How to Get Free Cell Phone Service

by Shawanda Greene

Who else has an irrational fear of becoming homeless?


I guess it’s just me, huh?

As much as I pride myself on being a logical, semi-mentally stable person, the thought of ending up on the streets haunts me daily.

It’s crazy, I know.

Although the possibility of living in a cardboard fort under a bridge is unlikely, I’m compelled to mitigate this remote risk. So, I’m constantly thinking of ways to preserve cash by spending as little of it as possible.

Which brings us to this week’s Tightwad Tuesday.

There are some things even I am unwilling to give up: lip balm, that dark brown gel for black girls, Internet, and my cellphone.

Today, we’ll focus on how to get free cellphone service.

A couple weeks ago, while having a casual conversation with a friend on my iPhone, I was continually interrupted with the all too familiar phrase, “I can’t hear s*** you sayin’.”

How annoying is that?

After about 10 minutes of repeating myself, I became frustrated enough to seek out an alternative.

Enter Your Name and Email Below and Click

I hung up the phone, opened the free Talkatone app I’d downloaded on my iPhone, and called my friend back, not over AT&T’s crappy cellular network, but through Google Voice, i.e., the Internets.

The call was crystal clear.

I heard everything that was said, and everything I said was heard.

My confidence grew, and I started doing things you’d never do when connected to a call using AT&T’s service. You know, really weird stuff like walking and moving. At one point I even sat on my bed, and the conversation carried on without a hiccup.

This got me to thinking. I could talk over the Internets without using my mobile minutes. With Talkatone, I can make calls using a 3G or wireless connection without depleting my 400 anytime minutes.

You’re probably thinking, “But, Shawanda, you still have to pay for your data plan and your anytime minutes.” You’re right. I’ve only told you how to make free calls on your iPhone.

But you don’t need an iPhone to use Talkatone. You can use this free app on your 3rd and 4th generation iPod Touch or an iPad. As long as you have a Wi-Fi connection, you can talk AND text AND instant message at no cost using these devices. You’ll need a Google Voice number, but that’s super easy to set up.

Unfortunately, Talkatone isn’t available for Android users. :( However, there’s GrooVe IP that functions in pretty much the same way. I would spend more time talking about it, but I don’t have an Android. Just know it’s possible to talk over the Internet, send text messages, etc. for free. You can figure out the particulars for yourself.

If I ever find myself in a financial pinch, I just might switch to Boost Mobile, reactivate the ol’ Motorola Razr, and use an iPod Touch for my in home calling needs.

Have you ever tried talking over the Internet using your smartphone? Do you know of any other ways to get free cell minutes? 

This article was featured in the Festival of Frugality – Pre-Halloween Edition at NerdWallet.

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{ 55 comments… read them below or add one }

The Debt Darling May 1, 2012 at 9:13 AM

Great insights!! I have never heard of this before. I have VirginMobile. I am going to see if there is a way to integrate that with unlimited data maybe? Thanks! :)


ag July 28, 2014 at 12:59 PM
John McKinley July 28, 2012 at 11:51 PM

Great Article. It’s great when your cell phone service is free.


ag July 28, 2014 at 12:58 PM
T August 31, 2012 at 5:53 PM

Thank you for this information I just found this today and finances are tight right now for me. I told my son and hes gonna try it. I hope this works.


mandygirl September 1, 2012 at 10:44 AM

just thought I’d let anyone reading this article that talkatone is on Android now and it works great :)


Todd September 26, 2012 at 2:27 AM

Shawanda , I one up you on Internet free calls and text , try using wechat , free text when connected to wifi I use this app, when I talk to some friends in China fact you can text to anyone anywhere in the world for free . Wechat , also try QQ.com works the same way but you can video chat on this site for free , just make sure you download the English version when using QQ.com as this is a Chinese web- site there is a English version And it is way better then google or msn , trust me it was costing a small fortune to talk tou contact over sea’s , did I mention it work domestic as well


Todd September 26, 2012 at 2:34 AM

One more thing QQ .com works with any smart phone .also wechat works with any smart phone


Stevewendyshapiro@gmail.com March 28, 2013 at 8:47 AM

Sounds awesome


4g no brasil October 3, 2012 at 4:04 PM

I never thought I could live on the street :) I hope this does not happen. Even. but c’mon. I enjoyed the hint of talking on the cell phone for free. Congratulations and thanks for sharing.


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Now with freedompop, you get 4g with 500mb data every month. Setup google voice, you will have a free cell phone with iphone or any smart phone.


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