We decided to make the switch from Verizon to Ting. Ting is a lesser known wireless carrier having just opened their virtual doors in early 2012. Ting is owned by the same company that runs the Tucows shareware download site that’s been around forever.
The thing that really drew me to Ting was the way they run the company and their focus on the customer. This is in stark contrast to the way their competitors operate.
Ting has changed a lot over the last few years. While there is still some good info on this page, you may want to check out my latest review here: 2016 Ting Review
Ting is a Sprint MVNO, meaning that they operate as an independent wireless provider but they use Sprint’s Network.
The Ting Test
After reading a number of Ting Reviews, we ordered a Samsung Transform Ultra for my wife Dream about four weeks ago. It was on backorder at the time, but after shipping it took five days to get her via FedEx. It shipped from California and that’s about the norm for shipping times from there to where we live in Florida.
Setting up the Phone
When you place the order you will create an account on Ting. It’s just your basic info at the time of ordering – name, address, credit card. You don’t need to select a plan until the phone arrives.
After the phone arrives, you log into your account on the Ting website to activate the phone. You can choose to port your number or you can get a new number. Since we were testing the phone we weren’t ready to port Dream’s existing number. We selected the option to get a new number. (You can choose to port your number later, so no worries if you want to test Ting with a new number before porting the number.)
Next you select a service plan. One of the very cool things about Ting is that each month you pay for the plan that matches your usage for the month. You can select a plan that matches your expectations for what you will use, and if you go over, they simply bump you up to the next level. There are no overage penalties. If you go under, they will bump you down to the lower plan and credit you the difference.
I have not seen any other wireless carrier offer anything like this, and it truly sets Ting apart from the pack. Also, all service plans are essentially family plans. You can add as many phones as you want for $6 per phone.
Since I am switching from a dumb phone on Verizon to a smart phone on Ting, I wasn’t sure how many texts and data I would use. And here is cool thing number two, in a case like this you can select the XS (extra small) plan that consists of 0 minutes, 0 texts, and 0 data, and let the plan flex up automatically as you use the phone.
We went with the XS plan initially since we were testing, but we’ll likely just keep it that way and let it flex up to whatever buckets of minutes/texts/data we use in any given month.
After selecting a plan the phone will activate and you are good to go.
The Test: Voice
Our major concern with switching from Verizon to Sprint was coverage area. Specifically coverage area for voice. We actually use our phone to talk on, and I didn’t want to end up with dead spots. Ting uses Sprints extended CDMA network, which means you if you are in an area without Sprint you can roam onto the Verizon network. There is no extra fee for voice or text roaming, so you can roam freely without worrying about extra charges. That also means that my worry about dead spots for voice was put to rest. Testing over the past few weeks has confirmed this. We haven’t dropped any calls, and voice service has been every bit as good as Verizon.
The Test: Texts
We’re not big texters. Coming from a dumb phone that was difficult to use for texting we do like the ease of texting on the smart phone and may start taking advantage of texts more often. We didn’t even have a text plan on Verizon, that’s how little we texted. Now, on Ting, Dream does slightly more texting. Ting’s texting prices are very reasonable. The first 100 texts are only $3.
The Test: Data
Data is the one downside on Ting. They don’t allow data roaming on Ting, so you are stuck with Sprint’s coverage area. We have hit several dead spots for data during our three weeks on Ting. It’s an annoyance for sure, but for us it’s not a deal breaker. At this point we consider data to be a “nice to have” instead of a “must have.” If data is a must have all the time, no matter where you are, then you should stick to one of the larger networks like AT&T or Verizon. We have Verizon on our iPad and it seems to have a data connection pretty much everywhere we go.
Typically anytime we are in a very urban area we have data access. Heck, half the time we’re near a free Wi-Fi hotspot, and we take advantage of those to save on our data plan. The times we didn’t have data coverage we were just outside of the urban area in the parks at the edge of town.
Data is adequate for us, especially when we consider the cost savings. We’re willing to give up a little data coverage for a drastically lower price.
