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RingPlus Ending Free Service For Most Users.

RingPlus, the Sprint MVNO that made a big splash by offering free ad-supported service, is cutting off at least some free plan users, effective this Saturday, Sept 20.

Several RingPlus users have posted on the operator's user forum that they received emails from RingPlus today informing them that their Free Plan is being cancelled. The email reads:

Dear Free Member,

After over a year of offering Free Plans, RingPlus has learned a great deal about how to give away free service to our members. We’re excited about doing it again in the future, but for the moment, the Free Plans are going to be discontinued — any Free Plan will not be able to be renewed after September 20th, 2014. For example, if your plan auto renews before or on September 19th, you will have the remainder of your billing cycle of service. If your plan is set to auto renew on or after September 20th, 2014, your Free Plan will be changed to suspend status for 30 days until 1AM PST October 20th, 2014, giving you the chance to port out your number if desired. All Free Plans will be discontinued at 1AM PST October 20th, 2014.

RingPlus continues to offer the most price conscious plans in our industry, including new unlimited plans for under $10. Because you have been a wonderful member of the community, we’re offering a unique opportunity to all Free Plan members receiving this letter: switch to any new RingPlus plan before your Free Plan expires and receive a top up balance equal to that of the new plan price (tax not included).

We are also very aware that some of our members may be going through a hard financial time. If you are in one of those times, please send us a email to support@ringplus.net and we will see what we can do as far as an extension, as well as to recommending you to one of our new partners that can offer government subsidized phone plans.

If you wish to change carriers and port out your current number, please be aware that we will deactivate any phone numbers left on the Free Plans after 1AM PST October 20th, 2014.

The RingPlus team thanks you for trying our service via the Free Plans, and looks forwarding to continuing service with you.

Most sincerely,

The RingPlus Team

However not all user's Free Plans are getting cancelled. Some are getting a different email that says (emphasis mine):

Dear Free Member,

After over a year of offering Free Plans, RingPlus has learned a
great deal about how to give away free service to our members. We’re
excited about doing it again in the future, but for the moment, the Free
Plans are going to be discontinued — any Free Plan will not be able to
be renewed after September 20th, 2014.

However! We notice that you have been actively using and promoting
RingPlus among your friends and we would like to thank you for your
trust and efforts. RingPlus is happy to let you know that we are
planning to change your free plan to a free house account plan at no
cost. All of your existing minute, megabyte, and text allotments will
stay the same and there won’t be any changes on your side. With this
change, we’ll ensure that your free service will continue with your new
house account.

We just wanted to say thanks again for being a member of RingPlus and
we’re excited to keep having you aboard! We regret not being able to
extend this offer to all Free Plan members.
Most sincerely,
The RingPlus Team

The free plan hasn't been available to new customers since March of this year and RingPlus terminated free service for many users in May, so today's action isn't exactly a surprise. Nonetheless, I'm disappointed by by change and especially by the way it's being handled.  I don't think anyone believes that free ad-supported mobile service is a viable business proposition. But whether you call it an experiment or a promotion, the free plans did generate a lot of favorable buzz for RingPlus. However, terminating free users with a mass email and exempting some users on vague criteria is a public relations blunder that will hurt RingPlus' reputation.

With the end of free, RingPlan now has to compete on its innovative features, pricing, which, even with the recent increases, is still very competitive, and the quality of its service, which gets mixed reviews.

Update: 7:35 PM 9/:18: Here's some good news, T. Weaver, a RingPlus employee, posted the following on the RingPlus Forum this evening:

RingPlus to Release RingPlus Matching Magic Plan

Every minute, SMS, and megabyte of data that is used on a paid primary account will be matched with a minute, SMS, or megabyte of data on a free secondary account. The minutes, SMS, and megabytes of data will magically appear as soon they have been used by the primary paid account to be used again on the Matching Magic Plan. If you need more minutes, SMS, or megabytes of data on the Matching Magic Plan, overages are 5 cents per minute, SMS, and megabyte of data.

Specific rules and restrictions will apply. Minutes, SMS, and data used between matched accounts do not qualify for matching credit.

It I'm reading this correctly, all RingPlus paid plan users will be eligible to activate a second phone on a new free "Magic" plan. Assuming a user has a need for a second line, this does soften the blow of losing the free plans. It also provides an additional incentive for users who are losing their free plans to convert to a paid plan.

