RingPlus is doing it again. The upstart Sprint MVNO will open sign ups for their free BYOSD (Bring Your Own Sprint Phone) plan again Monday, February 10 at 10 AM PT.
The free plan is a promotion limited to an unspecified number of sign ups. They've run it several times before and it always sells out in just a few minutes.
Unfortunately the 2014 version of RingPlus free plan is a bit less generous than previous ones. It includes
Last year's free plans came with 325 minutes, 70 texts and 10 MB of data for free. But at least the plan is still free and if you use up the free minutes, text or data, RingPlus' overage rates of 2¢ per extra minute, text or MB are lower than any other operator's pay as you plan. MMS picture messages are 7¢ each.
Current users of one of the 2013 free BYOSD plans are grandfathered and get to keep their 325 minutes, 70 texts and 10 MB.
RingPlus can activate most Sprint phones that aren't currently active on Sprint or another Sprint MVNO. However, iPhones, BlackBerrys, Palm phones, PTT devices and Boost and Virgin Mobile phones 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 Feb 10, 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 sign up. 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 the 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.
- You must make a successful outbound call at least once per week and
3010 successful outbound calls per month. 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.
If you think you might not be able to abide by the usage rules you can purchase a "Free Card" for $4.50/month. The Free Card protects your account from cancellation for the breaking the first two rules (make a call within 24 hours of activation and make one call per week and
Update 1/28: RingPlus has increased the minutes included with the free plan from 100 to 120 and the texts from 30 to 50.