Scratch Wireless Now Open for Business
Scratch Wireless today announced that it is fully open for business an accepting new customers. The company made a big splash in October and has since been in a beta period testing the service ahead of today's formal launch. Scratch Wireless is an MVNO that runs on Sprint's network. It promises free calling, texting, and mobile data to those seeking lower monthly bills. Scratch is selling a single phone, the 2012-era Motorola Photon Q, for $269, and lets customers make calls, send text messages, and surf the web all for free when connected to a Wi-Fi network. When Wi-Fi isn't available, Scratch Wireless devices will roam onto Sprint's network, where text messages will still be free, but voice and data cost extra. Scratch offers daily and monthly voice/data plans for cellular access. The 24-hour plan costs $1.99 for 30 voice minutes and 25MB of data, and the monthly plan costs $14.99 for 250 voice minutes and 200MB of data. Scratch does not have an agreement in place with any Wi-Fi aggregators, so customers are on their own to map out Wi-Fi hotspots and availability. Scratch does not require contracts or recurring monthly fees.
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.
More Carriers and Phone Makers Agree to Adopt Google's RCS-Based 'Android Messages' Service
Google today said more wireless network operators and handset manufacturers will use Android Messages, its RCS-based messaging service, as the default SMS/MMS tool on their phones. (Android Messages was previously known as Google Messenger.) Some of the features of RCS, which is a global standard, include group chat, high-resolution photo sharing, advanced calling features, and read receipts.
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.
Verizon Wireless Rehashes Prepaid Plans
Verizon Wireless has adjusted its selection of prepaid service plans for smartphones, basic phones, and data devices. Verizon now offers three plans to smartphones.
Madstar Mobile Latest Sprint MVNO Looking to Disrupt
Madstar Mobile today announced itself as "the newest national wireless carrier." The MVNO resells access to Sprint's 3G/4G networks and claims to offer the benefits of postpaid and prepaid services at the same time. It bills for service on a postpaid basis, but it doesn't require credit checks, deposits, or contracts.
Who the hell thinks this is a good deal?
More curious, I'm wondering what fantasyland these people live in where free WiFi is plentiful and good. (College campuses, perhaps.) I've tried and when you're not dealing with a weak signal, you're often dealing with congestion or straight-up failure.