Assurance Wireless is one of the ways how to get free cell phone service without paying. It also has a one-time discount of a free smartphone for new users. And now the question I’m covering today is, can you get a free Assurance Wireless phone replacement if your previous one has issues?
A quick answer, YES, Assurance can give you a free replacement phone in some situations. If the phone provider decides you’re not eligible for the free replacement, there’s an applicable minimal fee.
But whether it’s a freebie or has a small cost, the Assurance Wireless phone replacement policy isn’t as generous. And in this guide, I’ll tell you why this is so in case you’re with the carrier on Lifeline or ACP.
The 5 Reasons You May Need an Assurance Wireless Phone Replacement
First of all, Assurance Wireless is one of the eligible telecommunication carriers (ETCs) here in the country. And what this means is that the carrier has the license to offer free lifeline phone service from the government.
If I can speak my mind, I’m no big fan of Assurance from its many limitations. However, I do like that the operator gives out a free phone when you join with either Lifeline-only or ACP plans. And this beats the AirTalk Wireless free phone program that only includes the one-time smartphone with either of the ACP plans.
Once you’ve received the free phone from Assurance Wireless, it won’t take long before you need to replace it. Yeah, trust me on that one.
The five reasons you may need a replacement include:
· Get a Better Phone Experience
The first reason you may need to apply for an Assurance Wireless phone replacement is to get a better service experience. It’s, unfortunately, the current predicament of many subscribers as the phones Assurance Wireless offers are entry-level models.
For instance, the kind of phone Assurance Wireless gave you before 2023 was either a Wiko Life 3, Unimax 696CL, or Schok Volt SV55. But the company lately has been sending the Motorola Moto G Pure, which has slightly better specs than the previous models. Some of the specs include a 6.5” HD+ display, 4G LTE, 32/ 3GB built-in memory, plus video recording in 1080p at 30fps.
If interested in other features like 5G, more built-in memory, video recording in 4K quality, and/or NFC, you’ll now need a replacement phone that supports them. But as we shall see shortly, this is currently tricky to do with Assurance.
· Solve Incompatibility Issues
If your current Assurance Wireless phone is no longer compatible with the service, you’ll need to replace it. The incompatibility can happen from either an issue with the network or carrier software.
Network incompatibility happens when a phone no longer has the technology (frequency bands) needed to tap into the cell towers. And in the case of Assurance Wireless, this issue has affected customers twice: after changing from its previous carrier network, Sprint (CDMA), to T-Mobile (GSM) and after the retirement of the 3G spectrum.
Meanwhile, Carrier incompatibility is where a phone software/ programming isn’t compatible with the cellular service in question. The issue also happened with Assurance Wireless recently, albeit all from the recent change in Carrier Network.
· Solve a malfunction Problem
The third situation you may need an Assurance Wireless replacement phone is if the current one malfunction. A malfunction in this case refers to technical problems related to firmware/ software. It’s often tied to issues like the phone not powering on, overheating, unresponsive to touch, freezing, et cetera.
· Address Physical Damages
Apart from malfunction, you may also need to replace your Assurance Wireless phone if it has physical damage. The damage I’m referring to here is something like a cracked screen, broken internal components, short-circuited motherboard, swollen battery, a loose charging port, etc.
Sadly, Assurance will not be generous with you in this case. The company will consider the root of the problem as the user’s carelessness or negligence.
· Replace a Stolen/ Lost Phone
Lastly, you’ll need to look into an Assurance Wireless phone replacement if your previous device got lost or stolen. The carrier will also not be generous with you here and will group your issue under the user’s fault.
The Assurance Wireless Phone Replacement isn’t as Generous Either
Sadly, YES, Assurance Wireless doesn’t exactly have the best phone policy. And this is not just about the phone replacement, but the overall devices policy. Why do I say this?
For one, Assurance Wireless doesn’t have the option to choose the kind of phone to get when you join either their lifeline or Affordable connectivity program. The service doesn’t even have a devices catalog like AirTalk Wireless, to begin with.
When you apply to join, Assurance Wireless usually sends you whatever is available in stock at the time. And as mentioned earlier, the Moto G Pure is what the company has been sending out to new customers.
