Home - , , - Update: Closed - RingPlus Opens Free Mobile Phone Plan Signups Tonight at 10 PM PDT

Update: Closed - RingPlus Opens Free Mobile Phone Plan Signups Tonight at 10 PM PDT

New Sprint MVNO RingPlus, will open signups for their free mobile phone service again tonight at 10 PM PDT. The free service includes 300 minutes and 50 texts per month at no charge. It's funded, at least in part, by advertisements that play during the time between when a call is placed and the called party or voice mail answers.

I doubt RingPlus is making money on the free plan. They are probably hoping that a substantial portion of users will run through their monthly allotment of texts and minutes and opt to purchase more. Rates for additional minutes and texts are a very reasonable 2¢/each. Data is also available at an equally reasonable 2¢/MB.

The free plan is a promotion that's limited to an unspecified number of sign ups. RingPlus last opened up the free plan on Tuesday, all the slots were filled in 45 minutes.

Update: Free plan signups closed at 10:25 PM PDT, 25 minutes after they opened. RingPlus posted on Twitter that they will announce the next free plan signup window on Monday, Sept. 9.

Once you are in the free plan you can keep using it indefinitely, or at least as long as the company is around. RingPlus offered a similar free VOIP-based international calling service in 2009 that was also ad-supported. That service was shut down after a year. This time around the company believes that free service can be self sustaining and says that as they gain more subscribers the number of free minutes per user will be increased.

To use the free plan you need a clean ESN Sprint phone that's not currently in service with Sprint or another Sprint MVNO.

When signups open tonight at 10 PM EDT, go to https://my.ringplus.net/device_validation_requests/new and enter your phone's ESN. If your device is eligible you can  activate the phone immediately. To get the free plan choose "BYOSD" from the plan drop down. A valid email address and a credit or debit card number (for overages) is required.

RingPlus says they will not automatically charge your card. If and when you need more minutes texts or if you want to use data you use your stored credit card to buy credit. The minimum purchase is $5.

Users who got in on the Tuesday promotion and the free plan's launch on August 24 seem generally pleased with the service. No one seems particularly bothered by the ads which are spoken messages and do stop as soon as the called party answers.

There are some start up issues. Data initially didn't work (it does now). Calls are being "charged" double, which RingPlus which says they are aware of and are working on a fix. When someone leaves a voicemail it uses minutes (double minutes currently). According to RingPlus, voicemail deposits are supposed to use minutes but the double charging is a bug and will be fixed.

Phone activation is also a problem for some users. As with Sprint itself and all Sprint MVNOs, the easiest and best way to activate a phone is by doing a network reset or factory reset. When the phone restarts after the reset it should do an automatic hands free activation.

Unfortunately, how you do a reset varies with phone menu model. Some have a menu item, but many require entering a code in the dialer. Google "reset phone make and model" to find out how to do yours. Common reset codes include ##786#, ##3182#, ##7278# and ##25327#. Once you find the reset code or menu, the phone will ask you for your MSL code (also called the programming code or SPC) which is shown on the RingPlus site after yo activate. Users have also reported that RingPlus customer support has been helpful with activation and other issues.

35 comments:

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  1. Lokks like the quota has been met, no more activations.

    HELLS_BELLS

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    1. Closed for me too. I figured it would run out even quicker this time as more people have heard about RingPlus.

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  2. Well, so goes it for me...no dice.

    Here's the error message received:

    The activation of Samsung Array failed:
    uninitialized constant DeviceConversionRequest::DeviceConvertRequest::ANY_DEVICE
    Edit and try the request again.


    Strange that this Samsung Array dumbphone could not be activated. Ring Plus sells this same model on their website for the everyday low price of $99.99!

    Available new as a Boost Mobile device from Target for $9.99.

    I guess I'll have to call those capitalist-pigs over at Ring Plus and find out if they have become socialists as far as new and free activations are concerned as they have closed the gates to the Berlin wall tonight. Strange, I never heard of anyone ever trying to escape to the "east"...lol

    HELLS_BELLS

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    1. Clarification.

