Here's another new option for FREE text, talk, and unlimited data on your smartphone from a startup out of Boston.

Scratch Wireless makes use of free wifi connections

I told you recently about the offer of limited free smartphone service from FreedomPop. Now a company called Scratch Wireless has another offer.

Research from Cisco finds that smartphone users are near free wifi around 80% of the time. So the Scratch Wireless business model affords you free texting all the time on the Sprint cellular network, and then free data and voice minutes when you're near wifi.

If you're not near wifi and the need for calling arises, you simply buy a pass for either $1.99 by the day or $15 unlimited for the month. Same thing for data, though the price point is $25 for 1 GB. (Texting remains free and unlimited all the time, no matter where you're on wifi or a cellular network.)

The reality is kids under age 19 don't really talk on the phone. So if you have a kid who is dying for a smartphone and you don't want to deal with the bill every month, they can use this option!

So how can you get in on this deal? It starts with you buying a no-name Chinese Android phone for $99. The Coolpad Arise has the following specs:

  • 4-inch touchscreen display
  • 2-megapixel camera with video capture
  • Android™ 4.4, KitKat
  • Access to the entire Google Play store
  • Powered by Wi-Fi First technology

Once you buy it, your service is free with the stipulations I outlined above.

I see Scratch as a perfect service for a parent who wants their child to have a smartphone. You can always reach them by text thanks to the free and unlimited service that doesn't require wifi. And you don't have a big cellphone bill every month!

It's like a poor man's cellphone service, even if Scratch Wireless is a niche player at best. It won't serve a big number of people, but if it works in your life think about all the money you'll save! Plus, it's yet another sign of the trends that point to cheaper and cheaper service to come.

Image of Clark Howard About the author: Clark Howard

Clark Howard is a consumer expert whose goal is to help you keep more of the money you make. His national radio show and website show you ways to save more, spend less and avoid getting ripped off. View More Articles

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