TextNow free nationwide wireless plan review – Yes, it’s really FREE!

We use affiliate links. If you buy something through the links on this page, we may earn a commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

REVIEW – Wireless plans can become very expensive especially when you need to add multiple numbers for your business, personal, dating, etc. One way around this is to use a special app that will let you use WiFi to make calls from separate phone numbers. But if you want a true mobile cellular plan that you can use to make calls and send texts when you’re not on WiFi, TextNow is a worthy solution. Let’s check it out and read to the end to get your own free TextNow SIM! *Updated at the end of the review*

What is it?

TextNow is a US nationwide (and Canada) wireless 5G/LTE cellular plan that has no monthly or yearly bills.

What’s in the box?

  • TextNow SIM card activation kit

Design and features

TextNow will cost you .99 cents for the SIM card, but after that, it’s FREE forever for unlimited calling and texting. They don’t even charge for shipping! How do they manage that? It’s sponsored by ads that appear in the app that you use to make and receive calls, as well as send and receive text messages.

Setting up TextNow on your phone

You get a nano-sized SIM card and a SIM card tool. The SIM card and TextNow service will work on most unlocked GSM phones. Check here for compatibility with your phone.  I have been testing TextNow on a Google Pixel 7 Pro.

First, you download the TextNow app on your phone. It’s available for iOS and Android and then you just follow the prompts to create an account.

There are a couple of demographic and interest questions that you have to answer when you’re setting up the account, but I found it to be pretty painless.

You can even bring/port your existing phone number to TextNow or you can choose a number based on your location. If you don’t already have the SIM card, you can order it through the app or there’s an option to use TextNow through WiFi only.

If you have the TextNow SIM card, you can easily activate it through the app by following the instructions. You’ll also need to go into your phone’s settings and add the TextNow APN. Set up is simple and takes about 2 minutes tops.

Making and receiving calls with TextNow

You will need to place calls using the TextNow app which looks and behaves very much like the stock phone app on your phone. You can even search through your contacts to place calls through the app. I didn’t find a way to mark people as favorites though for speed dialing.

Calls sounded no different on either end than using other phones. Missed calls even go to voicemail with transcription!

Making and receiving text messages with TextNow

Emojis worked fine, URLs worked fine, and even special iPhone avatar-style emojis came over just fine through the TextNow app.

The ads on the calling and text pages are very unobtrusive and so far I’ve not run into any video ads with sound enabled or anything like that.

What about a data plan?

Making and receiving calls/text messages for free is great, but what about being able to surf webpages, and play games, which require data? Well, that’s not free.

But, TextNow does offer paid monthly add-ons. For example, adding data starts at $8.99/month for 1GB and you can also pay to remove ads if you wish for $9.99/month. These add-ons are completely flexible – for example, you can add data for one month and then cancel it for the next month if you don’t need it without receiving any penalties or fees.

The TextNow app allows you to easily check/monitor your data usage.

What I like

  • Free except for a .99 SIM card
  • Simple to set up
  • Unlimited calls and texts in the US and Canada

What I’d change

  • Free data would be great 😉

Final thoughts

I didn’t know what to expect when I agreed to try the TextNow service but I’m very impressed and surprised with it. Sure, it uses ads, but if you’re like me, you’ve become blind to ads a long time ago. And these ads aren’t even annoying. I can see TextNow as being perfect for a kid’s starter phone when parents don’t want to add an entirely new line to their existing plan but want kids to be able to call and text. Not having data could actually be a good thing for young kids. Would you like to try out TextNow yourself? They have generously agreed to give away SIMs to 25 readers (US only) for free to the first 25 readers who fill out this Google Form: https://forms.gle/MXvLh9Apoxb38JGG8

Update 10/25/22

TextNow ended up giving 50 people free SIMs and has now closed the Google form. Thanks to TextNow for being so generous!

