Lifeline Cell Phones

Background - The Federal government pays for a $10.00 a month phone service called Lifeline. A few carriers have grabbed onto the program and offer a cell phone service for $10 a month so Medicaid people and disabled people can get it for free. My daughter has the service and she never has a problem making a call. Her text messages are sometimes delayed. 95% of the time when I call her I get voice mail yet she is in range. Frequently text messages I send her are received hours after I send them. Does anyone have experience with this? Any ideas how to fix these issues?

Hi SpecialEdTech!

Have you tried contacting the carrier’s support folks to see what they say? I’d start there. Make sure to gather timestamps for delayed SMS messages from both your end and your daughter’s end, along with timestamps for the missed calls. The more information you can provide them, the more they can help.

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Safelink (provider) support “Stinks”. Barely speak English and don’t know how to do anything but reset the phone so they have been little help. I am hoping the TWiT Community has some experience they can share.

It seems likely they’re operating these “carriers” as MVNO’s and that would explain why there is so little support as to be almost non-existent. The actual operator presumably gets the option to decide the priority of content passing from a MVNO. (It’s known to them who originated the content and that it’s not their own (high value) content, so they can de-prioritize it if they like.) If this is what is indeed happening, it’s unlikely there is much that can be done short of not dealing with them, or complaining to a political body.

As a former employee for one of these “carriers”, they are MVNO on multiple primary carriers depending on state or geographic location. In some cases, the primary carrier’s coverage can impact how well the service operates. Also, the phones provided are low budget phones from BLU, or older used models. My former employer was actually providing windows phones as late as 2016. I recommend checking who the primary carrier for her MVNO is and see if they also provide lifeline cell phone service. She could then try to transfer to their service.

Thanks Kenmac999. How do I check who the primary carrier is? The phone is a Samsung Galaxy S6 so I don’t think it is the phone. She is signed up with SafeLink, do you know who their primary is by chance?

Based on limited information found on SafeLink’s website, depending on geographic location AT&T, T-Mobile, or Verizon. Unable to find any map showing carrier coverage.

Thank you Kenmac999. I think she is just a victim of low priority.