Thursday, December 17, 2009

Assurance Wireless: New Free LifeLine Mobile Phone

On December 9, Virgin Mobile launched Assurance Wireless, a free mobile phone program for low-income people who are eligible under the Federal LifeLine program. It's currently available in New York, N. Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia, and likely coming to more states in the future. This service now competes with SafeLink Wireless, which has been offering a free prepaid mobile phone and monthly minutes through the federal LifeLine program for over a year. (Read our initial review of SafeLink here).

If you live in one of these states and are eligible for LifeLine (see below), you should definitely look into this. You get a free mobile phone, plus 200 free minutes each month for as long as you're eligible for the program. This is nearly three times the minutes offered by SafeLink in these states, and a bit closer to the number of minutes someone can rely upon for normal daily use. The service is very similar to SafeLink in that your free minutes are automatically added to your phone each month. Text messages consume $.15 per message (sent or received). You can also purchase additional Virgin Mobile service to give you access to email and the Internet (cost is dependent on how much you use).

If you are currently using SafeLink and want to switch, it appears this is possible. According to Assurance Wireless, you just need to cancel your service with SafeLink and then go through the application process with Assurance. I know that the FCC is very cautious about letting people receive more than one LifeLine benefit (in this case, more than one phone per household), so it may prove to be more complicated than this or there may be a time delay as your transfer service. If you call, make sure you get confirmation about the process to ensure that you aren't without phone service for any length of time.

A couple other things that appear better than SafeLink:
  • You get to talk to a human. To apply for Assurance Wireless, you need to call a toll-free number (1-888-898-4888) and talk with an operator who will answer your questions about the program and send you an application in the mail (unfortunately not by email or fax). It's nice to be able to get a human on the phone instead of just dealing with recorded messages. Oh, and I was told today by an Assurance operator that I do not consume my free minutes when I call their toll-free customer service line using my Assurance phone. SafeLink explicitly says that when you call customer service or tech support using your phone, you consume minutes. (I always found this pretty ridiculous).
  • If you already have a Virgin Mobile phone, you can use it as your Assurance Wireless phone. This is nice for people already using Virgin's prepaid service, and a smart move by Assurance Wireless as it will cut down on the number of free phones they need to send out to customers.
One thing I don't like as much:
  • The site says that if you run out of minutes, you can buy additional minutes at a rate of $.20/minute via the Virgin Mobile "Top Up" cards available at retail locations everywhere. Virgin Mobile minutes normally cost $.10/minute or less at the retail stores, however, so this didn't add up. During my talk with Assurance Wireless today, I was told that you have to buy Assurance Wireless minute cards, not Virgin Mobile minute cards. I can't believe that's true, and I'll post again if I get to the bottom of this.
To qualify for LifeLine and be eligible for Assurance Wireless (or SafeLink Wireless), you need to be receiving one of a number of federal assistance benefits (food stamps, public housing assistance, home energy assistance, school free lunch program, medicaid, Supplemental Security Income, as well as select state programs), or your total household income must be below 135% of the Federal poverty level. Each state has slightly different requirements, and you need to talk with Assurance about the specifics.

So, competition between carriers has generated a better offering for low-income people who want to get a mobile phone. More minutes would be even better, but for now, it's nice to know that the system sometimes works to the advantage of people living in poverty. Someday, a smart carrier will realize that there is a viable market at the "bottom of the (American) pyramid," and we'll see an even better option. And Smart Carrier, if you're reading this, contact us. We'd like to help...

(If you have any experience, good or bad, with Assurance Wireless, please considering posting in the comments!)

72 comments:

r4i said...

Thank you for this post it has very useful information.This article contain some meaningful information.please keep posting like this with this useful information.

SA @ Virgin Mobile said...

Hello!

Thanks for write up!

Just a clarification - You can use Virgin Mobile top-up cards to suppliment your account with additional mnutes at $.20 each.

Virgin Mobile does offer plans with $.10/minute rates, but those plan minutes expire in 30 days as part of Virgin Mobile's Minute Packs.

To ensure your unused minutes do not expire in 30 days, the $.20/minute default rate is the best way to suppliment your 200 included minutes per month.