If the Motorola is unavailable, you will get either of the other alternatives: Wiko Life 3, Unimax 696CL, Schok Volt SV55, ANS Artia™, Hot Pepper® Chilaca, Moxee™ m2160, or REVVL®4.
Another thing, Assurance Wireless doesn’t support BYOD (bring your own device) option. It happens this was the rule years back when Assurance Wireless was still a Virgin Mobile brand under the Sprint network.
While T-Mobile is the new owner and Carrier Network of Assurance Wireless, the BYOD rules haven’t changed yet. And this means unlocked phones (either factory-unlocked or carrier-unlocked) won’t work.
When Sprint was still a company of its own, there were Virgin Mobile phones compatible with Assurance Wireless. However, Virgin Mobile phones were locked to the Sprint ( CDMA) network, which is no more. (After Sprint and T-Mobile’s merger in 2020, the new owner (T-Mobile) decided to decommission all Sprint network bands).
So, now Assurance Wireless is on T-Mobile, Virgin Mobile phones will not work with the service.
How to Apply for Assurance Wireless Phone Replacement
As I’ve just said, Assurance Wireless doesn’t have the most friendly phone replacement program. No BYOD means you can only replace your cell phone through the carrier, be it on a freebie or at a fee.
But again, Assurance Wireless no longer has an online store where you can go and purchase your desired device. The new owners disbanded the store back in 2021 “to restock it with a new selection of devices that will be compatible with the T-Mobile”.
What this means is that even with the paid phone replacement option, you’ll have to contact Assurance Wireless. And this is still limiting as you can’t choose the device to get or upgrade to the latest brands.
Nonetheless, I’m hoping some phones from T-Mobile will start to work on the lifeline carrier, just as it worked with Virgin Mobile. I’d have said the plan is in motion from the REVVL®4, a T-Mobile branded phone, that Assurance has in stock. But it turns out Assurance Wireless still reprograms the T-Mobile phone to its network- the phone comes locked to Assurance Wireless.
Regardless, we still have two methods to apply for an Assurance Wireless phone replacement:
Method 1: Apply for an Assurance Wireless Replacement Phone for FREE
Despite the strict rules, you can get Assurance Wireless phone replacement free of charge. It’s not many people that qualify for this option, though. Like most, the mobile operator only provides FREE replacement for phones with manufacturer-related issues.
For instance, Assurance Wireless promises to give you a replacement phone at no cost if it malfunctions. There aren’t many details about the warranty policy of the lifeline carrier. But in the Frequently Asked Questions section, the carrier says you get a one-year warranty support.
When carriers announced about decommissioning of 3G, Assurance Wireless was sending an LTE replacement phone for free. And after the Sprint merger, the lifeline provider also mailed FREE phones compatible with T-Mobile to the old customers affected by the sudden switch.
How To Apply:
Although a lifeline phone program, Assurance Wireless is a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO)- a carrier without its own cell towers. And like most MVNOs, it doesn’t have physical stores where you can visit for assistance in person.
Therefore, to apply for the Free phone replacement:
- Call Assurance Wireless customer support at 1-888-321-5880. (If the customer representative delays receiving your calls on that number, you can try 1-888-898-4888, 1-833-930-3673, or 611).
- Once connected to an assurance rep, provide your account details for verification. Then, explain your problem and the rep will determine if you’re eligible for the free replacement or not.
If lucky and get approved for a Free Assurance Wireless phone replacement, the representative will provide the next instructions. Then you can log in to your account online (on the website or app) and “Check Status” of your application under the “Help Center” tab.
Method 2: Apply for an Assurance Wireless Replacement Phone for a FEE
As mentioned earlier, Assurance Wireless will charge you a small fee if ineligible for the FREE replacement phone. The policy here is most applicable if the original phone is lost, stolen, or malfunctions outside the warranty window.
If Assurance Wireless deems you responsible for the damage to your phone, you’ll also have to pay the standard replacement fee. And as of now, the standard Assurance Wireless phone replacement fee is about $40 (used to be $20).
Remember, Assurance doesn’t give the option to choose the kind of phone to receive for replacement. They usually send whatever is available in the warehouse, which can be the phone you had earlier or another brand.
