Life Wireless differs from major cellular companies in that service is subsidized and designed for low-income customers; it also only supports basic services like making calls and sending text messages, notes FCC.gov. Customers must use phones offered from the provider and don't have access to data plans that major cellular companies offer.
In contrast to major mobile providers, Life Wireless only allows one person per household to subscribe and get the subsidy, and eligibility is based on the government program's requirements of earning no more than 135 percent of the poverty guidelines or receiving benefits from programs such as Medicaid, Social Security or Head Start. The benefits subscribers get can vary depending on location, too. For example, those living on Indian reservations and in some places in Alaska, Hawaii and Oklahoma can get extended benefits from the Lifeline program, notes FCC.gov.
While users of major cell phone companies can choose from a wide selection of both locked and unlocked phones, Life Wireless users are limited to the devices offered through the Life Wireless website. These basic phones are not suitable for those who need to access the Internet on their devices or use mobile applications that require mobile data. However, Life Wireless subscribers do get access to nationwide calling, voicemail, caller ID, call waiting, texting, call forwarding, three-way calling and domestic long distance like subscribers to major carriers do.