Price: FREE (after you buy a .99 cent SIM card)
Where to buy: TextNow
Source: The sample for this review was provided by TextNow.

About The Author

22 thoughts on “TextNow free nationwide wireless plan review – Yes, it’s really FREE!”

  1. Gadgeteer Comment Policy - Please read before commenting
  2. I wonder if this would work to send GPS coordinates via SMS from a cheap android phone? For instance, stick your old phone in your suitcase when traveling and have it automatically text you the GPS location on a schedule or when movement is detected using Tasker or similar. No data plan needed.

      1. the Automate app might be better actually, way more easy than Tasker.
        totally possible here to send sms with custom content and also get the gps position without root etc.

    1. Hey Aaron my wife got a free textnow sim card with out paying all she had to do was put in her info and address to order it came in the mail. Is there anyway I could get one as well. We are struggling with money and about to become homeless and really my phone to stay contact with family.

  3. I’ve used TextNow for about 8 months as a secondary wifi phone line on an old phone, for outgoing routine calling when I don’t care to reveal my main phone number or when I’m giving my main phone a break (low battery and charging, expecting a call, etc.)

    I give TextNow wifi calling about a 9.5 out of 10 and some of the few bad calls could be due to my ISP.

    They also have a web interface through which you can call or text via computer using your assigned phone number.

  4. Well darn! I can’t use this on my iPhone 14 pro. It does not use sim cards. It has some sort of built-in electronic sim. There is no sim card slot on the phone at all. That makes me wonder if I travel internationally, I won’t be able to buy a cheap sim card in that country anymore.

    1. That’s one reason why I’m not updating to the new iPhone because I won’t be able to easily switch back and forth between different phones.
      Also note that TextNow is only for US and Canada (at least that’s what I understand).

    1. I signed up for one of those free SIMs. It arrived earlier this week but I just got around to installing it on an old Galaxy Note 4. Fortunately, I had a nanoSIM to microSIM adapter to make it fit.

      It works fine! I keep this old Note 4 permanently mounted in my (old) car to use as a music and audiobook player through my head unit. It’s nice to know that I can use it as a phone in case I leave the house and forget my phone on my desk, which I have been known to do.

        1. Julie: I was a bit premature saying it was all fine at that moment. When I did the test call and text, I forgot that I was on wifi. Apparently TextNow as a phone app and the website allows calls/texts without a SIM card (something like Google Voice).

          The next day I was in my car and waiting for somebody so I tried it again (without wifi). Did not work. I won’t recount all the steps I went through to check everything.

          This morning I got on an online chat through their website support page with Rajiv, who was very helpful. Anyway, after over an hour it boiled down to the fact that the FREE SIMs are not registered in their database, which they would be if somebody ordered one direct and paid for it.

          Rajiv was finally able to activate the SIM at his end and I was able to eventually do it on my end to make it work. And, it does work.

          If somebody did get one of the free SIMs through your offer, they need to have the SIM card number, their IMEI, and be prepared for a couple hours on a support chat. They can make it work, but it will take time.

        2. Another update!
          After about week I got an e-mail from TextNow that said phone numbers that are not used are liable to be reissued. If you do use this service, be aware that you can’t just install it and forget it until you need it. You need to use it at least once a week to insure it won’t go dead. I guess that there’s no purpose in providing a free service unless somebody is viewing the ads that pay for it.

  5. I just came across your free tex and phone info . To say the least I am interested in trying it for sure.if it pans out to be as you say.I would tell the world what have.you had me at free

  6. Does TextNow work only with internet? My kids are getting their first phones. They can’t use them while in school, but I would like them to have phones that have texting and calling capabilities. When they are at home, they can go online or play video games using our home wi-fi network. The question is will the free texting and calling work if there is no Wi-Fi signal, like when they are in school?

      1. Will it work on an unlocked phone with NO cellular plan? That was my question. So, if I don’t have any data plan with any carrier, and no wi-fi connection, would Textnow still work?

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *