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Raw Data: FREE Android Phone AND Unlimited Data, Text & Voice Only $39.99 per Month

1:35 PM MST
The links in the post below may be affiliate links. Read the full disclosure.

If you have been on the lookout for an affordable cell phone plan (or maybe you have been considering upgrading your plan to have more text and/or data options or to snag a better phone), then you’ll definitely want to take note of this post. Seriously… I think this is one heck of a deal!

Raw Data, a research company that focuses on media consumption, is currently looking for panelists to help them understand what people watch on TV, listen to on the Radio, and browse on the Internet. If you qualify to be a Raw Data panelist, you’ll snag a FREE Android Phone AND unlimited everything (data, text AND voice!) for just $39.99 per month including tax! Yep… under $40 a month for all of that!

How does this work?
How is Raw Data able to offer a free phone and such a cheap cell phone plan?

The free cell phone provided by Raw Data contains an app that transmits fingerprints to their servers, and this tells broadcasting companies and advertisers what you listen to on the radio and what you watch on TV. If a commercial comes on and you change the channel, this tells them their advertising is ineffective, annoying, or boring. Raw Data is paid by advertisers to perform this research.

Isn’t this an invasion of privacy?

Raw Data’s cell phones are trained to recognize just TV and Radio, everything else is ignored. The phones are not listening to your conversations. The RawData application is programmed to match up with different ‘finger prints’ that occur every 3-4 seconds in different forms of media broadcasting, IE: television, radio, etc. No actual audio is ever transmitted.

Benefits of Being a Raw Data Panelist:

* FREE Android cell phone subject to phone selection (typically  an LG Optimus S or Nexus S)
* Unlimited minutes to cell phones, Unlimited texting, Unlimited data with no restrictions, and 200 minutes to landlines for just $39.99 per month including tax (please note that you will be required to sign a one year contract). This same plan would typically cost you $99+ with another carrier!

What does a Panelist do?

* You must keep your cell phone charged
* You’ll also need to make sure your cell phone is exposed to that TV or Radio when you are watching or listening
* You will need to respond to one question quick survey text messages that you receive from Raw Data (you will typically receive between 5-10 text messages per week).
* You will also need to install a webtracking plugin to the browser on your computer

What if I join Raw Data and then later decide that I do not want to be a panelist any longer?

You can leave the Raw Data Research program at any time. When you leave, Raw Data will no longer subsidize the cost of your phone plan, so you will be responsible for the market rate of your plan and the termination fees.

Interested in learning more/signing up for this program?

Head over here to begin taking a survey to see if you qualify to become a Raw Data Panelist. The survey is divided into 6 short chapters that collect information about your education, hobbies & interest, lifestyle etc. As you complete each chapter, you will be notified instantly if you qualify to move on to the next chapter. If you qualify to become a panelist, you will receive an email with a link to provide payment information. You will NOT receive your phone until you have completed the survey and RawData has verified the payment information. If at anytime throughout this process you have a questions, you can call 888-241-9314.

SPECIAL NOTE: At this time, The Raw Data program is not available at the $39.99 rate described below for current Sprint customers. If you are a current Sprint customer, you can contact Raw Data at 888-241-9314 for more information about the rates available to you.

Join the Discussion

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  • vicki says:

    May be a good deal financially but too CREEPY for this frugal gal! Yikes. There’s enough of big brother around muchless to invite it into your life so blatantly and digiatlly so you really have no control over what they do and don’t do…

    Please proceed with caution on this one…

  • TamaraJM says:

    I agree…it seems like there’s just too much that can go wrong, the year contract, etc…does anyone have any previous experience with this plan/company?

    • Steve says:

      I’ve had this service for about a year. I was on the Sprint side and was forced to move over to Verizon and buy a NEW phone, Security deposit, and monthly rate costing me some bigger than normal bucks at the first of the month. They sent me the wrong phone and told me that the phone I ordered is on backorder. IT’S BEEN A MONTH! Cheaper is not better. I’m going back to my old carrier and getting better service. Screw them. I’m out $250 with a crappy little candy bar phone!!!! FAIL.

  • Jen says:

    DITTO. What Vicki said.

  • Bella says:

    not trying to start an argument. but how is it creepy if they keep track of what you watch on tv and listen to on the radio? there are already companies who keep track of what you watch on regular cable tv anyways.

    • rae says:

      Was thinking the same thing…..everything is tracked these days (notice how the H2S ads on the right are based on what your internet browsing history is??). Thanks for posting this, Collin – I think that the people on this blog are pretty savvy and vigilant!

