Tired of paying $70 or more each month for your smartphone bill? There are a growing number of companies offering cheap, or even free alternatives. The latest entry is Scratch Wireless, a company that lets you sign up for a cellphone service that doesn’t cost a thing… if you use it right.
Here’s how it works: You buy a Motorola Photon Q Android phone from Scratch Wireless for $269 and you can use it to make free calls to phone numbers whenever you’re connected to WiFi. You can also send text messages for free, whether you’re on WiFi or connected to a cellular network.
If you want to make calls or surf the web on the go, then you will need to pony up some cash on a pay-as-you-go basis.
24-hour day or voice passes cost just $1.99 each — but you’re limited to 30 minutes of phone calls or 25MB of cellular data. You can also get a 30-day voice pass with 250 minutes for $14.99, or a 30-day/200MB data pass for the same price.
While that’s not a lot of cellular data or talk time, the idea is that Scratch Wireless can be a cheap alternative to a typical phone pan for folks who are almost always connected to a WiFi hotspot… and for when you’re not, there are ways to pay for a bit of extra service.
Or you could sign up for FreedomPop’s service which offers 200 minutes of phone calls, 500 texts, and 500MB of cellular data for free, or try Republic Wireless, which also combines WiFi and cellular connectivity to offer plans starting at $5 per month.