Some of these companies might be a better fit for US consumers as they provide a more specialized package that fits their needs or budget. Let’s take a look at a relatively unknown carrier, TextNow.
This guide will serve to help you understand what the MVNO offers and how it competes in the mobile arena.
TextNow is a somewhat newer player in the mobile space, having gotten its start back in 2009 as a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) for making Wi-Fi calls. Today it operates as Mobile Virtual Network Operator that piggybacks on other cellular networks for coverage. It employs Sprint’s network for CDMA but it operates with its own plans and features.
TextNow uses Wi-Fi for its preferred coverage, falling back on GSM or LTE for calls, text, and data. By going this route, it is able to offer much more competitive rates than traditional carriers. According to TextNow, its average consumer rate plan is just $19 per month.
TextNow rate plans are no-contract, meaning you can go month-to-month with no long-term agreement, cancellation, or activation fees. It also offers a 30-day money back guarantee.
TextNow does not charge for going over your allotted data. Hit your threshold and you’ll find your speeds slowed for the remainder of the billing cycle.
Indeed, you can sign up for TextNow and have access to nationwide calling and texting at no cost. You’ll get all the standard features like call forwarding, caller ID, and voicemail, but you’ll see ads within the TextNow app.
TextNow’s paid plans range from $10 to $40 per month, and remove advertisements. Included in the $20 and $40 options are set amounts of high speed data over the CDMA (Sprint) network. Moreover, consumers can also take advantage of mobile hotspot or data sharing.
- $10/month: Unlimited Talk and Text
- $20/month: Unlimited Talk and Text with 2GB of high-speed data
- $40/month: Unlimited Talk and Text with unlimited high-speed data*
Those who go over 23GB of high-speed data in one month may see their speeds slowed for the remainder of the billing cycle. This is a small segment of users, to be sure, but still worth noting.
Any other TextNow features worth noting?
TextNow offers affordable international calling to a wide array of countries. Examples include 2.2¢ per minute to China and 1.8¢ per minute to India.
Customers can add credits to their account by completing an offer, installing other apps, sharing to social media, or watching ads. Credits vary but an example might be 2¢ credit for viewing a 30-second advertisement.
Taking a look at the current lineup of phones offered through TextNow we find just a small handful of models from Samsung, Motorola, and Apple. The handsets definitely skew toward the lower end of performance but that doesn’t mean they are not capable devices.
Bring Your Own Device
Feel free to use any existing Sprint phone just so long as there’s no unpaid balance on another network. You can also, of course, bring an unlocked device, too.