      • Beca says:

        They arent gonna tell you they are listening to everything…. Since when does the govt tell the whole truth anyway! Yall can have that plan! Ill pay what im payin, & stay away from big brother myself. U might think certain people are “paranoid” but we are just educated on the situation!!

  • Karen says:

    I went through and actually qualified for it (figures, the one thing I have no intention of doing is the one I qualify for lol)

    Yikes though. Never heard of this company, and wanting all info and money now, and then to watch every move? F that. I’ll stick with my little AT&T plan thank you very much

  • Misty says:

    if you want a cheap phone plan… switch to virgin mobile… prepaid plan with smart android phones with unlimited data and includes phone/texting for $35 a month.

  • mary says:

    I’ll stick with my Virgin Mobile no-contract plan. I got an android phone for $105 (Optimus V) and pay only $25/month for unlimited text, data and 300 minutes… and no contract… and no one is watching me. :)

  • Bill says:

    Seems like a nice offer – However they do want some money up front – I qualified just dont get paid till friday :-(

    LG Optimus S (FREE Phone hardware + $39.99 per month for 3G service)

    8-9 hours of battery life
    3.2 Megapixel camara
    600MHz Qualcomm preccessor
    3.2″ 320×480 HVGA Screen

    Samsung Nexus S ($49.99 for the phone hardware + $49.99 per month for 4G service)

    8-9 hours of battery life
    Two 5.0 Megapixel camaras, front & back facing
    1.2GHz dual-core preccessor
    4.0″ 480×800, 235ppi Super AMOLED Screen
    HTC EVO 3D ($199.99 for the phone hardware + $49.99 per month for 4G service)

    6-7 hours of battery life
    Two 5.0 Megapixel camaras, front & back facing
    1.2GHz dual-core preccessor
    4.3″ 3D qHD Screen
    Samsung Galexy S II, Epic 4G Touch ($199.99 for the phone hardware + $49.99 per month for 4G service)

    10-11 hours of battery life
    8.0 Megapixel rear-facing camara & 2.0 Megapixel front-facing
    1.2 GHz Dual core, Exynos, 1200 MHz processor
    4.52″ full touchscreen-super AMOLED plus

    • Bill says:

      I didn’t see if there is a contract – if there is im out!

      • Collin says:

        This is like any other cell phone plan that requires a contract and a credit card in order to initiate the plan. Raw Data is simply subsidizing the plan in exchange for your participation in their research.

  • mary says:

    This company should not be charging you $39.99/month for this ‘deal’… they should be paying YOU! The price isn’t even that competitive, compared with what you can get with no-contract carriers. AND they require a one-year contract? Yikes.

  • Laura says:

    I really need a new phone, but this is kinda creepy to me.

  • Andy says:


    They have a facebook special for $30/month. See

    • Collin says:

      Thanks for pointing that out! Keep in mind that the phone associated with the plans that cost $30/month already have numbers associated with them so you won’t be able to port your number in. Also, you will receive one of an assortment of phones so you might a get an old smart phone or you might get a an old flip phone.

  • Jessica says:

    I have been a panelist for over a year now. I got in when they were just starting up. Its based out of Salt Lake City and is totally legit. You can contact them directly for more info too. They are always available to help via phone or e-mail.

  • Misty says:

    Collin… normally I love your deals… but this one is CREEPY. No thanks!!!

  • Gil says:

    NO CONTRACT!!! NO KIDDING!!! Read on…

    Metro PCS-4 Lines for $100. a month. Again, NO CONTRACT!
    This includes unlimited talk, text and WEB!!!!
    Offer limited til end Dec. 2011.
    Need a frugal plan with NO CONTRACT? Don’t you love those words?
    Metro PCS.
    Featured today on Clark Howard’s front page.

    • JJ says:

      My uncle in Florida has Metro and loves it. I loved his phone when he brought it with him to NC because the google maps on his phone was SO much more efficient than it was on my old droid.

  • Diane says:

    My Verizon contract is only $40/month and my Android phone was free. I get unlimited text, data, and mobile-to-mobile minutes, but only 700 land line minutes per month. I can also add any other family members for only $10 month (with limited data usage for them). I was going to comment earlier, but I didn’t want to sound like I wasn’t thankful for Colin’s posts – because I am VERY grateful to her!! I just wanted people to know that there may be other equally good phone deals out there that don’t give off the “big brother is watching” vibe. LOL.

  • Deb says:

    OMG, you’re kidding! And who can argue with the likes of our ever vigilant consumer advocate Clark Howard?

