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RingPlus Announces New Promotions, Starts Charging Taxes

RingPlus, a Sprint MVNO that made a name for itself by offering free ad-supported plans has announced some new promotions including a couple offering free service. 

The announcement came as a bunch of cryptic Tweets

Surf & Turf! 200min, 200txt, 200MB. FREE! & unlmtd txt, vox, 200MB $12.99. Lmtd spaces 4 both plans! Bay Area, Los Angeles, exclusive! 3/6! 

San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles Only!!!!! 

Club 51! 300min, 500 txt, 10MB data, OR unlimited txt, voice, 750MB data $19.99 Limited spaces for both plans 

New York Area Only! 

RingPlus reposted the Tweets on their Facebook page verbatim without providing any more details. I'll update this post as I learn more about these promotional plans.

For now, I think there will be four promotional plans that will be available for a limited time starting sometime on March 6, 2014:
  • Surf & Turf 1: a new free plan with 200 minutes, 200 texts and 200 MB of data available only to residents in the Los Angeles and San Francisco Bay metropolitan areas.
  • Surf & Turf 2: $12.99/month for unlimited voice minutes, unlimited texts  and 200 MB of data also only available  the Los Angeles and San Francisco Bay metropolitan areas.
  • Club 51 A: a free plan with 300 minutes, 500 texts and 10 MB of data,  available in the New York area only.
  • Club 51 B: $19.99/month for unlimited minutes and texts and 750 MB of data, available in the New York City area only.
In other RingPlus news, the company has started charging taxes. This is no surprise as ever since launch, RingPlus has said they would eventually charge taxes. The taxes vary by state and city and are surprisingly high. It looks like RingPlus is passing on many of the corporate taxes and government fees they have to pay to users just like the post paid operatorsdo . Traditionally, prepaid operators have included all but point of sales taxes like e911 and sales taxes in the plan cost.

In response to users questions on the RingPlus Forum, "startledmarmot" (RingPlus' CTO Evan McGee) posted a breakdown of the taxes on the $9.99 plan in LA and Seattle:
Real tax on a $9.99 Bella Plan in 90067 (Los Angeles)
CA EMERG TEL. USERS SURCHARGE, Tax Amount: $0.08
CA P.U.C. FEE, Tax Amount: $0.02
CA TELECOM RELAY SYSTEMS SURCHARGE, Tax Amount: $0.02
LOCAL UTILITY USERS TAX, Tax Amount: $0.98
CA TELECONNECT FUND, Tax Amount: $0.06
CA HIGH COST FUND(A) SURCHARGE, Tax Amount: $0.02
CA ADVANCED SERV FUND SURCH, Tax Amount: $0.02
CA UNIVERSAL LIFELINE SURCHARGE, Tax Amount: $0.11
FEDERAL UNIVERSAL SERVICE FUND, Tax Amount: $0.61
Federal Regulatory Assessment Fee, Tax Amount: $0.06
Total tax: $1.97 (or ~20%)
Real tax on a $9.99 Bella Plan in 91807 (Seattle)
STATE SALES TAX, Tax Amount: $0.74
COUNTY SALES TAX, Tax Amount: $0.34
STATE PREPAID WIRELESS 911 TAX, Tax Amount: $0.25
LOCAL UTILITY GRS RECEIPTS TAX, Tax Amount: $0.68
COUNTY PREPAID WIRELESS 911 TAX, Tax Amount: $0.70
FEDERAL UNIVERSAL SERVICE FUND, Tax Amount: $0.61
Federal Regulatory Assessment Fee, Tax Amount: $0.06
Total tax: $3.38 (or almost 34%!)
Some users are seeing even higher taxes including $2.10 in tax on a $5 top up (42%) in Washington state. Even the "free" plan now has taxes. One Washington state free plan reported that he is getting hit with for a 95¢/month tax deducted from his cash balance. I wonder what happens if the user doesn't have a  balance

Startledmarmot said the company will be adding tax breakdowns to user's online Dashboards soon and that they will consider making adjustments to the way they handle taxes. The bottom line for now is that RingPlus prices just went up an average of 20% and the free plan is no longer free. Nonetheless, I still think RingPlus is a great value even with taxes.

Related:
Sign Up For RingPlus' Free Mobile Plan Today 10 AM to Noon PT: 200 Minutes, 500 Texts, 10 MB
RingPlus Announces New $1.99/Month Plan
New Free Phone Service Promotion From RingPlus Opens Feb 10 at 10 AM PT
RingPlus Users Can Now Record and Translate Calls and Limit International Call Costs
Sprint and Sprint MVNO Prepaid Plans Compared

5 comments:

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  1. Baaaaa not interested. This kind of plan wont work for me.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Karl and RP never cease to amaze.
    They are innovative in ways that are full of surprises and disappointment.
    I hope this is the last of the surprises for users.

    ReplyDelete
  3. My wife has an account with RingPlus on the Free 2013 plan. When we first signed up, there was no tax to top up, but now there is. I haven't seen a flat monthly tax fee, but that could be coming. I guess I'll know in 2 weeks when my plan renews.

    By the way, I'm sure having 1000 different plans isn't going to add needless complexity for RingPlus support..... A plan for every city!!!

    ReplyDelete
  4. And next, there will be a different minimum-usage requirement for every city, before you are deactivated...

    ReplyDelete
  5. I had been having trouble for a month or two keeping my old Sprint Moto K1M connected to the Sprint network with a RingPlus account. Call and text failures. Faded in and out. I figured now is a good time to cancel, before they billed me tax on the free line. I hooked up the phone free on BYO, manually programmed it and forced it into Roam Only mode. It works perfectly on Verizon. So it must be another issue with RingPlus "server in the middle" architecture.

    ReplyDelete
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