I make a podcast so I hear about these things. A little company called Ting has built upon the Sprint Network (the same provider that serves and owns Boost and Virgin Mobile) another mobile network. Ting has some great options.
Pay for what you use. No penalties. No waste.
Select you plans based on how many minutes, text messages and megabytes you think you will use. That’s what we bill you. Next month you will be credited or charged the difference based on your actual usage. Watch a video to see how it works.
These plans are no-contract, so it’s monthly. So for someone who makes very few calls, no data but sends 2000 texts a month, this would be a great deal as it’s only $17. You can click on the price points for the usages and it’ll show you the cost + surcharges (tax). Data is a little expensive, and the irony in this is that some phones sold via Ting are 4G so your data will drain even faster, if your battery doesn’t first. Honestly, my 3G usage isn’t ever above 500 and rarely above 200 megabytes per month. In fact, in the last 30 days, I have used about 30 megabytes. And I’m a heavy user.
But I think the bigger story here is in the actual handsets. These are top-tier phones. Obviously, you have to pay the price of a contract phone so these aren’t exactly cheap. The Motorola Photon, announced last year at the same time as the Triumph, is their crown jewel. The phone is great, it has a nice screen, well reviewed stability, half way decent UI (blur) and probably other goodies. Oh, and it’s fast. So it’s worth it, right? But is it worth $545? Up-front and on the spot? I couldn’t afford a coffee this morning and I will not be able to afford a ~$600 when it’s a year old. Few people buy iPhones at the unlocked price, and this isn’t even an iPhone, it’s just a Photon, and those are bombarding me right now through the Mechanical Engineering windows. Anyway, Ting has less expensive while still impressive phones as well. Excluding the Photon, there are two other 4G options that will range from $300-$400 depending on the screen size and processing power you’re after, or if you prefer HTC to Samsung. For a more reasonable price, you can forgo the 4G, cling to the outdated 3G and embrace your inner WiFi and prepare to wait with a 800 MHz processor in the Samsung Transform. It’s probably fast enough for normal people but I don’t think I could tolerate the speed on that device. And it’s so tiny. Ting has again copied the de-facto standard in low end models, that being the Optimus series, specifically the Sprint-branded Optimus S (lest it be a T, T for Ting, not another Mobile), which is mostly identical to the Optimus V, except more yellow. Finally, they have a $100 Sanyo for those who want Android but don’t want hair.
Ting is offering a couple feature phones that nobody wants and some data-access devices, and I surmise for a relatively good price.
At the bottom of the pages on the Ting website, it has a great disclaimer that I think will answer the question many people are probably asking:
“Are you somehow owned by Sprint? Like those other guys?” And the answer would be,
“Although Sprint provides access to its network, Ting is entirely responsible for the service.” Or, in short, no. That’s great. Because Sprint needs to compete with Virgin Mobile specifically. Boost is too gangster.
You can tell someone was thinking when they design the Ting website, because I can link to this directly. Let’s say you’re having a huge surge in phone usage one month, and then you stop using it so much. You’re billing is not insane, you’re not overcharged. Instead, you get to pay for more you used than your existing plan, and if you go under your existing plan usage, you can get credited that amount back. So you’re pay for what you used. (Except that $6 automatic fee for being on the service, presumably.) Revolutionary? I think not. Finally? Yes. I never use 500 minutes. I hardly use 100 minutes. It’s a pity there is no in-between to match up to Virgin Mobile’s talking time tier.
So, overall? I like the idea Ting is bringing to the
pre-paid no-contract market. The site is full of quips that make me smile, “Paying for extra for tethering? That’s like charging for the soup spoon. We only charge for the soup.” And another good one is, “Select one of the very small computers below. (Most of these can also make phone calls.)” Things like that are very hard to come by in a corporate culture company. It’s refreshing. Don’t think it ends there either, how about their support number? 1-855-TING-FTW Oh yes, for the win, indeed. I want Virgin Mobile to evolve faster too, so perhaps this will encourage the growth I want to see. It’s the oddest thing to see Ting on the network that serves the competition though. Stranger things have happened, I suppose.
So, great job, Ting, on entering the market. I wish you well.