You can go to the Ting website to compare costs. They even have a handy little calculator for you. We expect to be spending between $90 and $110 for three phones on Ting, including voice, texts, and data. That’s about what I was paying for two dumb phones with voice only service on Verizon. We have some extended family on Verizon, and they are paying between $280 and $340 for four phones on Verizon. The cost savings can be staggering.
One thing to note on cost is that the monthly cost is less, but you must buy your phones unsubsidized. Over the course of two years, the typical length of a contract on the other carriers, you’ll still end up saving even with the unsubsidized cost of the phone.
I could figure up the savings, but since I’m not currently on a data plan with Verizon, I don’t want to use theoretical numbers for comparison. You’re better off using Tings Savings Calculator to calculate the savings for yourself.
Also, Ting has no contracts. You can cancel anytime with no penalties. Canceling is easy too, if you ever decide to, you simple login to your account online and cancel from there.
Another downside to Ting is the device selection. You won’t have access to the latest and greatest right away, and you may or may not ever have access to an iPhone. Ting is still new, and as they grow, they will likely get greater access to phones. For now, they have several decent phones to choose from at different price levels. We did our initial test with the Samsung Transform Ultra, and it is a solid mid-tier smart phone.
After our initial test we ordered a Samsung Galaxy S II to try out. This is a great phone, and we really like it. So much so that I just ordered the same model for myself. The buzz online from folks with many different carriers is that they like the S II so much that they aren’t planning to upgrade to the S III. I think we’ll be in that same boat, it works really well, has a beautiful display, and is a good size. I looked at the S III and I’m not sure we’ll have a need to upgrade when it comes to Ting later this year.
- Limited data coverage and no data roaming
- Unsubsidized phones means the upfront cost is higher
- Limited selection of phones
- Voice and Text coverage is great, using Sprint’s network and roaming for free on Verizon’s network
- Plans flex up or down to match your usage with no penalties for overages. You basically pay for what you use.
- Cost is typically lower than Verizon/AT&T/Sprint
- All plans are family plans sharing minutes, texts, and data. Adding a phone is cheap, $6 per month.
- Wi-Fi hotspot and tethering is included for free (just pay for the data you use while tethered)
- Customer service is exceptional (according to reviews, I haven’t had to call them.)
- They have no problem with you trying to hack a phone from another carrier to work on Ting. They even post some tips on how to do it. (more effort than I care to do, but if you’re into that kind of thing this is a cool plus)
We decided to make the leap and switch to Ting. After testing on the Samsung Transform Ultra, we were pleased with the voice coverage and decided to make the switch. We had planned to buy a slightly better phone (Galaxy S II) for Dream and I’d keep the Transform.
Well, at some point I opened my mouth and said that we’d hand down a phone to my six year old daughter later this year, figuring we would upgrade Dream to an S III and I’d take her S II. Well, I forgot that kids of that age don’t have a good concept of time and she thought she’d be getting a phone right away.
Had we been on any other wireless provider the answer would have been “No way, no how” as the cost would have been an extra $40 per month. But with Ting, it’s just an extra $6 per month to add a phone, so we can spring for that.
So, my daughter ended up with the Samsung Transform Ultra, and I’m ordering a Samsung Galaxy S II for myself. It should arrive later this week and then I’ll cancel Verizon. I’ll let you know how the canceling process goes. I haven’t been under contract for several years, so hopefully it will be easy.
Seems like the cool things on Ting never end, and here is another that I thought of. I’ve heard of some people wanting to use a smart phone but not have an expensive data plan. This is pretty much impossible with most wireless carriers, but with Ting, you could. Buy a smart phone, sign up for the XS plan with zero data, and then disable the data from the phone or disable it online through your account preferences. Then you could use it on Wi-Fi only and essentially have a smart phone with no data plan.
Ting Coupon – Save $25 on a Phone When You Sign Up
Ting has a referral program and if you sign up using any of the links in this article, new customers will get $25 off your first device. You’ll be saving and Ting will also give me a $25 credit to my account. I’m very thankful to anyone that signs up through my links and I’m happy to be able to offer you some savings. To be clear though, all the info provided in this article would be the same regardless of the referral bonus. If you prefer to sign up without the referral bonus you can go to Ting.com.
I have a follow up review after two months of service. We still love our Ting service, so check that out if you want more info.