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Scratch Wireless is Back in Business

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Scratch Wireless, a Sprint Wifi-first MVNO, stopped signing up new customers in April 2016, stating that it needed to overhaul its businesses and services. Now, nearly 10 months later, it looks like the company is up and running again with some new rates.

Previously, Scratch Wireless operated a month-to-month prepaid service. However, now the company sells its service on a yearly basis. While customers can get a refund within the first 30 days, after that no refunds are offered.

The basic yearly service plan costs $69.99 and includes unlimited text on Sprint’s cellular network and the expected unlimited Wifi use for texting, calls, and data. Cellular voice and data can be purchased in additional bundles.

Scratch Wireless Add-on Bundles

  • $7.99 – 100 minutes or 200 MB data for up to 30 days
  • $14.99 – unlimited minutes or 500 MB data for up to 30 days
  • $24.99 – 1 GB data for up to 30 days

In addition to the $69.99 yearly fee, customers must purchase a new device, the Coolpad Arise, in order to use the service. The device, an older entry-level phone, isn’t anything super exciting at all. It will set you back around $89 and is running KitKat with a mere 512 MB of RAM and a dual core 1.2 Ghz Snapdragon chipset. Basically, don’t expect to be multitasking on this device. Unfortunately, Scratch Wireless is not activating any other devices on its service.

Is it worth the money?

As far as value goes, I can’t say that Scratch Wireless is really all that competitively priced. While in the past Scratch was on a month-to-month basis, the service cost $10 and included voice calls, which customers must now pay for. Additionally, Scratch is forcing customers to not only pay $25 for use-it-or-lose-it data (the going rate, by comparison, is closer to $10 per GB at most other carriers) but to buy an ancient phone that isn’t even capable of LTE speeds.

In short, if you were looking for a cheap backup device for a stay-at-home mom this might be a good option, but for any kind of practical use, I can’t see this really being worth the money if you ever go outside of Wifi coverage. There are definitely cheaper alternatives available which allow for better phones.