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Ting Answers User's Questions on Google Plus - BYOSD Starting Dec 4

Sprint prepaid MVNO Ting did a Google Plus Hangout yesterday. Hangouts are group video chats that multiple users can participate in. The Ting Hangout featured Ting Director Scott Allan and four other Ting folks in a wide ranging and frank discussion of the status of BYOSD (Bring Your Own Sprint Phone) and new devices and services coming to Ting.

The big news is that, baring any unexpected delays, BYOSD is finally going to launch next Tuesday, Dec 4th. Ting is able to activate approximately 2500 different Sprint phones including virtually all Sprint phones released in the last five years with the exception of iPhones, BlackBerrys, Google Nexus phones, LTE devices and Boost or Virgin Mobile phones.

BYOSD activation will be online and sellf-service. Non-4G Sprint and Sprint MVNO devices will take only a couple of minutes to activate. 4G WiMAX phones are fully supported but it will take up to 30 hours after submitting the request before a WiMAX phone activates. Basic activation will enable voice, 3G data and SMS. Manual programming will be required to get MMS picture messaging and WiMAX working.

During a recent BYOSD closed Beta, the most popular Sprint devices to activate were the HTC EVO 4G, HTC EVO 3D, Samsung Galaxy S II, LG Optimus S and the Motorola Photon 4G. Ting has detailed instructions to guide users through manually programming those five models. For other phones users may need to do a bit of research to find out how to set up MMS and WiMAX.

Regarding if and when iPhones, Google Nexus and LTE devices and BlackBerrys would be supported on Ting.

  • Ting says that they are currently having discussions with Google and expect to be able to activate Sprint's Nexus S 4G and Galaxy Nexus next year. A Ting user has started a petition at tingmynexus.com that users can sign to put a little pressure on Google.
  • LTE devices will also be supported in early 2013.
  • Windows Phone 8 will likely make an appearance on Ting next year.
  • Ting has contacted Apple about being able to support the iPhone, the rest is up to Apple but next year is looking good.
  • Supporting BlackBerry would require a substantial investment for infrastructure and Ting has no immediate plans to do it.

Ting demonstrated a new version of it's online "Your Account" Dashboard for users. The Dashboard now shows real time usage data so users get see how much of their data, voice and messaging buckets they have used and how much it is costing them. Users now have the ability to setup alerts that will disable data or messages for the remainder of the current billing period when usage reaches a specified amount. This should help cost conscious users control costs.

A three new Ting devices will be released next week:
  • Home Phone Connect, a wireless in-home voice only device priced at about $100 that can replace a land line phone. Available next week.
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 2, phone/tablet "phablet" with 5.5 inch 1280 x 720 HD screen, 8 MP camera, quad core 1.6 Ghz processor, LTE (which doesn't work on Ting) and Android 4.1 JellyBean, available next Tuesday or Thursday for about $625.
  • LG Optimus G with 4.7 1280 x 720 True HD inch screen, 13 MP camera, quad core 1.5 GHz processor, Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and (currently non-working) LTE, available next Thursday for about $540.

In the Q&A part of the Hangout there were some interesting questions about lower data prices (Ting is working on it, maybe next year), using Ting phones on Sprint (difficult but Ting can do it, should be easier next year) and using a Sprint Airave wireless in-home signal booster on Ting (Ting can activate them but it's a labor extensive manual process, should be automated soon).

The hangout video is embedded above. It's nearly an hour long. If you're interested in one of the topics discussed and don't want to watch the whole thing here's a timeline of the highlights

11:25 Home Phone Connect 2
12:53: LG Optimus G
13:30 Galaxy Note 2
14:25 Nexus discussions with Google
15:38 iPhone up to Apple
16:36 Windows Phone 8 next year?
17:35 BlackBerry, no plans to support in next 4-6 months
22:00 Real time usage on Ting site. Ability to disable data or messages until end of billing period based on usage.
37:30 BYOSD: 30 hour delay in activating 4G devices. MMS and 4G require manual update. Top 5 devices
46:40 Q&A: Lower data pricing possible next year.
53:48 Q&A: Taking a Ting device back to Sprint.
55:50 Q&A: Sprint Airave (wireless in-home signal booster) on Ting?

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  1. I think the wait will be worth it.

  2. Excellent! My Ting phone arrives next week, and now I can also test my Zio on Ting, since I have the MSL code. Good news: "Real time usage on Ting site. Ability to disable data or messages until end of billing period based on usage."

    1. The Ting refurb phone arrived DOA. It's going back.

    2. Phone was actually OK; the battery was so dead that the phone would not charge it or even start up with the charger plugged in. Replacement phone was fine, and orginal phone worked fine with the replacement battery.

  3. Ting is emerging as quite a force to be reckoned with. I'm still not crazy about their confusing pricing structure but they have a lot of options. Despite this, Page Plus wins in the overall category of network quality.

