USAC’s port freeze rule eliminated, ObamaPhone customers can now switch companies at any time

The FCC and USAC just eliminated their annoying “port freeze” rule — the regulation that required ObamaPhone users to stay with their service provider for up to one year even if they had really good reasons to switch to a different company.

That’s great news for ObamaPhone customers because the port freeze has always been one of our readers’ biggest complaints.

The old rules required ObamaPhone customers to stay with their current service provider for a full year if their plan included data, and for sixty days if it was voice and text-only.

But thanks to this new regulation, you can no switch service providers any time you want. Theoretically, you could enroll with one ObamaPhone company today, switch to a different one tomorrow, and switch to another one the day after that. Of course, the USAC and FCC don’t anticipate such extreme switching, but it could happen.

That’s very good news for ObamaPhone customers who enrolled with a service provider with a weak or non-existent signal in their area, for those whose who are fed up with their ObamaPhone service providers horrible customer service, and for any customer who wants to switch for any reason.

The website explains in more detail:

The Lifeline Program’s port freeze rule was eliminated on March 19, 2018. On that date, port freezes were removed from the National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD), and any customers that were in a port freeze had the restriction removed.

USAC will not implement an administrative port freeze. NLAD users should no longer encounter port freeze error messages.

We can always depend on the experts at to explain exactly how you’ll be impacted by the new regulations:

Effective March 19, the Lifeline port freeze rules will be eliminated. The rules, which originally took effect in December 2016, precluded customers from transferring to another provider:

– their Lifeline voice subsidy for 60 days, or
– their Lifeline broadband subsidy for 12 months.

Less than a year later, the FCC determined that the port freeze rules “limit[ed] Lifeline consumers’ ability to seek more competitive offerings and obtain those services that best meet their needs” nor did it promote competition. As part of the rule elimination, NLAD will be updated to remove the port freeze constraints and customers in port freeze status as of that date will have the restriction lifted.

Make the switch

The new regulations eliminate one of the things our readers hate most about the ObamaPhone free government cell phone program.

If you’re unhappy with Lifeline service provider for any reason, switch to another one. If you’re having trouble re-certifying, make the switch. If your service provider’s signal is weak or non-existent, make the switch. If you have a customer service issue and can’t get it resolved, make the switch. If you want a smartphone and your service provider won’t give you one, make the switch. If another company offers more minutes or texts or data, make the switch. If you’re unhappy with your current service provider for any reason, make the switch.

And do it today.

Because there’s no longer any reason to wait now that the port freeze has been eliminated.