June 6, 2024

The ACP program ended – how to get free phone service

Written by Valeria


The Affordable Connectivity Program is a federal effort to make internet service more affordable for eligible Americans that has recently ended due to lack of funding.

According to The New York Times, the ACP provided more than 23 million households with either reduced bills or even free internet service.

Now, there have been news around an extension – the ACP extension act of 2024 – which is currently a bill in Congress that would find existing funds elsewhere to revive this program, but it has not been voted on as of yet to become law, and is awaiting further action.

Even so, most government funding programs include meeting strict eligibility requirements, and filling out detailed paperwork.

Frequently Asked Questions about the ACP

Alternative plan for Affordable Connectivity Program: TextNow's Free Essential Data

While there are still some government programs that help provide affordable phone services such as Lifeline, again, their eligibility requirements are strict and vary by state.

And let's not forget, even when you do qualify, the support is up to $9.25 off your monthly bill. When comparing some of the plans available with this discount, you're still going to be looking at a $25+ monthly bill, which starts to look steep next to a $0/month bill.

Mobile Features/CostTextNow's Free Essential Data Verizon Prepaid PlanUS Cellular Lifeline Plan
  • Minutes (voice)
  • unlimited
  • unlimited
  • unlimited
  • Texts
  • unlimited
  • unlimited
  • unlimited
  • Data
  • 1GB
  • 15GB
  • 20GB
  • Monthly Cost
  • $0
  • $45
  • $34.25
  • Monthly Cost after Lifeline discount
  • N/A
  • $35.75
  • $25

TextNow, however, is readily available to anyone. No forms required! Supported by in-app ads (like all your favorite streaming services), our nationwide phone service includes unlimited calls & texts, plus access to email, maps, and rideshare apps—all for free.  

This means that you can stay connected with your own phone number, check your emails, look up directions, and order a ride (Uber, Lyft) without ever having to pay for a data plan.  

More alternative plans for ACP: The best data plan for you  

If you need additional data, we have affordable (and flexible!) options for that too. Choose whatever works best for you and add data whenever you need it by the hour, day, or month. Our data options start at just $0.99.  

Unlike traditional carriers, we don’t lock you in with recurring payments. When your Hour or Day passes expire, we’ll simply put you back on to our Free Essential Data plan. For Month passes, you have the same flexibility and can cancel whenever you want. No need to worry about additional fees or jumping through unnecessary hoops—manage it all from your TextNow app. 

How to get service with TextNow 

We’re all about ease, which is why we made it simple to access everything you need through our app. To start, simply download the free TextNow app, set up your local phone number, and immediately start calling and texting for free over Wi-Fi!  

To use your phone without Wi-Fi, order a TextNow SIM card (a one-time purchase that connects your phone to our 5G network), and activate it to access essential apps for free. You even have the option to add data as you need it. 

No eligibility forms, no state rules, no temporary promotions. TextNow is the only free phone service provider with unlimited talk & text and essential data on the nation's largest 5G network, all in one convenient app.