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Ting to Add GSM Service Early Next Year


In a blog post today, Sprint MVNO Ting announced that it plans to be begin offering GSM service, probably starting in February, 2015, which marks Ting's anniversary. Ting did not reveal which GSM operator's network the new service will be riding on, but a quick glance at the GSM coverage map that Ting supplied makes it obvious that the network is T-Mobile's. It appears that, like Ting's Sprint CDMA based service, off-network voice and text roaming will be available, but not data roaming.

Ting is not dropping Sprint, in fact the post says that users can have a mix of Sprint CDMA devices on their account, all drawing from the same buckets of minutes, messages and MBs of data. That implies that Ting will charge the same rates for GSM service as it does for CDMA.

So what does Ting charge? That requires a bit of explaining, Rather than having monthly plans with unlimited talk and text and varying amounts of data like most other carriers, Ting users are billed for separate buckets (which Ting calls tiers) of voice minutes, texts and megabytes of data. If you use up all the minutes, messages or data, Ting will upgrade you to the next tier for the current month only. To avoid surprise charges, you can  disable these automatic updates by setting usage limits that cut off your taking, data or messaging for the rest of the month when the limit is reached.

The following tiers are currently available:.
Tier XS S M L XL Beyond XL
Minutes 0 100 500 1000 2100
Cost $0 $3 $9 $18 $35 1.9¢/ea
Text Messages (domestic and international) $0 100 1000 2000 4800
Cost $0 $3 $5 $8 $11 1/4¢ each
Data (MB) 0 100 500 1000 2000
Cost $0 $3 $12 $19 $29 1.5¢ per MB
Ting also charges a $6/month service fee regardless of usage and adds a number of taxes and fees that vary by state and average between one to ten dollars per month. Data, minute and messaging tiers can be shared across multiple phones or users on the same account, family-plan style.

The big advantage of going to GSM for customers is that it opens up phone choices to encompass the full gamut of unlocked GSM devices (most GSM phones can be unlocked for between $2 and $30). That's in sharp contrast to Sprint, which exercises dictatorial control over which phones MVNOs are allowed to activate, blocking all non-Sprint phones and any Sprint device released in the last 12 months.


44 comments:

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  1. While this is a positive development, it doesn't address what many see as Ting's most significant weakness: they aren't competitive on price.

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    1. The much worse problem not addressed is coverage.

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    2. Ting is very competitive on price for people who need roaming and have light to moderate usage. That is one reason they grew from 50,000 customers in Feb '14 to 80,000 customers now.

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    3. Ting customers are so satisfied that they rated Ting right up there with Consumer Cellular as the best carrier in the US (Consumer Reports 11/14 survey of 63k+ members). They even rated Ting high for network reliability! Great value for families was a big factor. Adding lines for $6 to share the plan makes Ting one of the lowest-cost options for families that do not need a lot of data, and the Ting dashboard lets you control costs for each line to stay on budget. I was surprised at just how satisfied Ting customers were, especially compared to Consumer, which gives AT&T postpaid coverage and data roaming for roughly the same price per month as Ting. For families, roaming is also a safety issue, Do you you really want to turn your wife and family loose on Sprint or T-Mobile without roaming? "Sorry your phone didn't work when you really needed it, but we save a few dollars every month with this cheap service."

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  2. Interesting. Haven't compared this yet to US Mobile prices, but the free unlocking (with 6 months of service) makes it easier and cheaper to switch than to Ting. Ting seems to be loved by many for its customer service, which is worth a lot in my book. It also might be very interesting for some people who want to mix and match Sprint and T-Mobile service for whatever reasons. Are the taxes and fees as big as on postpaid? That would mean an additional 25% added to the price where I live.

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    1. Ting does not charge their own fees; they only pass on the government taxes and fees. They charge less than postpaid accounts. US Mobile charges less for service but does not include roaming on AT&T and regional networks like Ting will. Ting and Consumer have the least expensive data options on accounts with roaming for voice and texts, and BYOD. Plus Ting has the best customer service, as good as Consumer Cellular.

