Cell phones. Everywhere you go, everywhere you look, it seems like everyone nowadays has one. There are many different brands, many different models, and many different carriers - each with many different plans that often have us paying a set fee every month. But with all those different choices, it seems like the plans we are often presented with are too broad, too general, and don't really fit or reflect our actual phone usage. Our friends at Ting are looking to change that. Their service only charges you for what you actually use. This means that your bill is not set in stone and you can control what you pay for your phone. (Just a quick FYI - average Ting users usually only pay about $23/month). Sound too good to be true? That's what we thought too, when we first heard about it. So we popped over a quick line to Sarah Georges, Ting's Marketing Manager, and armed with some questions given to us by our lovely intern, Manda (a student at Ithaca College), proposed to get to the bottom of it all. Here's what she said:
What can Ting give me that I can't get from Verizon/AT&T?
Aside from all the many "soft benefits" of Ting (we're straightforward, we actually really like our customers instead of simply putting up with them because they have wallets, for example) it comes down to a couple of core things.
First, flexibility. You don't pick a plan on Ting and we don’t lock anyone into a contract or term. Instead, you start each month at 0 each month and your "plan" levels up with your usage. If you're around Wi-Fi all day, like most students and interns are, you can save a lot of money on mobile data.
Next, customer service. This means everything from taking a lot of time to build interfaces that are easy to use right up to actually picking up the phone when people call. We have real, human agents on the help team, and they're all smart people who are ready and willing to help.
Is there an advantage of getting a device from the Ting shop?
The best option is to bring the phone you already own to Ting. It's easy to check if a phone will work by visiting ting.com/byod. If you're buying new, the advantage of buying from our shop is that the phone is guaranteed to work on Ting's networks. The same can't be said for a phone purchased from eBay, Amazon or elsewhere.
In the Ting shop, we also link out to compatible versions of popular phones in a bunch of other online stores (The Google Store and the Apple Store, for example).
To us, it makes no difference where you get your phone from. We only want to make sure you have a good experience. If you can find a better deal and you're sure the phone will work on Ting, that's great.
If I have an iPhone already how much will it cost for me to get a Ting SIM card?
A Ting GSM SIM card is $9. The trick is to check to ensure your phone is compatible with Ting at ting.com/byod
What's the catch?
The catch is that on Ting, because you're not overpaying for some big, bloated plan, you do need to think about how much you're using a little bit. To be honest, people that need a lot of mobile data each month might do better with a traditional plan.
Ting is really for people that are tired of paying too much for their cell phone plan each month, and it’s surprisingly easy to do.
That said, by just taking simple steps like saving big downloads and streaming for when you're on Wi-Fi, you'd be surprised at how much you can do with what might sound like a small amount of data. It's easy to use under 1 GB and coming under 500 MB a month isn't a big stretch either. In fact, our customers on average spend around $23 per month for one phone. The more phones on an account, the more people save on average.
Are their additional perks?
Well, aside from giving people the warm fuzzies (d'awwww) we've got a pretty sweet Refer a Friend program. Basically, as a Ting customer, you can tell friends about Ting, offer them a $25 credit to get started and get $50 credit for yourself for your first referral and $25 for every one after that.
There are also big savings to be found by adding multiple phones to an account. Usage is pooled and shared across lines and so the more phones, the more people tend to save per individual phone.
It also bears pointing out that we're also always running some contest on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or wherever.
If my device doesn't connect to the 4G LTE network, what's the point?
There is no point. We advise going straight back to bed.
In seriousness, you can still do a bunch of stuff using 3G. You'll just miss out on the fast speeds that 4G LTE offers. That said, if you're in a major city or a surrounding area, chances are good you'll get LTE and the network is growing all the time.
Often, upgrading your phone means getting access to the LTE network. LTE-capable phones have come down in price to the point that we’re seeing LTE in budget-friendly phones like the $150 Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen) and others.
How do I know if my location will affect the service available?
If your area gets great service with Sprint, you'll have a great experience with Ting on a CDMA network. If your area has great coverage with T-Mobile, you'll have a similarly great experience with Ting on a GSM network.
For more detailed information, ting.com/coverage has the answers you seek.
When we first met Sarah, she told us that Ting was all about transparency. We loved that she was so open and honest in answering all of our questions and encourage you to check out Ting.com to find out more about the company and how they can help you save.