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.
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.
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.
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