Who is TextNow? If it sounds familiar, you may be thinking of the company behind the ubiquitous and popular texting app available in the apple store and on google play. In recent months, the company has joined the ranks of Sprint MVNOs, and the Nexus 5 is one of several available phones you can get.
TextNow is challenging the traditional carriers by introducing a new way to play in the mobile business. A relative newcomer, TextNow’s phones support Wi-Fi calling, voice over LTE (VoLTE) and cellular calls, and their radios will detect and select the optimal signal for your call and keep your data usage low. Textnow is not the first to offer the Wi-Fi and cellular model. Republic Wireless, which offers similar plans that use Wi-Fi whenever possible, and switch to cellular data when that’s not available has been around for a few years now. Watch out Republic Wireless. TextNow now offers a very similar option, with specially coded Android phones that tap Wi-Fi networks for voice calls and texting, switching to cellular only as needed.
TextNow currently offers 4 plans cleverly named after Starbucks coffee drinks. Tall is the base plan and at $18.99 (including taxes) offers 500 MB of data at 3G/4G speed, unlimited data at 2G speed and unlimited texting & calling to US & Canada. Details can be found on their website TextNow. To get the most out of the service, TextNow recommends you buy one of their specially coded phones and they currently offer many compelling device choices with one likely to fit within your budget.
I was initially skeptical, but pleasantly surprised. Call quality has been excellent and the specially coded device uses advanced algorithms to switch seamlessly between Wi-Fi and Cellular without my intervention. Wi-Fi calls have exhibited consistently excellent call quality. As the caller I could not detect any discernible difference to using a cellular network. However, some folks on the receiving end reported a slight echo. I trust TextNow will improve this though software updates and will report in a follow up article.
TextNow offers an impressive selection of high quality devices at discounted prices. Today they announced two new arrivals to their already impressive device roster. The Samsung Galaxy S5 and the the LG Volt. The S5 is power-packed with features including 16 GB of memory, an Android 5.0 Lollipop operating system and a dazzling 5.1” super-AMOLED 1080 x 1920 display. You can pick one of these up new or refurbished, at no-contract price points of $399.
The company is also introducing the LG Volt at just $13.99, offering incredible savings for students and parents alike who are looking for a great entry-level smartphone.
The venerable Nexus 5 is another solid performer. It’s a simple slab with rounded-off corners and a pleasing rubberised rear. While other phones have come-and-gone the Nexus 5’s simple utilitarian styling has actually come into its own with time, it looks great alongside Android 5.0’s material design ethos, and it won’t ever clash with whatever you have onscreen. It’s fast, smooth and comfortable to hold. Currently TextNow offers this phone at only $169. That’s big value for a low price. Remember this phone retailed at $349 on the google play store not too long ago.
According to Derek Ting, CEO and co-founder of TextNow Wireless. “Students are usually in WiFi connected zones – so there is really no need for costly data plans, And with our unique hybrid model of WiFi and cellular network, the TextNow-fueled Samsung Galaxy S5 and LG Volt, along with all our devices, saves parents money while ensuring they are always connected to their kids.”
TextNow Wireless will also make it easier for credit-challenged customers to now pay their monthly bills by accepting cash payments at over 10,000 locations nationwide. Available in the coming weeks, TextNow customers will have a choice to pay instantly, in-person, at a wide range of conveniently located payment/refill locations including Gates Petroleum, Sunoco, NMart and Circle K stores, among others. In addition, the company is rolling out its offering to brick and mortar locations starting with the Moto G which can now be purchased at all Fry’s Electronics.