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Lifeline Program Bring Your Own Phone - BYOP

Sometimes I get the question as to whether or not you can use your own cell phone with the free government phone service. The quick answer is yes. The longer answer is…as long as it’s an unlocked phone that is compatible with the service provider’s network.

Bring Your Own Phone - BYOP

Cell phones communicate using different technologies. There’s CDMA (used by carriers such as Verizon, Spring and US Cellular) and GSM (used by AT&T). Many of the newer phones are compatible with both technologies. However, if you have an older cell phone and want to use it with your free government phone provider, you’ll need to double check for compatibility.

Free Service Providers and Their Requirements

Most phone service providers that participate in the Lifeline Program to offer free phones and service have the information on their websites. If you can’t find it on their website, call them. However, if you do call them, you’ll need to have your phone’s serial number, IMEI or MEID number. This is what they use to see if your phone will work with their networks.

Below is a listing of several free phone service providers. If your provider is on the list, please visit their website to confirm cell phone compatibility. The list will be updated as time permits.

  • Access Wireless: Access wireless will sell a BYOP SIM card for $9.99, but they’re only compatible with GSM phones.

  • Assist Wireless: To ensure your phone is compatible, either stop in one of their stores or call them at 855-392-7747. Or, you can go to their website and insert your phone’s IMEI number to check for compatibility. They are compatible with CDMA phones only.

  • BlueSky offers free SIM cards to those willing to bring their own phone. Just stop by one of their locations to pick it up. They don't have an option to order SIM cards online

  • Easy Wireless: They’ll send you a free SIM card if your phone is compatible. They use the GSM technology. You’ll need to enter your phone’s IMEI number to check for compatibility. If you don’t know the number, don’t worry, their site gives detailed instructions for iPhone and Android to help you find it.

  • Good2Go: If you qualify for the Good2Go ACP plan, they will send you a free SIM kit.

  • Safelink Wireless:. For a one-time cost of $9.99, SafeLink offers a BYOP (Bring Your Own Phone) kit which includes the necessary SIM card. Visit their site, insert your zip code and they’ll determine the best network (ATT, T-Mobile or Verizon) for you.

  • StandUp Wireless: Visit their site, check phone compatibility and follow the directions.

  • Trafone: Tracfone is compatible with unlocked GSM phones. They’re also compatible with some CDMA phones, but you would need to visit their site to confirm.

One Tip for your Free Phone Service

When it comes to using or bringing your own cell phone, it’s best to have one with as much space as possible. Too often I hear complaints that although the phone was given for free, there’s very little space to download apps, save photos, etc. Keep that in mind when acquiring a cell phone.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: This site was created to help people find information about free government phones. The ower of this site does not mail, activate or repair free government phones nor provide phone service. If you have questions about phone service it is suggested that you contact the phone service provider directly.

Last Modified: 12 October 2023

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