Friday, February 03, 2017

Lifeline Free Government Cell Phones for Low Income Consumers

Cell phones are an essential part of life in 2017!
The Lifeline Program Provides Free or Reduced Cost Government Cell Phone Service

Cell phone ownership is necessary as we become a society that depends on being connected on the phone and online. According to Pew Research Center, as of 2015 nearly two-thirds of adults owned a smartphone and almost 20% rely on a smartphone to connect to the internet. Surely, these numbers have only gone up!

Fortunately, the Lifeline Program exists to provide free or reduced price phone service. Consumers who qualify may choose landline or cell phone service, but not both. Only one member per household is eligible. Eligibility depends on income or participation in other federal programs. If you receive SNAP (also known as food stamps), Medicaid, or Section 8 housing, you may be eligible. You may also qualify if your household income is below poverty guidelines. Currently, this means you can make up to 135% of the poverty level income for your household size.

The phones themselves (and service) are provided by third party wireless companies that have been authorized by the government. The federal government provides subsidies to the states. Depending on your location, you may have a wide selection of companies to choose from. These vendors often have local booths or kiosks and allow you to signup online.

A lot of people have criticized the Lifeline Program, usually to score political points. We've all heard about the "Obamaphone" myth. Critics have labeled President Barack Obama as "the welfare President," a guy handing out phones and other "free stuff" for votes. The fact is, the Lifeline program started long before President Obama. The Universal Service Fund fee on phone bills goes to help low income consumers with their phone service. These days, most people use a cell phone as their primary phone line. It just makes sense. When a wireless phone is the standard basic communication device, having a cell phone is more of a need and less of a luxury.

When is the last time you applied for a job or setup an interview without a phone or the internet? The fact is, low income consumers need phone access to apply for jobs, set up interviews, and conduct essential personal business. Those without a phone or internet have a harder time banking, paying bills, and securing steady employment. Shouldn't we want everyone to have access to employment and the American Dream? In addition, millions of people are disabled, retired, or otherwise get by on a fixed income. It is important for everyone of all ages and abilities to be connected to loved ones and the world around us. The cost of the program is a small price to pay to help keep us all connected.


Monday, January 23, 2017

Sprint Acquires Stake in Tidal, Cell Phone Exclusives Promised

Having previously partnered with Sprint to release his last album, Jay Z is no stranger to cell phone exclusives.

Now comes word that Sprint has acquired a 33% stake in Tidal, Hov's streaming platform. Of course, Tidal has been in the news a lot. Recently, they added a service that lets users edit some aspects of songs. In addition, higher quality audio tracks have been added.

Despite star power and recent efforts, Tidal has been through it's share of negative publicity and feedback, as well. You know, like that time Prince's estate sued Roc Nation over Tidal streaming rights.  So, while Prince's masters may not have been left safe and sound, this Sprint partnership may yet bring Tidal all the way up.

Look for Sprint to offer exclusive material from Tidal owner-artists, which is an impressive list of names in multiple genres.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Considering the Apple Upgrade Program? Make Sure You Know the Actual Cost

Apple Upgrade ProgramThe Apple iPhone caused a craze when it was first released years ago, and these days every time a new version is released, we revisit a similar craze. 

Yes, some customers simply cannot stand that they don't have the latest version of the red hot phone, and carriers have been aware of this fact which has caused them to offer numerous upgrade plans. 

Now Apple itself is jumping into the upgrade game by offering their own Apple Upgrade Program which allows customers to get a new iPhone every year regardless of your carrier, but the real costs may not be completely clear.

Friday, September 19, 2014

iPhone 6 vs. iPhone 6 Plus - Which is Best for You?

iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 PlusThe iPhone 6 is obviously the hottest item on the market right now as Apple fans scramble to get the latest model, but this time around they've got options as the "iPhone 6 Plus" is also available and offers a bit of a different experience.

So what are the major differences between the 2?  Mainly it all goes back to size.  If you want your smartphone to be something bigger and don't mind having a near tablet sized phone, the iPhone 6 Plus is up your alley.  But that's not all; as described in this article on, the iPhone 6 Plus packs the power that is needed to handle a bigger phone.  The batter on the Plus is bigger and keeps things running with a longer life than you'd expect.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

iOS 8 - What's New and What Might Be Ruining Your Life

iOS8 InformationiOS 8 is officially available, and it's release has garnered so many opinions that it's hard to tell if it's a success or a failure just yet.  Of course any time a new iOS is released there is a mad dash for everyone to get it and begin diving in head first to see what's new and what is complaint worthy.  iOS8 has provided a little bit of both apparently, so we're going to take a look at what the buzz is all about.

