Here in the United States, living with no phone service is a choice. If you can’t afford any of the prepaid/ postpaid phone services, you can apply for a lifeline program in one of the available free government cell phone companies. Assurance Wireless is a good example, which runs on T-Mobile Network. But then, let’s say you’ve applied and qualified, what kind of phone does Assurance Wireless give you in 2021? Or can you bring your own handset to the program?
Before all else, Assurance Wireless is a great lifeline program if you do meet the needed requirements. True, most states usually get limited talk minutes, 350 to be exact, but texting is unlimited. Even better, Assurance is one of the benefactors of the Emergency Broadband Program (EBB), which brings affordable internet services to individuals/ households with COVID-19-related financial hardship.
Therefore, you can now enjoy free cell phone service for life unlimited everything and work or learn from the house with no stress. But again, does Assurance Wireless has free unlimited high-speed data like Cintex Wireless or Q Link Wireless?
Assurance Wireless, Now with T-Mobile LTE
As of 2021, Assurance Wireless is now a subsidiary of T-Mobile after completing the merger with Sprint. Before that, the free government cell phone service used to be under Virgin Mobile, a Sprint brand until it was retired.
So, T-Mobile is both its parent company and also the carrier network it uses to connect its subscribers. The best part is that the main carrier now covers 99% of Americans, which means you can get a signal around all states. It also has an added advantage of a strong 4G LTE signal that features fast upload and download speeds.
When it comes to bandwidth consumption, however, you should know fast networks drain data faster than their slower counterparts. In the ongoing Lifeline + EBB benefit, Assurance Wireless is offering unlimited FREE Data +Texts + Minutes and 10GB of Free Hotspot Data. However, you’re likely to experience reduced data speed when the network is busy, just as with Simple Mobile and other mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) under T-Mobile.
It’s also worth noting that the EBB is a temporary federal program under the COVID-19 relief funds. So, when COVID-19 is no longer a health emergency, all the Assurance + EBB active accounts will revert to the standard lifeline perks. That means:
- Unlimited free texting
- Up to 2GB of high-speed data (if they don’t increase)
- A minimum of free 350 minutes (if they don’t increase)
In case you’re a Californian, you’ll continue to get unlimited free voice minutes and text messaging. However, the browsing data allotment will drop to 6GB, though you can always get add-on packages.
What Kind of Phone Does Assurance Wireless Give You in 2021?
On top of the free cell phone plans, Assurance Wireless does provide a free smartphone (one-time) to qualified individuals. Similar to most lifeline providers, these handsets are usually entry-level models, sometimes a few years old. A lot of people usually complain about them being too slow, plus also they lack the bells and whistles with their high-end counterparts.
Sadly, however, Assurance Wireless has never been friendly when it comes to compatibility. The cell phone provider doesn’t even have the BYOP (bring your own phone) option, which means you can’t use any unlocked cell phones as with others.
Regardless, select Virgin Mobile phones are compatible with Assurance Wireless, but we can’t promise that privilege will last. Why?
Under the new management, old Sprint devices soon won’t be able to access the T-Mobile frequency bands. In fact, the Assurance Wireless phone store is empty at the moment as they want to “sell devices that operate on the T-Mobile network”. So, you’ll need to call customer care at 888-321-5880 if you want to order a new or replacement device.
After the transitioning is complete, though, we’re hoping T-Mobile branded phones will start to work on Assurance SIM cards, just like other MVNOs. As a matter of fact, one Brice shared on Quora that he’s recently forced to switch to a T-Mobile compatible phone. However, the device received was an older “Wiko” model, which, sadly, he complains doesn’t meet his requirements.
All in all, we’re hoping to see a new light at the end of the Assurance Wireless>T-Mobile transitioning tunnel. And maybe the latest T-Mobile smart devices will also be compatible with the lifeline service.
The Various Basic and Smartphone Devices Compatible with Assurance Wireless
|Cell Phone Brand||Type||Cellular Technology||Key Features|
|Kyocera Verve S3150||Basic phone||2G/ 3G||2.4” colored display, 600 phone book capacity, dual keyboard layout|
|Kyocera Brio 3015||Basic Phone||2G/ 3G||2.2” colored display; up to 32GB MicroSD, Qwerty keyboard layout|
|ZTE Tempo X||Smartphone||4G LTE||5.0” capacitive display, Snapdragon 210, 8GB built-in storage|
|Coolpad Illumina||Smartphone||4G LTE||5.0” capacitive display, Snapdragon 210, up to 32GB MicroSD support|
|ALCATEL Dawn.||Smartphone||4G LTE||4.5” display, Snapdragon 210, up to 32GB MicroSD support|
|Wiko Life 2||Smartphone||4G LTE||5.5” capacitive display, 16GB internal memory, M4/ T3 HAC rating|
|ZTE Quest Plus||Smartphone||4G LTE||4.0” capacitive display, Snapdragon 210, 8GB internal memory|
|Coolpad Avail||Smartphone||3G||4.0” touch screen, 1.2 GHz Qualcomm, up to 32GB internal memory|
|Kyocera JAX S1360||Basic Phone||3G||1.8” TFT display, web browser, 250-entry phonebook capacity|
|Unimax U683CL||Smartphone||4G LTE||5.0” capacitive display, AndroidTM 8.1 Go, up to 64GB external memory|
|Kyocera Hydro Reach||Smartphone||4G LTE||5.0” capacitive display, snapdragon 210, 8GB built-in (expandable)|
|ZTE Prestige 2||Smartphone||4G LTE||5.0” touch screen, Snapdragon 210, up to 32GB MicroSD card|
*The eight 4G LTE smartphones compatible with Assurance Wireless lifeline service include:
ZTE Tempo X
The smartphone is one of those that will continue to work even after T-Mobile shutdowns the 2G and 3G frequency bands. Of course, it’s pretty basic but you can still call, message, browse and connect with loved ones on various social platforms.
