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TextNow Review

Last Updated:

TextNow is the first cloud-based phone carrier. This San Francisco based mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) is turning heads as it's becoming one of the fastest growing companies in North America.

TextNow stands out even among competing MVNOs such as Boost Mobile and Cricket Wireless as it connects users via WiFi and their downloadable app. Like all MVNOs it operates on a couple of the "Big Four" networks (Sprint and T-Mobile) meaning they purchase service and bulk from these companies and sell it to consumers at a lesser cost.

COMPARE NOW: TextNow Cell Phone Plans

TextNow's cell phone plans align with most MVNO values keeping their pricing competitive. And let's not forget their free, ad-supported service using their app.

If you purchase a plan (meaning, you opted out of their free service) you will be given the option to choose Sprint or T-Mobile. Your service will use WiFi and transition to whichever network you choose when you're disconnected.

This information may seem too good to be true- or take in. Read on to see our full review of TextNow and then head over to see what real customers are saying about the company.

TextNow Pricing: Is it Competitive?

CarrierNetwork CoverageData LimitMonthly PriceAnnual Price
SprintSprint 4G LTEUnlimited*$60$720
TextNowSprint 4G LTE5GB$30$360
Saving$30$360
* Avg Sprint user on unlimited plan uses 5GB data

There's no doubt about it, TextNow has cheaper plans than any of the other leading MVNOs such as Cricket Wireless, MetroPCS, and Boost Mobile - especially when it comes to their unlimited plan.

In fact, let's see how they compare:

As a consumer, it's important to understand that even though the TextNow plans are cheap, you are not compromising on quality. Remember TextNow operates on the Sprint and T-Mobile networks so you will have the same quality of service that anyone on those networks currently has.

So just because it's cheap doesn't mean you're losing the quality of service you already enjoy.

Coverage

As we previously mentioned TextNow seamlessly transitions between WiFi and Sprint or T-Mobile's cellular networks.

After you've chosen them as your preferred MVNO you'll need a TextNow SIM card. You'll have the choice between a GSM SIM card (T-Mobile) and a CDMA SIM card (Sprint).

T-Mobile is generally known for having the weakest coverage amongst the big four networks especially when it comes to rural areas. However, what it lacks in rural areas it makes up for in urban areas. Bottom line is if you live in a rural area, consider choosing a CDMA SIM and going with Sprint.

Sprint has continuously improved their network coverage over the last few years. Whether or not their coverage will work for you is completely dependent on where you live. They tend to run a bit spotty if you live in the East but if you live in a metro area you should have no problem with their coverage.

Compare Cell Phone Plans

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TextNow Phone Options

TextNow's phone selection is very limited - with just 15 phones available to choose from which excludes the two newest iPhones. However, these phones are very competitively priced and the company does allow you to bring your own phone (just be sure to unlock your phone and check your APN settings). And of course, there's always the option of buying a refurbished TextNow smartphone.

Luckily, TexNow operates on both the CDMA and GSM networks making buying refurbished an easy task. How do you know if your phone is CDMA or GSM? Simple, ask yourself which network you're currently on:

  • CDMA - Sprint & Verizon
  • GSM - T-Mobile & AT&T

Unlike most other leading competitors TextNow will allow you to set up a payment plan for your phone through Affirm online loan services. So even if you choose not to stay with them you can keep your phone and continue paying Affirm until it is paid off.

If you're bringing a used phone to TextNow, you'll most likely need to change your APN settings. View the APN Settings for TextNow here.

Key Considerations When Choosing TextNow

Since TextNow isn't your usual carrier (even by MVNO standards) there are a few questions you should ask yourself before choosing which plan.

  • Do they offer coverage in your area?
  • How many lines do you need?
  • Do you NEED unlimited data?
  • Are ads a problem for you?
  • Is a WiFi only connection going to be a problem for you? (Don't worry they have data plans too)
  • Are you going to keep your phone or buy a new one?

Recap

Overall, TextNow's cornered the market on affordable unlimited plans. So if you're in coverage range for either the Sprint or T-Mobile networks it's definitely worth looking into.

You can save even more money by purchasing a refurbished phone to go with your new low-cost plan.

Don't just take our word for it. Find out what real customers are saying in our TextNow user reviews. Or you can compare Textnow to other Sprint MVNOs or T-Mobile MVNOs before making your decision.

COMPARE NOW: TextNow Cell Phone Plans

TextNow Review FAQs

QHow does WiFi service work with cell phones?

A

You use the WiFi connection to make calls and texts. It's akin to instant messaging online using Google Hangouts. The benefits of this are you don't use up your calling minutes or texting allotment.

QHow much data usage does TextNow give me?

A

TextNow's plans allow you to choose data access from 1GB to 4GB. You can use your account management tool to change your plan, increase or decrease data and more whenever you need to.

QCan I use a mobile hotspot to make calls?

A

You can but be careful. One of the main complaints leveled against TextNow is when you're in a call and the service switches from WiFi to cellular the call drops. Therefore, if the hotspot in unstable or you are in an area where the connection isn't the best, the call quality might suffer.

QDoes TextNow offer shared plans?

A

At this time it does not.

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