Let's start out with the good; in this great article from Huffington Post they list 5 of the coolest new things about iOS, they include:

1. Easier E-Mailing

2. Improved Autocorrect

3. Voice Texting

4. Better Group Messaging

5. Improved Fitness Tracker

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Cell Phone Plan Reviews- Verizon Wireless Share Everything Plans

One of the things Cell Plan Blog has become known for is our extensive coverage of cell phone reviews, whether it is reviewing phones on our own cell phone blog, or linking to other sites such as CNET and commenting on reviews by G4 such as the Droid Review video.

One thing that occurred to me recently is that in addition to reviews on equipment, consumers also would like reviews on the cell phone plans themselves. Many of our early posts focused on cell phone plans, especially how to save money on cell phone family plans and cell phone upgrades. However, the blog received very little reader traffic at the time. With all that said, I think it's time to go ahead and post some Cell Phone Plan Reviews from major wireless carriers.

For my first cell phone plan review, I am going to discuss my own personal phone plan, the Share Everything Verizon Wireless phone plan. As reviews go, I am biased. I have been a Verizon Wireless family plan customer since 2000. I have spent enough on Verizon phone service to purchase a small house or mid-luxury vehicle. Suffice it to say I have been very happy with their service. Here is my take:

Verizon Wireless Cell Phone Plan Review-
Nuts and Bolts: Here is how it works. Verizon Wireless replaced their old plans recently with a new Share Everything plan. The pricing has been simplified, but this plan might not be the best deal for everyone. Instead of cell phone plans that provide a certain number of minutes, adding phones at a flat monthly rate, and then subscribing to text and data plans for each phone line, each phone now has a flat charge for calls and texting. Then a data plan is shared. For example, my iPhone 4 for Verizon costs $40 per month. This includes unlimited calls and texts. Each additional smartphone is another $40 per month. Each non-smartphone is $30. Then you add a data plan that is shared. The minimum data plan for sharing between 2 smartphones is 1 GB for $50/mo. So on my family plan with 2 smart phones and one basic phone, I pay $40+40+30+50= $160 plus taxes and fees.

Under the old family plan structure I had 3 basic phones, which started at $79 per month for a plan that included 400 shared minutes and free nights and weekends. I don't think I used more than 100 minutes in any month over the last 10 years. I later adding unlimited texting for $30, bringing my cell phone plan to $109 per month. So I basically was paying the same per month then if I take away the data. What changed? I got 2 smartphones. Most cell phone plan providers are pushing the conversion to smartphones. Basic "feature" phones are not widely available. Smartphones have come down in price, after contract subsidies. If you don't want to use a smartphone with data, the new pricing structure is probably not ideal, but I think making the call and text prices all-inclusive is the way to go. I think the data pricing could be improved however.

Stay tuned for future cell phone plan reviews.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

ATT Wireless Home Phone and Other Wireless Home Phone Services

It is a known fact that there has been a decline in the number of people who are using a landline & home phone services in the present times. There is an obvious and sudden shift in the trend with most people preferring mobile & wireless phones, as they consider these services more reliable. Hence they feel no need to maintain the home phone or landline anymore.

But wouldn’t it be great if you could get both the home phone and wireless plan all packed in one solid plan? Though, these combined offers have their own pros and cons. But still, there are many plans which you can use both in your professional as well as personal arena.

Numerous wireless carriers such as Verizon, AT&T provide you with a combined home phone options along with their wireless plans. Such plans often have stand alone services for your home and you also have the provision for add- a line option on the family plan which you may use. This is suitable when you wish to opt for a second home line.

Almost all of them try to bridge the gap; however they are yet to taste complete success. AT&T and other similar companies still vouch about the workability of these plans and believe that the people will never write off the need of using home phone services.

Moreover, AT&T home phone provides you with plugged phones which you can plug in the cellular hub of your house. You will have to pay for unlimited calls all over US & other international options. In fact using your mobile phone as your land line will help you save a lot of money. Besides this you even get the benefits of both the mobile & land line services. You simply need to unplug the phone and use it as a regular cell phone.

The telecom industry is evolving rapidly and hence the home phones and landline services seem to be an outdated concept. However these service providers are trying to revive the interest of the end users by providing them both the services at a fairly low price.