RingPlus, an MVNO launching next month, will offer a novel billing plan, interactive ringback tones and a social community platform as well as access to Sprint Nextel's (NYSE:S) CDMA and WiMAX networks and potentially LTE networks once Sprint rolls out that service to the markets RingPlus serves.
Aug. 20 is the introduction date for RingPlus' service, whose big selling point appears to be a unique billing plan. All customers will receive a monthly dividend in the form of a credit on their monthly bill, and that credit will grow automatically as more members sign up for plans. RingPlus said it "envisions that one day it will be large enough to reduce members' bills to zero."
In addition, on occasion customers will be able to elect to hear relevant deals during a sponsored ringback tone in order to receive instant coupons for 25-30 percent off of the price for an advertised product. "For example, when calling a pizza chain for delivery, they may hear a deal from a competitor chain and by pressing 5 on the keypad, they will be connected to the competitor instead," said RingPlus.
The company's monthly no-contract, prepaid service calling plans charge 2 cents, 3 cents and 4 cents per minute of voice, SMS sent and received, and 1 MB of data used. The plans carry monthly minimums of $45, $35 and $25, respectively.
RingPlus is also touting "mixcess," an online community platform that allows RingPlus customers to connect with one another, create customized interactive ringback tones and view their monthly bills on a website or Android app. Additional features of the mixcess community platform include complimentary parental control options and the ability to customize the amount of each type of content played during ringback tones.
RingPlus is marketing smartphones based on Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android OS from manufacturers such as HTC, LG and Samsung. The company is pre-selling phones via its website for use by residents of Los Angeles and Palo Alto, Calif., Minneapolis, Honolulu, Miami and New York.
Available handsets include the LG Viper 4G LTE for $445, LG Optimus Elite for $245 and Samsung Galaxy SII (WiMAX) for $545.
"RingPlus is designed to be a community of like-minded individuals who have grown frustrated with restrictive service offerings and expensive cell phone plans," said RingPlus CEO Karl Seelig. "We're excited about the launch because we've worked hard to provide our members with the most innovative cell phone service, based upon years of research and development."
RingPlus was originally founded as Promotel in 2001 by Seelig and two of his former graduate school professors with the goals of evaluating, testing, patenting and implementing ringback tone technology invented by Anita and Karl Seelig in 1997. In 2006, the company commenced operations under its current name RingPlus. The company subsequently weathered legal battles, now settled, regarding the intellectual property for its ringback tone technology.
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