In a way similar to FreedomPop, Scratch Wireless has debuted with plans to bring the masses free cellular service, doing so by utilizing WiFi networks in what it calls a “Wi-Fi First” mobile service. The reason being is that monthly cell phone service costs are too high, it says, and that the service shouldn’t cost anything when one can utilize a wireless network they already have available.
When connected to a wireless network, Scratch Wireless service is free, including texting and talking. If possible, the phones will connect to hotspots or otherwise available networks and use them for service, and will switch to cellular towers if the user wants to make a call or otherwise without a WiFi network. Texts remain free no matter what, but the cellular service will be pay-as-you-go when not connected to an Internet network.
The company has raised millions in funding, with some investors including CommonAngels and unspecified industry partners. Scratch Wireless promises that “top of the line” Android smartphones will be available for subscribers, meaning those who elect for an inexpensive service will not have to settle for a low-quality handset.
Scratch Wireless’s CEO Alan Berrey said: “We live in a world where many vital technologies — from email to social networking — are free. Why not mobile phone service? At Scratch Wireless, our mission is to make mobile free to all through the power of Wi-Fi, great handsets and a simple service model that will revolutionize wireless forever.”