      Ring Plus price for the Samsung Array: $99.00

      My price for a new Boost Mobile Samsung Array at Target: $9.99

      A savings of $90.00

      --but--

      It appears that Ring Plus has closed the loophole on Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile devices, and not permitting activations from those two wholly-owned Softbank/Sprint subsidiaries.

      See my next reply...

      HELLS_BELLS

      Delete
    2. it is a server bug. Just redo it again, and again. My Virgin Paylo had the same problem after 3 times, it went through.

      Delete
  3. From the Ring Plus site:

    http://discourse.ringplus.net/t/byosd-plan-rules/20

    I would post the entire document here, but the document is too long.

    HELLS_BELLS

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    1. Thanks for the link to RingPlus "BYOSD Plan Rules". It contains lots of new and useful information, including:

      iPhones, Palms, Blackberries, push to talk devices, as well as Virgin, Boost and other MVNO phones are not allowed

      You have to complete an outgoing call within 24 hours of activation or your account will be cancelled.

      You must use your phone to make calls "regularly" or your account will be cancelled.

      Support is by email (support at ringplus dot net) only. There is no phone support

      There'a a 45¢ transaction fee when adding money to your account for overages or data.

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    2. So exactly how many calls must we make in a month?

      Do incoming calls count toward the make calls regularly?

      Do unused minutes rollover?

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    3. So according to the RingPlus "BYOSD Plan Rules" we cannot use our old Sprint MVNO phones?

      Why would Sprint care if we used a phone on one MVNO that came from another MVNO?

      Delete
    4. "So exactly how many calls must we make in a month?" No idea but I'm trying to find out

      "Do incoming calls count toward the make calls regularly?" No because you aren't making the call and don't hear any ads which is the point of the minimum call requirement.

      "Do unused minutes rollover?" The free ones don't, but money you add for overages and data doesn't expire.

      "Why would Sprint care if we used a phone on one MVNO that came from another MVNO?" I agree that makes no sense as phones are normally interchangable between Sprint MVNOs.

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  4. Strange. I was able to activate a former PlatinumTel Sanyo Pro-200. ESN checked OK, received a phone number, updated the MSID and the MDN, but still cannot make or receive calls. When calling out, I get an automated message that says, "Your account could not be validated. Please contact customer service." When calling my number from a different phone, I get, "The person you have called is unavailable right now. Please try again later." It then hangs up with no kick to voicemail.

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    1. Sprint Server was overloaded last night. This morning everything should be OK now. Congratulation, and Good luck.

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    2. Tried service. Just so so. Made a call to my cell, but no answer, still deducted a minute. I then called back from my cell to Ringplus, hung up my cell after 5 seconds, but Ringplus phone kept ringing, this is a bug.

      Delete
    3. My Boost/Ptel Sanyo Pro200 activated fine.

      Delete
    4. Boost never sold the Pro-200 but it's a PTT phone which RingPlus says they are not allowed to activate.

      Forbidden Boost, Virgin, PTT phones are slipping through the cracks. I suspect RingPlus will quickly patch that loophole as activating those phones could jeopardize their contract with Sprint.

      Delete
    5. Turns out, my PlatinumTel Sanyo Pro-200 works. Service actually started on Saturday morning.

      Delete
    6. Regarding the comment "Forbidden Boost, Virgin, PTT phones are slipping through the cracks. I suspect RingPlus will quickly patch that loophole as activating those phones could jeopardize their contract with Sprint."

      RingPlus depends entirely on Sprint to know which phones were intended for sale with Virgin and the other MVNOs. How could RingPlus possibly know that a Kyocerna Kona phone was intended for Sprint or Virgin since the phone is marketed in both versions? They can't. They could only know if Sprint provides them with the range of ESNs from the phones in question. If Sprint *has* been keeping records, they could in theory deactivate those phones at any time. If they haven't been keeping a list of ESNs of MVNO phones, then the phones will probably continue to operate.