I hope this helps.

SA @ Virgin Mobile

Community Voice Mail National Office said...

Thanks SA @ Virgin Mobile for the clarification! If you're still reading, is it *possible* for you to buy a minute pack at the lower rate ($20 for 200 minutes, or $.10/minute) and use it with your Assurance Wireless phone? Or can you only add minutes with a Virgin Mobile Top-Up card? I guess what I'm asking is if you can use any Virgin Mobile minute card with the Assurance Mobile phones, or just the Top-Up?

While I have you, can you confirm the process for switching from SafeLink Wireless to Assurance? I know you can cancel with one and apply with the other, but since the FCC wants to make sure that no one gets more than one phone through the LifeLine program, I want to make sure that there aren't any problems for people wanting to switch. Thanks!

If it's easier to take this conversation to email, please contact me (salbertson at cvm.org).

Community Voice Mail National Office said...

My apologies Gifts to Pakistan, but I accidentally deleted your comment before posting it. Here it is (and thanks!):

"Really nice blog, very informative.Looking forward to more stuff "

Ali Blabber said...

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

WTF?

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."

Crazy.

alistair said...

This program sounds like it has potential, but I must say, being on the Safelink program myself it has been an absolute life saver. I have reconnected with my family! God bless Safelink

SA_VirginMobile said...

Hi There!

I'm back to answer your questions.

It is not possible to buy the lower rate Virgin Mobile minute packs with your Assurance Wireless plan. You can only use the $0.20/minute rate, which only applies after your 200 included minutes are used up.

In regards to switching, you can simply cancel service with SafeLink before switching to Assurance.

There's also a way to keep your SafeLink number and cancel SafeLink service in one move. When you go through the activation process for Assurance, you will be offered an option to "port in" your SafeLink number. When you do this, your Safelink account will automatically be cancelled. Porting numbers automatically cancels the account of your previous provider.

I hope this helps!

SA @ Virgin Mobile

GatorJoe said...

Quick question. Is this assurance plan available to ALL customers? I mean, what are the restrictions. I called earlier to find out if it was available to students who are not working, but according to the representative I spoke to, it is only available to those who are unemployed, but were full time employees first. If this is true, I would like to know WHY I can't get a free phone? I pretty much live off of my school scholarship and need a phone. I mean, it's not government support, but I am not working. Will Virgin be able to help me out and will I qualify for this plan? Thanks!

Community Voice Mail National Office said...

Alistair,

Safelink is offered through a Federal assistance program called LifeLine, and so is Assurance Wireless. If you qualify for Safelink, you qualify for Assurance Wireless. Since Assurance Wireless offers a lot more minutes, I suggest you look into switching from Safelink. Look in these comments for the post from SA @ Virgin Mobile, and you'll see the process for switching.

Community Voice Mail National Office said...

GaterJoe,

The Assurance Wireless program is only available to people who qualify (those who are receiving various forms of public assistance, or who meet an income requirement). Take a look at the Assurance Wireless (www.assurancewireless.com) or Safelink Wireless (www.safelinkwireless.com) web sites for specific information for your state.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know how I can cancel my safelink account? I want to get assurance but can't untill I do. I got the application but there was no spot that asked about canceling safelink. I tried to do it on the safelink site but it keeps saying login error... I had this same problem last month when I was trying to make it last another year and never fixed it. Of course I can't talk to any person only robots. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!

Community Voice Mail National Office said...

To Anonymous on 1/9:

According to someone from Assurance Wireless who has posted on this site:

"In regards to switching, you can simply cancel service with SafeLink before switching to Assurance."

"There's also a way to keep your SafeLink number and cancel SafeLink service in one move. When you go through the activation process for Assurance, you will be offered an option to "port in" your SafeLink number. When you do this, your Safelink account will automatically be cancelled. Porting numbers automatically cancels the account of your previous provider."

I suggest you try this route, and if it doesn't work, call Assurance Wireless to confirm the instructions. It *should* work. I hope once you figure it out you come back and post a follow-up so we all know how well moving from one Lifeline program to another works.

Anonymous said...