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    2. What do you mean unlocking with 6 months of service. Doesn't US Mobile unlock your phone right away to work on their service?

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    3. US Mobile now charges $15 for unlocks. They refund the $15 after you stay with them 6 months

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  3. Two of the above comments read like ad copy from "Ting" public relations, don't they?

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    1. Not really, they are just stating facts.

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    2. I was thinking the exact same thing too!

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    3. "above comments read like ad copy from "Ting" public relations, don't they?"
      This is what people say when they have run out of arguments.
      And no, Ting PR does not mention Consumer Cellular.

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    4. "This is what people say when they have run out of arguments. " is what people say when they run out of arguments.

      I was pointing out the fact the those comments DO read like ad copy, with unsupported boosterism, and a lack of person experience.

      Anyway, get real. No one speaks/types like this - "They even rated Ting high for network reliability! Great value for families was a big factor." unless they are being paid to.

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    5. Real ad copies don't mention Consumer Reports because they are not allowed to say the magazine's name.

      In addition, the use of "They even rated Ting high for network reliability!" is probably someone just poking fun at the magazine for having users rate something that is dictated by the carrier.

      To tell you the truth, that post represented Consumer Reports far better than most people would. Ninety nine percent of the people would have gotten it wrong by saying the Consumer Reports itself were the testers and were putting out their staff's objective ratings.

      Even if you say the results are reader surveys, you have to consider that the only people who fill the questionnaires are readers of Consumer Reports which is not what you call a random selection of knowledgeable people in regards to this subject.

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    6. "Real ad copies don't mention Consumer Reports because they are not allowed to say the magazine's name."
      It looks like you read the post above too fast, so try again:
      "Ting PR does not mention Consumer Cellular."
      Consumer Reports surveyed their readers. It was a satisfaction survey, not a technical analysis. So you really think their readers are not "knowledgeable people in regards to this subject." I.E., how satisfied they are with their cellular providers?
      Finally, it sure seems that 63,354 is a big enough sample to be statistically significant. Any way you twist it, Consumer Cellular and Ting customers sure seem to love their cellphone service and plans.
      http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/news/2014/11/small-carriers-outrank-the-big-ones-in-consumer-reports-latest-cell-phone-service-survey/index.htm

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  4. When Ting first started I was wishing they were on GSM. I love their outlook and their approach to customer relations. However the $6/month line charge is what kills the value proposition. Perhaps they can do better on GSM? If they can match US Mobile's $2/month line charge they might win some business. US Mobile is not perfect but they do offer great value in the low usage department, and a $2-$3 top up when you finish your voice or data bucket is more attractive than $9 to jump to the next bucket. If only US Mobile had auto top up, or Ting had in-between buckets to nullify the difference. I have a few low-usage lines with different carriers where I spend $2.50-$3 per month or less; I'd consider moving them all to Ting for shared buckets if the line charge was lower.

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    1. Totally agree with the $6 line charge, not to mention it doesn't even include taxes & fees with the line charge like other providers.

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    2. Let's see, I'm paying T-Mobile less than $30/month (always buy refill cards when it goes on sale @ Target using the +5% discount with their RedCard program) for 5Gb of data (100Mb of it can be used for courtesy emergency tethering), unlimited text, & 100 anytime minutes. My monthly usage on average is 60 minutes (I use Google Hangout Dialer mostly to make & receive calls for FREE using data or WiFi), less than 1000 text, and at most 1.3Gb of data. If I were to switch to Ting, based on my usage I would be paying more than $33. And they don't even include taxes & fees! No thanks. T-Mobile's secret $30 plan is still the best in my opinion based on my usage!

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  5. Of the choices for low usage, I would go with h2owireless or ptel and not ting.

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    1. Yup, unless you get so annoyed by the push notifications that cannot be disabled everytime you finish making a call, send/receive a text, or access the network... H2O's $0.05 per minute rate as low as $3.35/month (all taxes & fees included) on AT&T's GSM network CANNOT be beaten, especially for low-volume users!

