Ting offers people a low cost alternative to cell phone contracts, as they offer a business model that charges you for what you use, allowing you to adjust your price plans based on your data – which is of-course in your favor. We shared with you our first impressions of the service a little while ago, and now we’ve moved past the three month mark, we wanted to elaborate on how Ting has been working out for us.
Ting actually uses Sprint’s network resources to power your calls and data. Yet, they are a no contract service, so you can cancel with a months notice with no penalties, and you only pay for what you use. They’re all about limiting bill shock and transparency, and are backed by Tucows. Your price plan is dependent on you – you choose certain buckets of minutes, messages and data and this creates your estimated bill. Your actual monthly bill is then adjusted in your favor based on what you actually use. Initial costs are minimal and include the handset, of which they offer a variety of models including the Samsung Nexus and Samsung Galaxy S III.
Three months into using Ting, and I’ve been happily surprised by how simple the service is to use. Bills are cleanly displayed online and I like that you can see when they have changed your tariff – my bill clearly demonstrates when my service plan has been altered due to the data changes.
Service and Coverage
Ting uses the Sprint network and offers a variety of coverage options. Part of this is dependant on your location, and you can check using their map to see if you will get 3G or 4G coverage. I have found this is useful for seeing voice signal, but in terms of 3G and 4G it is lacking a real navigational element. However, if you have a handset that is LTE or WiMax capable, you WILL be able to get extremely fast speeds browsing online. My personal experience found my cellphone had connection the majority of the time, and this was tested on both east and west coast, as well as in the MidWest.
In terms of roaming outside the U.S., you CAN use your Ting cell in countries where they have coverage, but they do not currently offer any special discounted roaming packages, and you will be charged a lot. If you simply need to use Ting Stateside, you will be fine, but if you travel a lot you might want to consider a separate phone. That said, Kudos to Ting for even supporting roaming outside the U.S., since so many prepaid carriers do not support roaming outside the U.S. at all.
Since my first impressions of Ting, the service has expanded their offerings. As well as allowing you to now bring certain handsets to their network (see below). They also offer a selection of preowned models to purchase, so you can get a pretty heavily discounted handset to use on their system. Options include a Samsung Nexus S for $255 and a Samsung Galaxy III for $275.
BYOD – Bring your own device now available
One complaint I had initially with Ting is that it made any cell I owned defunct, as they wouldn’t let you port it over to their network. They promised that they were working on this, and in December 2012 they released a list of Sprint phones which are now Ting Compatible. Sure, your old cell needs to have been on Sprint to begin with, and the current model list is rather short, but this is progress folks!
These compatible phone list currently includes:
- Samsung Nexus S
- HTC EVO 4G (A9292)
- HTC EVO 3D (X515C)
- HTC EVO Shift (A7373)
- Samsung Galaxy SII Epic 4G Touch (SPHD710)
- Samsung Epic 4G (SPH-D700)
- LG Optimus S (LS670)
- Motorola Photon 4G (MB855)
Yes, I know we wanted iPhone on that list, but we’ll be patient.
Ting also recently reached out to us to share their current promotion- which enables people who are tied into contracts to move over to their service. Ting is trying to rectify the problem of Early Termination Fees by offering to ‘buy’ people out of their contracts during the month og February. They’ve created a fund of $100,000 to help entice people over to their service and they’ll reimburse each new client up to $350 for switching to them, to help pay off that Early Termination Fee.
Be warned, you won’t ACTUALLY get your hands on any money, as it will be credited to your new account. Sure, that makes your new mobile bill a lot cheaper, but this caveat does mean your cancellation fee with your current network will still burn. When their fund is empty, the offer is over as well, which might frustrate people who just miss out on it.
If you want a wireless phone plan with no contract, that lets you save on casual data and call use, Ting is a great option. They have a healthy range of handsets on offer, and their unique pricing structure makes them extremely attractive for bargain hunters and people looking to cut mobile costs.
The Good: Great coverage in most locations. Helpful ‘data buckets’ to simplify the billing process. Option of bringing your current handset with you makes it appealing. Will save money if you’re a casual user. Great customer service. Support for roaming with data outside of the U.S.
The Bad: No dedicated roaming package option – so roaming charges are high. If you’re a heavy data user this will cost a lot. No iPhone support – yet.