Hello,

I got the application and there is no more port in option on it, at least on mine. I was able to call tracphone then choose the safelink option. Someone answered the phone in 15 minutes then put me on hold for 45 minutes then I was finally able to cancel it.
When you clal assurance they answer right away, much better then safelink.

Thanks for all the advice, great article!

Anonymous said...

Question:
So if i have to cancel with Safelink before switching to Assurance then that means i will have to go without a phone until my written application gets to me and then back to the office?

Community Voice Mail National Office said...

I'm afraid I don't know the answer to this, and it sounds like the info posted here by Assurance about porting might not be accurate. I get the sense that both companies are figuring this out as they are now competing in at least 4 states.

I suggest that you contact whichever company you're switching to (sounds like you want to move to Assurance) and ask the question again until you get an good answer. I have tried calling and I can't get a lot of information because I'm not in a state where the service is offered. (I would love to see an actual application form so I can post info about it on this blog).

If you do figure this out, please post your experiences so others can learn!

Anonymous said...

will the 200 min roll over if you dont used them

Anonymous said...

Great info here, a little more than I was able to receive from Assurance over the phone. However, from what I have read here, it doesn't say there is port info on the application but it says when you call to activate after acceptance, they will ask you about porting your Safelink number. My fear is that when I send in the application to apply in the first place they will check and find out I have a Safelink phone and I will be turned down as I'm already under a program. Perhaps there's a place on the application to mention what your intentions are.

Anonymous said...

I was told that the 200 minutes do not roll over. The next thing I'd like to know is how much international calling is with assurance. Safelink says that you can call over 60 destinations at the same price as a local call. I don't do a lot of international calling but it's a good option for some to have.

Community Voice Mail National Office said...

Per the Assurance Wireless site (see http://www.assurancewireless.com/Public/MorePrograms.aspx), International dialing is not included in the 200 free minutes. As the site says, you can have "International calling at great rates to over 200 countries," but you have to pay extra for it.

The Int'l minute rates are offered by Virgin Mobile, and you can find info about that here: http://www.virginmobileusa.com/cell-phone-plans/international-phone-plans-rates.

Community Voice Mail National Office said...

To Anonymous on 1/25 who posted about transferring between Safelink and Assurance:

I just called Assurance Wireless and asked again about the process for moving from Safelink to Assurance. I was told that a.) there's no way to port your Safelink number to your Assurance Wireless phone ("unless you're using a Virgin Mobile phone at Safelink," which doesn't make sense and could never happen), and b.) the process for switching is this:

First, complete the application for Assurance Wireless. I was told that they do not immediately check to see if you are already receiving a Lifeline benefit (Safelink or landline service), so you evidently won't be denied by Assurance because you already have Safelink. They will do this in a couple a weeks time, but not immediately.

Second, once your Assurance Wireless phone is activated and running, contact Safelink Wireless and cancel your account with them.

I wasn't 100% confident in this answer, so please chime in if you've experienced this.

Anonymous said...

This sounds like a very good service to use. I know someone who currently uses Virgin Mobile, and she says that the service is great. I am a SafeLink customer and I am considering switching to Assurance, thanks to this article. Please post more ofter if you have any more details.

Leta said...

According to the Assurance Wireless website, minutes in excess of the 200/mo. allotment are charged at ten cents per minute. This is about as low as you can go. Yeah, you can buy minute packs from Virgin for five cents a minute ($50/1000 minutes) but they expire after 30 days. Personally, I'd prefer the flat rate ten cents a minute pricing and not have to worry about anything expiring.

Also per the AW site, the 200 minutes do not rollover. When they are gone, they're gone. I'll admit, this is kind of a bummer. However, 68 minutes vs. 200, ten cents a minute vs. all over the map pricing, and actual customer service vs. TracFone's overseas B.S.-- yeah, Assurance is way better than SafeLink.

Plus, if you go buy a Virgin Mobile phone, you can have Assurance hooked up to it, which is fantastic.