    I am all over this deal.
    No contract-music to my cell phone ears :)

  • Chad (CEO of Raw Data) says:

    I am CEO of RawData and wanted to add some clarity to the comments and explanation:

    1 – The plan is unlimited minutes. There are no minute restrictions to land lines or mobile phones. Additionally, there is unlimited roaming (domestically). It really is that simple, unlimited everything.

    2 – The plan is provided by one of the 3 largest carriers.

    3 – We are a consumer research company with the sole intent of determining the radio, tv, and website preferences of consumers. Outside of determining those media preferences nothing else is recorded in our system. Our technology is only trained to recognize media.

    • Emma says:

      Thanks for coming on and further explaning

    • Shirley says:

      I would seriously consider doing this if you had a companion type deal thing….I just want us both with the same carrier/program. It isn’t really a deal otherwise because so many of the companion plans could get us both cheaper rather than each of us going alone with someone.

    • Jules says:

      Chad, thank you for coming on here and helping us out…I just called and talked to a very sweet young man..he said I have 30 days to return the phone if I am unhappy with it…thanks so much for having a great team!! jules

    • Maria says:

      What is the length of the contract?

    • Amy says:

      Hi I seen that you are the CEO I had a guy call me tonight saying I qualified for the plan and I would be getting started right away it only takes five days to receive my phone he explained the whole gig to me via phone call then he asked for my debit or credit card number to get started!Of course not being an idiot I asked if I could just sign up online,he then asked me to hold one moment well he could check his information and hung up on me so is your company a scam or is there people using your company for there own scams? This makes me very angry what if I proceeded I would probably have an empty bank account!!! I think you should definately contact me please…

    • Lynetta says:

      I found this in the RawData Privacy Policy:

      Information Collection

      RawData collects samples from your immediate environment throughout the day as well as demographic information. These samples can be collected in a variety of formats ranging from recording AMBIENT NOISES, internet cookies or other tracking agents, surveys, and other means. The samples are then combined with the demographic data.
      Thought it was stated by the CEO that “sole intent of determining the radio, tv, and website preferences of consumers. Outside of determining those media preferences nothing else is recorded in our system. Our technology is only trained to recognize media.” Wouldn’t ambient noises include conversations etc?

  • amie says:

    I’d do it, if I could use my IPhone! I cant get rid of my Iphone but would LOVE a cheaper deal for service!

  • April says:

    I qualified and my phone is on its way. I don’t see any problems with this deal… just need to find my hubs a good deal as well because this now means i have to cancel my phone from our plan and it leaves him as a single.

  • H. says:

    I was very interested in doing this, but called to see about what carrier is used, as some have bad service in our area, as well as if family members could be added to the plan. I was told the provider is Sprint and that no family plans are available at this time. Hope that helps someone else decide whether or not to participate.

  • smhartford says:

    Oh, boo!!!!!!! Was so excited until I realized it was provided via Sprint. Sprint gets terrible coverage in my neck of the woods and since I literally live on the Canadian border, they often wind up charging their customers for roaming when they are not actually roaming (and I mean INTERNATIONAL roaming which can get sooo pricey!). I would absolutely love this… However, I have Verizon now and they charge me $75 a month for unlimited data, texting w/in my circle of 10 (from back when it was Alltel), and unlimited calls to my circle as well… I also participated in a consumer panel by beta testing and received a free lg vortex smartphone… I think I will stick with what I’ve got… Really wish I could take advantage :)

    • Diane says:

      I have Verizon too. One day I called for something (can’t even remember what it was) and they offered me a special “Texas” plan (I live in Texas) that gave unlimited mobile-to-mobile minutes for the same rate I was paying. It might be worth a phone call to them just to see if they have any current specials that would be a better value for you. Hope that helps!

  • Marissa says:

    I was actually planning on going in to change my phone plan today and am considering this. I love my service with Verizon and am not sure about Sprint, but Verizon’s fees are a lot higher. Does anyone know how long the contract is for?

  • samroo says:

    What does 200 minutes to landline mean?

  • barbi says:

    so, I was going to do this, but after I went thru everything and was checking the monthly payment, it’s only about $5 cheaper than what I already pay with sprint service. not sure that it’s worth the big brother stuff and the constant text msg surveys.

    • Jess says:

      Since you have Sprint service already I assume that you don’t need a phone. It might be worth checking out the Facebook deal. $30 a month unlimited everything, no taxes/fees.

  • Stacie says:

    I am currently paying $70 for my AT & T plan so I signed up and paid the 30 bucks- 40 a month is a savings for me- I am excited about the whole deal- I am not paranoid- My husband is an IT Director- Its gonna be fine- I will keep yall up to date!

