I made the switch from Verizon to Ting just over two months ago. You may recall from my original Ting review that I made the switch after testing the service for a few weeks. We made the switch gradually. As there is no contract with Ting, it was easy to buy a phone and test the service. The only worry if we decided we didn’t like it was that we’d have to resell the phone to recoup our initial investment. That would have been pretty easy given the number of people switching to Ting.
I wanted to post this update to share my experiences after using my new smartphone for a couple of months and to share our usage and screenshots of my first two bills.
Pricing is done by categories or buckets. Basically you pay for a bucket of minutes, a bucket of texts, and a bucket of data. Buckets are arranged by size: XS, S, M, L, XL, XXL. At the end of the month, whichever bucket you fall in for each category is what you pay. It doesn’t matter which plan you sign up for, you still only pay for the bucket you fall into for actual usage. In my case for example, I chose the XS bucket which is zero minutes, zero texts, and zero data. Each month my plan flexes up to the appropriate buckets based on my actual usage. (You’ll see this in the bill that I’m sharing below.) Paying for just what I use without having to worry about overages gives me piece of mind that I’m always paying the right amount. With Verizon, I often felt like I was under-utilizing my allotment. Now, with Ting, if I use less I pay less.
As in my original review, service is good. Voice is my main concern, since I’m one of those people that still use my phone for voice calls more than texts and data. Voice quality is almost always good. Since Ting gives us free voice roaming on Verizon, it’s very rare that I don’t have voice coverage. The only place I have found that I don’t have voice coverage is in about a hundred feet of hallway deep in the middle of the building I work in. That’s the same place I lost Verizon coverage as well, so there’s no difference really.
I’ve had two voice calling issues that I would describe as minor issues. I’ve had a couple of calls drop while I was talking. Over the two months, it’s been maybe 3 or 4 calls that dropped. The other issue is that I will occasionally get some static when I place a call. This happens maybe once a week, and the fix is always just to hang up and call back.
Other than those two issues that happen on occasion, the voice quality is crystal clear. In August we used 1434 minutes and in September we used 1964. This put us in the XL bucket which is $35.
When I was on Verizon I rarely texted. Mostly because I was on a flip phone that didn’t have a full keyboard. Now I text a bit more often, but still not excessively. I do like having a smart phone when it comes to texting. I use Swype, which lets you swipe your finger over all the letters in the word, and it auto-selects the word. If it selects the wrong word, it also lists the other options. My wife opts to use the standard button pushing for her texts.
In the last two months we haven’t had any issues with texting. Texting is a pretty simple service, so I really wouldn’t expect any issues. In August we used 120 texts which put us in the M bucket at $5.00. In September we used 65 texts which put us in the S bucket at $3.00.
Data was all new to me, and was an unknown as far as expected usage. I know that if I would have stayed on Verizon and upped my plan to the family data plan, I would have been paying about $160 per month, plus taxes.
On Ting we used 587 MB in August, placing me in the L bucket at $24. In September we used 458 MB which put us in the M bucket at $13.00.
That number seems low compared to many of my friends, but we don’t really use data that often. My wife uses it mostly for Facebook and for sharing photos. I mostly use it for looking up info on the web and finding directions.
The one major downside to Ting is that they are limited to the Sprint Data coverage area. No data roaming is available. This means in many areas you may not have data access. I have found this to happen most commonly on the outskirts of town and in the center of large buildings. Being that we had no data at all on Verizon this is still a step up for us. If you are a heavy data user, you may want to consider this as a factor.
A second factor to consider on Ting/Sprint data network is that it tends to be a little slower than Verizon. I’ve found that 4G has decent speed, but 3G is almost unbearable. Some of the newer phones also work on LTE, but Sprint is still in the progress of rolling out their LTE coverage. Keep that in mind when you are choosing a phone. The Samsung Tranform Ultra we purchased to test Ting service only supported 3G, and we are much happier with the 4G on the Samsung Galaxy S II that we bought after we decided to make the switch to Ting.
Number of Phones
One of the great things about Ting is that it’s inexpensive to add additional phones. All their plans are shared plans, so the minutes, texts, and data get shared across all phones on the plan. Each phone has a fixed monthly fee of just $6. We took the first phone we bought, our test phone (a Samsung Transform Ultra), and gave it to our six year old daughter. She really doesn’t need a phone, but at $6 a month, it’s affordable and will serve as a backup if one of our phones breaks.
A broken phone is a concern for us. In the past we have broken our flip phones and were able to buy cheap replacements on craigslist. That was easy on Verizon as second hand phones were plentiful, but was a concern on Ting, and one of the reasons we went ahead and kept the 3rd phone. Soon however, this won’t be as much of a concern. In the coming weeks, Ting will be able to accept any Sprint phones on their network (excluding the iPhone and Google Nexus.) This will make finding second hand replacements easier. It will also be nice if you want a Windows phone, as Ting doesn’t currently have any of those in their lineup.
In total we have 3 phones on Ting which totals $18 per month.
I’ve seen people asking what the bill looks like and how much taxes are. For this reason I’m sharing my two months of bills in the images below. I’m told that taxes vary from state to state, but I found that these taxes and fees were much less than I was paying on Verizon.
In August, our bill totaled $99.13. That’s for 3 phones plus voice, text, and data. That’s right around what we were paying on Verizon for 2 dumb phones with no text or data plan. We typically ranged between $93 and $105 on Verizon, and that’s with the 20% corporate discount.Ting – August 2012 Bill – click to enlarge
It got better in September. In September our bill was $82.38, which is cheaper than my Verizon bill. That’s pretty awesome if you ask me. Now I have a nice smart phone and my bill is cheaper.Ting – September 2012 Bill – click to enlarge
Ting Discount – 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.