I was a Virgin Mobile customer before I moved. We have neither Virgin nor Assurance where I live now. I have a SafeLink, and while I am grateful for the Lifeline program, SafeLink/TracFone absolutely sucks monkey ****. I can't wait to switch to Assurance ASAP.

dee said...

i sighned up more than a month ago. i still have not recieved my phone. If i call one then they tell me to call another. thats been going on for three weeks now. if i send an email to virgin mobile they tell me they will reply in 24 hours well 2 messages later i'm still waiting for a reply. everyone else i know who sighned up recieved their phone in 5 days. they make me feel like i'm a bother because i want to know where my phone is. do you know?

Anonymous said...

I have both Safelink and Assurance Wireless. It is not necessary to cancel either account! The assurance application does not ask if you have a safelink phone. Why would you want to mess yourself up like that? Why not have the best of both worlds without them finding out! Both verify your information, so what is the problem? Being honest takes you nowhere! Get what you can, while you can. That's whats up!

Madame Cahiers du cinéma said...

While this an amazing plan being offered by Sprint through Virgin Mobile, it has the potential to help so many more consumers. So argue that this program is really only aimed at gaining new consumers, but I think Assurance wireless should be eventually be offered to already subscribing Sprint constumers - maybe at $10 a month fee. Everyone is suffering now in terms of money and Assurance could really help a lot of people.

I might not be low-income, but the savings would totally help me. This program is only in five states so far, so if consumers want it to expand, they need to voice their opinion.Click here for Sprint president’s email address: http://assurancewireless.webs.com and let him know that everyone could use these savings.

Community Voice Mail National Office said...

To anonymous on April 18:

According to the FCC and the utility commission of the state in which you're located, you are committing fraud by having two Lifeline phone benefits (Safelink and Assurance). You're only supposed to get one. Depending on your state, you likely had to state "under penalty of perjury" that you qualify for Lifeline and are receiving no other Lifeline benefit. Other states routinely cross-check with DSHS or other entities to determine which eligible people are getting benefits, and it's possible that they'll find out that you're getting service from both companies. The FCC and the States are really concerned about fraud. Will they catch you? Unclear. But is it worth the risk to have two phones (and in particular, the low-minute Safelink phone)?

Community Voice Mail National Office said...

To Madame Cahiers du cinéma:
It would be nice if everyone could get 200 minutes per month for $10! Maybe someday, as air minutes for voice traffic become even more of a commodity. Unfortunately, Virgin Mobile (Sprint) is only able to offer this price for the Assurance program because of the subsidy they receive from the Universal Service Fund (for Lifeline).

Anonymous said...

This may sound like a stupid question but I've never owned a cell phone so don't know much about them as far as how the minutes count. If I get the Assurance Lifeline cell phone, ( I do qualify ) does someone else calling ME, count towards my usage, meaning does an incoming call come off my 200 free minutes? My two adult sons both have their own cell phones and would be paying to call me ( through their own cell phone plans with different providers such as Verizon ) but I wondered if the minutes we talk wehn they call me still count as ones I've used up on my own plan. Just trying to save on the free minutes so anyone who knows, your input would be appreciated.

Community Voice Mail National Office said...

Not a stupid question at all. The wireless industry makes it hard to know these things.

The U.S. is one of the only countries in the world (the only one?) where you are charged both for calls that you make and calls that you take (when people who call you). It's definitely the case for Assurance Wireless and Safelink Wireless, the two prepaid mobile phone Lifeline products.

With some carriers, you're not charged minutes when you call someone who is using the same carrier. It's hard to keep track of which carriers provide this, and I don't think it's that common in the prepaid mobile phone world, but it's worth looking into when you're comparing phones.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for responding so quickly and answering the question I asked about incoming calls counting towards my own minutes. I've asked lots of people with cell phones and you're the only person to give me a definative answer.

Community Voice Mail National Office said...

Glad to help!

laybackjoe said...

I've been with youguys for 3mounths.Is there a plan for texting? I have a few frinds that are deaf and was wondering if there was one .It sure would be some help for me . Thank you, JOE in Tenn.

Community Voice Mail National Office said...

Hi Joe in Tennessee. I don't work for Assurance Wireless (I work for Community Voice Mail, a nonprofit that provides free voice mail to 40,000 low-income and homeless people in 45 U.S. cities), but it appears you can purchase text messaging packages from Virgin Mobile that will work with your Assurance phone. (Virgin Mobile is the company offering Assurance Wireless.) The details on the web site are a little murky, so you may want to call Assurance directly and ask them (1-888-321-5880).