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    2. Yeah, if you enjoy those push USSD notifications. H2O would be decent, but the alerts are so maddening, that... no thanks

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    3. H20 throttles paygo to death, no Roaming and C/S is AWOL most of the time. Same goes with most of the ATT/T-Mob MVNOs. I am not singing the praises of Ting GSM as their only real plus is voice roaming and most likely the data speeds will not be throttled.

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  6. I tried Ting when I used a Google Nexus 5. I found it difficult being tied to Sprint service and data speeds, given that mandatory $6 a month charge. I curtailed my texts to Google Voice only, and turned off data when I was anywhere near WiFi. I had one week where I needed the mobile data turned on 24/7, and good lord did I pay for it. I'd spent more for Ting than I would have for T-Mobile's $30 plan. I went back to T-Mobile.

    After hearing about it on Prepaid Phone News, I gave US Mobile a chance and I am loving it. Although I still curtail my data usage to make US Mobile make sense, I find my overall usage of mobile data plummets during the colder months anyway. I use US Mobile with an iPhone 6 Plus, get LTE (5Mbps up and down) and pay just $7 a month.

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    1. Can you tether with US Mobile?

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    2. Nothing in US Mobile's terms of service at https://gousmobile.com/terms.html appears to prohibit tetering.

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  7. I am a Ting customer or I should say my wife has a phone which is. As for me, I refuse to buy into the daily charging routine, LOL Maybe I will buy a smartphone when they start making batteries last for 7 days.

    Anyway if you have never called Ting you don't know what you are missing unless you happen to be someone who likes voicemail and I do NOT. I have called Ting about 3 times and have NEVER been greeted with the message "press 1 of english...". Every single time I get to talk to a real person by the second ring. Any my emails NEVER take more than 24 hours to be answered.

    That type of service to me is extraordinary and it is worth every penny we pay Ting and besides Ting is just as competitively priced as anyone else as long as you watch what you are doing. While my wife is not a big talker, she does enjoy texting and sends hundreds every month. Even then our monthly Ting bill is only $20.15/month. Now if we used our phone to watch a couple of Netflix movies and browsed the net for entertainment then most likely our bill could be $100/mon. With Ting you pay for what you use.

    And of course we could discuss Sprint vs AT&T vs Verizon vs anyone and it all depends on where you live and which cell towers you happen to live near doesn't it. For me and mine we happen to live about 6 blocks from a Sprint and T-Mobile tower so we see 5 bars of service all the time and so do our guests that have T-Mobile or any other GSM service. When we go visit our son in California he has AT&T. And guess what, his AT&T service is no better or worse than my Sprint service because BOTH companies are using the SAME tower which happens to be quite a long way from his home. And as a result both services are crappy at his house.

    As the old saying goes, FIRST go find out which COMPANY'S antenna's are on the cell phone tower closest to your home then go buy a phone from that company. I can guarantee you that you will be much happier with your service.

    Have a great day everyone.

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  8. I have been a Ting customer for over a year now and second Tom's comment on customer service. Customer service at Ting is unmatched by any carrier and I have worked with most of them. I have had no coverage issues living in Colorado and find their prices quite competitive for families (4+ lines). Due to Ting's roaming I have had service where GSM carriers do not. For the last year I have paid $16 per phone and have family using lines in Colorado, Indiana, and Ohio (and have traveled to many others). Individuals can find plans starting at $30 that provide better options, particularly in the data department. Ting getting GSM, especially if it allows roaming and combining of GSM and CDMA devices on a plan, is a huge step and provides a service no other prepaid carrier offers. In order for Ting to be a good option people have to have multiple lines and watch their usage. For those willing to meet these criteria it's great.

