Free means absolutely free! It doesn’t matter which free cell phone company you decide to apply to, if you are accepted you will receive a free cell phone and up to 250 free minutes cell phone service each and every month. You will not have to pay an application fee, activation fee, deposit, monthly service fees, or any other fees. The phone is yours to keep for free and you continue to receive free cell phone service for as long as you are a subscriber.
The companies that provide the free cell phones and cell phone service receive subsidies from the US government. These companies are paid by the federal Universal Service Fund (USF). All telecommunication providers must contribute to the USF on a percentage of their end-user telecommunications revenues (all phone operators contribute to the USF based on how much money they make). These companies include land line telephone companies, wireless companies, paging services, and some voice over internet protocol providers.
The money raised by the USF is used, in part, to pay for the Lifeline program, which provides free cell phones and phone service to millions of eligible Americans.