Related:
RingPlus Changes Plans And Will Offer Extra Cost Roaming
RingPlus Terminating Some Free Plan Users' Service
RingPlus Free BYOSD Plan Opens Tomorrow, Noon to 12:30 PM Pacific Time

16 comments:

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  1. "Most Users" Dennis? Great investigative work... My family has a few free and paid plans on a few separate accounts. None of our Free plans are going away. Care to update your articles title and declare No Free Plan User accounts were cancelled based on my experience? How about using the term "Some."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The email users received states, "...the Free Plans are going to be discontinued — any Free Plan will not be able to be renewed after September 20th, 2014. That's says to me that ALL Free Plans are being discontinued.

      Some unknown number of user's free plans are being converted to "House" plans. If it turns out that the majority of free plans are being converted to house plans I'll change the post but the way the emails are worded suggests otherwise.

      Delete
  2. sigh...the free ride is finally over...

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  3. House plans are just grandfathered Free plans for the foreseeable future and most likely see them phased out through attrition.
    I imagine R+ is in the process of rebuilding their approach to free service, it is a mainstay of Karl Seelig's outlook and I don't think he has lost that vision.

    ReplyDelete
  4. RingPlus should just get rid of the over the phone ads and the servers they route calls through that ruin voice quality and cause audio delays making calls almost impossible. And adopt a business model that's similar to FreedomPop's.

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  5. I got no email from RP, I do have a balance, wonder if that helps or not?

    Bought me a new phone to use on RP, and that's a bummer, cause I'm not sure I want to pay for a plan that does not roll over (don't use my cell that much).

    When I first got my RP free plan, I called them and suggested they look at what FreedomPop is doing, told them Whistle tried this ad during ringing thing and gave up on it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I did get a email from RP, found it in the spam folder, and it looks like I get the free house account.

      Delete
  6. I talked to a friend in the know and Sprint is starting to be less aggressive on wholesale rates. They are amp'ing up their own prepaid offerings. This makes perfect sense that Sprint should maximize their own prepaid business - why let the MVNO make the money, when you do the same yourself. Wouldn't surprise me that the wholesale price increase is squeezing the margin at most non-Sprint owned MVNOs.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Dennis' coverage is excellent.
    Ignore the idiot complaining about 'most users' or 'some.' Get a life.
    Being on RP is a sign that you are a joke.
    RP is horrid.
    Even at the low price, its less than worth it.

    This is the sign, that its the beginning of the end. And also Sprint sucks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's right, take it from the Troll!

      Delete
  8. i get to keep my free plan because i have a paid account (afterhours plan). i am still happy with the service as it's a good deal.










    ReplyDelete
  9. Never say a freebie is gone with R+ LOL!!!

    RingPlus to Release RingPlus Matching Magic Plan
    Every minute, SMS, and megabyte of data that is used on a paid primary account will be matched with a minute, SMS, or megabyte of data on a free secondary account. The minutes, SMS, and megabytes of data will magically appear as soon they have been used by the primary paid account to be used again on the Matching Magic Plan. If you need more minutes, SMS, or megabytes of data on the Matching Magic Plan, overages are 5 cents per minute, SMS, and megabyte of data.

    Specific rules and restrictions will apply. Minutes, SMS, and data used between matched accounts do not qualify for matching credit.

    ReplyDelete
  10. So RingPlus just announced a new plan Dennis. How about updating your article like you mentioned, especially the title since it's a bit extreme.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Three friends of mine just had their Free RingPlus accounts suspended, not sure exactly when, tried all three after calling one of them which gave me the following messages:

    "I'm so sorry, but that phone number currently cannot be reached, please try again later. I'm so sorry, but the account you are calling cannot accept any more calls at this time. I'm so sorry, but we can't find a root to that number, please try again later. I'm so sorry, ..."

    I got my plan on the 1st Free Plan promotion and is still working, hope it will continue under the "Free House Plan".

    ReplyDelete
  12. ring plus is a joke, steer clear if your expecting quality service. It just doesnt work reliably. as of now, their system is down.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I just got ring plus, they seem to be great! I've made a couple calls with great quality. If you still read this, what did you do to promote? How often? Or did you just link your account and let automation do it?

    ReplyDelete
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