A BestMVNO reader sent in a tip today by passing along an email that they received from Scratch Wireless. It seems that the company is no longer able to support its freemium model due to their high cost of operations and regulatory requirements. The freemium model included unlimited talk and text over Wi-Fi and unlimited texting over Sprints network all free of charge. Scratch Wireless says that the costs associated with supporting E911, universal service tax pass-throughs, porting, and texting over the cellular network are simply too much to maintain for free. Furthermore, due to the costs, Scratch Wireless says that it can no longer provide service for customers in certain geographic locations with specific area codes.
Scratch Wireless is allowing its customers in the troubled geographic areas to continue with their service if they are willing to accept a randomly assigned new phone number instead of their current one. Alternatively, customers can port their number out and receive a new one from a different geographic area, and thus presumably a receive different area code. Customers who choose neither option will have their service terminated on Monday, November 16th. Also coming on the 16th of November are new plans and pricing which can be seen in the email copy below:
Important Scratch Wireless Service Notice
To Our Valued Scratch Wireless Customers,
It is with sadness that we announce the high cost of operations and regulatory requirements have caused us to significantly change how we support our customers. It has been difficult for us to provide our customers with an entirely freemium model with the high costs associated with supporting E911, universal service tax pass-throughs, porting, and texting over the cellular network.
Because of these high costs we will no longer support customers with area codes in certain geographical locations.
You are receiving this email because you or an account you manage uses a telephone number associated with a geographic location that we cannot support going forward. The good news is you can continue with Scratch Wireless if you choose to accept a randomly assigned phone number instead of your current one. You are also welcome to port your current phone number to another service provider and then have a new phone number associated with a different geographic area that we can support assigned to your Scratch Wireless device.
If you choose not to receive a randomly assigned phone number services will be terminated on your device as of Monday November 16th. In order to retain your phone number you must port to another service provider before this date. Failure to port out by this date will result in a loss of that phone number.
We are disappointed and sorry that we are not able to continue providing service to area codes in all geographic locations.
In addition to the above changes we will also be rolling out a new price structure as of Monday November 16th. The changes below will allow us to continue to provide great service while meeting our increasing costs.
Voice Passes(Wi-Fi and Cellular)
Unlimited Month Pass: $9.99
Data Passes(Cellular only - includes text messaging)
200MB Month Pass: $7.99
500MB Month Pass: $14.99
1GB Month Pass: $24.99
Charging for texting on the cellular network and all voice will allow us to meet increasing costs while we continue to provide our valued service.
Please email [email protected] to request a new phone number assignment or with additional questions.
The Scratch Wireless Team
About Scratch Wireless
Scratch Wireless provides talk and text over Wi-Fi and Sprints cellular network. Previously texting was always free on both Wi-Fi and the cellular network, but changes to policy require charging for on network texting. Wi-Fi calling was also always free, but the company will now charge for that as well. For those who need on network data or texting, cellular passes are available for as little as $1.99. Cellular passes are available for 24h at a time or a full 30 days. The company does not support BYOD, if you want service with Scratch Wireless you must purchase a phone from their store. For more information, visit scratchwireless.com.