  • Charlotte says:

    Hehe, they’d hate to have me… We DVR everything and skip the ads. :p

  • Ashley says:

    Is this on top of the phone plan I already have, or does it change it to this? I have been with AT&T for years and just extended our contract again.

    • Chad says:

      This would be a separate account.

      We (RawData) could port your number to your number to your RawData phone but, you would need to close your account with your existing provider.

      • laura says:

        I signed up last week and can’t get a hold of anyone from rawdata. I tried the
        number & email on your site. Yet the money came right out of my account. So no phone and can’t get a hold of anybody….. why is that? Do I need to cancel my bank card????

  • Angela says:

    I am VERY dissapointed in this!!! I applied for this program and read over what it was about SEVERAL times. I thought that this would replace my current contract through my phone carrier. NOT THE CASE. Now I have a phone that I have to return that cost $5 to ship. Not to mention, they charged me $30 twice!!! This is rediculous Collin!

    • Collin says:

      I am so sorry that you have had such a bad experience, Angela. I have contacted Raw Data about your comment and asked them to contact you directly to get the issue resolved.

      • Angela says:

        I spoke with them already and the man that I spoke with who I am guessing is the owner or manager of the company spoke to me as if I was an idiot. Their website isn’t very clear. He kept using phrases like “You are the first to experience this…..” or “You didn’t understand this..”. Perhaps it is because they do not have a lot of people doing this sort of research with them? The first time I called them it went to someone’s PERSONAL voicemail box. It doesn’t seem very legit to me. I was looking forward to this program and I might have considered possibly switching, but they need to learn how to deal with customers first. Now they have a survey that took me forever to do that cost them nothing, while I have to pay $5 to give them back their phone before I receive a refund. :(

        • Amy says:

          Hi I 100% believe this is a scam as well considering the phone call I received about 15 mins ago asking me for credit card info before I even received a phone not very trust worty then when I hesitated they hung up on me a little suspicious wouldn’t you say?

          • laura says:

            I too believe this is a scam. I signed up & paid last monday and today a week and a day later no email saying the phone has shipped and they don’t reply to my emails or answer my calls. Disputed the transaction and cancelled my bank card. I would really delete this rawdata thing off your site!

  • barbie says:

    got my phone today- for some reason i did not get to keep my number- i did wait for my old phones service to deactivate before powering it up but still got a (801) number. Hoping I will be able to remedy it tomorrow- for right now im just excited to have a new FREE phone- i havnt had a new phone in years!

  • Chad says:

    Amy –

    I am not sure why he would have hung-up, it is perfectly fine to sign up online. I am looking into what might have happened and why it happened that way. Our support line is 888.241.9314, if we can answer any other questions please let us know.

    To the point of your concern, this is not a scam. We are completely willing to talk through the details with you when you have time.


  • Meeka says:

    I got my phone last week and my number was recenlty ported. So far so good I am just getting adjusted to the sprint service and the actual cell phone (former blackberry user).

  • Anonymous says:

    my husband and I agreed to this deal yesterday we gave them all our info and now we r missing $50 out of our bank account so i dont know if this is real or not has me thinking now

  • George says:

    I found ad on the penny saver and called for info. they said it was $39.99 per month and that there would be an $45.00 activation fee and no contract.. Ad offered a free LG Optimus DROID phone, Also I would be able to keep my currant phone number. Unlimited talk ,text ,mail, data email, Pictur e and more. is the $45.00 activation fee is what they asked for to all those that placed your comments. Also, does anyone know if the LG phone needs to be programed?

  • Lori says:

    I have not had a good experience with this company either. It took nearly 2 weeks to receive my phone (which I had to pay $199 for) and another 2-3 days for service to start. A few days after getting it, my son was playing with my phone and it locked up saying there were too many password attempts. I tried to correct this by following the directions and signing into my account and it doesn’t work. I now have an unuseable phone! I went online looking for a solution and even went to a Sprint store and they were unable to fix it. I tried to call Raw Data and it went to a mailbox that says it’s full! I also emailed them and no response as of yet. I am afraid this bargain is going to end up costing me a fortune. :(