When it comes to memory, the Tempo X has 8GB ROM, 1GB RAM, and also a slot for up to 32GB MicroSD card.
The handset is also not the best, but you can still get basic communication, as well as some entertainment. It has a 5-inch display, which is enough for YouTube streams, and also you can use it to play some games.
More on that, the Coolpad device has 8GB built-in memory, 1GB RAM, and up to 32GB MicroSD support.
While the screen isn’t meant for more than two pairs of eyes, you can still enjoy smooth video streams or play games. It has 8GB built-in memory and you can also expand with up to 32GB MicroSD card.
Furthermore, the handset is hearing aid compatible and also has TTY/ TDD digital support for the deaf.
Wiko Life 2
The Wiko Life 2 has a relatively better memory than the options above. It has 16GB internal memory, 2GB RAM, and MicroSD support. It also has M4/ T3 HAC rating to support the hearing impaired and also Google Assistant for easier hands-free control. Also, the android device is 4G LTE and WiFi capable in case you would like to stream videos on the go.
ZTE Quest Plus
The ZTE Quest Plus has dual broadband support, whereby you can use it with 4G CDMA or GSM networks. It has a 4.0-inch touch screen display, then the memory status sits at 8G ROM, 1GB RAM, and up to 32GB MicroSD card.
The ZTE device is also Bluetooth and WiFi Direct enabled for easier sharing of files. It’s also M4/T4 capable, which means you can use hearing aids with/ without telecoils in them.
The Unimax smartphone is yet another basic smartphone you can enjoy fast uploads and downloads on a 4G LTE network. It has an easy to hold, pocket-size design, with 5-inch touchscreen display. It comes with 8GB ROM vs 1GB RAM, as well as a built-in slot that you can insert up to 64GB MicroSD card.
Moreover, the UMAX smartphone does have the most common tools, not limited to Google Maps, calculator, clock, and sound recorder.
Kyocera Hydro Reach
Similarly, the Kyocera Hydro Reach is also great for basic communication and entertainment. You could use it to stream videos, play games, listen to music, or share moments on various social media networks. In case the built-in 8GB storage is insufficient for your files, you could add a MicroSD of up to 64GB.
ZTE Prestige 2
Last but not least, the ZTE Prestige 2 has a 5-inch display and 4G LTE support for crisp (HD) call quality, plus fast download speeds. There’s 16GB internal storage, 2GB operating memory, and a MicroSD slot for up to 32GB.
Furthermore, the Android handset has a music player, FM radio, Bluetooth, and the standard (3.5mm) headphone jack. It also has M4/ T3 hearing aid compatibility, as well as the TTY/ TDD (Digital) support for the deaf.
Common Related Questions:
How do I get a replacement Assurance Wireless phone?
At the moment, Assurance Wireless doesn’t support the BYOP option. They’re also in the transition to the T-Mobile network, which is why their web store doesn’t show any device selections for now. So, you’ll need to call the customer service number 888-321-5880 if you need to get a replacement Assurance Wireless phone.
What cell phones are compatible with Assurance Wireless?
Although we’re hoping T-Mobile will help spice up the list for us, the cell phones compatible with Assurance Wireless are the models they give. The featured brands are all the low-end models, which are also a few years old. Some include:
- Kyocera Verve S3150
- Kyocera Brio 3015
- ZTE Tempo X
- Coolpad Illumina
- ALCATEL Dawn.
- Wiko Life 2
- ZTE Quest Plus
- Coolpad Avail
- Kyocera JAX S1360
- Unimax U683CL
- Kyocera Hydro Reach
- ZTE Prestige 2
Can I transfer my Assurance Wireless number to another phone?
Apart from the free service, Assurance Wireless is just like any other cell phone operator. If you’ve found another lifeline provider, perhaps with more minutes, or a better prepaid carrier, you’re free to switch any time. In fact, you can even transfer your Assurance Wireless number to another phone carrier at no cost.
Do you get a free phone with Assurance Wireless?
Like all other lifeline programs, you’ll get a free phone with an Assurance Wireless SIM card when you join. As of now, the operator isn’t compatible with other carrier-unlocked devices. So, you can’t bring your decent phone brand even if you wanted.
What kind of phone do you get with Life Wireless?
Life Wireless gives its eligible users entry-level smartphones and basic phones, just like with Assurance. Some examples include:
- Alcatel 871A
- Blu Advance 4.0L
- Blu Dash 3.5 II
- Huawei U2800
- LG A340
- Lenovo E9070
- Samsung A777
- Samsung Evergreen
- Coolpad Rogue
- ZTE Z221
- ZTE Z222
In few words, we can say Assurance Wireless is a great solution for those of us who can’t afford Verizon, T-Mobile, or AT&T plans. Like right now, the lifeline provides has unlimited free minutes, data, and minutes, plus a 10GB Mobile Hotspot. So, you can browse and stream, as well as share the data with your other devices on the go.
Regardless, the kind of phones that Assurance Wireless provides is a bit old and “outdated”. For instance, in the table above, you’ll notice most smartphones are on Snapdragon 210 processor and 8GB memory. In truth, these specs are relatively low, compared to a phone like Samsung Galaxy S21 that has Snapdragon 888, with 512GB memory.
But, anyway, we believe some decent T-Mobile phones will be compatible with Assurance Wireless after the transitioning. Hopefully, it will be soon and, perhaps, even they start accepting other carrier-unlocked phones.