As the mom of a new middle school student, a big topic of conversation with my fellow moms has been finding an affordable cellphone service for our kids. As our kids become more independent traveling home from school by public transport or on foot we want to have a reliable way to contact them, but don’t want to give them expensive handsets or let them run up huge bills.
One option is to add an additional line on to your family cellphone plan, but this risks them running up big text or data bills. Unless you have an old handset to pass on to them, getting them a new one can be costly or can lock you into a long contract. Another option is to get them their own plan, and TEXTNOW has a variety of really affordable options for doing this.
TEXTNOW wireless plans are non-contract and plans start at $18.99 a month. They have a variety of Android cellphones available inexpensively, with their current sale some are under $5 or even free WITHOUT a contract. I tested out the TEXTNOW service using a Motorola Moto X.
TEXTNOW is a little different than most mobile phone carriers as it uses a combination of WiFi and Sprint to provide its cellphone service. If you are anywhere that you can connect to WiFi e.g. at home, library, school or coffeeshop it will use that as the preferred calling option and if that is not available it will use Sprint.
I live in Northern California in a rural area where in the past AT&T and Verizon have really been our only cellphone options, so I wasn’t sure how well the service would work here. I was pleasantly surprised at how well it worked, and having the WiFi calling does really help in areas where the Sprint signal may be weak. I did not notice any discernible difference in the call quality when made over WiFi vs over the Sprint network.
They have a variety of plans available, none of which require a contract, and they can all be cancelled at any time. Plans start from $18.99/ month, all plans include unlimited texts, unlimited calls within the USA & unlimited 2G Data, the amount of 3G/4G Data varies depending on the plan chosen. With teens using the phone I like that there are no hidden surprises, they can text and call their friends as much as they like without getting a shock when the bill arrives. The phone will try to connect to Wifi whenever it is available to decrease data usage. If they use up all their 3G/4G data there are no overage fees, instead you get asked if you want to upgrade to the next plan level, if you decline then their data is just kept at 2G until the next billing cycle.
I also like not having to worry that my kid will lose or break an expensive SmartPhone whilst still under contract. TEXTNOW have a good selection of affordable (or even free) handsets, the big carriers make these kinds of offers too but the difference is you need to lock into a (usually) 2 -year contract to get these deals. With TEXTNOW there is no commitment, if the kid loses the phone next week you can just buy another at the same low price. The handsets offered are typically not the newest models, but they are still very good phones. I used a MOTO-X which had a 4.7″ screen a 10MP camera and is a good quality Android phone, a perfect phone for my son.
Overall, I have been impressed with the TEXTNOW cellphone service and would recommend it as an affordable cellphone option for Middle School, High School and College students. Their handsets are very affordable, there is no commitment and no overage fees, and with plans starting at $18.99 including unlimited texts, US calls and 2g data it is very reasonably priced. Phones can be ordered from the TEXTNOW website.
NOTE: A product was supplied by the company for review purposes, no other form of compensation was received, all opinions stated in the review are those of the author and have been offered honestly.
Mary is originally from England but now lives in California with her husband, dog, cat and three children. Mary and her family love Apple products and own an iPad2, iPad3, iPad Mini, iTouch, iPhone5 and several MacBook Pros. They also love cub scouts, skiing, camping and hiking. The family iPads are also used for therapy for their daughters Apraxia (speech disorder).