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RingPlus Changes Free Service, Plans

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Sprint MVNO RingPlus has made some pretty big changes in the last couple of weeks. Known for their ad-supported free voice service, RingPlus announced yesterday that they will be discontinuing the free service for some–but not all–customers. They have also tweaked nearly all of their plans, added two new plans and WiFi calling to their service profile. RingPlus also debuted a new “Matching Magic” plan that adds minutes for every minute you use. Like we said, a lot of changes. We’ll take things one at a time and try and get you caught up on your RingPlus news for the week.

Free Service Changes

First and probably the more important of the changes is the ending of free service for many customers. This discontinuation is going into effect immediately, with renewal service ending on Sept. 20. According to reports, RingPlus sent out emails to their current Free Service subscribers, so if you didn’t get one be sure to check your spam folder. The letter was also posted to their user forum.

The gist of the email is that the service will not be renewed after Sept. 20, but any remaining time you have will still be available. So if your plan renews on Sept. 19, you will get the remainder of your billing cycle before the account deactivates.

All accounts will be placed on “suspend status” when they become deactivated, and will stay there until Oct. 20 so that users can port their number to a different carrier or change to a RingPlus paid service. In an attempt to stave off angry customers at the extremely short notice, if you switch to a RingPlus plan before your free service expires, they will give you a top-up balance equal to whatever plan you select. However, any plans not ported out or upgraded before Oct. 20 will be cancelled.

However, that isn’t the end of the story. Prepaid Phone News has reported that some customers have received a second letter that is rather contrary to the first. Instead of completely cancelling the plan, as the other letter says, they will be changing the free plan to a free house plan instead and, from what it sounds like, everything will stay the same. Here’s the letter:

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

I’m not really sure what exactly the criteria is for keeping your free service (or how many people qualified for it), as that letter is more than a little vague. Regardless, this move to eliminate the ad-supported service shouldn’t really be too surprising for everyone as RingPlus stopped signing up new customers several months ago and free service as a business model is hard to make work. They probably should have given customers a bit more warning, though.

Plan Changes

For paying customers, RingPlus made some small tweaks to nearly all of their existing plans last week, and added two new plans. Looking at their plan list, they pretty much changed EVERY plan. So to avoid confusion, I’m going to list out the plans as they are on the website. The plans that changed include Kate, Harrison, Hazel and Noelani. The Lina plan was changed to Andrea. Two new plans were added: James and Data. Here’s a chart, with the changes in bold.

Plan Price Minutes SMS Data WiFi Calling MMS Overages
Kate $1.99 + Tax 50 10
Harrison  $4.99 + Tax 100 100 75 Minutes
Hazel $7.99 + Tax 300 300 100 MB 100 Minutes
James $8.99 + Tax 50 200 50 MB Unlimited
Bella $9.99 + Tax 400 400 300 MB 200 Minutes
Andrea $14.99 + Tax 600 600 400 MB Unlimited
Noelani $17.99 + Tax Unlimited Unlimited 400 MB Unlimited
Data $29.99 + Tax   300 Unlimited 2 GB Unlimited
Jump $33.00 + Tax Unlimited Unlimited 2.5 GB Unlimited

Basically, if you were on Bella or Jump, then nothing changed. The only negative change was to Kate, whose overages increased from $0.02 to $0.04. Everyone else received additional minutes, data, etc. The WiFi calling is new to all plans, as I don’t believe they originally allowed for WiFi calling. If that chart is too hard to read, you can check it out on the RingPlus website.

Matching Magic Plan

Last, but not least, RingPlus announced a new Matching Magic Plan on their user forums (mostly likely an attempt to curb the annoyance of all these last-minute changes). With this deal, users can activate a second line with RingPlus and for every  minute, SMS, and MB of data used on the primary line, the secondary Matching Magic line will receive that many minutes/texts/MB. Overages for the matching magic line are $0.05/minute, SMS, and MB.

So, basically, if you were to switch to a paid plan, you could activate a magic plan and get to ‘reuse’ your minutes on a second line. I could definitely see some benefits to this if you had need for a second line, but it certainly isn’t going to replace the free lines. There are probably some restrictions, but I haven’t seen anything official on their website–just the little blurb on their forums. When I see something more official, I’ll be sure to let you know.