RingPlus announced yesterday that it has grown, presumably in number of subscribers, by 44% per month for the last seven months and by 880% year over year. This impressive growth has undoubtedly been fueled by RingPlus' frequent promotions that offer new customers as many as 1600 minutes, 1600 texts and 1500 MB of data per month for free, in return for listening to ads when placing a call. RingPlus has also used social media marketing very effectively with its own frequent posts and by requiring new free plan customers to make a one-time post mentioning RingPlus on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn.
In celebration of its impressive growth, RingPlus is running what may be its biggest promotion to date. Four of RingPlus' best free plans will be reopened to new subscribers from Noon PST 12/24 until Noon PST 12/27, "while supplies last". As a special bonus, signing up for one of these plans will not require posting on social media or completing a survey, as RingPlus free plans usually do. The following plans will be available:
Leonardo 2 Free Plan: 1500 minutes, 1500 texts and 1500 MB of data per month (tethering not included) for free.
Pricing: $15 (plus about 20% in taxes and fees) top up at activation and whenever the account balance reaches zero.
Leonardo 4 Free Plan: 1400 minutes, 1400 texts and 1200 MB of data per month (tethering included) for free.
Pricing: $20 (plus about 20% in taxes and fees) top up at activation and whenever the account balance reaches zero.
Leonardo 5 Free Plan: 1600 minutes, 1600 texts and 1500 MB of data per month (tethering not included) for free.
Pricing: $16 (plus about 20% in taxes and fees) top up at activation and whenever the account balance reaches zero.
Although these plans are "free", in the sense that there's no monthly charge, a mandatory top-up of between $12 and $20 is required at sign-up and whenever the plan's cash balance reaches zero. The top up is not an activation fee, it sits in your RingPlus account as a credit that can be used to pay for overages (2¢ per minute, text or MB of data), MMS (4¢ ea.), phone number changes (99¢), device changes ($1.99), porting in a number ($6.99) or tethering on plans that don't include it ($1.99/day).
The free plans are for new activations only, but RingPlus didn't leave current customers completely out of its celebration. From 12/24 to 12/31, all RingPlus users, new and old, will be allowed to tether and use their phones as hotspots without the usual $1.99/day charge. Note that tethering and hotspot generally only work on Sprint postpaid phones and is blocked at the handset level on Boost Mobile, Virgin Mobile and Sprint Prepaid handsets.
RingPlus also announced that starting January 1, 2016, customers will get a 1.5¢ account credit for every dollar they spend with RingPlus. In addition, RingPlus will open a new online store next year that will sell products and services promoted by RingPlus' pre-call advertising. When the store opens, each RingPlus member will receive a 33% off, up to $50 maximum, coupon good for purchases in the store.
RingPlus' growth is certainly impressive. However, I wonder how sustainable these free plans are. In return for listening to brief ads at the start of calls, RingPlus is giving customers plans that would cost at least $25/month from any non-Sprint based operator. RingPlus only requires customers to make one call every 60 days to keep service active. I can't believe that ad revenue covers costs. RingPlus has said that some of the free plans are sponsored by unnamed third parties. Marketing research seems like one sponsorship possibility. Another is Sprint itself which might be underwriting the free plans in an effort to prop up its subscriber numbers. Whoever is footing the bill, customers obviously like free cell phone service.
To keep up with RingPlus promotions follow our continuously updated RingPlus Free Promotions Tracker.
Source: RingPlus Discourse Forum, Image Google+