Posted on Oct 19, 2013 | 8 comments

ting Editors Note: Although I will get credit towards my phone bill if you sign up for Ting using the links below, this isn’t an advertisement. Ting never approached me about this. I found out about them, researched the service they offered and made the switch. The post below documents my thought process on a decision that would cost me hundreds up front but save me thousands in the long run. I have been very happy so far and wanted to share my experience with you. I will try and keep you updated on my Ting experience.

My family loves their Verizon like Boston loves their Red Sox. All of my parents and siblings and their spouses (a number nearing 20) are part of the Verizon family. My wife’s family is the same. No one ever considers using anything else. I personally have never used another carrier.

The truth behind all of the Verizon love is because the small town that we grew up in is so remote that the only signal you can get is Verizon. Very few of our family still live there, but it just makes sense to stay Verizon when you move out since the rest of the family is on the same network.

When it comes down to it, if you live in the United States and want the absolute best coverage and service, Verizon usually better than the rest.

That said, however, I don’t like much else about the company. The fees are too high the contracts are too binding and the hidden fees are too frustrating. I’ve felt this way for a while but I never really considered switching because I have been so entrenched for so long.

That was until I heard about Ting.

Ting Review

ting-mobile

There are a lot of small, contract free carriers available in the US (and probably worldwide as well). They piggy back on the larger carriers cell service and offer discounted plans. However, my research on these services always finds customers that are unhappy or just plain can’t afford anything else. The coverage is limited and the customer services is often horrible.

So when I heard that Ting approached the cell phone game differently, I became interested. It soon became clear that this company was offering cell phone service in a way that had never been done before.

I did my research and discovered there were some limitations, but anyone willing to take on those limitations loved the service. In a few short weeks I did the unthinkable- I jumped the Verizon ship for Ting… and I couldn’t be happier.

However, before you do the same you must realize that Ting isn’t for everyone. These are a few of the limitations to consider:

  • Phones are not subsidized which means you must pay full price (often $400-$600 instead of the $100-$200 you usually see)
  • Ting is only available in the United States
  • Ting uses the Sprint Nationwide network
  • You pay for what you use which means there are no ‘mobile to mobile’ or ‘network to network’ free minutes
  • There are no unlimited data plans
  • Leaving Verizon early meant paying high early termination fees
  • NO iPHONES (They say they are working on it) (I switched to Android a year ago but my wife still had an iPhone)
  • I would have to change my phone number
  • Phones aren’t GSM so only Sprint phones work (No SIM cards)

To some those may be deal breakers. I had to think long and hard about several of these items.

But the list of reasons to join Ting made much more sense to me:

  • You never sign a contract which means you can cancel at anytime with no early termination fees
  • You pay for what you use- for example, if you think you are going to use 1000 minutes but only use 354 you will fall in the 500 minute bucket.
  • You can use whatever (Android) Sprint phone you want, when you want it- in other words, no waiting two years to get a new phone (I prefer buying them used on eBay)
  • Our bill would go from $160 a month to around $65 (you read that right)
  • I could sell our old phones on eBay to recoup the cost of buying used phones for Ting
  • I would be in control of my cell phone bill
  • Ting would pay $75 per line to help cover the cost of Verizon early termination fees
  • If someone (yes, even you) signs up through your Ting referral link I get credit towards paying my bill- everyone gets a Ting referral link
  • There are no hidden fees
  • You can have as many phone lines as you want (yup, great for businesses)
  • The terms of service and explanation of fees is very straight forward
  • You can check what you current bill is at any time with a really easy to use website
  • The Ting Android app will show you how much data, minutes and messages you are using and even  help you set alerts if you are using too much
  • The customer service staff has been great
  • Roaming is taken care of by Verizon which means we will have cell service when we go ‘home’

When we crunched the numbers we realized that switching to Ting would be an investment. It would be more expensive up front but would pay itself off in about six months.

devices_display The numbers went roughly like this. Buy two used Sprint phones on eBay (Galaxy Note 2 for me and Galaxy S3 for the Mrs.) which cost about $600 total. Early termination fees from Verizon were about $500 so it was around $1100 with the phones and ETFs combined. Since our phones are in good shape and could be sold on eBay (we haven’t done it yet), we should get around $400 for them. Ting will pay $150 of the termination fees as well. So if you subtract $550 from $1100 you have about $550 up front cost. Saving between $80 and $100 per month depending on usage puts the break even point at 5-7 months. Over the course of a typical two year contract it will be over $1500 in savings.

