Q Link Wireless is one of the secrets on how to get free cell phone service without paying anything. The mobile carrier will even give you a free smartphone when joining for the first time. Then there’s also a chance to expand your viewing experience if you know how to get Q Link Wireless free tablet in 2023.
The offer of the free tablet is not something new, albeit some of us may be hearing about it today. It has been around for almost two years now, with Q Link amongst the first to deliver it to the eligible consumers.
I’ve used the term “eligible” as not everyone qualifies for the smart device, even though any US citizen can apply.
What’s the Q Link Wireless Free Tablet?
When looking at the Torch Wireless Free Tablet Review last week, we concluded “Torch Wireless” is not a manufacturer. It’s a cell phone service provider that has partnered with the government to offer the ACP benefit, which comes with discounted tablets.
Well, Q Link Wireless is pretty much the same- a cell phone carrier and not a manufacturer of tablets. It’s one of the Eligible Telecommunications Carriers (ETC) that offer free cell phone service from the government under the Lifeline program. Thus, automatically qualifies on the list of providers offering affordable connectivity programs (ACP).
The government established ACP as a longer-term replacement for the Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB). We could say the pair is more the same since the idea was to bring you a discount on broadband service and a connected device.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) outlines a tablet as one of the “connected devices” you can get with ACP. And Q Link is one of the few providers you’ll enjoy the perk when you apply and qualify for the benefit.
Should I Get Q Link Wireless Free Tablet in 2023?
Before anything else, a tablet always has a better viewing experience than a smartphone, thanks to the extra-wide display. In particular, the ACP tablets from the government have a minimum screen of 8 inches and 800 x 1280p resolution.
As for the rest of the specs, they tend to vary with the model of the tablet from the ACP providers. And after hours of extensive research, only Cintex and AirTalk Wireless stock high-end brands, such as Samsung Galaxy, Apple iPad, Lenovo, et cetera.
Most of the other providers of ACP hand out entry-level tablet brands that are hardly in the local markets. For instance, the kind of tablet Q Link Wireless gives you at the moment is the branded Scepter 8 Tablet with 16GB of internal memory and 1GB RAM.
16GB ROM and 1GB RAM, without a doubt, are not ideal for high-graphic games and apps. But you can efficiently use the tablet for light tasks, such as calls, texting, movie streaming, social media, remotely viewing security cameras, etc.
FYI: The actual manufacturer of the Scepter tablet is Hot Pepper Inc., a subsidiary of Shenzhen XiaoLaJiao Technology Company. Then Q Link rebrands the device, including programming its service and also placing the sticker you see on the back.
6 Crucial Things to Know Before You Get Q Link Wireless Free Tablet
As mentioned, there are various service providers you can get an ACP free tablet from the government. If you’ve opted to use Q Link for the benefit, you should know:
- Q Link, though a government-sponsored service, is a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO), a carrier without its cell towers. It has made a network deal with T-Mobile, a Major Carrier with cellular infrastructure.
- Q Link now supports 5G, where you may notice a high data speed of up to 500Mbps with an iPhone or an Android that supports high-capacity 5G. However, this browsing speed is only for a short period, as it later drops between 25-100Mbps. (Qlink LTE speed seems capped at 5Mbps on extended-range frequencies and 10+Mbps on the high-capacity spectrum).
- Q Link promises unlimited data once enrolled. However, when on the service, you will notice the data speeds will drop after reaching 30GB (sometimes 25GB).
- Q Link offers the ACP tablet with better service allowances than the Lifeline program. I mean, the lifeline-only plan offers 1000 talk minutes and 4.5GB of data (with a hard stop) in most states. But with ACP, the service allowance increases to unlimited talk minutes and data (with 30GB of high-speed data, then unlimited 2G speeds).
- Q Link Wireless Free Tablet isn’t really “Free”. In 2021, the lifeline carrier actually encountered users’ wrath after advertising the tablets as “Free”, only to send a $10.01 invoice later. Nevertheless, the $10.01 is as per what the FCC has asked providers to charge on the one-time discount of the connected device.
- Q Link does not let you choose the Free tablet to get when you qualify for the affordable connectivity program. The carrier will send whatever they have in stock at the time. And as was mentioned, the tablet brand they have been sending out since the offer began is the Q Link Scepter 8.
The Scepter 8 tablet that Q Link has been offering through the ACP is the first generation model with 16GB/ 1GB memory. Nonetheless, the system reserves about 7GB (of the 16GB) to operate, leaving only 9GB to store your apps and files.
9GB internal memory, if I’m to be honest, is not something to be too impressed with in tablets or even smartphones today. There are not just countless informational, utility, and entertainment apps to install for use. Some of these mobile apps are also large in terms of data size, occupying up to 4+GB of space.
It’s worth mentioning the processing memory (RAM) of the Scepter 8 tablet Q Link gives you is also lacking. (1GB is pretty less when dealing with Androids, and it gets worst when you add low internal memory to the mix).
Do you remember what I said about Hot Pepper being the real maker of Scepter tablets before Q Link rebrands them? Yeah, well, the company has recently released a second-generation model of the tablet with 2GB of RAM. However, Q Link was still sending out the 1GB version early in January- perhaps to clear out the old stock.
How to Get Q link Wireless Free Tablet
As was mentioned, not everyone is eligible for the Q Link Wireless free tablet from the government. The affordable connectivity program (ACP) with the benefit is only available to individuals with low income. And this means you can only qualify with proof of low income or participate in an eligible federal assistance program.
