Obama Phone by the numbers

Lifeline Assistance is the official name of the program that provides free cell phones and free minutes to financially-strapped Americans. But far more people know them as Obama Phones.

Contrary to some of the negative news you may have read, the Obama Phone program has been very successful and helped millions of Americans land jobs, stay in touch with their friends and families and communicate with their parents and children.

In an effort to counter some of the misconceptions about this outstanding program, we present this list of Obama Phone facts by the numbers:

0 – Amount Obama Phone participants pay per month for a cell phone and service.

1 – Number of dollars paid for 1000 minutes per month by Alaska residents who qualify for the Obama Phone program.

49 – The number of states in which Obama Phones available. Montana is the last hold-out.

135 – If you’re below 135% of federal government poverty guidelines, you may qualify for an Obama phone in 44 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia.

150 – If you’re below 150% of federal government poverty guidelines, you may qualify in eight other states — Arizona, Florida, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, Ohio, Rhode Island and Texas.

250 – Number of free minutes offered to program participants in most states. (California, which so often leads the way in so many things, now offers Obama Phone customers unlimited talk and texts).

1999 – The year the Lifeline Assistance program began offering subsidies on home phones.

2008 – The year Tracfone handed out the first free government cell phone in Tennessee.

200,000 – The population of Puerto Rico is approximately 4,000,000, but in 2012 the Federal Communications Commission estimated that 200,000 of Puerto Ricans had fraudulent Obama Phone accounts.

10,000,000 – The number of households on Food Stamps that qualify for an Obama Phone but do not yet have one.

13,000,000 – Current estimated number of free cell phones subscribers.

214,000,000 – The number of dollars the FCC says it saved by cracking down on Obama Phone fraud, waste and abuse in 2012

400,000,000 – The number of dollars the FCC says it saved in 2013.

1,384,000,000 – Estimated number of Obama Phone dollars to be saved in 2014 if FCC effort to curb fraud, waste and abuse is achieved.

2,000,000,000 – Total to be saved in three years if the FCC is successful in curbing fraud, waste and abuse. We can’t wait to find out if they succeeded.

2,000,000,000 – Number of dollars spent per on the Obama Phone program in 2013. It is estimated that the 2014 number may be several hundred million dollars less.

72,000,000,000 – Net worth of the world’s richest man, Carlos Slim, the Mexican billionaire who owns Safelink Wireless, the first and largest company in the free government cell phone business.

UNLIMITED – Amount of free calling and texting that California Obama Phone users get each month.