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TextNow’s Free Phone Plan Now Comes With “Essential Data”

TextNow Launches Free Essential Data
TextNow Launches Free Essential Data
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TextNow has updated its free unlimited talk and text phone plan to include what it is calling "Free Essential Data." Free Essential Data is free data that can be used with specific apps and services. Plan subscribers will get free data for email, maps, and rideshare apps. TextNow's advertising partners allow the company to offer a free phone plan. Customers who want additional data have the option to purchase hourly, daily, or monthly data passes.

  • Hourly Pass - 300MB of high-speed data
  • Day Pass - 2GB of high-speed data
  • Monthly Pass - 10GB of high-speed data

Each pass comes with unlimited data at 2G data speeds for the remainder of the pass cycle once the high-speed data allotment gets consumed. Customers on legacy paid TextNow cellular plans will be grandfathered into keeping those plans.

"At TextNow, we're obsessed with charging people less, while giving them more and changing what consumers expect from their mobile service providers," said Derek Ting, CEO and co-founder of TextNow. "With this game-changing launch of Free Essential Data, we're proving that phone service can be affordable and offer more choice and control to the consumer."

TextNow operates as a standalone VoIP calling and texting app over WiFi. Customers who want the Free Essential Data and service on a cellular network need a TextNow SIM card. TextNow with a SIM card operates as an MVNO on the T-Mobile network and still requires the use of their app for calling and texting.

According to TextNow's FAQs, Free Essential Data customers will get 350MB of high-speed data to use each month. Then data speeds will be reduced. The total available free data allotment between high-speed and slower-speed data is 1GB. Their FAQs list just over two dozen apps and services that qualify as Free Essential Data options. Some of the more popular options include Apple, Google and Waze maps, Uber and Lyft, Gmail, Hotmail, Proton Mail, and Yahoo Mail.

Several providers have attempted to offer free wireless service over the years as their main MVNO strategy. Those who tried have either failed at it or have had to pivot away from that strategy. RingPlus was one such provider which was around for a few years going out of business in 2017. FreedomPop also tried it for several years but has recently transformed to target the senior demographic. But TextNow is one to have had success and lasting power. Derek Ting told Fierce Network, that outside of $1.5 million in seed funding TextNow needed in its early stages, the company has not had to raise any additional funds as their business model is profitable.

TextNow currently has around 8 million users, a number that includes both app-only users and subscribers with SIM cards. The company has also been successful enough to have launched several TV ad campaigns over the years highlighting its free plan offering. Their most recent TV ad launched in 2022 and was inspired by the Netflix hit: "Stranger Things."

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