The Phones Assurance Wireless currently has in stock for the paid or free replacement comes down to:
|ROM vs RAM
|Motorola Moto G Pure
|ANS Artia™ (ACK2326 ) Android 12 Quad-Core
|Orbic® Fun Android 12+
|Moxee™ m2160 Android 11 Go
|HP (Hot Pepper®) Chilaca Android 12 Go
|Schok Volt SV55
|Wiko Life™ 3
· Key Takeaway: Be Careful with the Assurance Wireless Phones on eBay
As you know by now, Assurance Wireless officially doesn’t allow you to bring your own device (BYOD) to its network. And the rule (about BYOP) isn’t an FCC requirement or any telecom law that you can sue them about it.
However, does the No-BYOD rule applies to only the unlocked phones or even those locked to the Assurance Wireless service?
Well, Assurance Wireless-locked phones you may pick elsewhere could work with your Assurance Wireless SIM. A good example of these phones is the pre-owned selections available on eBay- perhaps the original owner has switched to another Lifeline provider.
Unfortunately, the chances of these phones from eBay working are usually fifty-fifty. The reason for this is that Assurance Wireless requires you to authenticate your phone with the SIM during activation. If the phone you want to use is already in the system under another user, the activation process won’t work.
In some cases, it may be possible to activate these pre-owned Assurance Wireless phones from eBay and other online marketplaces. But I’ve seen some consumers complain that their service worked for a couple of hours or days, then drew an incompatibility error later.
Commonly Asked Questions:
What kind of phone does Assurance Wireless give you?
In a nutshell, the kind of phone Assurance Wireless gives you when joining will depend on what’s in stock. It’s the same situation when you apply for a replacement phone, either for FREE or at the standard $40 fee.
Meanwhile, the representatives also don’t say the exact device to expect on the offer. But after extensive research, I’ve to learn the Assurance Wireless phone you get will be either of the following:
Motorola Moto G Pure
ANS Artia™ (ACK2326 )
Orbic® Fun Android 12+
Moxee™ m2160 Android 11 Go
HP (Hot Pepper®) Chilaca
Schok Volt SV55
Wiko Life™ 3
Can I get a free replacement phone with Assurance Wireless?
Lifeline providers no longer give phones openly as they used to. A good example is our case here, whereby you can only get a free replacement phone with Assurance Wireless if the original one malfunctioned within the one-year warranty period. Many customers also received a free replacement phone with 4G LTE and compatible with T-Mobile after the shutdown of the Sprint network.
Will My unlocked cell phone work with Assurance Wireless?
Unfortunately, your unlocked cell phone will not work with Assurance Wireless at the moment. The company still doesn’t support BYOD/ BYOP options. Then they have the SIM to only work with phones that have Assurance Wireless programming.
How long does Assurance Wireless replacement phone take to arrive?
One thing about all lifeline providers is that they tend to drag when it comes to delivering their orders. For example, the Assurance Wireless replacement phone can take up to 14 days to arrive. I’ve seen some people complain on community forums that they went over a month before receiving their free device. And while this may be a problem with the service provider, other times it’s not to blame as there could be a problem with the sponsors (the government via USAC).
Activate Your Assurance Wireless Replacement Phone Right!
In a nutshell, the Assurance Wireless phone replacement policy has many areas that need improving. An option like bringing your own phone to the service isn’t something to prevent customers from doing. The Lifeline carrier is actually the only one I’ve seen with this stupid rule.
To make matters worse, the Assurance Wireless web store hasn’t come back online yet since they closed to update the stock. And for that, you will have to contact the carrier to get a replacement phone, whether for free or for a fee.
Technically, this has also made it tricky for many people to upgrade their current phones. You have to stick with the crappy entry-level brands they send most of the time.
Regardless of the phone received, do remember Assurance Wireless is yet where you just insert a SIM in another phone and use it. The carrier is still behaving as a CDMA operator, where you have to configure your phone with your cellular service to complete activation.
So, you must go to Assurancewireless.com and log in to your online account. Then open the “Activate Now” button and use the onscreen instructions to authenticate the phone IMEI with your SIM ICCID number.