RingPlus, will open signups for their free mobile phone service again today, Dec 10 at 10 AM PST. The free plan is a promotion that's limited to an unspecified number of sign ups. The last time RingPlus opened up the free plan was in September, when all the available slots were filled in 9 minutes.
Update - 12/10/2013 10:27 AM PST: The RingPlus free plan promotion is now closed.
The free service includes 325 minutes, 70 texts and 10 MB of data per month at no charge. If you use up the free minutes, text or data, RingPlus charges overage rates of 2¢ per extra minute, text or MB. MMS picture messages are not free but are available at an extra cost of 7¢ each.
RingPlus can activate most Sprint phones that aren't currently active on Sprint or another Sprint MVNO except for iPhones, BlackBerrys, Palm phones, PTT devices and Boost and Virgin Mobile phones which are NOT allowed. Sprint phone models released in the last 12 months are also blocked. There's a long list of allowed and not allowed phones on the Ring Plus Forum. You also can check if your phone is allowed by entering the MEID or ESN at https://my.ringplus.net/device_validation_requests/new.
When signups open at 10 AM, go to https://my.ringplus.net/device_validation_requests/new and enter your phone's ESN or MEID which you can find on a label under the battery. If your device is eligible you can activate the phone immediately. To get the free plan choose "FREE BYOSD" from the plan drop down. That plan option will only be available during the promotion.
A valid email address and a credit or debit card number (for overages) is required at signup. RingPlus says they will not automatically charge your card. If and when you need more minutes, texts or data you use your stored credit card to buy credit. The minimum purchase is $5 and balances do not expire.
Once you register a phone successfully you should see a screen with your new RingPlus number and basic programming information. To activate most Sprint phones you do a network reset or a factory reset and the phone will reboot and automatically activate itself. A factory reset will delete all user data (messages, contacts, photos and user installed ringtones or apps) from the phone. Back up anything you care about to a memory card, PC or cloud service before doing a factory reset.
You will probably need to use Google to find network reset or factory reset instructions for your phone make and model. If you have trouble getting the phone to activate, the RingPlus Forum has a page of activation troubleshooting tips.
The free plan is 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. RingPlus wants users to make calls so they they hear the ads. There are a number of rules intended to insure that calls are made. New users need to watch out for two rules in particular:
- You must activate your phone and make a successful outgoing call within 24 hours after registering it or your account will be cancelled.
- Within the first 7 day period after activation, inbound calls should not exceed outbound calls by a ratio of 10:1 over two or more consecutive days except if you make more than 17 outbound calls within 7 days."
Good luck getting activated on the free program, let us know in a comment if you do.