To get the Q Link Wireless tablet with a “low income”, your total amount should be at or below 200% of the latest federal poverty guidelines. Don’t fret. The total income amount is for all adults on income in your whole household, rather not just yours.
If you opt to apply for the ACP tablet on a federal assistance program, you will need to participate in either:
- Supplemental security income (SSI)
- Lifeline government phones program
- Federal public housing assistance (FPHA)
- Veterans & Veteran’s Survivors Pension
- A Federal Pell Grant in the current award year
- Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
- Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
- Food Stamps or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
- Head Start, Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance, and other Tribal-administered assistance programs
- School Breakfast or School Lunch Program (including from the USDA Community Eligibility Provision).
Most of the programs here are the same ones that give access to the Lifeline program. It’s the reason you automatically qualify for the discounted tablet if already getting a free cell phone service with Q Link Wireless.
What Proof Do I Need to Get Q Link Wireless Free Tablet
Q Link won’t approve you for the free tablet by just filling out the application form. You will need to provide a proof of eligibility, as well as your identity and physical address.
What You Need for the Proof of Identity
Q Link, like other providers with the free government tablet, will need to be sure you’re who you say on the application form. And for that, the mobile provider will need an official document that has your full name, plus the date of birth.
Some documents you can use to prove your identity are a valid ID card, birth certificate, driver’s license, passport, Green card, etc.
Unfortunately, a student applying for the tablet (with Federal Pell Grant or School Breakfast/ Lunch Program) under 18 years old may not have these documents yet. And in this case, you will need proof of emancipation status, such as a registration certificate or an official court document.
What You Need for the Proof of Physical Address
One crucial point I’ve forgotten to mention above is that service providers aren’t responsible to verify your ACP eligibility status. When you apply, say with Q Link, the phone provider will send your application to the National Verifier.
The National Verifier will then go through your application information, making sure they satisfy the identity, address, and eligibility requirements.
For the proof of physical address, the document you provide must have the accurate details of your current residence. It must also have the full legal name used on the application form. So, a document like a valid driver’s license, tax return, utility bill, or lease/ mortgage statement will be the best.
Note: The National Verifier is the body managed by the universal service administrative company (USAC) to verify applications of ACP (and Lifeline). USAC is the institution FCC has assigned to distribute the funds for ACP service and tablets.
What You Need for the Proof of Eligibility
Technically, proof of eligibility is the official document the National Verifier requires to determine your income status.
If applying for the tablet with the low income (200% of the poverty guidelines) criteria, you need a document like a paycheck stub or tax return. A statement of your current income, retirement/ pension benefits, social security benefits, Veterans Administration benefits, or worker’s compensation benefits can also work.
When applying for the ACP tablet and service with either of the eligible federal assistance programs, you still must provide Q Link with a document proof. Whatever document you provide should have the name of the program and the establishment that issued it (the document). So, a letter of approval/ verification for the program or a benefits statement fits best here.
Q Link Has No Physical Stores to Get the Free Tablet
Sadly, yes, Q Link doesn’t have local establishments where you can go and get the free tablet with ACP. This is to say you can only apply online, by phone, or with the traveling/ door-to-door sales agents. (The sales agents also often set up camps near community centers).
But out of the three methods, applying online is the most effective since you’ll be doing everything yourself. You only need to gather the necessary documents, then grab your internet-enabled phone, tablet, laptop, or Desktop computer and:
- Visit the Q Link Official Website
- Enter your household zip code and email address in the appropriate input boxes, then click the “Get it Now” button
- Q Link will confirm the service is available in your location, then ask you to enter your full name.
- After you’ve entered your name (as it appears on the document proofs), select the bold “Continue” button
- Next, enter your full home address details, including the street and building. Then, click the “Continue” button
- If the address details are correct, Q Link will now ask you to enter an alternative phone number they can use to contact you (when needed)
- Once Q Link confirms the number you’ve entered is valid, you’ll get a prompt to enter your birth date and the last four digits of your social security number. Then click on the bold “Continue” button
- Finally, Q Link will take you through the steps to choose the service plan and upload the necessary documents. So, follow the onscreen instructions until the end
Key Takeaway: Only One Q Link Free Tablet Per Household
Similar to the free lifeline cell phone, the ACP government tablet is available to only one enrollment per household.
In our previous talk on Cricket Wireless EBB Program, a household is an individual or group of people living together and sharing income/expenses. So, when you try to apply for the Q Link Wireless tablet when another household member has registered, the National Verifier will decline it.
You may also interest: How to Get Excess Telecom Free Tablet
Activate Your Q Link Tablet on the WiFi
If still interested, that’s how to get Q Link Wireless free tablet from the government with the Affordable Connectivity Program. It’s straightforward to apply online since you only need to put your zip code and email address, then follow the onscreen instructions until the end.
Once you’ve submitted your application, it can take a day or longer for the responsible team to verify your information and documents. Then once approved, Q Link will mail the tablet package to the address you used to enroll for the program.
One thing to note is that the Scepter tablet Q Link gives you doesn’t have a slot to put a SIM card or digital eSIM. You can only use it on WiFi, which is relatively inconvenient since the Qlink phone service doesn’t support personal hotspot feature yet.
Fortunately, though, Q Link claims to have partnered with fifty sponsors to bring you FREE WiFi hotspot across the country. A few of the sponsors include ATT WiFi, Best Buy, Budget Inn, Disney Theme Parks, Panda Express, Pizza Hut, Sam’s Club, Starbucks, Walmart, Wendy’s, and others.