TextNow is an MVNO running on Sprint and T-Mobile’s 4G LTE networks. Its low-cost prepaid plans are geared toward budget-minded consumers. One key upside of TextNow is that it prioritizes your WiFi connection for calls and texting ahead of cellular services (Sprint’s network for CDMA phones and T-Mobile’s for GSM phones), allowing for more affordable service plans.
In this article:
- TextNow Cell Phone Plans
- TextNow Unlimited LTE Plan
- TextNow International Calling
- Buy a TextNow Phone
- Bring Your Own Phone
TextNow Cell Phone Plans
TextNow has four contract-free wireless plans available starting at $0/month for WiFi-only service with unlimited talk and text, ads included. On the Basic Plan, you make your calls and send your texts through a TextNow app (similar to WhatsApp or Viber), and that is where you’ll see the ads. This plan doesn’t include data, but as always, you can connect to WiFi to access the internet. All you need to do to get started is purchase a TextNow SIM kit for $9.99 and download the free app.
TextNow’s other three plans:
- Basic Plan (ad-free): This plan is the same as the Basic Plan described above, except you don’t have to deal with pesky ads in order to send texts or make calls.
- 2GB data plan: This plan includes 2GB of high-speed data, mobile hotspot, and unlimited WiFi talk and text. When WiFi isn’t available, your phone will connect to Sprint’s 3G and 4G LTE network.
- Unlimited LTE plan: This plan includes 23GB of LTE data, and then speeds are slowed to 2G once you’ve hit this limit. You also get mobile hotspot capabilities and unlimited WiFi talk and text.
TextNow plans include the following features:
- Unlimited talk and text in the U.S./Canada
- Free international texting to over 100 countries
- Prioritization of WiFi over cellular networks
- A free plan option (basically unheard of!)
- Data allowances on two plans
- Hotspot use on the two data plans
Let’s Talk Tip: You can upgrade or downgrade your TextNow service plan at any time you like during your bill cycle.
TextNow Unlimited LTE Plan
TextNow’s best value plan is its Unlimited LTE plan. It costs $39.99/month and includes 23GB of high-speed data per month before TextNow slows your speeds to 2G. Slowing data after a certain threshold on unlimited plans is common at many carriers, but data speeds usually slow to 3G rather than 2G. That might make TextNow’s Unlimited LTE plan less attractive to heavy data users. Nevertheless, because TextNow prioritizes WiFi over data and 23GB is a good amount, it’s unlikely most users will hit this data threshold.
TextNow International Calling
TextNow includes free international texting to over 100 countries with its plans, but international calling costs extra. However, you can purchase credits to use for international calls (230+ countries) through TextNow’s mobile app.
In addition, TextNow offers customers the option to earn credit for international calls. Using TextNow’s mobile application, you can earn this credit by:
- Watching videos
- Installing apps
- Completing offers
- Referring friends
- Promoting TextNow on social media
International call costs vary based on each country’s call rate, but some are as low as one cent per minute. Still, compared to other international calling-friendly MVNOs like Ting, Gen Mobile, and Red Pocket, TextNow’s offerings are mediocre at best.
Buy a TextNow Phone
TextNow offers a limited phone selection, including older LG, Samsung, Apple, and Motorola devices, some of which are used or heavily discounted. There is only one way to buy a TextNow phone—you must purchase it outright at the time of checkout. Most of TextNow’s phones are fairly inexpensive so it may not be too much of a cost to swallow. But if you’re looking for an MVNO that offers monthly installment plans, you may want to look elsewhere.
Bring Your Own Phone
You can bring both Android devices and iPhones to TextNow. Boost, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Virgin phones are compatible with TextNow’s network and do not require a new SIM card. You can also bring unlocked CDMA and GSM devices. Just make sure to order a FREE TextNow SIM card so you can activate your device with their service. Activation can be done via TextNow’s website and by contacting TextNow customer service.