We've news today of a new mobile virtual network operator, or MVNO, called RingPlus using Sprint's North American network. RingPlus has an interesting business model based on a sponsored service, called Free Cell Phone Plans, which include 200 minutes, 50 text messages, 10 MB of LTE data. Overuse is charged at a couple of cents per minute, text or megabyte over the allowance, but the free use is essentially paid for by advertising during voice calls. However, this does not mean that the conversation is interrupted but instead the advertising is in the form of ringback tones. When a customer calls out, he or she will hear a RingPlus advertisement until the other party picks up the 'phone. There does not appear to be any advertising associated with text and data usage.
RingPlus use their patented ringback tone media channel technology in order to create a new content-rich Media Channel for its Members. Members can change the experience by picking from a selection of music genres and news radio stations according to interests, and should a RingPlus Member be interested in a coupon, music or news story, pushing 5 on the 'phone keypad will send an automatic text message or email to the Member. Sponsors will have the ability to book and bid for coupon placement over the system using RingPlus' web-based interface called AdVoice. This system provides advertisers with various tools designed to make their job easier, including demographic and location searches. Sponsors can select text, email replies, or even rerouting calls to their number when a customer presses 5.
RingPlus' Chief Executive Officer, Karl Seelig, said this about the deal with Sprint: "We are thrilled that Sprint is supporting RingPlus in this innovative business. This truly opens a new chapter in the history of telecommunications". Further adding, "Sprint has once again showed its true and extraordinary commitment to the success of its MVNOs with its enablement of the content sponsored Free Cell Phone Plan service project". While, Sprint's vice president of Global Wholesale & Emerging Solutions, Scott Kalinoski, said this: "MVNOs like RingPlus are stepping up to deliver some of the most creative and differentiated offers available to wireless consumers. With our quality network and successful MVNO products and services, Sprint can help businesses like RingPlus quickly deliver an innovative wireless option to their customers."
In addition to the Free Cell Phone Plan, RingPlus are simplifying their existing plans, with prices ranging from $2 a month for the "Joy" package, which is 200 minutes, 200 text messages and 50 MB of data, with plans costing $5, $10, $20, $30, $40 and up to the $50 "Bliss" for unlimited minutes and text messages and 5 GB of LTE data.