The following services are provided to help low-income persons better afford telephone installation/activation and service. For information about phone services for persons with disabilities, see Disability Services. To qualify for any services listed here, persons must receive assistance from federal programs including but not limited to TennCare, Medicaid, SSI, and SNAP. Others might qualify based on gross monthly income. Proof of income and benefits are required.
Please note: You can get assistance to have either a land- line or wireless plan with these programs, but not both.
Local landline telephone providers can offer discounted or free services for those who qualify. Contact a local telephone provider or the TN Regulatory Authority (TRA) (page 62) for information.
Discounted monthly rate for individuals who qualify.
Provides discount for persons who cannot afford entire installation and connection charges. Payment plan can be arranged for cost of installation. No deposit for customers who request local service only through this program.
The following wireless (mobile or cell) companies offer free cell phones and free basic wireless talk plans with specified monthly minutes for those who qualify. This is the Lifeline program, described above, for wireless phones. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulates the services.
Basic plan provides 250 voice minutes each month. Options (more minutes, text plans, data plans) available for a fee, which varies depending on deed plan. An automated phone system answers; customer service representatives are easily accessed for more information. Can also apply through assurancewireless.com.
Basic plans provide 68, 125, or 250 voice/text minutes each month. Minutes can be added by buying a phone card, available locally. No data plans are available. An automated phone system answers; it is possible but not easy to speak to a customer-service representative. Can also apply through safelinkwireless.com.