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  9. US Mobile is a cheaper GSM alternative to Ting's variable rate structure, with unlimited texting at the $7 mark and only a $2 service fee. !ith rates of $0.03/$0.02/$0.02 per minute/text/mb and a minimum upkeek cost of $5-$6 ($2 service fee + $3/$2/$2 cost of a single bucket + $0.70 in taxes) to keep the line active, it's arguably one of the cheapest, most versatile low-medium usage MVNOs out there. And unlike Lyca, they don't require a monthly plan of $20+ just for the privilege of accessing data at paygo rates.

    There's also Ultra Mobile's $19 unlimited plan for heavy voice/text and moderate data usage.

    On the other hand, data hogs are better served by T-Mobile's $30 plan features Unlimited Texting/5GB/100 Minutes, which is current holy grail of heavy voiceless usage.

    On the Sprint side of things, ChitChat has Unlimited Talk and Text for $20 while RingPlus is a cheap messaging and data service. The latter's $30 "Data" plan beats 2GB and Unlimited Texting on by $4/mo on US Mobile and $12/mo on Ting. They also allow even blacklisted/subsidized devices to be activated as long as you don't explicitly brag about it, making it ideal for those who want to buy a cheap subsidized phone with no unlocking fee.

    On Sprint and GSM combined, the cheapest Unlimited Talk/3GB of LTE plans without any sort of voip crap are $45 on Sprint Prepaid, Straight Talk or Lyca. THIS is the only GSM niche available for Ting to fill by offering at least Unlimited Talk/2.5GB of LTE for $30 or less. However, with only a few text message thrown in for those pesky mandatory phone verifications that online services are increasingly fond of, Ting completely prices themselves out of the market by charging $73 for up to 2100 minutes, 100 messages and 2GB.

    With that said, Ting's prices aren't in any way competitive no matter the usage pattern and they offer nothing to potential customers. It seems more like they're just hedging their bets against Sprint by putting one foot in GSM's door. Not that anyone can blame them.

    GSM MVNOs do entry BYOD better than most Sprint MVNOs (sans RP) due to swappable sim cards, unlocking services readily available all over the Internet and no anti-consumer phone blacklist. They're also more competitive in terms of phone, plan and non-voip paygo pricing. Best of all, they don't screw up their call quality or restrict the number of compatible phones by adopting non-LTE voip shenanigans (like Republic Wireless, Freedompop and RingPlus did) before such services can meet or exceed the quality of regular GSM/CDMA calls.

    And to top it all off, US Mobile already went and ate the lunch Ting thought would be waiting for it because GSM just takes competition more seriously nowadays.

    Ultimately, it's a shame that Verizon is still obsessed with "MUH BLACKLISTS", otherwise Ting might've actually been able to break new ground as the only VZ MVNO with a "pick your own plan" style of service. Alas, the Big Kahuna has been overplaying its tight-fisted, "gotta black 'em all" hand ever since the advent of T-Mobile bringing actual competition to the Big 3.

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    1. Agreed, US Mobile is a better deal.

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    2. Well maybe and maybe not. It all depends. With Ting in the middle of the month if you run out of minutes Ting just puts you into the next bucket of minutes automatically. Actually Ting doesn't do anything its all just automatic.

      With US Mobile when you run out of minutes you have to go online and add more minutes. For some people that is probably an advantage. For others it may be a pain in the a.. , LOL.

      Also when I checked the coverage for the area where I live [zip 86403] US only provides 2G data service. With Ting I get 4G, WiMax and/or 4G LTE depending on the phone.

      Even thou US is a GSM carrier, not all GSM carriers are the same. If you look at their coverage map there are some really big holes in the areas they cover.

      I suggest you CAREFULLY read all of the terms, conditions and Q&A's so you don't get disappointed. Also check the cell phone tower closest to your home and see if it is a GSM tower, CDMA tower or if the tower has both GSM and CDMA antenna's. Buying a GSM phone but living next to a CDMA tower makes most phone users really unhappy campers, LOL. The tower closest to my home has both T-Mobile and Sprint on that tower so I get 5 bar service all the time. We also have a T-Mobile phone and that phone also has 5 bars. HOWEVER, It was really interesting during a power outage. Only our Sprint phone had a signal. The T-Mobile phone was about as useful as a brick. It appears only the Sprint portion of the tower had backup power provided by a generator.