Here's what it says on the Assurance Wireless site (http://www.assurancewireless.com/Public/MorePrograms.aspx):

Access to Other Offerings
If you decide to add money to your account with a credit/debit card, PayPal or a Virgin Mobile Top-Up card, you can also take advantage of the following Virgin Mobile offerings:

- Additional minutes at 10¢ each
- International calling at great rates to over 200 countries
- 15¢ text messages
- Messaging Packs as low as $5 for 200 messages

You can read more about adding a $5 text messaging plan here: http://www.virginmobileusa.com/cell-phone-plans/basic-talk-and-text-plans.html. Unfortunately, it's not 100% clear that you can go to a store, buy a Virgin Mobile $5 text message card, and add it to your Assurance Wireless card.

Anonymous said...

Does having the lifeline credit on my landline phone each month dissqualify me for being elligable for an Assurance Wireless phone?

Community Voice Mail National Office said...

It is my understanding that eligible people can only receive one Lifeline benefit. So, if you've already received a phone and minutes through Assurance Wireless, you should not be eligible to receive a landline through Lifeline, or another mobile phone like Safelink Wireless. This double-dipping is a big concern to the FCC who controls the use of the Lifeline funds, and they are forcing the phone companies to take additional measures to make sure that people don't get more than one Lifeline phone benefit. It's a hard thing to do, however.

Anonymous said...

i for one did not receive my minutes with my assurance wireless phone. i activated it and so far 10 hours later still no minutes.
mary

Anonymous said...

Joe of Tenn... if your plan is to get text messaging packs for an assurance phone here's the price packages: $1.99 for 50 msgs, $4.99 for 200 msgs, $9.99 for 1000 msgs and $19.99 for unlimited msgs which you would need to purchase once the money has been added to your assurance wireless account... otherwise if you failed to purch the text bundle, you'll still be able to do text but it will start charging you 15 cents/msg (thats 15 cents sending and 15 cents receiving) which will be deducted from the cash you added, and its good for a month. Prices are the same for Virgin Mobile.

- Advisor from ASSURANCE WIRELESS/VIRGIN MOBILE

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know what the make and model of the Assurance phone is?

Anonymous said...

How does this phone actually work as far as how are the minutes deducted? My minutes didn't last a week. How much for a text and much per minute?

Anonymous said...

I'm the anonymous person who asked the question on May 11th that you said was "not a stupid question" about whether incoming calls counted against my minutes.

I just wanted to stop by and say thanks again for answering my questions and let you know that I qualified for and received my Assurance Wireless phone a little over a month ago and am very happy with it! It works well for me and when I got the second months minutes I still had not used all the minutes from the first month. The fact that they don't roll over, and the low battery life of the cell phone are my only two ( very minor ) complaints.

I would suggest really poor or very low-income people ( like me ) go into their account online and turn off text messaging completely, as your friends, even though you tell them clearly you don't have, and won't be buying, a text plan or message pack, along with companies who advertise using text messaging, will ignore your pleas and text you anyway, which you will have to pay for, as texting is available on the phone automatically. Within 48 hours of giving out my new number to only a few people, I was receiving text messages from some of them!! I just logged into my account online and instead of blocking texts from certain people, I merely clicked the box for blocking all texts. Works for me, even if it annoys my friends, who don't really understand the intricate mazes we commoners navigate to make ends meet. Harhar....

Also, just a tip to those who get this phone...don't give your new number, if you can avoid it, to companies who provide any service to your home ( other than your electric service, maybe ) such as Charter Communications. In order to upgrade my dial-up internet service to Internet Lite with Charter, I had my home phone with Lifeline disconnected before getting this new cell phone. With the money I saved by not paying for the land line ( 17.03 a month )added to my ( $6 a mo. ) fee for my old ISP, I could afford to upgrade to Charter Internet Lite. However, they require a phone number to verify your new order and I didn't see a problem at the time with giving them my new Assurance cell phone number. Big mistake!! I immediately began receiving sales calls from Charter about their bundle deals,( which I couldn't afford anyway ) which ate up quite a few minutes of my allotment for the month even if I quickly told the caller I wasn't interested! I asked that I be removed from their calling list but they said it would be approximately 30 days before the request goes into their system. So....don't give your new Assurance Wireless number to any company who might plan to try to sell you something!

