowadays allows you to bring your own device to the program. Truthfully, this is great as the free plan usually provides entry and mid-range gadgets that have only the basic features.
If you also don’t have a good smartphone, Safelink Wireless shop does have a range of the latest models to choose. And best of all, the store supports buy now pay later cell phones financing through Affirm. So, you necessarily don’t need to have all the cash up front to get that iPhone or Samsung Galaxy you want.
In any case, here’s a summary of some of the benefits of choosing Safelink:
- It provides a free android smartphone
- Requires no contract to use
- Has nationwide 4G LTE coverage
- Features no hidden fees or annual charges
- You can bring your smartphone to the plan
- Provide free airtime to call, text, and browse the internet
- You can keep the phone even when you drop your Safelink service
Safelink: The Features and Free Service Plans
Similar to other lifeline programs, the Safelink free service plans provided vary from one area to another. For example, the customers in Kansas usually get:
- A free cell phone
- 350 voice minutes
- Unlimited text messages
- 4.5GB of browsing data
- Voicemail/ Caller ID
- Free access to 911 service
- Free 411 directory Assistance
Please note, you can always get more minutes and data if your free allowance finishes before the end month. For instance, you can add unlimited minutes + unlimited text + 1GB of data at $15 or Unlimited minutes + unlimited texts + 6GB of data at $30.
It’s also worth noting that Safelink Wireless no longer carries over the remaining minutes (of purchased airtime) to the next month as before. The balance will expire upon the service end date of your subscription.
Another thing, California customers have the advantage of better rates than other states- just like with most lifeline providers. Upon approval, you can get:
- A free android smartphone
- Unlimited free voice minutes
- Unlimited free text messages
- 2GB of browsing Data
- Free calls to customer care
- Free 911 Access
- Free 411 calling
- Voicemail/ 3-way calling
Safelink: The Pains of the Service
Despite the free airtime and extra perks, Safelink does have its drawbacks as well. The four common ones are:
- The service isn’t available in all U.S. states
- Unused balance doesn’t roll over from month-to-month
- Requires you re-apply for your lifeline assistance after every year
- Charges airtime minutes on customer service calls (except Californians)
How to Transfer your Safelink phone number to another carrier
In general, Safelink free cell phone and service have many of the benefits you need from a lifeline program. However, some situations might make you want to switch to another carrier. But then, you can’t transfer a lifeline service per se, thus has to re-apply with the new provider.
And luckily, FCC provides that you can move to a different phone provider anytime and your old company “cannot refuse” your request. So, you can switch to the other lifeline/ prepaid phone service but still keep your old number that your people know.
Besides, the company does approve new customers to bring their old phone numbers when switching to their network. Thus, it would be odd and unfair if they don’t allow you to transfer your Safelink number.
But, anyway, the three cases whereby you might want to port your Safelink number to a different provider include:
- When you relocate to a location with weak or no Safelink signal
- If you have found another provider with better free phone services
- When upgrading from a lifeline service to monthly paid phone plans
Do I Require To Pay Any Fees For Porting?
Well, different providers behave differently. So, the question of fees will depend on which company you’re moving to. In particular, when upgrading to a paid phone service, some companies might ask for a certain fee so that you can port your number.
Even so, you can ask the new provider to waive or reduce the porting charges. If they agree and your request goes through, your old provider, in this case, Safelink, can’t refuse to transfer your number. This will apply whether you have any outstanding charges with them or not.
But again, Safelink usually provides free phone services, which means you can hardly fall into debt. Chances are that you also might not need to pay any fees if you’re just switching to another free government cellphone company.
Can I Keep My Safelink Phone after porting my Phone Number?
In one of the drawbacks of Safelink, we mentioned that the provider requires you to re-apply and qualify for the assistance benefit every year. In case you don’t re-qualify, perhaps your income has improved, Safelink does allow you to keep your phone. Moreover, you can continue using the airtime minutes that may be remaining until they run out or expire.
Regardless, the free phones that Safelink provides are entry and mid-range models. So, chances are that you might even be having your own phone when jumping ships.
The 4 Crucial Factors to Port your Safelink Phone Number Successfully
Overall, transferring a phone number to another carrier isn’t as complex as many think. Unlike a decade ago, it’s also relatively quick to complete, with the wireless-to-wireless transfer taking three hours tops.
Anyways, the key factors that you should observe for a successful phone number porting are:
1. Must be the primary account holder
That’s right. You have to be the owner who registered with Safelink for the number transfer to be successful. Indeed, the new provider will ask for personal information like your name, Safelink account number, and physical address. So, not even a family member or close friend can stand on your behalf in the switching process
2. Have to Qualify for the New Lifeline service
If you’re moving your old number to another lifeline assistance service, you have to pre-qualify first. That means you have to satisfy either of the two qualification requirements, including participating in either of the government welfare programs. Or else meet the federal low-income conditions.
Once approved, the new carrier will then contact Safelink and the process to port your number will begin.
3. Old Safelink Account must be Active
Before transferring your phone number to another carrier, your Safelink has to be still active. In case you terminate your old service before then, you risk creating a service gap that will lead to you losing your number. Thus, leaving no phone number to port.
More on that, your Safelink subscription will deactivate automatically after the porting process completes. So, you won’t need to bother contacting the provider to cancel.
4. The Phone Have to be Compatible
First of all, you’ll receive a free cell phone device and airtime if you’re switching to another lifeline provider. So, you will get a handset that’s compatible with the network and its benefits.
Like was mentioned earlier, however, nearly all providers of government-sponsored programs usually send entry and mid-range mobile phones. So, you might want to bring your latest device if the other carrier allows it.
But then, every carrier requires specific radio frequencies and network technology to facilitate communication. So, the cell phone you bring has to be compatible with the new service even if you’re using the same old number.
To check the compatibility of your smartphone on the network, you can forward the IMEI number to the particular provider. Or else, enter it (IMEI) in the IMEI checker on the website of the carrier.
Notes: Many lifeline assistance providers usually require GSM unlocked cell phones that you can just insert the SIM card. However, prepaid carriers like US Cellular and Verizon operate on the CDMA network, which, unfortunately, don’t use SIM cards. So, you might not be able to use your previous Safelink handset in this case.
Honestly, the current Safelink has much better services than the old one. Before, the lifeline program could give some states 68 talk minutes (probably) so that one can purchase additional airtime. Of course, the airtime balance could be rolled over to the following month at the time, but still, 68 minutes or even 150-minute airtime is very little for a whole month.
In any case, the current Safelink Wireless provides 350 voice minutes and unlimited texting for most eligible states. So, you might go through the full calendar without ever having to buy add-on airtime.
But again, issues like a weak signal or de-enrollment might still force you to switch to another carrier. And thanks to FCC support, Safelink can’t deny you the right to do so. Thus, you can move all together with your old number and even the cell phone if it’s compatible with the new service.
All in all, we hope the article was helpful and wish you a successful switch to the better option.