  4. Although I think Ting can be competitive against other MVNO's currently out there in the future, They are not that great of an option against T-Mobile Monthly 4G, Straight Talk's BYOD (AT&T or T-Mobile) service, Page Plus or Solavei (T-Mobile's Postpaid Network). The biggest issue I see with Ting isn't its customer service, monthly plans or phone selection. Its the network that they are using, which is Sprint's (Native) network. And everyone knows that Sprint's network is the WORST out of the four (Nationwide). Ting's plans are also much more expensive then T-Mobile's Monthly 4G, Solavei and Straight Talk's. If you are using a Smartphone, which is pretty much everyone nowadays, Ting is NOT a good choice. They charge $60 for only 3GB of usage per month, and that does NOT include any mins or text, and then they charge a service fee of $6 each line. Then comes the Surcharges. With T-Mobile's Monthly 4G you can get 100 mins, Unlimited Text and 5GB of 4G Data then throttled after, for $30 a month. With Straight Talk you can get Unlimited Talk, Unlimited Text and Unlimited (2GB then Throttle) 3G/4G Data on either AT&T's network or T-Mobile's for $48 a month. Its up to you. Solavei also runs off of T-Mobile's network (Post-Paid), so you have access to nationwide Roaming onto AT&T's network when out of T-Mobile's. You also have a MUCH broader phone selection thanks to GSM network. I can buy a Brand New Nexus 4 for $300, buy a Solavei SIM (Free in Dec), pay for my first month (Free in Dec)($49 a month Unlimited All after), And be running on a much better network then Ting's (Coverage & Data). Plus much cheaper. Then there is Page Plus, which is one of the very few MVNO's out there that run on Verizon's network (3G). With Page Plus you can also BYOD (Verizon Smartphone or Unlocked Sprint Smartphone) to use. Page Plus has five monthly plans to choose from. $12 (250 Minutes, 250 Text/Picture Messages and 10 MB of Data), $30 (1,200 Voice Minutes + 3,000 Text/MMS Messages + 250 MB Data), $40 (Unlimited minutes/Unlimited Text/MMS and 200 MB of Data), $55 (Unlimited Talk, Unlimited Text/Picture Messages, 2 GB of Data) $70 ( Unlimited Talk, Unlimited Text/Picture Messages, 5 GB of Data). So just out of those four MVNO's, which one is a smarter choice, Ting or the alternative? I am not a CSR for any of these MVNO's, just an average Joe who was in the same predicament months ago looking to find more affordable service.

  5. I don't find Ting's pricing very attractive either. Ting coverage does include voice roaming, which makes its coverage roughly equal to T-Mobile prepaid which also includes voice only roaming.

    1. I think your wrong Yeswap about T-Mobile's Prepaid Roaming availability. With T-Mobile Monthly 4G you are able to Roam (Voice & Text with 2G Data) in alot of areas around the country, but not all. So you do have atleast EDGE (2G) Roaming. With Solavei (T-Mobile MVNO) service, you have complete access to T-Mobile's nationwide network (Postpaid Coverage). And service is only $49 a month for Unlimited Talk, Text and 4G Data. Right now they are offering a Free SIM card and Free First month.

    2. I've been using T-Mobile prepaid for many years. At one time data worked while roaming but it hasn't worked for me for at least two years when roaming in central Nevada, or along CA 1 between Ft Brag and Mendocino or in rural Santa Barbara county, CA. I don't have any experience with Solavei.

    3. I agree with Yeswap. Many years on Tmob prepaid, and I have not been able to data roam on AT&T for several years now. I use Tru SIM for that.

      Ting Sprint service has voice and text roaming on Verizon. Their coverage is better than Pageplus/Verizon prepaid coverage, and Ting does not charge 20-29c to roam like Pageplus does.

  6. "Solavei and our Social Members are partnered to keep operating cost low, we ask Members to be aware of the high cost to Solavei by avoiding roaming for extended periods of time. Our activation process will discourage members living out of Solavei coverage from activating service, however, in the event that members do activate and are excessively roaming, Solavei reserves the right to cancel the service of those Members."


    Compare Ting's coverage map to Solavei's Tmob+AT&T. Ting's Sprint+Verizon looks like a lot more coverage to me. But Ting does not offer data roaming, similar to Tmob monthly 4G plans.

  7. Tmob terms and conditions.

    "Monthly4G Plans: ...General Terms: Sufficient balance required to use service. Calls rated on a per minute basis. Partial minutes/data rounded up for billing. Data: Domestic & international data roaming not available."

    See the fine print at the bottom of the page.

  8. Ting has a big advantage over Tmob monthly prepaid: Reasonable Voice+Data. The Medium data tiers, 500 min. and MB cannot be duplicated on Tmob without settling for very slow throttling (~120-128mbs) on the Tmob $50/mo. plan after 100 mb, or living with only 100 min. + 10c/extra on the $30/5GB plan. You have to spend $60/mo. with Tmob. to get a reasonable amount of minutes+data. Or carry a second phone. Pageplus charges $42.50 for the 1200 TnT with 500mb.

    With Ting, 500/1000/500 costs $33/mo.+tax (Gov taxes, no Ting adds). $50 to get 1GB/mo. You can beat those on Straight Talk, but they will cut you off if you stream video or music, or exceed 2-3GB. Some users have reported being threatened when they exceed 100mb/day for a few days. And you have to live with their notorious CS.

