Waterloo, Ontario — Google’s launch of low-cost Wi-Fi/cellular service prompted a response from TextNow Wireless, an MVNO (mobile virtual network operator) that already offers Wi-Fi/cellular service.
For all current and future subscribers, TextNow is adding unlimited talk, text and 2G data to all of its plans, which start at $18.99/month for 500MB of 3G and 4G cellular data. Other plans offer 1GB of 3G/4G data at $26.99, 2GB at $39.99, and 4GB for $59.99/month. Data over Wi-Fi does not count against the 3G/4G caps.
TextNow phones use Wi-Fi to make calls, send texts and access the web when connected to a Wi-Fi network, then switch to Sprint’s network for calls and 3G/4G data service when out of Wi-Fi range. The phones “seamlessly switch between Wi-Fi and the traditional carrier network, maximizing savings while ensuring quality coverage,” the company said.
The no-contract MVNO offers a mix of refurbished and new phones but also lets subscribers activate their own Sprint-network phones with Text Now service. The company recently added the Nexus 5 at $249 and the 16GB and 32GB Moto X at $149 and $174, respectively.
Similar Wi-Fi/Cellular service is also available from MVNO’s Republic Wireless and Scratch Wireless, and in April, they were joined by Google. Google launched a beta of its Fi service using a Nexus 6 phablet that connects users to the best wireless network available, whether a Wi-Fi network or the Sprint and T-Mobile LTE networks.
Google offers one plan, which costs $20/month for unlimited talk, text, Wi-Fi tethering and international coverage in more than 120 countries, plus $10 per GB/month for cellular data in the U.S. and abroad. Google offers a credit for the full value of unused data.