Sprint MVNO TextNow boasts of profitability and growth

TextNow offers its services through a smartphone app. (TextNow)

TextNow, a messaging and calling app that falls back on Sprint’s LTE network when necessary, said its iOS and Android app has been downloaded more than 100 million times and its revenues have grown 380% in the past five years. The company said it counts 14 million monthly active users and that it is profitable and growing quickly. 

The news comes a few months after the company announced its first unlimited wireless data plan. TextNow in June launched its “Unlimited LTE Data” plan for $40 per month. (Users who exceed 23 GB in a month "will experience reduced speeds until the next cycle,” according to the company.) That plan sits alongside the company’s three other pricing options:   

  • Talk and text only for $10 per month 

  • 2 GB of LTE with unlimited talk and text for $20 per month 

  • 5 GB of LTE with unlimited talk and text for $30 per month 

TextNow offers its services through an app-based paradigm. Users can download the TextNow app for free, get a phone number and talk and text on any device with a Wi-Fi connection. Users can either purchase an Android phone or iPhone directly from TextNow already equipped with the company’s custom software, or they can purchase a SIM card from TextNow and insert it into any unlocked device. 

TextNow, founded in 2009, has been slowly working to bulk up its service offerings. For example, in 2016, the company launched a SIM card enabling customers to use their own phones on its network for as little as $14 a month. And in 2015, TextNow launched international calling options to more than 150 countries around the world. Interestingly, TextNow also allows users to obtain discounts on its service by watching advertisements. 

TextNow's model most closely aligns with that of Visible, a new Verizon offering that also allows users to sign up through the download of an app. Other companies in the app-based calling and messaging space include the likes of WhatsApp, Vonage and others. TextNow, though, essentially operates as an MVNO of Sprint.