Getting your child their first phone is no easy decision but once that decision is made it then becomes a matter of cost. Phone service can be expensive even with the most basic service but I’ve found the ultimate solution to your problem and the best part, I have step-by-step information on How to Get Free Phone Service for Your Kids! Awesome, right?
How to Get Free Cell Phone Service for Your Kids
Whether you’ve made the decision to get your child their first phone for emergency purposes only or to give them a way to keep in contact with you when they are away, the money aspect is always a worry.
Many carriers offer family deals where lines are $30-$50 per line depending on the amount of data needed.
How do I know?
Because I just gave my 9-year-old son his very first phone.
I wanted my son to be able to reach me while at a friends house, out playing in the neighborhood or even while he’s in school. If there was ever an emergency, I don’t want to wait to be notified from the school.
But, I didn’t want to pay that monthly service for my 9-year-old to have a phone to use only when he’s away from me.
I even called AT&T (who we currently have phone service with) and to add-on a very basic line for my son, it’d cost $20 + tax per month and that’s with him using our current plan and data. That is literally just to keep the line active. Plus, there is a one-time $30 activation fee to activate his new phone.
I even looked into pre-paid phones and those were the same – $30 activation fee plus paying each time to load the minutes and data.
So, I kept searching and guess what?
I found a solution and paid $0 to activate his phone.
I am paying $0 to keep it active.
He even has unlimited talk and text!
So, how did I do it?
Well, I am going to walk you through how below.
Step-By-Step Instructions On How to Get Free Phone Service for Your Kids
Step 1: Get them a cheap phone.
Chances are, you have an old iPhone or Android phone (heck, even a basic flip phone) lying around your house like I did. We had an old iPhone 6S just sitting in our junk drawer. I took it out, charged it and set it up.
If you don’t have an old phone just lying around, ask your friends and family because chances are, they do.
Other ways you can get a cheap phone include:
- Buying one at a yard sale
- Check eBay
- Check online ads
- Check Facebook Marketplace
- Call your local cellular repair stores they often sell refurbished phones
- Check the DI (yes, they often have used phones for sale)
You can get a good, gently used phone for around $20-$30.
You can even make your kids work for this money to pay for the phone initially. Remember, they don’t need something fancy.
I do want to give you a reminder that if you’re buying a used phone, you want to make sure the phone is in working order, paid off and isn’t stolen. You can typically call a cell phone carrier and give them the IMEI number (you can call Apple if it’s an iPhone) and they can give you all that info.
Step 2: Get The Phone Unlocked
Years ago you used to have to pay someone to unlock your phone to use on another carrier but those times have changed.
You can now unlock your device for FREE on your own.
The iPhone 6S that I had was from AT&T (my husband upgraded to a new iPhone recently) so this phone was paid off but was not activated.
In order to get free service the way I am going to show you, you’ll need a device (phone) that is unlocked to use on any carrier.
Here is how you unlock an iPhone:
- Head over to ATT.com and choose “unlock your device”.
- Follow the prompts and when asked enter your IMEI number (this is located in your phone under settings, then general, then about.)
- Enter your contact information including your email and then click “submit”.
- You will get an email confirmation that your request is pending. You will also need to click the link provided in the email within 24 hours to confirm you want to unlock the device.
Now, do know that this request can take 24-48 hours to unlock your device. Ours took about 24 hours and I had to call AT&T twice to get them to unlock the device because we got the confirmation email but the device was never actually unlocked.
Once your device is unlocked, you’ll receive an email like this:
Again, if that doesn’t actually unlock your device you need to call AT&T customer service and they can unlock it right away over the phone.
Once that is done, you’ll need to factory reset your phone by going to “settings” then “reset” then click “erase all content and settings” and following the prompts.
THIS WILL ERASE EVERYTHING ON YOUR PHONE SO MAKE SURE YOU ARE OKAY WITH THAT.
You MUST factory reset the phone in order for it to process that the device has been unlocked. Once you’ve done this, head to the next step.
Note: If the phone was on any other carrier, call or Google info on how to get the device unlocked from them. The process should be similar and if not, the same.
Step 3: Activate Your New Service
Okay, now that your phone is up and running and ready to be activated, here is what you need to do:
- Go to an Xfinity Store or call customer service and tell them you want to set up a new account. You are going to be using Xfinity Mobile for your kids cellular service.
- Tell them you are bringing your own phone and just need a new line.
- Sign-up for the “Pay By the Gig” plan. This plan is $12 per 1 GB of data per month but includes unlimited talk and text.
- Receive a new SIM card and place it into your phone. Follow the steps to set up your new service.
- You’ll get a new phone number and have your Xfinity Mobile service activated immediately.
But wait!! This next step is CRUCIAL if you don’t want to have a monthly bill for your kids service each month!!
Step 4: Turn off The Cellular Data
This is the MOST important step if you don’t want to have a monthly reoccurring bill from Xfinity Mobile.
Once your phone and service is active, you need to go into your child’s phone and turn off the cellular data setting.
In an iPhone this is under “settings” then “cellular” and then toggle the button until it is no longer green.
This means that the cellular data is off and your child can only use the internet if they are connected to Wi-Fi or a HotSpot of Wi-Fi.
This also means, if they don’t use any data other than Wi-Fi, they won’t be charged!!!
Bottom line: The phone service with unlimited talk and text is FREE every single month!! No taxes, no fees – NOTHING! You can see the screenshot of my account charges below.
If you end up wanting to allow them to use the internet while out and about, they can use up to 1 GB a month for $12 and unlimited is just $45.
I didn’t even pay for activation or the SIM card.
Xfinity Mobile has:
- No Annual Contracts (actually no contracts at all)
- Unlimited Texts
- Unlimited Calling
- Reliable 4G LTE Service that runs on Verizon towers
- 18 million Xfinity WiFi hotspots
The only stipulation is that you must have Comcast Internet in order to get Xfinity Mobile but that is something we already have so I don’t see that as an issue.
And in case you’re wondering, no, Xfinity (Comcast) did not pay me to say any of this.
I was actually SHOCKED I could get my son cell phone service without having to pay anything. So much, I had to share my experience.
If he does end up using the service, I’ll have him pay for it out of his chores.
Honestly, now that I learned about this service, I cannot wait to pay off my phones with AT&T and switch service. We will save so much money once we do!
I surely hope this helps alleviate some stress with getting your child a cell phone and helps keep that financial burden at rest.
If you have questions please feel free to ask below and I’ll get right back to you!