      Delete
    7. "How could RingPlus possibly know that a Kyocerna Kona phone was intended for Sprint or Virgin since the phone is marketed in both versions?"
      Here is how I think this could work. Sprint maintains two databases: One for Sprint phones, and a separate one for PLBL (private label) phones. PLBL DB contains ESNs of phones that can be activated by MVNOs, Virgin and Boost right away if they are inactive. Boost and Virgin phone ESNs are listed in the PLBL DB with an associated data element for those brands (if the phone was originally intended to be sold by them). RingPlus checks to see whether an ESN is contained in PLBL, and whether it is active. If inactive, they are accepting the ESN for BYOD. If the ESN is in the Sprint DB, it is my understanding that Sprint moves the ESN to the PLBL DB to allow activation by the MVNO. When a user tries to activate the phone, there should be a second DB check (or this step may be part of the original PLBL check). If the PLBL check finds VM or Boost data element, MVNO activation should fail. Some Virgin and Boost phones are being activated anyway. I think this could mean that the phones are not properly ID in the PLBL DB, or the check process is not finding the VM or Boost data element for those ESNs.
      I do not know why this would happen, since Sprint gives DB access to MVNOs on an equal basis. I do know that some MVNOs like Kajeet and Eco were able to activate phones originally designated for Boost but sold to Ptel instead. Ting could not activate these same phones when I tried due to the PLBL Boost ID. Perhaps there is something in the automation used by the MVNO that, by design or oversight, bypasses the check for the VM or Boost data element.

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  5. Do they have a monthly plan for those who would actually like to pay for our service?

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    1. They have three plans:

      - PAYGO: $25/month minimum (ouch) 2¢ per minute, text or MB
      - Unlimited Basic: $39/month Unlimited Talk, Text & Web, 100 MB of "Streaming Data"
      - Unlimited Super: $45/month Unlimited Talk, Text & Web, 500 MB of "Streaming Data"

      Delete
  6. Their $39 plan looks identical to page+, surprised to see they have the S4 already.

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  7. Judging from the coverage map on their website it appears that RingPlus plans include roaming. Has anyone confirmed that?

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    1. The map looks shows Sprint roaming areas and labels them as Sprint roaming. Nowhere on the map or on the RingPlus site does it say that roaming is available on RingPlus.

      I haven't seen any reports of working roaming and doubt that it exists. Paying Sprint for roaming would make the free plan's business model even more tenuous than it is already.

      Delete
    2. No mention of roaming on their website except in the "Term of Services" I pasted below.

      International Calling and Roaming

      You're "roaming" whenever your wireless device uses a transmission site outside your Coverage Area or uses another company's transmission site. Sometimes roaming happens even when you're within your Coverage Area. There may be higher rates and extra charges (including charges for long distance, tolls or calls that don't connect) for roaming calls.

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    3. Other operators that don't have roaming, including Boost and Virgin, have similar clauses in their TOS.

      Delete
  8. Dennis: Thanks for the heads-up about data working now. You saved me a call to TS. I reset my Sanyo Zio today with MSL code, but got the same 'Registration Failure Error 67' message I have been getting for the last several days. Profile Update also failed to set up data. I tried the battery pull, Profile Update and it worked this time. 3G data is working now.

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  9. I added $3 for data on my Sanyo Pro200 (minimum must be less than $5) and data worked right away. I launched browser and my profile updated. The stock Email client works fine.

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    1. Adding less than $5 must be another loophole!

      Delete
    2. RingPlus did not add a transaction fee to my $3 credit card charge.

      Delete
  10. Well.. finally activated my phone. Made test calls, incoming and outgoing, both were not answered but were billed 2 minutes each. At this rate, the you probably get 100-150 usable minutes each month.

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  11. I am very pleased with RingPlus service. I have made quite a few test calls with two phones and there are about four 1-minute calls for every 2 minute call. I am using the phones normally now, so an extra minute every 4th or 5th call does not concern me at all. I am not going to use a stopwatch to monitor my free service, and I am certainly not going to complain about the free service either. It is free!

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  12. I will try to open an account tomorrow!!

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  13. Saw their twitter post - interesting that they are using the promo launch to test their load balancer algorithms :)

    Anyhow, I did some more testing with the phone turned off, and the incoming call did not go to voicemail and still got billed 2 minutes! From what I can tell, any call in or out that reaches Sprint's system, is getting billed.

    Did anyone figure out a way to do an ESN swap?

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    1. Someone on HoFo got had an ESN swap done by emailing RingPlus

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    2. RingPlus handles ESN releases via email also.

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