If you’re looking to save money on your cell phone bill, be sure to check out Ting, a cell phone provider with a new view of pricing and customer service. Ting has a fresh attitude towards doing business that may re-define cell phone service for you.
You probably haven’t heard of Ting, they’re fairly new, about seven months old, and are owned by Tucows, in business since 1994. Ting currently offers cell phone service in the US. I recently spoke its CEO, Elliot Noss, about the way Ting is trying to re-write the book on cell phone service.
Reasons You May Want to Switch to Ting:
According to Noss, Ting brings “cleaner, fairer, more transparent pricing” to customers. If you have a family or a business and need multiple phones on one account, Ting can really save you money. “We’re seeing savings typically in the 40-70% range,” said Noss.
Noss explained where the savings come from:
- being able to choose your services (minutes, texts and data) separately
- sharing a plan between devices
- adjusted charges based on your usage.
Each phone on the account costs $6/month and the calls, text messages and data are pooled among phones on the account.
If you want to see how much you would save over your current cell phone plan, check out Ting’s handy Savings Calculator which will calculate savings based on your use. If you’re unsure how much you’ll use your phone, check out Ting’s handy Usage Calculator.
The savings are especially steep for those who use their phone rarely or inconsistently. If you throw your phone in a drawer for a month, the cost would only be $6 plus Regulatory Fees.
2. Custom Plans
Choose your plan based on how many minutes, texts and megabytes of data you use each month. Ting will adjust your plan down or up each month, based on your actual usage, without any penalties.
Ting has a Plan Calculator to help you choose which plan is best for you. Here’s an example of a plan for three phones for people who don’t call much, don’t use much data, but text a lot (for example, my teenage daughters). The monthly cost for three phones is $32;
Heavy users who exceed the maximum amount of usage under the XXL plan are charged:
- 2¢ per minute for calls
- 1/4¢ per text message
- 2.25¢ per megabyte of data
Noss contrasted Ting’s 1/4¢ charge with the 25¢ that some major carriers charge per text message, 100 times what Ting charges. “We make money at 1/4¢. We make money on everything we sell.”
Here’s a video explaining how Ting pricing works:
3. Only Pay for What You Use
Your bills will automatically adjust based on your actual usage. If you use fewer minutes, texts or data then your plan’s level, you can go down a level and Ting will automatically give you a credit on your next month’s bill.
Noss gave the example of someone who signed up for the 500 minute a month plan but only used 100 minutes one month, “you’d get $6 credited to the next month’s bill.”
4. Customer Service/Geek Support
If you’re tired of navigating through a phone tree that seems to have been designed by a basket weaver, check out Ting’s customer service. The company has human operators that answer the phone and a “No Hold” policy so you won’t be transferred around to different operators trying to get your question answered.
Ting trains their operators at a high tech level so they can answer all of your questions. They can help you set up your phone and answer questions such as, “What’s the best app for finding restaurants?”
5. No Contract
There is no commitment with Ting. Sign up, quit, change plans, do what you want. You won’t have to stick around for two years unless you want to.
6. Wi-Fi Hotspot
You can use your device as a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot for free. You get instant access to Wi-Fi anywhere your phone gets data coverage and you only pay for the data you use.
7. Sprint Network
Ting uses the Sprint network so you can use Ting anywhere Sprint has coverage. Ting’s website includes the Sprint Coverage Map so you can see if Ting has service where you need it.
If you need fast data speeds, you’ll be happy to know that Ting is now selling phones that work on Sprint’s 4G/LTE network.
9. Bring Your Own Device/BYOD (Coming Soon)
Beginning in the fourth quarter of 2012, users can bring a Sprint phone to Ting, with some exceptions. No iPhones, BlackBerry phones, Push-to-Talk phones or phones currently under contract with Sprint will be allowed. Details can be found at Ting’s website.
10. Service Outside the US
Ting offers plans in US, but also can provide service in countries that have CDMA coverage, listed on Ting’s website.
You can set up notifications if you want to be alerted when you exceed a certain level for each type of service. This feature can be especially useful if you’re sharing a plan with your kids. You can be alerted if they’re going a bit crazy with their texting or using a lot of data watching Netflix videos on their phone.
Things to Keep in Mind
Coverage Is Important
It doesn’t matter how many benefits Ting has for you if you can’t get coverage where you need it. Consult the Sprint Coverage Map to see if Sprint covers your area.
You’re Going to Need a Phone
If you already have a Sprint phone eligible for Ting’s BYOD plan, you won’t have to buy a phone when you switch to Ting after it launches that program. But if you need to get a Ting phone, that will be an added expense. Ting’s phones currently range from the $70 Kyocera Brio to the $579 Samsung Galaxy III.
Ting doesn’t subsidize its phones with contracts so you’ll have to pay close to full retail price for your phone. Noss acknowledged that people aren’t used to paying full price for phones.
“The thing that people miss when they’re getting that subsidy is that they’re borrowing money. They’re borrowing a small amount of money at what is impliedly a very high interest rate. Every single customer we have can borrow that money easily at a much lower interest rate simply by using their credit card.”
If you must have an iPhone, you can’t use Ting yet. Ting doesn’t sell iPhones and won’t let you bring a Sprint iPhone even when it launches BYOD, though they hope to get the iPhone at some point in the future.
Ting phones and service are not sold in stores. You have to visit ting.com to sign up for their service and purchase a phone but Ting tries to make the process easy with unboxing videos for each phone it sells. As mentioned above, Ting offers geek support free through its highly trained operators who answer the phone live when you call.
Ting put me in touch with Elizabeth Nordeman, a database developer at The Hay Group in Philadelphia, who has been a Ting customer for about six months.
“Their customer service is amazing and their price is unbelievable. I can’t believe they’re on the same network as Sprint and I’m paying so much less,” Nordeman said. She figures she is saving about $20 per month on her cell phone plan by using Ting.
Nordeman especially appreciates speaking with a live person when she calls Ting. “It’s a very personal and cool experience. I feel like they actually care which is unusual.”
Nordeman was skeptical when she first heard about Ting and was worried that there had to be a catch but decided to take a risk to save money. “The thing that sold me was the fact that they’re using Sprint’s network,” said Nordeman
Nordeman uses her phone is fairly consistent each month, except for one month when she received a credit on her bill. Her bill was reduced by $13 because she didn’t use as much data as usual, so Ting charged her for the Medium data plan instead of the Large one.
“I had no idea I was using less data until I saw my bill came down the next month.” Nordeman likes that the credit appeared automatically. She also likes that her phone works as a Wi-Fi hotspot for free. That’s a feature she wouldn’t pay for but finds it handy to have when she needs it.
Wonder of Tech Readers Save
Wonder of Tech readers can save $50 off of the cost of Ting service or phones by clicking on this link: Wonder of Tech/Ting (not an affiliate link).
If you’re looking for a new cell phone provider and want to save money, check out Ting.
Had you heard of Ting? Are you looking to save money on your cell phone bill? Let us know in the Comments section below!