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.

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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.

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.