Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Ting Again

Back in November I posted a bunch of posts about looking for a smartphone. I started by looking at traditional services, and I wasn't too impressed. Then I looked into prepaid services and was a little hopeful. Then I suddenly found a spectacular deal and jumped on it even though I wasn't entirely sure it wasn't some sort of trick.

Ting turns out to be a pretty good deal.

We were paying roughly $72 a month (with all taxes and fees) for two Verizon phones with 500 shared minutes (month-to-month). We had no texting and no data. It wasn't a great deal, but I couldn't get a better one from Verizon (I tried) and I was holding out until we could afford smartphones before changing service.

I just completed my second month with Ting and I'm about to prepay for my third. My total, with taxes and fees, is just over $35. That's with up to 500 minutes voice, up to 1,000 text messages, and up to 100 MB of data (enough to check my mail daily from the office if I want to). I wish Ting had been around years ago, I would have saved bundles of money from Verizon.

Anyway, here's why I'm posting again. There are two problems with Ting. One is that you have to buy a phone. You can bring a phone from Sprint, but only Sprint phones work at the moment (this may change in the future). The other problem is that most people are on contracts with cell phone companies with early termination fees if they cancel service.

For the first, I can offer two pieces of help. If you want to buy a phone from Ting, I have a $25 off referral link that will give you $25 off a device and give me a $25 service credit. My sister used it, which made my phone bill in December REALLY low. The other possibility is that Ting now has a partnership with used phone marketplace Glyde. It isn't that difficult to find inexpensive smartphones you can bring to Ting on that service, and a list of ones that will definitely work is available on the Ting site (you can get an LG Optimus S, like I have, for under $50).

For the second problem, the early termination fee, check out this blog post at Ting. Starting Feb. 1 and going to the end of February Ting will give people who switch service credit for their early termination fees. It's not ideal: you still have to pay out the initial fee to terminate out of pocket. But at that point you'll have phone service pre-paid for quite some time.

Ting isn't really for power users, but for most people who just need a good cell phone, it's a great deal. So far I've had excellent interactions with customer support, lower bills and I have a freakin' smartphone for LESS than I was paying for a "feature" phone before. I'm a believer in Ting's model.