Another thing that you have to take into consideration is that you need to put some of that monthly savings towards getting a new device now and then. I always hated the ‘new phone every two years’ idea because not every one is on that same cycle. I personally like a new phone every year or so and some don’t switch phones for three or four years. In other words, if you are crunching the numbers for yourself, don’t forget to factor in buying a new or used phone every now and then. If you buy a phone that came out a year ago you can get top of the line phones for $250 to $500. On Verizon we were probably paying over a thousand dollars for each phone by the end of the contract.

I’ve written such a detailed summary of this switch because if you are seriously considering this like  we were you will want to know as much about Ting and what it will take to switch as possible. Like I have said, Ting isn’t for everyone but I know that there are a few of you like me that are ready to take control of your wireless plan and save some money along the way.

If you have any more questions, please email me at sam@easyjournaling.com or find me on twitter @thesamlytle. I will give you the good, bad and ugly.  Ting_Mobile_Plans

You can also leave comments below.

If you are still on the fence, you can sign up using this link for $25 off.

  • Cristy

    I am currently on Sprint now, so jumping to Ting with my current phone shouldn’t be a problem. My concern is that I have been unhappy with Sprint signal in my current neighborhood. If Ting is piggy backing on Sprint’s network then I can assume that I would still have the lousy signal issues. I am moving across town in a few months, so I am hoping the signal will be stronger there. If so, then I would consider jumping ship.

    What has been your experience with the signal having moved from Verizon’s network to essentially Sprint’s. I understand that our experiences will be different since we live in different parts of the country, but I am still curious. :) Thank you for sharing your information!

    • http://www.easyjournaling.com Sam

      You bring up a great point, Cristy. If you are a current Sprint customer you don’t even need new phones. If you are at the end of your contract you also won’t have to pay early termination fees.

      Verizon is traditionally better than Sprint in terms of coverage but I’ve only had one or two issues with the Sprint signal where I live and work so overall I’m happy. I haven’t been out of town yet so that will be the real test!

  • ron thegentleman

    great reveiw, ive been looking in to making the switch from sprint for a couple of months now. have been reading a lot of reviews and i like the way you broke down the cost and savings of switching. I cant make the switch yet because I bought the galaxy note 3 off contract for sprint, im just waiting on ting to let me bring it over. I saw that they are selling the note 3 in november so i should be on ting next month

  • sarahgeorges

    Loved the review, Sam! I think you really hit the nail on the head when you said Ting would be an investment for you. Glad you are loving the service so far.
    Sarah,
    Ting

  • http://www.easyjournaling.com Sam

    Ting just announced that you can now use the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4s with their service! Yes, no iPhone 5 or above yet, but this might be what some of you iFans have been looking for.

  • gethermit

    Thanks for sharing such useful information. I think this is really a very nice post. Thanks for the great content!

  • http://www.easyjournaling.com Sam

    TING UPDATE: Our first month is in the books and the results are in. Our bill was $50.56 (remember that our Verizon bill was $150+). We used 968 minutes, 873 text messages and 409 megabytes. Truth be told, minutes were the hardest ones to keep in check. We are considering getting the Sprint Airave which would make it so that all calls from our house wouldn’t count as minutes (kind of like VOIP).

    This month we are on pace for the same bill and haven’t regretted switching to Ting for a second!

  • Daniel

    Ting only has voice and SMS roaming, not data roaming. Still, this is better than most other Sprint MVNOs, including Sprint’s own Boost and Virgin brands. Are you sure that minutes on the Airave don’t count? I thought the Airave was just a femtocell.