TextNow wireless plans
Free wireless service for the people, and a decent unlimited plan for those who want to pay
What we like
TextNow’s tagline is “phone service for everyone,” and the company really does seem committed to that goal. Besides the company’s famously free talk and text plan, it offers several affordable plans with data (and without ads).
Let’s take a closer look at TextNow’s best attributes.
Free service option
TextNow made its name by offering free phone service. Free unlimited talk. Free unlimited text. Free? Like, really free? Yes. As in no money, nada, zero dollars.
The catch is (you knew there’d be a catch) that you have to watch advertisements. Yep, you’ll have to use the TextNow app to watch a commercial for Humira or whatever until you’ve got enough credit call your aunt Mildra back.
Also, if you’re on the free plan you’ll be stuck on Sprint’s not-so-great network. But hey, it’s hard to argue with free.
One more thing: you’ll have to buy a SIM activation kit to get started. The kit is, well, not free. It costs ten bucks. At least the shipping is free?
Decent unlimited data option
TextNow’s free plan has some obvious appeal. Meanwhile, it’s middle of the road plans are just kind of worse versions of plans offered by companies like Mint Mobile and Tello.
But TextNow’s Unlimited LTE Plan is actually a pretty good deal. For just $40 a month you’ll get unlimited talk, text, and data. And by unlimited data, we mean 23 GB of LTE data. After that you’ll be reduced to 2G speeds, which is like going from broadband internet to dial-up (not good).
What we don’t like
It’s hard to knock a free service plan, but that’s our job as reviewers. To complain. So here are some things that bother us about TextNow’s service.
Advertisements on free service
TextNow is kind of like Spotify: you can get the free version, but you’ll pay for it with ads. Prepare yourself for videos to pop up after calls, banner ads within the TextNow app, and full-page ads that will take over your whole screen.
This might not seem like a big deal if you don’t use your phone that often. But for most us, looking at an ad for Old Spice every time we want to text our spouse is going to get on our nerves.
Limited phone selection
We’ll do a more in-depth TextNow phones review below, so for now we’ll just say there are not a ton of options. TextNow tends to prioritize cheaper and older models. This is great if you want to save some dough. It’s not so great if you want an iPhone 11.
How do TextNow’s plans compare?
Believe it or not, TextNow does have some competition in the free talk and text plan category. Here’s a look at how the company’s free plan compares to other free (or basically free) plans.
Cheap plans comparison