Other than those minor problems, I have no complaints about the plan or the service. The phone has a low learning curve and was easy to get used to using. I'm very happy and grateful for the free phone and phone service and think it's one of the better things being done for low-income people nowadays. It almost makes me feel "normal" again!

Community Voice Mail National Office said...

Terrific! Thanks for posting, and I'm glad you're having a good experience thus far with Assurance Wireless. Good tips for getting the most out of your minutes, and stopping text messages.

We've just completed a survey about cell phones with Community Voice Mail clients in 6 cities, and the vast majority of cell-owing respondents mentioned that they like having a voice mail service so they can save on cell minutes and as a stable, long-term number. They give their cell number to close friends and family, and give their CVM number to everyone else (potential employers, etc.). We'll be publishing the results of this study soon.

A reminder...Community Voice Mail is a national nonprofit that provides a free voice mail service for people seeking assistance from 2,000 social service agencies in 45 U.S. cities (and Vancouver, Canada). If you're already working with an agency in a CVM city, you may be able to get a CVM number to use. See http://www.cvm.org/sites.cfm for a list of cities.

Thanks!

Rob said...

Close my account with Assurance Wireless on 8/4/10. I repeatedly complained that all my voice messages were garbled & setting my personal greeting was constantly garbled. Assurance response was to send me another phone which couldn’t unscramble my garbled messages & voice message greeting. Hopefully, SafeLink will allow me to get CLEAR voice messages & setup my greetings without being garbled.
I wouldn’t recommend Assurance to anyone that needs voice mail.

Community Voice Mail National Office said...

Thanks for your post Rob, and sorry you've had problems with Assurance Wireless. I hope a lot of other people aren't having similar problems since Assurance offers more minutes than Safelink. But, if you can't hear your messages and you're not getting the help you need from the company, I guess you don't have much choice but to switch. Good luck, and if you think about it, post about your experiences with Safelink if you make the switch.

Anonymous said...

Safelink now offers a plan with 250 minutes that do not roll over...

Anonymous said...

Hi everyone, I have a question wondering if you can help me out. I applied and was approved for Assurance Wireless service back in July 1, 2010. However, I never receive my phone. I called Assurance Wireless repeatedly over the last two months and each time, they said I should receive the phone in about 2 weeks, that my request was reported, or that they're out of stock. I just tried again earlier and they said there's a new system that's going to track down the phone, but they're still working on it. I have to call back every week or so and check with them. It has been two months now. Does anyone know what's going on or what I can do to get my phone? Thank you so much for your help!

Anonymous said...

I've had my Assurance phone for about a week. Activated it and still no 200 minutes. The Wireless Key THEY GAVE ME doesn't match my zip code. If they gave me the key and mailed it to me, how is it that they don't match? Why do I have to keep calling them to follow-up and why can't they fix it without directing me to call the application hotline, who tells me that Customer Service is so supposed to fix this?! I have been phoning and emailing in circles for a week and am done!! They are ill-equipped to handle the service they offer when problems arise. I rather stay broke and pay for my own service. Thanks for nothing Assurance Wirelss.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to try this program bt not sure which one! What do the actual PHONES look like? (Assurance phone vs safelink phone) Do they have different features on the phones? Does either include a headset/earpiece of some sort (in my state it is now illegal to drive w/ a phone unless hands-free...). Thanks!

Anonymous said...

oh my!! i went thru the same thing.i applied for the phone in june (was approved)...for two months ,no phone.i had to call over and over,and they assured me that i would receive the phone soon.(without getting my account info)..finally called and ask for a supervisor,I received the phone,within a week.

normaw2456 said...

I have had my AW phone since Sep 2010 and I have not received any other minutes other than the original 250 minutes that were on the phone when I got it. I myself have added minutes so that I would have a phone when I needed it. I am waiting for those free minutes that are supposed to appear freely every month but so far nothing and now my phone doesn't do anything but buzz at me when I try to make/receive calls. WASSUP????

