Scratch Uses Wi-Fi to Offer Almost Free Mobile Service


For Scratch Wireless, the ubiquity of Wi-Fi networks has finally reached a tipping point. Its new mobile service just launched, and, by using only Wi-Fi for voice and SMS services, calling and texting can be nearly free for customers.

ScratchWith the new service, customers can call or text for free as long as they’re connected to a Wi-Fi network. And Scratch does still offer cellular data plans but only as a last resort. If do you need one, a 24-hour plan with a 25MB cap only costs $2, and a 30-day plan goes for $15. But to get the plan, you’ll first have to buy a $269 custom Android phone, reports VentureBeat.

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Scratch Wireless isn’t the first company to try to phase out cell phone carriers in favor of capitalizing on Wi-Fi networks—FreedomPop launched at the beginning of the month with similar aims. It also boasts 500MB of free data every month with its basic $11 per month plan, and the first phone connected to FreedomPop only costs $99.

These “freemium” phone services seem to be aimed at a younger demographic that’s already used to rationing its data use and hopping between public Wi-Fi networks. So it’s only natural to see the emergence of services like Scratch.