      Have a great day and I hope this helps clarify a couple of points and I only read a few of the Q&A questions and sent an email to US Mobile asking about the 2G service. There response was "they couldn't verify the information contained on the coverage map".

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    3. Ting's free roaming on Verizon gives MUCH better coverage than US Mobile native T-Mobile coverage for most people.

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    4. Everybody should do their own math. E.G., for a family of 4, using 500-500-500 per member, Ting and US Mobile both charge $96. Ting gives an extra 100 texts and offers more flexibility to allocate the resources any way you want among the family members. That offsets the gov taxes charged by Ting. US Mobile won't let you change plans until the start of the next month so there is more waste, unless you have a perfect crystal ball, or stop using plan resources when you hit your limits. Great customer service and free roaming are worth something to many people, too.

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    5. US Mobile has the same pricing structure but that's where the similarities end. T-mobile without roaming provides super restricted coverage with large areas of 2G or no coverage. It's not a valid comparison at all. Ting offers good cell coverage/roaming, great support, flexible pricing options including data, and multi-line plans. I can't think of any other MVNO sub $30 a line (at which unlimited talk/text/500mb becomes standard) that offers these. One or more of these is always lacking.

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  10. What is the NHL acronym Verizon uses with blacklists?

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    1. No idea but Verizon is an NHL sponsor. Do you mean BlackHawks?

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  11. I hope this doesn't mean Ting is merging with/taking over US Mobile. US Mobile's T&Cs appeared to be a direct lift from Ting's web site when they launched. :-/

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    1. US Mobile is owned by a competely different company than Ting. They probably just copied the T&Cs and Ting graphics style to save time. But since they also copied the pricing model and Dashboard concept, they might be trying to confuse customers. Kind of like Cricket losing the lawsuit by copying T-Mobile magenta color (Cricket also copied T-Mobile "Simple" description for their plans).

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  12. Is it confirmed somewhere that Ting has off-network roaming for voice and text on the GSM side? Where I live that would be the difference between "No way" and "Interesting."

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    1. See their new GSM coverage map. It's the right one.

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    2. Enter an address like Marquette, MI and see the note.

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  13. I just ordered my new Ting GSM SIM. Check your Inbox for your invitation if you signed up for early notice. Early testers can use their GSM service for no charge.

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    1. I just got my invitation and signed up for Ting GSM service. I was wrong about no-charge service during beta testing, but I had used a $25 referral coupon to create a new account, so I will get 6 or 7 weeks of free service to test. I ran a speed test, and am getting un-throttled T-Mobile LTE in my area.

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    2. On Ting GSM, I am getting 17 Mbps down and 18 Mbps up, with a ping of 46, with 3 bars of service on my Moto X. A tip if you try Ting GSM: Do NOT try to change your own phone number by deactivating/reactivating your number under Device Settings. The reactivation fails at this time in the beta test phase ("SIM aging. Try reactivation again."}. This happened to me; I was getting a lot of spam from Facebook in Spanish (email to text), and should have just turned off texting under Device Settings (click on your phone number there). Ting was very professional as usual; they put a new SIM in overnight mail at no cost in case it was needed; gave me a credit for my first month's bill; and the GSM project manager manually reactivated my original SIM with a new phone number at 2:22 AM this morning (!) That's what I call excellent service.

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  14. New Ting 4Q report shows that they doubled their subscribers to 94,000, and active devices to 147,000 last year. Revenue was up 151% over 2013, with gross margin / revenue growing to 40% in Q4, versus 31% in Q4 last year.
    http://www.fiercewireless.com/story/sprint-mvno-ting-doubled-accounts-2014-94000/2015-02-12?utm_medium=nl&utm_source=internal

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