Community Voice Mail National Office said...

For those of you having trouble with either your Assurance Wireless phones, or your Safelink Wireless phones, below are the numbers you need to call to get customer service or technical support. Both are toll-free. Find a phone to call them from, and be sure to have your cell phone (the one that's not working) with you.

Assurance Wireless: 1-888-321-5880

Safelink Wireless: 1-800-378-1684

(Note: if you call the Safelink "tool free" number from your handset, this call will consume some of your free minutes. Find another phone to call.

Thank you for posting your troubles. I, unfortunately, can't help you, but it helps to know what problems people are having with these services. We have some contact with the state Utilities Commissions (who granted both companies the right to provide this service), and knowing about problems will help us advocate for better service.

Community Voice Mail National Office said...

To anonymous on October 12 (about what kinds of phones are used in these programs):

It's not 100% clear what phones are being offered by either Assurance Wireless or Safelink Wireless. You may want to call them directly before you sign up. Here's what I was able to find on their web sites:

In this part of the FAQ, Assurance talks about these two phone:
How can I find more information about my Assurance Wireless phone?
To find more information about your Assurance Wireless phone, visit http://www.virginmobileusa.com/resources/phones/prepaid/manual/kyocera-aw-jax.pdf (JAX User Manual) or http://www.virginmobileusa.com/resources/phones/prepaid/manual/kyocera-marbl.pdf (Marbl User Manual)



On this page, Safelink Wireless describes how to get the free minutes to show up on two phones: a Motorola C139 or a Motorola W175. You can do a Google search for either to find out more.

Keep in mind: either company may be offering other phones in addition to these ones, so if you want to know which specific one you're likely to get, I suggest you call them first.

Anonymous said...

I just mailed my application today. Can anyone share how long it took between sending your application and receiving a phone? Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Do these minute packs expire. or do they rollover???




Joe of Tenn... if your plan is to get text messaging packs for an assurance phone here's the price packages: $1.99 for 50 msgs, $4.99 for 200 msgs, $9.99 for 1000 msgs and $19.99 for unlimited msgs which you would need to purchase once the money has been added to your assurance wireless account... otherwise if you failed to purch the text bundle, you'll still be able to do text but it will start charging you 15 cents/msg (thats 15 cents sending and 15 cents receiving) which will be deducted from the cash you added, and its good for a month. Prices are the same for Virgin Mobile.

- Advisor from ASSURANCE WIRELESS/VIRGIN MOBILE

Anonymous said...

I recently got approved for assurance wireless and the free phone I got has no camera. Can I buy a prepaid phone and have my account switched over? or do I have to use the phone that they sent me?

Anonymous said...

First of all these bammas send me a phone under someone else name i have been try for two month they think becuase they give you a phone they dont have to do any work for you I have a bad time speaking to the forieners who dont care about the level of customer this is ah hot mess.Something needs to be done its not worth the headache anymore I can get another phone somewhere esle with less problems.Customer services dont even know what they are talking about and they dont even understnd what you are saying.

Jboogie said...

@ 1/6/11 Anon: It doesn't that that long, maybe a week at the latest from applying to actually receiving a phone.

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I successfully ported over a number I had for my grandmother on Safelink to Assurance. Not due to the minutes, but because Assurance's phone model is a little more easier on her fingers than the Safelink's flat surface phone.

If anyone wants to know the steps that I took to go, this is what I did:

1) Called up Assurance at 888-321-5880
2) Say 'activate phone'
3) Wait (forever and a day, but around 10 minutes)
4) When you speak to the rep, after verifying the 10 digit PIN & 12 digit Assurance key, you can tell them that you want to port a number over, and they would transfer you over to a porting rep
5) The rep asked me for the # that I want ported, and verified my info while I was there (pin/key)
6) I waited for her to fill out the porting request, and then she gave me some instructions to program the MSD & MSID into the phone

She told me the # is ported however I have to wait 24-72 hours for the process to go through fully, and that when it's done, then the Safelink account will be automatically canceled. And when that happens (successful port) then I have to call up Assurance to get the minutes put on the phone.

