New MVNO Called Odin Targets the Visually Impaired
Odin Mobile today announced that it will launch new cellular service in July for those with visual impairments. Odin Mobile is an MVNO that operates on T-Mobile USA's network. The company will offer several handsets, including the Huawei-made Ray (pictured). The Ray is a touch phone that was designed with eye-free operation in mind. It can be used to make and receive voice calls, manage contacts, and lets the visually impaired access their call history and use caller ID. It uses text-to-speech technology to read text messages aloud, and includes a calendar, and the ability to recognize colors and money. The Ray can be used with audiobooks and audio magazines, as well. The Ray costs $299.99. Odin Mobile is offering two other handsets made by Emporia, the Click and the Essence, The Click is a flip phone and the Essence is a bar-style phone. They offer similar features, such as adjustable fonts, high-contrast displays, large buttons, and loud speakers. They also include basics such as SMS, Bluetooth, flashlights, GPS, and emergency call buttons. The Click costs $73.00 and the Essence costs $49.00. Service plans start at $10 per month for 150 minutes and 150 texts and range up to $45 per month for 4000 minutes/texts. Odin did not say exactly when in July its service will launch.
RingPlus To Offer Free Phone Service
RingPlus today announced a new mobile phone service plan that is ad-supported, but completely free to the customer. The ads take the form of ringback tones, which RingPlus customers hear on outbound voice calls, after dialing but before the other party picks up.
Sprint Marketing the Alcatel Retro to Seniors
Sprint today announced the availability of the Alcatel OneTouch Retro, a simple flip phone with accessibility features on board. The device, which is also sold as the Speakeasy and Fling, is being marketed to senior users as well as those who are hard of hearing or visually impaired.
Zact to Call It Quits, But Sprint Has an Alternative On Deck
Zact Mobile, an MVNO that resold access to Sprint's network, plans to shut down at the end of August. Zact launched in 2013 and was notable because it allowed customers to adjust their voice minutes, messaging, and data allotments on the fly to suit their needs.
Scratch Wireless to Start Charging for Cell Calls, Texts
Scratch Wireless, a Sprint MVNO, said it can no longer afford to give services away for free and will begin charging for some features. Scratch Wireless has historically offered free WiFi calling and free messaging via cellular and WiFi.