whole thing here. This post is my high level summary of Karl's remarks
RingPlus is getting ready to make major changes to its core technology. Currently on most RingPlus plans, calls are routed through RingPlus servers which inject audio advertisements ("Ring Plus Radio") in place of the normal ringing (aka ringback) tone when placing a call. The servers also provide a number of value added services like call blocking, voicemail to email transcription and real time language translation. The ads partially subsidize RingPlus service and allow RingPlus to offer "free" call phone service with no monthly recurring charges. Free is in quotes because most of the free plans require an initial funds top-up and sometimes an activation fee.
Unfortunately the RingPlus servers introduce voice latency or lag and have also been blamed for call quality issues and for a number of call outages. As a solution to the latency and other calling issues, RingPlus introduced so-called "Mad" plans several months ago where calls are handled entirely by Sprint without ads or any value added services. Without the ability to monetize with ads, the Mad plans are mostly paid plans and the free Mad plans typically include fewer minutes and less data than RingPlus legacy plans.
RingPlus is in the process of developing a new call architecture where calls will be routed directly to Sprint, but users will be required to use a custom Android dialer app. The dialer app will download ads once a day over Wi-Fi or cellular and play back the ads in place of ring back tones when a call is made. There will also be a RingPlus VoIP dialer app for iOS and Android. The VoIP dialer will let customers with iPhones use the new dialer-powered free plans. Android users can also use the VoIP dialer, which will support calls over Wi-Fi or cellular if they wish.
The new dialer apps will be available in approximately one to three months. While the dialers are being developed, RingPlus will offer only Mad plans to new customers and current customers adding lines or switching plans. Some of the Mad plans, especially the free ones, will be sold under the condition that customers on those plans will be required to switch to one of the dialers sometime after they are released.
What does this mean for current RingPlus users:
There will be no immediate changes for customers on existing plans. RingPlus says they have no current plans to force users on existing plans to the new dialer based ones. Obviously that can change in the future. Reading between the lines, I get the feeling that eventually all free plan users will be forced to switch to one of the new dialer based plans. There are no dialer apps for feature phones so feature phone users will need to use paid plans that do not require a dialer.
Throttling on Surfing plans:
Karl also addressed throttling on the "Surfing" plans that RingPlus offered for a short time. The Surfing Plans were billed as a research project to study ways of reducing data consumption "without the cell phone user really noticing it" using techniques like data compression and throttling certain types of data. Recently customers on Surfing plans have been noticing and complaining that all of their data is being throttled to about 256 Kbps.
According to Karl;
The technology used in the Surfing project with our carrier partner had unforeseeable latency and other complications. This has caused a substantial delay in the Surfing project and monetization of Surfing data. Other side effects include slower data speed than expected and data outages at times. As a result, we are changing the underlying system. During this system change, I recommend Members with Surfing Plans switch to alternative plans that we will be offering this week. As you can see, the Relaxed Plan has always been available to Members on the Surfing 1 plan as a safety net. Similar Relaxed Plans will be offered to all Surfing data plans. All Members will be able to change back to the old plan after our new technology is established. The speed of implementation is not under the sole control of RingPlus, therefore, we estimate a 2-3 month process.