Hopefully that walkthrough makes the trepidation of porting a # over a bit easier for you.

Anonymous said...

Anyone know if you can port a non-Safelink phone number to Assurance? I've got another cell number that I'd hate to lose. My kids just learned our number.

Anonymous said...

Assurance Wireless IS a sham or scam! I was approved for the free phone in November 2010 and they claim to have sent me the phone out at least 5 that is FIVE times now, but I have never receieved it. Customer service is horrible, rude, mean and they lie to you.
This is the worst company and I would never have any phone service with them.

Anonymous said...

Assurance not give 250 minutes of airtime.. you can add 5.00 and get and additional 250 minutes.. not bad
The thing I still do not understand is that your additional minutes will expire the same time assurance gives you new minutes. I do not think that is fair..If I pay additional my minutes should last the 30days from the date I activate my top-up card..

Anonymous said...

assurance wireless is a scam took 2 weeks to port my number then no free minutes been told 3 times they made a trouble ticket still no minutes assurance sez call virgin mobile virgin mobile sez call assurance and customer service seems to be in Mexico or India bad English I have been a month trying to straighten this out with no success today I switched to safelink hopefully they will work out

jackie_cook11@hotmail.com said...

May 30th., 2011
I've been an Assurance Wireless user since 6/2010. My experience with Assurace Wireless has been a positive experience! The Customer Service Representatives AND On- line Representatives are polite, courteous, knowledgeable, and very, very helpful; just to mention a few of the outstanding qualities of Assurance Personnel I've had contact with.
In my opinion, I would say Assurance Wireless service and customer service representatives are OUTSTANDING. Ms. Jacqueline Cook-Flemming, B'klyn., N.Y.

Anonymous said...

Assurance Wireless is certainly a godsend, but I'm dismayed that you can only add additional airtime minutes once in a months' time. Some of us use these phones to try to get from point A to point B, and that can be a little time consuming when you're put on hold or long, lengthy, last bits of info and good-byes are eating away at those minutes.

Lori said...

Is there any way to add minutes more than once a month?

lvshorses777 said...

IF I WERE YOU I WOULD CALL & FIND OUT FOR SURE ABOUT HOW OFTEN YOU CAN BUY MIN.I THINK YOU CAN BUY AS OFTEN AS YOU WANT.

Anonymous said...

Thanks a lot for the remarkable services you are providing to all who are helpless.It is like a gift that our Almighty has PRESENTED.Hope you will continue the service and get BLESS from everyone.

Anonymous said...

can you plase tell me if there are other blocking features other than messaging, such as blocking porno websites?

Midknight said...

I have a Safelink phone and receive 250 minutes a month. I have owned Virgin Mobile phones and thought the question about earphones etc. for driving was hilarious. You will be lucky to make or receive a phone call in a open parking lot. A phone call in a moving vehicle on a Virgin Mobile phone? LOL. I know all about your "coverage" map, it is complete BS.

Anonymous said...

What model phones do they send you for free for Assurance and Safelink?

I tried calling customer service but I cannot understand their accents and they do not want to answer questions. I asked the CSR where he was calling from and he said,"A building."

Anonymous said...

What model phones do they send you for free for Assurance and Safelink?

I tried calling customer service but I cannot understand their accents and they do not want to answer questions. I asked the CSR where he was calling from and he said,"A building."

Anonymous said...

i read the story about the man appearing homeless, but always looked well groomed, but prefering the outdoor lifestyle, with no restrictions or rules to live by.
we have a lady(40-ish) who does the same thing daily. she parks her self at the bus stop with her shopping cart , filled with obvious bedding, and at nite she lays out under the seat covered with clothes, after putting on her "jammies".
she has a case open at the mental health facility locally, but as long as she does not hurt anyone, ther is nothing police can do.
this seems to be a national trend in many cities. what goes so wrong with people they can't live within a regulated confine away from the seasonal elements?

Anonymous said...

I dont understand the top up plan. If I buy one then it expires on my monthly renewal date no matter when I buy it or how much time I buy?

frogone said...

Does anyone know how the LifeLink HOME phone program works? Limits, rates, etc.