Entertainment And News

Woman Explains How She Got A Free IPhone From The Government And Films Herself 'Unboxing' It

Photo: Laura Chouette / Unsplash
woman taking a mirror selfie with iphone

In a world that's increasingly online, those without access to smartphones may find themselves at a disadvantage. But with new smartphones costing a record-high average of $790, for many people, it's simply not affordable.

However, a woman named AnnaBelle Calypso revealed that there is a way for people who qualify to get a free iPhone from the government. Although this immediately sounds like a scam or some kind of prank, Calypso posted a video of herself unboxing the one she received in the mail.

She claimed that the government sent her a free iPhone because she was on welfare.

“If you are on any type of welfare — food stamps, Medicare — stay tuned,” she said in a video posted to TikTok. “Inside of this box, there’s supposed to be, I don’t believe it, there’s supposed to be a free iPhone that I got from AirTalk Wireless.”

Holding a small box just big enough to fit a phone and an accessory, she explained how she got a hold of a government benefit in the form of a smartphone.

   

   

“My grandma was like ‘Don’t you have one of those government phones? Don’t you get food stamps?’” she explained. “I’m like ‘Yeah I got one back in the day and it was trash, it’s not worth it.’”

However, she said her grandma convinced her to try and get another one, so Calypso decided to rummage through TikTok videos for information on how to get it until she eventually stumbled upon AirTalk Wireless.

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AirTalk Wireless gives out free iPhones and other smart devices to those who need them.

AirTalk Wireless is a program provided by AirVoice Wireless, LLC that works in combination with the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). The goal of the ACP is to provide connectivity to low-income Americans, which includes those who participate in certain government assistance programs like Medicaid, food stamps and Federal Public Housing Assistance.

“Free iPhones, Galaxies, tablets, all that,” she explains. “Even if you’re not on welfare, if you’re on low income you can still qualify.”

Turning the camera back towards her box, she noted that she would be “shook” if there was actually a phone inside. At first, she only notices a charger in the box and immediately thinks she was scammed, but upon further searching, she reveals a brand new iPhone 7.

“So, it is factual. It is true, the government is handing out free iPhones," she said, adding for Android users that "you don’t have to get an iPhone,” describing the other products and bundles they had on the service.

Unfortunately, the ACP stopped accepting new applications in February 2024. According to the ACP website, the program is scheduled to end completely in April 2024 due to a lack of federal funding. While people will no longer be able to receive free smartphones through this particular program, the government also funds the Lifeline Assistance Program which offers a discount on phone and internet service for those who qualify.

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Some argue that internet access should be a basic human right.

Despite being a fairly new invention and largely considered a luxury not so long ago, many believe that these days, access to the internet should be nothing less than a basic human right.

   

   

As it becomes increasingly difficult to do anything without internet access (for example, many jobs and housing opportunities require online applications), those who can't afford smartphones, computers or internet connection are at an extreme disadvantage.

Low-income families are often the ones left behind as the cost of smartphones and internet connectivity only continue to rise along with most other necessities like food and housing.

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Isaac Serna-Diez is a writer who focuses on entertainment and news, social justice, and politics.