You might be surprised to learn that it’s possible to get a free phone number that isn’t tied to a subscription, SIM card, cell phone, or location. Even if you already have a phone number associated with a landline or cell phone – with the rise of internet, text, and phone activity across the globe – you may feel hesitant about giving out your personal number in certain circumstances.
In these cases, it can help to have an alternate phone number that you can share without revealing personal information or opening the door to a deluge of follow-up or spam messages.
With more and more Americans working from home, virtual phone numbers represent an effective way to set up an alternate phone number so that employees don’t have to use their personal number to take a business call. There are many reasons to want a free phone number.
In 2022, there are several ways you can go about getting one – we’ve outlined everything you need to know.
Several different companies, apps, and services offer free phone numbers. if you are wondering how to get a free phone number, we’ve listed some of the most popular apps and services below:
- Google Voice
Normally, a user is assigned a phone number when they pay for phone service – a traditional landline, a mobile phone contract, or a VoIP service, for example. But if you know where to look, it’s possible to find a free phone number that isn’t tied to a particular line, device, or subscription service.
In some cases, you may also be able to score a free phone or other communication device while you’re at it. Whether you’re looking for a primary phone number that isn’t tied to a phone bill, a secondary number for online security, or a way to separate your personal from remote work calls, you have a wide range of options.
Several different services allow you to set up a free phone number without entering into any kind of service contract – let’s take a look.
A virtual phone number is a telephone number that isn’t tied to a fixed location like a landline or a mobile device. A virtual number can be used to make and receive calls and texts on just about any type of device – smartphone, tablet, computer – from just about any location.
Virtual numbers use Internet technology to place and accept calls through Voice Over Internet Protocol. As long as you have a computer and cheap Internet – you’re all set.
Virtual phone numbers offer several benefits over their traditional counterparts. First, because they aren’t tied to a specific location, they often can be used anywhere in the world without long-distance or other extra carrier charges. There are some exceptions to this, but the flexibility you have to talk and text from anywhere is much greater with a virtual phone number.
A virtual number often can ring on several different devices, making it much less likely that you’ll miss a phone call or need to listen to voicemails later. If you’re working remotely, you can separate your personal phone calls from your business calls by adding a virtual number. These virtual numbers offer an extra layer of protection against spam, identity theft, and other scams by remaining separate from your personal information.
With a virtual phone number, your options for connecting with people dramatically expand. As long as you have some kind of device with a microphone and a reliable Internet connection, you are good to go.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the easiest ways to get a free phone number.
The Burner app touts itself as the original second phone number app and allows users to create and use a secondary telephone number on their existing cell phone. The app is free to download for one week, and then costs $1.99 for an in-app purchase of a number or $4.99 for a monthly subscription.
Burner lets you choose a U.S. or Canada-based number from a selection of available area codes and numbers. Once your free number is chosen, they work just as with the traditional number assigned to your smartphone. Please note that texting and calling through the Burner app are subject to the limits specified in your cell phone plan, just as with your traditional phone number.
A Google Voice number allows for calling via smartphone or over the Web. With the Google Voice app, you can make calls and send texts from a free U.S. phone number you choose from a selection of area codes and available numbers. You must have a Google account, like a Gmail account, to get started.
Once you’ve chosen a number, it will sync across all of your devices. When you have an incoming call, your cell phone, computer, and tablet can all ring. Google automatically filters out spam, and you also can block any numbers you choose. Calling or texting within the United States and Canada is free. International calls are available at an extra cost, though rates may be lower than your cell phone carrier charges.
A Google Voice account also includes call forwarding and voicemail, plus voicemail transcription so that you can read your voicemails instead of listening to them.
TextNow is an app available for both iOS and Android smartphones that allows users to have a secondary number for both outgoing and inbound calls and text messages. TextNow is currently available for users in the United States and Canada. The mobile app also works on Mac and Windows computers and tablets.
TextNow allows users to make free unlimited calls in the U.S. and Canada, and credits are available for purchase at a reasonable rate for international calls and texts. The app also features call forwarding, caller ID, conference calls, and voicemail. When it comes to texting, TextNow supports emojis, gifs, photos, stickers, and videos.
If you don’t have a cell phone with a data plan, you still can use TextNow over WiFi. For example, you can take a used phone, maybe from a family member or friend, reset it to factory default, and use it for Wi-Fi calling without entering into a data plan.
If you do want a data plan, you can get that, too. TextNow also offers fairly inexpensive phones and cellular plans using Sprint’s network. There is no contract required for any plan, and you can cancel anytime without having to pay penalties or additional charges.
TextFree is a free phone and texting app available for Android, Windows, Mac, and iOS devices. TextFree allows users to download the app, choose an area code and phone number and then begin texting and calling. All texts are free within 35 countries, but phone minutes have to be earned or purchased. Please note that calls can only be placed within the U.S. and Canada.
New accounts start with 60 free minutes. The app supports group messaging and the texting of photos, emojis, and videos. The free app does feature advertisements, and you can purchase a $5.99 subscription to access an ad-free version.
FreeTone is an app available for both iOS and Android that allows the user to call or text any U.S. user at no cost, without making a dent in minutes or texts allowed with a current cellular plan. FreeTone allows you to choose from a selection of area codes and available phone numbers to choose your new free number, and your text message will support photos, videos, voice notes, your current location, and attachments from cloud services. Credits are available to purchase if you are interested in making calls or sending texts internationally.
In addition to getting a free phone number, you may also qualify for a free phone to go along with it.
The Obama Phone, officially known as theLifeline Program, is a federally funded program that helps make sure eligible Americans have access to the services they need to make the most of modern communications technology. A Federal Communications Commission program administered through the Universal Service Administrative Company, the Lifeline Program is designed to ensure that communications equipment and service are affordable for low-income Americans.
As long as users sign up with a participating service provider, Lifeline provides them a discount on qualifying monthly telephone service, broadband Internet service, or bundled voice-broadband packages. Please just be aware that FCC rules prohibit more than one Lifeline Program service per household.
To qualify for an Obama Phone, consumers must either report an income at or below 135 percent of America’s Federal Poverty Guidelines or have already qualified for specified federal assistance programs, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Medicaid, Federal Public Housing Assistance, Supplemental Security Income, the Veterans and Survivors Pension Benefit, or certain Tribal Programs.
The philosophy behind the Lifeline program is simple – with access to reliable communications equipment and services, low-income Americans are better positioned to connect with prospective employers, making them less dependent on government assistance programs. In addition, this access allows users a reliable method for staying in contact with medical professionals, thus reducing dependence on government healthcare programs. Lifeline allows families to remain in close touch with one another and gives them an avenue by which to make emergency phone calls.
If you are looking for a free phone number, you have many options. The list presented here certainly is not exhaustive – many different apps and companies offer the ability to make free calls and send free texts. Free numbers are available to use as your primary number or as an alternative number for online privacy or as a business phone number.
If you’re looking for a free phone number, you should spend some time today researching which options might work best for your specific situation. Before you know it, you’ll be calling and texting from your new free number – all without having to sign up for a pricey subscription plan.