  • John says:

    so as all of you, I was skeptical, but did my research. Raw Data is a legitimate operation. I called both the number given above, 888.241.9314 and the 855-RAW DATA. Both were answered by courteous representatives who were more than able to answer all the ?’s i had. I also sent an e-mail, which was also answered in the way which I had requested, both in an e-mail and a phone call. The call came from an 801 area code which the rep explained was a direct line to him. So I have spoke to 3 different reps, all of which gave the same answers and did not seem to be scripted. (after many years in various call centers, one can tell) ALL my ?’s were answered to my liking. Questions in which the reps did not know the answer to, I was put on hold very shortly as the correct information was found. Although most information about their research program can be answered on their web pages, some after some digging (remember nothing is perfect) – My ?’s included …

    – The ‘contract’ is for 1 year, what about after that year? you can continue w/ Raw Data and you lie remains w/ sprint at the subsidized rates ($39.99 3G / $49.99 4G – remember 4G is a new improved cell service and just like HD programing you will most always pay a premium for it) or you can choose to separate or go with Sprint at whatever rate plan you agree upon.

    – Can I upgrade the phone in the middle of the 1 year? Yes, so long as it is an Android OS phone

    -Am I being listened to/ how does the research work? Simple way to explain is that the phone runs an application in the background which picks up broadcast ‘tags’ or identifying sounds, much like the RDS signal to a FM radio which provides the station info, artist and song info. In MY OWN OPINION this is a small price to pay for the compensation provided.

    I also had ?’s about payment methods ect, again all of which were answered to my satisfaction.

    After doing my homework and have a list of ?’s to give the reps I spoke with, I am satisfied that Raw Data is legitimate, though I do get the impression that this is a small and growing operation, experiencing some ‘to be expected’ growing pains. I offered my opinions on how thing are set up all of which I felt were taken in to their consideration.(especially hours to reach them by phone- up to 6pm mountain time)

    I would recommend to do you own research and ask your own questions before jumping to conclusions about scams or not. A quick search for the phones and services they offer will quickly tell you that you will not be able to get a higher end Android phone w/ unlimited service for anywhere near the prices that Raw Data offers. A simple GOOGLE SHOPPING search for the Samsung Nexus S shows a low price for a NEW unit to be around $275, $49 through RD w/ the 1 yr service agreement.

  • Vikki says:

    @CHAD, You should really look into going through a service that knows about your phone company. Your call support can NEVER get a hold of technical support either cause they won’t call back or they simply just do not email back. I find that service to be absolutely ridiculous. You should really watch yourself there Chad because you’re looking at a lot of people that are NOT happy with your company. I’m sorry for you.

  • Lauren says:

    Thanks for this post, Collin! I called Raw Data with my concerns and questions. They were very helpful and friendly, and knowledgable. I ordered my LG Optimus, ported my old Metro PCS number over, and have been enjoying my Smartphone and Sprint service for 3 months now with no problems. Now my husband wants one! Thanks again!

  • Brittanyy says:

    okay so i called “raw data” to find out how i can just go into the store and get the phone and pay for the plan NO ONE ANSWERS it just rings rings rings !!!! do i smell a scam !!! hahahahahaha

  • Jay says:

    My sister signed up for this plan after this add was posted. Thus far she has been happy. She said the 2 cons are 1-The phone/plan is very slow on data. She thought it was a combination of both the phone and the service. 2- because it is always tracking and listening for the tv/radio cues the battery goes quickly. She feels she has to charge her phone almost twice a day.

  • Amy spinks says:

    Need information for billing in my name please…and howw I can get two more androidds for my kids on one plan..

  • sikena says:

    Yu can realli get a free phonee

  • Julie says:

    I love this program. Ive never had an hassle at all. Thanks Raw Data.

  • Anthony says:

    This company is not what they claim to be. I’ve been a part of them for the past year or so. They cut off their agreement with Sprint abruptly, forcing everyone who was on that to switch to Verizon with less than 2 weeks notice. Now, they are being forced to shut down the Verizon side as well. I called into the Verizon help service to get an explanation – as Raw Data has shut down their phone lines and are no longer responding to the help emails. I discovered that they are more than 60 days delinquent in paying for the phones, and they will now be going to collections. The page where they “explain” is located in a hidden area of their website: though there is no safe bet that they won’t change the URL again to hide their wrongdoing. I would not trust them again with my money, criminals like this don’t deserve your business.

  • APB says:

    I used RawData for about a year, then, as noted, they cut ties with Sprint. I did not feel like paying $125 for a deposit for Verizon and I thought that was an idiotic thing to do since I was already with them, so I didn’t continue with them. I’m not even sure the listening software ever worked on my phone and I know the last update for it didn’t work well before they switched providers. Anyway, I am not sure I can ever use that Sprint Nexus S again and get 4G, since my attempt at transferring *liability* would have socked me with a “huge bill” as indicated by the service rep and I’m not paying that.

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