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Charge, an MVNO on the Sprint network launched last March as a data only provider. The company later went on to add talk and text plans to its offerings.
Today, the company has announced that as of January 17th, 2017 they will be discontinuing all of their texting and calling plans for new activations. Current subscribers however will be able to keep their plans indefinitely, although Charge says that they may be phased out sometime in the future. If you are a subscriber to one of these plans, you may want to look to another Sprint MVNO such as Tello, before they get phased out completely.
Charge says that it had to make these changes because of government regulations that are in place for companies that offer voice and SMS functionality. The regulations I surmise are in regards to fees that it would have to pay to support those services such as for 911 support, local number portability, and Universal service charges among other taxes ((according to the FCC https://www.fcc.gov/consumers/guides/understanding-your-telephone-bill)). The regulations are cost prohibitive for a small company such as Charge that can't afford to pass the costs on to consumers in what is already a highly competitive market.
Charge will go back to offering data only plans priced at $13/GB with a $3 per month account fee. Charge does not require contracts, and does not bill overages or activation fees. Data is pay as you go and never expires, so you only have to pay for what you use and when you need it. Tethering is included with their plans, and if you have multiple devices, data can be shared across all of them.
Charge is running a promotion where you can sign up for one of several deals which include:
- Buy 3 GB ($39) get 500 MB free
- Buy 5 GB ($65) get 1 GB free
- Buy 8 GB ($104) get 2 GB free
Before deciding on a plan, you may also want to have a look around at other providers that offer data only service to see how Charge compares.
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