SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS)— More competition is coming to the mobile phone market with a company called Text Now that offers a plan without any minutes.

Text Now charges $19 for baseline service, which includes 500 MB worth of data. But what happens if someone’s just using this service to make calls and send texts, could they still go over?

We’ve talked about “voice over internet.” Technically with that kind of service you’re using data. It sounds like a phone call, but you’re not using a phone network; it’s the internet. Text Now works in a similar fashion.

They have a deal with Sprint, but instead of buying minutes from Sprint, they’re buying data or megabytes and reselling that. In addition to the data, you get 750 minutes (which is kind of irrelevant since it’s calculated in data).

Another thing they’re doing is selling refurbished Android phones starting at $90, which is actually a good deal for phones like the Nexus S or the Galaxy S II for $120. The only difference is these phones can’t make normal phone calls. They can only make phone calls via they Text Now data network.

Sometimes if your internet connection is strong you can get better phone reception than on your regular cell network. However, if your internet connection is deteriorated, which can sometimes happen (say for instance my wife is watching a film on Netflix simultaneously) then it can sound pretty bad.

It’s the same with this phone, if you’re well connected to their 3G network all should be well and if you’re in a weak signal area, it’s going to be reflected in the sound quality.

I expect the target audience they’re looking to market this to is younger people looking for a system on a budget and who are willing to experiment.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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