    Sprint 3G may be slow, but it is tolerable at 400-500 mb/s. 3G is getting faster with better coverage in areas being upgraded under Network Vision for LTE. LTE is coming to Ting, but it's not clear when or if Vzw or AT&T, or Tmob (eventually), will allow it for MVNOs. And Ting has no problem with tethering. Straight Talk does, and Tmob monthly prepaid is trying to get $15/mo. for this.

    1. Correction: Ting 500/1000/1Gig is $44/mo.+tax, not $50.

    2. Correction on the price quoted for PagePlusCellular plans:
      - 1200 TnT w/ 250MB is actually $29.95
      - UTnT w/ 200MB is $39.95

    3. True, but the point was that you *only* get 250 mb included with 1200 TnT.
      In the comparison above, it takes an extra $12.50/month to get 500 mb with the 1200 TnT plan.

      You can keep the extra nickel, though: $42.45 vs. $33 +tax with Ting ;-)

    4. Now I comprehend the comparison: it's for purposes of attaining these moderate levels of usage:
      - 500 voice minutes
      - 1,000 SMS
      - 500 MB mobile data

      According to their website, Ting's offering is priced at "$33/month + surcharges". For the purposes of this comparison I'll use 5% as estimated local taxation, which yields $1.65. This results in $34.65/month with Ting.

      A cost comparison with the PagePlusCellular $29.95/month TnT 1200 plan combined with $1.65 used at their data overage rate of $0.05/MB yields these usage levels:
      - 1,200 voice minutes
      - 3,000 SMS
      - 311 MB mobile data (from adding 250 + 61)

      So when normalized to the $34.65 price point, Ting has 58% less voice minutes, 67% less SMS, but 61% more mobile data than PagePlusCellular.

      However, let's revisit the T-Mobile Prepaid $30 UL Text & Web plan with the $4.65 difference applied as overage voice minutes:
      - 146 voice minutes (from adding 100 + 46)
      - unlimited SMS
      - 5 GB mobile data

      It should be worth pointing out that mobile VOIP/SIP apps provide users of this plan with the opportunity to apply up to 4 GB of mobile data as voice calling. Determining the amount of voice calling this represents will have to be left as "an exercise for the reader".

      So in this case of the $34.65/month price point, Ting has carved out its own happy medium between voice-centric PagePlusCellular and data-centric T-Mobile Prepaid. The great thing about the current marketplace is that there appears that all usage levels can be met by a great diversity of non-contract plans and providers.

    5. That is how the competition works. They look for holes in competitors' plans and fill them, in a way that is affordable to them and appealing in their ads at the same time.
      Go over Ting's 500 mb threshold by more than the 5% tolerance they mention in their blog, and you pay an extra $10 per month. Their dashboard give you some assurance that will not happen, but Ting has probably figured that some users won't set it up, and others will drop the restriction from time to time. Demand for data is increasing. As you get used to the "extra" data in the 500mb level they give you at the $33 price point in the example above, you may upsize to 1gb for another $11/mo.

      Pplus, with Vzw help, dropped their overage rates from 10c and 20c to 5c to remain competitive; they know data demand is increasing and people are shopping for better rates. Average voice use is flat or dropping, and voice and sms are very cheap to provide, but their plan appears to be and is an impressive value as long as you do not need much more than their new, higher 250mb level. Pplus has a big gap between 250mb and 2gb on their 55 plan. Ting fits in at $44 (w/500m, 1000 sms) for 1gb, for one example. Spot gives you unlimited data, throttled after 250mb for $40, and after 1gb for $50. Faster speed than Verizon or Sprint 3G, if you fall in Tmob's HSPA data coverage area. The temptation of unlimited data, even though most smartphone users stay well under 1gb.
      Study of buyer psychology, computer modeling of trends and other variables, marketing input, there must be a lot going on under the hood.
      LTE will disrupt the prepaid cellular market, dramatically lowering the cost of data; we will see whether Sprint actually gives Ting LTE next year, and when. When will Vzw, ATT and Tmo follow with their MVNOs if this happens?

  9. Replacement phone appears new, not refurb. Orig phone had a battery so dead it would not charge or allow phone to startup.

    New Dashboard allows me to get alerts when data, minutes, texts exceed X, and disable when they exceed Y. Option to turn each type back on automatically at start of new billing period.

    My taxes are $1.48 on $9. Since some taxes are flat fees, the tax rate (% of bill) will go down when I use more services next month.

  10. They are now selling the Sprint Home Connect 2 for $99.
    Replace your home phone service with this Ting device.
    $6/month, plus the minutes you use out of your shared minute pool.

    This would cost me $12 extra/month for the device and +400 minutes, but I would save $18+ by canceling Vonage. I only have 300 minutes/month on Vonage, but that does not include incoming or toll free minutes. So Ting might actually cost $21 plus tax, and include 900 extra minutes we can use on cell or home phones.

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