Not a typo — TextNow launches first-ever free unlimited talk and text plan

Person using TextNow app on a phone.
(Image credit: TextNow)

There’s plenty of choice when it comes to finding the right unlimited cell phone plan for you, but pricing is a top priority for many people. Most people probably recognize TextNow as a texting app for phones, but it’s become a wireless provider similar to Mint Mobile, Visible, and Cricket Wireless. 

Starting today (May 7), you can sign up for TextNow's new free unlimited talk and text plan, which doesn’t have the traditional monthly service costs. Best of all, it also includes some data access as well, unlike previous iterations of TextNow's service.

Now you might be wondering how TextNow can offer such a generous plan when other carriers charge a monthly fee, but it’s able to do it through ads. TextNow’s Free Essential Data plan provides unlimited talk and text for free, in addition to limited data service. If you need broader data connectivity, there are other options that the service provider offers as well.

TextNow Free Essential Data Plan: Now $0/month with SIM card purchase

TextNow Free Essential Data Plan: Now $0/month with SIM card purchase
In addition to unlimited talk and text, TextNow's Free Essential Data Plan offers limited data connectivity to select mail, maps, and rideshare apps. It's a generous offer for anyone who doesn't want to be locked into a commitment.

As noted above, this model isn’t technically new, since TextNow has been offering its free unlimited talk and text plan for a while now. What makes the Free Essential Data plan package special is that it provides data connectivity to select email, maps, and rideshare apps. In order to get this service, you need to download the TextNow app on your phone, sign up for an account, and buy a SIM card for $4.99.

Which apps are included with Free Essential Data?

Anyone looking to save as much as they can for their wireless service can certainly appreciate what TextNow is offering here. At the minimum, those signed up with the Free Essential Data plan can access the following apps on their phone:

  • AOL 
  • Apple Maps 
  • Google Maps 
  • Waze 
  • Uber 
  • Lyft 
  • Microsoft Exchange 
  • Microsoft Outlook 365 
  • FastMail 
  • Gmail 
  • GMX Mail 
  • Hotmail 
  • Hushmail 
  • Lockbin 
  • Lotus Notes 
  • Lycos Mail 
  • Mailstrom 
  • My Way Email 
  • Proton Mail 
  • Sunrise Calendar 
  • Yaanimail 
  • Yahoo Mail 
  • Yandex Mail 
  • Zimbra 
  • Zoho Mail

So if you’re using any of the above apps while on cellular connectivity (as opposed to Wi-Fi), you’ll be able to access them on the phone you’ve set up with the TextNow app. Call and text messages are all handled through the TextNow app, but setting up the service will automatically make TextNow your default calling app.

As we noted earlier, TextNow is able to offer this free unlimited talk and text plan with limited data connectivity through ads in the app — so that’s the way the company is able to pass on the savings to customers.

TextNow’s CEO and co-founder Derek Ting explains that this model is able to provide customers with more value. “At TextNow, we’re obsessed with charging people less, while giving them more and changing what consumers expect from their mobile service providers,” Ting said. “With this game changing launch of Free Essential Data, we’re proving that phone service can be affordable and offer more choice and control to the consumer.”

For those customers that crave more data access, TextNow offers three different plan options that consist of an hour pass at $0.99, a daily pass with up to 2GB of high speed data for $4.99, and a monthly pass with up to 10GB of high speed data for $39.99. 

John Velasco
Senior Channel Editor for Phones

John’s a senior editor covering phones for Tom’s Guide. He’s no stranger in this area having covered mobile phones and gadgets since 2008 when he started his career. On top of his editor duties, he’s a seasoned videographer being in front and behind the camera producing YouTube videos. Previously, he held editor roles with PhoneArena, Android Authority, Digital Trends, and SPY. Outside of tech, he enjoys producing mini documentaries and fun social clips for small businesses, enjoying the beach life at the Jersey Shore, and recently becoming a first time homeowner.