TextNow plans, phones and coverage: Everything you need to know


Aug 31, 2020 — 5 min read

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  • Free texting and calling to U.S. and Canada using TextNow app
  • TextNow uses Sprint’s cellular network
  • BYOP program allows you to bring your Android or IOS device to TextNow
  • 2GB ($20/mo.) and unlimited data ($40/mo.) plans available

TextNow is a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) that offers free texting and calling to the U.S. and Canada. This specific phone service differs from traditional wireless carriers because through its app, which is available to Android, IOS, Windows and Mac users, it allows users to make voice calls and texts using the internet instead of a regular phone line or network. Since the services are paid for by ads, customers can simply download the TextNow app to their phone, desktop or tablet, set up their account, get their free phone number and begin texting and calling once they get connected to Wi-Fi

Customers satisfied with just texting and calling can stick to the app’s free offerings, but there is also the option to add on a data plan. And thanks to TextNow’s structure, it is easy for customers to avoid the typical fees that may be tacked on to a person’s phone bill such as overage or roaming charges. With all of these options, there is no contract or subscription required. 

While TextNow has its perks, some customers may find that it is not the ideal choice for their individual needs, specifically due to the restricted service. Although there is no charge for texting or calling, it may be an inconvenience for someone who is not able to have a consistent connection to Wi-Fi. Of course, customers who want access to service without Wi-Fi can purchase a SIM Card Activation Kit for $9.99 and get service through the Sprint network using their own Sprint or unlocked CDMA phone or purchase a phone from TextNow. 

TextNow phones

TextNow has a limited number of phone options available for purchase from the website, including Android and IOS devices

  • Motorola moto e4: $100.00
  • Motorola mMoto e5 Play: $130.00
  • LG Stylo 4 Plus: $279.99
  • Apple iPhone 7 (gently used): $400

The four available phones are not the current or most recent models to hit the shelves, so compared to other prepaid or postpaid carriers, TextNow’s phone prices are inexpensive, ranging between $100 and $400. There are discounts available between 24%-43% that are offered to all customers, depending on the device they select. Free shipping and returns and a one-year warranty are offered on all phones. 

TextNow plans

Like most prepaid and postpaid carriers, TextNow offers customers unlimited talk and text, but the plan is free. However, customers must be connected to Wi-Fi when using the app in order to take advantage of the talk and text capabilities. Should a customer choose to make a one-time purchase of $9.99 for a SIM card and access Sprint’s network, Wi-Fi is not needed. 

Although the app can be used for only the talk and text plan, there are two data plans for customers to choose from, with 2GB or unlimited. When opting for unlimited, customers will experience reduced speeds once they reach 23GB in data.

How do TextNow’s prices compare?

Other carriers typically have several data plans available that cater to people who use different amounts of data. TextNow offers customers two data plans with the price difference between each plan being about $20. The cost for unlimited data is lower than competitors, but there are many carriers that offer 2GB for around the same price as TextNow. 

TextNow deals

Very few deals exist for TextNow users, which is not uncommon for a prepaid carrier. The talk and text services are free, but when customers purchase phones or data plans, there are some appealing perks that they can access. 

  • 24%-43% discount on phones
  • Zero ads – Ad Free, 2GB or unlimited data plan
  • Voicemail transcription – Ad Free plan
  • Unlimited photo & video history – Ad Free plan

TextNow coverage

Compared to other networks, TextNow’s coverage is rated fairly low for consistency and reception. However, it has decent ratings for performance, 4G coverage experience and data. 

How is TextNow’s 5G network?

Since TextNow operates on Sprint’s network, the 5G service has a download speed of 114.2Mbps. In comparison to other networks, Sprint’s 5G network comes in third in terms of speed, with a score of 64.83. Sprint’s ratings are not high for its 5G network, but its 4G network availability was highly rated with a score of 99%, which was the same score received by Verizon Wireless. 

Although Sprint and T-Mobile have merged, it hasn’t been announced if if TextNow users will also have access to T-Mobile’s network. T-Mobile stated that on Aug. 2, that Sprint and T-Mobile “will begin unifying under the T-Mobile brand for the first time.” 

How does TextNow compare to other prepaid carriers?

TextNow’s service is unique because it is free and accessible to anyone with a smartphone, tablet or computer. However, in comparison to other prepaid carriers, TextNow is limited when it comes to plans and service. There are also features that TextNow lacks that other carriers offer customers. 

For example, Boost Mobile, Cricket Wireless and Tracfone have multiple plans available, with each carrier’s plans including unlimited talk and text. This is similar to TextNow’s structure, but customers will notice differences in pricing that change based on the data. The data is built into the pricing for the plans, but TextNow considers its two data plans as add-ons that customers can choose to purchase. There is also the option to add lines, which is not a feature or service available to TextNow customers. 

TextNow customer service

You can reach TextNow a few different ways:

TextNow FAQs

What network does TextNow use?

TextNow uses Sprint’s cellular network. 

How long can you keep a TextNow number?

TextNow phone numbers are kept until they are no longer in use by the user. They are then recycled and assigned to a new user. 

Can you change your TextNow number?

Yes, customers can change their TextNow number right from the app. 

Should you switch to TextNow?

Many people would probably base their decision to switch to TextNow on price, phone and data options. TextNow is an affordable option for those who are interested in having a service that is simple and straightforward. A Wi-Fi connection is needed to enjoy the talk and text capabilities, but TextNow will get the job done without customers needing to enter into a contract or sign up for a subscription.

Given the limited phone and data options, TextNow may not be suitable for someone who prefers access to text and talk at all times. Although there is the option to make a one-time $9.99 purchase to gain access to Sprint’s cellular network using a SIM card and two data plans to choose from, Sprint is less reliable than other networks. 

Overall, the cost of service may be appealing, but when considering the phone and data options, there may be a better option for certain customers.

By Kristina Byas