As some of my friends are aware, I have recently switched cell phone and service provider, Ting. Tomorrow evening will be the end of my first month of service with Ting and I thought I would post a few notes of my experience.
I assume that for the most part no one reading this will have ever heard of Ting before, because Ting is a small company and their service just launched in February and therefore have not had the level of publicity that existing carriers have.
The first thing to note, Ting does not have their own network, they are a virtual provider (MVNO) which utilizes the Sprint network. Due to restrictions in this arrangement, to use Ting you must buy a device directly from Ting. Ting is only allowed to activate ESNs that are in their database. This is especially limiting when you consider that they currently only offer Android-powered devices. I hope for an iPhone from them, and have been told that it will come, but just not right now.
The key attribute that encouraged me to change to Ting from Verizon is price. I was on a cheap plan with Verizon, a classic 125 minutes for $25 plan. Oddly enough, the plan had more minutes than I needed. I am not a heavy cell phone user at all. I don’t call very often, I only send a few texts and until Ting I didn’t even have a data plan. I like having a cell phone because I like the security of having access to it if I ever need to make a call, either out of convenience or mortal need. Since this required having a device with me that I barely use anyway, I eventually got to the point where I wanted a smart phone. Only problem is with Verizon, while the phone would be subsidized by the carrier, the bill for my phone would go to over $70 per month – for something I barely ever use. Ting is interesting because I have my device and if I don’t use it at all during a month my bill is $6. If I use 100 voice minutes, it costs me $9. So just comparing service and pricing, Ting is a better deal, and I get to have a smart phone, which makes the idea of carrying the device with me all the time useful. So the big selling point with Ting – I pay for what I use.
The other thing with Ting that drew me in was the community. Ting support uses a forum for general questions and a helpdesk ticket system for specific questions. The forum is filled with other customers and customer service people. Ting is not reliant on peer support, but it does seem to help things work faster because it is present. Most phone companies look negatively upon “power users” who modify their phones. Ting supports “hacking”, “rooting” and other modifications to the phones. After all the phones are owned by the customers, not Ting, so the approach taken matches accordingly. I have never had a reason to actually call customer service, but I’ve heard there is never a wait and that the help is quick and polite. My contacts with support have all been through the web form (I prefer to type rather than tell my issues), which get responded to fairly quickly. I do get the feeling from the tone of the responses and the commentary of one of their top support people, Ben Lucier, that they are prepared to do whatever is necessary to ensure that the customer is happy. You might think that with the low rates, excellent customer service and roaming agreements that the company might operate at a loss. According to one of the sales staff, Ting currently has exactly 1 customer that they are loosing any money on at all.
I dove in to this “unknown” with a good bit of confidence because the company that owns Ting, Tucows, also owns the domain registry that I have been transitioning to for the past 9 months, OpenSRS. I have been pleased with the level of service and customer focused dedication that I have seen from both Tucows companies. After 9 months on OpenSRS and a month on Ting, I am satisfied with both.
To read more about Ting (and save $50 off of a device) use this link: http://cuku.tk/TingPhone2
Why Ting?: https://ting.com/why-ting/