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Ting to Begin Activating Sprint Phones This Week

Ting, a Sprint MVNO startup backed by domain registrar Tucows, has announced that beginning this week, customers can start using Sprint phones on Ting.

Most Sprint devices should work with the following exceptions:

  • Device must not be currently active on Sprint. 
  • Device must not be blacklisted as lost or stolen. 
  • LTE phones, Google Nexus, BlackBerrys, iPhones and Push To Talk phones can't be used. 
The following Sprint phones have been test by Ting and confirmed working :

  • HTC EVO 4G
  • Samsung Galaxy SII (Epic Touch 4G)
  • LG Optimus S
  • HTC EVO 3D 4G
  • Motorola Photon 4G (not the Motorola Photon Q)
Ting's Bring Your Own Sprint Device (BYOSD) Program will launch as a public Beta. You can register here for the Beta, which is supposed to begin this week. Activation will be fee.

Ting uses the Sprint network with off-network voice-only roaming on Verizion and regional CDMA networks in areas where Sprint does not offer service (coverage map).

Ting's pricing model is unusual. There's a $6 per phone base fee that doesn't include any airtime and is charged whether you use the phone or not. On top of that users are charged for buckets of minutes, messaging and  data.  For example, the first 100 minutes costs $3. Use more and you are are automatically moved to the next tier ($8 for up to 500 minutes) for the current month. Here's a table listing all the tiers.

Ting Pricing
Tier XS S M L XL XXL Beyond XXL
Minutes 0 100 500 1000 2000 3000  
Cost $0 $3 $9 $18 $35 $52 2¢/ea
Text Messages (domestic and international) $0 100 1000 2000 4000 6000  
Cost $0 $3 $5 $8 $11 $14 1/4¢ each
Data (MB) 0 100 500 1000 2000 3000  
Cost $0 $3 $13 $24 $42 $60 2.25¢ per MB
Data, minute and messaging tiers can be shared across multiple phones or users on the same account making Ting a good fit for families and multi-device users who fall into the sweet spots in Ting's tiers. But I fear that Ting's pricing is unnecessarily complicated and may confuse users.

Source: Ting Blog via FierceWireless

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  1. Ting offers some real opportunities and also some price risks. The account dashboard is an excellent tool, the best in cellular I think, to control minutes, texts and data usage and costs for all account members. Even if you only use half of the allocation in the Medium tiers, one of the sweet Ting sweet spots, you get a good deal. The Ting blog says you get a 5% tolerance above your plan limits, where you are not charged extra. E.g., you have the 500 minute bucket, and can use 525 before paying an extra $9 for up to 1000 minutes.

    To embrace Ting, Pay-Go users have to get past your dislike for paying for part of the service in your buckets that you do not use. Monthly plan users have done this already. As always, you have to focus on your typical usage and the bottom line when you evaluate Ting. Ting requires a little active management to avoid jumping into a higher bucket towards the end of the billing cycle. Make a reminder to watch the dashboard during the third and fourth weeks, use it to turn off that one service when you get close to a tier at the end of the billing cycle (maybe carry a second pay-go phone for a few days) and you can control your costs. This approach will not appeal to some people. But Ting's middle-of-tier rates for services are very reasonable due to the $6/line fee. You may find that you are able to enjoy more services than you do now without paying extra. And the coverage is really excellent, with free roaming on Verizon for voice and text. Better than regular Pageplus (Verizon prepaid coverage). No 20-29c for voice roaming per minute at Ting. I am waiting for my Ting phone and will give it a try.

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