Scratch Wireless has entered the market as another MVNO style carrier going after the high-pricing often associated with mobile service. In this case they are using Android smartphones and taking advantage of available WiFi hotspots. Aside from the typical mobile costs, which they claim to be “too expensive” we are also seeing a promise of removing the complexity.
By that, Scratch Wireless is going to largely have users depending on WiFi connections. Users will be able to surf, message and make calls when connected to WiFi. Otherwise, they will be able to fall back on cellular connectivity when needed. In the case of being off WiFi, users will be able to message — at no cost.
The cellular costs come in if you need data or need to make a voice call. In this case you will be able to grab a pass. There are options for a daily or monthly pass. A 24 hour data pass is $1.99 and a 24 hour voice pass is $1.99. The 30-day data pass will be $14.99 and the 30-day voice pass is also $14.99. Basically, when off WiFi and in need of data or a call, you simply grab the pass that best fits your needs.
The service itself doesn’t have any agreements and aside from the cost associated with getting a pass — there is no set monthly fees. That being said, there are some limitations of each pass. The 24 hour ones are limited to 25MB of cellular data or 30 minutes of voice calling. The 30-day passes have a 200MB limit for data and a 250 minute limit on minutes. As you can see, neither are all that high in terms of usage, but again, Scratch Wireless is pushing WiFi.
They have just one phone available at the moment, the Motorola Photon Q, which is priced at $269. This handset has a 4.3-inch display, dual-core 1.5GHz processor, 1GB of RAM, 8GB of storage, a 1785 mAh battery, 8 megapixel rear-facing camera and is running Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. Oh, and the handset also has a slide-out hardware QWERTY keyboard.
Finally, while the service has been announced, the phone and plans detailed, you cannot simply sign up just yet. Scratch Wireless is currently launching in private beta and an invitation is required.