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Why buying last year’s flagship phone is the smarter choice

holding a flagship phone

Imagine you’re in the market for a new car. When you arrive at the dealership, you’ll see the shiny new 2018 models, as well as the 2017 models being offered at a fairly compelling price. You decide to test-drive one of each, and while the 2018 might have a few more bells and whistles, a lot of things are pretty much the same. Things like the engine, the safety features, and the fit, finish and feel haven’t really changed after only a year. After thinking it over, you’ll probably end up signing a contract for the 2017 model.

If you’re looking for a new smartphone, you should apply the same kind of thought process as you would when buying a car. Here are a few reasons why buying last year’s flagship is the best choice for your next smartphone purchase.

Verizon Plans – More for More

Verizon created a lot of excitement a few days ago when they announced that they were bringing back unlimited data plans. Out of curiosity (and maybe some fear), I ran the numbers on what Ting customers paid in January compared to each of the new Verizon plans:

With one device – 97.6% of our customers paid less than the $80 they would pay on Verizon
With two devices – 99.6% paid less than the $140 they would pay on Verizon
With three devices – 99.3% paid less than the $160 they would pay on Verizon
With four devices – 99.1% paid less than the $180 they would pay on Verizon

I think unlimited data – both never having to be mindful (getting on Wi-Fi, caching music and maps) and potentially doing even more on the go – can be a wonderful luxury.

On a personal note, I also think we should all have some affordable luxuries. I have been buying this silly little baguette with smoked salmon, cucumber and dill at a nearby coffee shop for like $15 on Saturday mornings after I work out. It feels wrong every time. But it is so good.

I just think it is helpful to point out that our 150,000 budget-conscious Ting families (and the millions of budget-conscious potential Ting families they represent) averaging $23 per device a month can get more for more with Verizon and others, but they still cannot get more for less.

A Valentines’ Day message to RingPlus customers: Stay

Dear RingPlus customers. I know you are restless. I know there are sexier options out there. Even as you flirt with us in social media and run your eyes all over our $35 credit, I can feel you planning your escape. So, on this Valentine’s Day, I want to boldly suggest that it might be time to settle down. I want to suggest that, just maybe, you should stay.

We will never try to control you.

Many of the plans you will consider out there are just that, plans. You commit to a fixed amount of usage. That’s when the games start. If you need less than what you bought, you just wasted money. If you need more than what you bought, you are likely buying overpriced top ups or paying penalties. Or maybe you get throttled or hotlined.

Ting doesn’t play games or offer plans. You use what you use and you pay a fair price for it at the end of the month. That’s why our customers average just $23 per phone a month. If you need just one phone to make the occasional call and you don’t need text or data, that probably means you are paying $9 for the month (a $6 line fee plus $3 for up to 100 minutes).

Plus, we actually give you tools and tip to help you control your usage and manage your budget. We want you to spend less so you stay longer and tell your friends. You can set alerts or even hard stops when your devices or your account reaches certain amounts of voice, text or data.

In fact, we don’t even care to control what phone or network you use. Bring a phone or buy a phone. Use a flip phone or a hotspot. Switch between our two networks. Have different phones on your account on different networks at the same time.

I guess I’m saying we’re easy. Heck, I’ll say it. We’re easy.

We will love your family.

Ting is simply unbeatable for multiple devices. Many of you have talked about having some family members on more traditional plans and then low usage family members on RingPlus. Ting value gets better with more devices on your account and gives you the simplicity of one control panel, one support call and one bill. You can have unlimited phones on an account. Each active phone costs just a $6 line fee each month. Then we pool the usage across all your phones to determine what you pay for data, voice and text each month. When you add elderly parents or kids to a plan that includes average smartphone users, those low usage family members are likely costing you $6 a month and then almost nothing on their incremental usage.

We will listen and help.

Free or low cost providers usually mean that you are pretty much on your own. At Ting, we have managed to cut expenses elsewhere – marketing, real estate, wholesale costs – and, in fact, offer the most outstanding customer support in the industry.

We have the most knowledgeable, resourceful, patient and personable reps. We also train, direct and empower them to give every customer the time they require and help every customer any way they can. This unique approach to customer support has earned us top ratings in the Consumer Reports survey of U.S. cell phone carriers for the past three years. It is the sort of benefit you might not even think you need or care about until you experience it.

We will stick around.

Many of you are still thinking, “Sure, but I want free.” I get it. It is tough to go from getting something for free to paying for it. But you know what’s tougher? Changing providers every time yours goes out of business. Listen. Services like Ting, RingPlus, Tello, FreedomPop, Solavei, Republic Wireless and others pay our carrier partners for any use on our service. If carriers were offering free wholesale service, I would know about it. If we have to pay the carriers and we are not collecting enough from customers, we have a problem. Ad-supported models don’t work because, in the end, customers almost never buy what the advertisers are selling. Other tricks that count on customers using too little or using too much don’t work because customers will ultimately be very smart and act in their own interest. Offers that look too good to be true probably are.

Ting is a bit boring. We charge a fair margin on all usage from the first megabyte, minute and text. But it seems to be working for everyone. Our 250,000 customers on 150,000 accounts are happy to be paying $23 a month on average and as little as $6 a month for emergency phones. Our employees are happy because they have good jobs and are selling something they believe in. Our shareholders are happy because the company (Tucows, NASDAQ:TCX) has gone from a valuation of about $30 million when we launched Ting in 2012 to nearly $500 million today.

In other words, we are not going anywhere.

We will migrate you over shortly. Spend the night, use your credits, have a good time. If you wake up at the end of your credits and you have somewhere else you need to be, we will not keep you. Although I think a lot of you might finally be right where you belong.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Refer your friends to Ting

Help a friend discover Ting and you’ll both get credit!

The Ting referral program lets you share a unique Ting referral link which gives your friends $25 off their bill or $25 off a new phone from the Ting Shop. You’ll get $50 off your bill after your first successful referral, and $25 off your bill for each referral after that.

If you’re a Ting customer, log in and head to the Refer a Friend page in the Ting Dashboard to get started. This is your personal referral page that displays a unique URL which, once used, will reward you and your friend with sweet Ting credit. Just make sure your friend uses your special referral link when coming to our website to sign up for a Ting account and purchase a SIM card or phone.

If your friend signed up and forgot to use your referral link, get in touch with us and we’ll make it right.

refer a friend ting website

Some of our customers have received months of free service just by sharing their experience with others and letting them know they can get a $25 credit for signing up through their personal referral link. So if you’re having a great experience with Ting, why not spread the word? Your friends deserve a smarter mobile service too!

We’ve integrated sharing tools for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and email to make it easy to share your link where you think seems fit. Then, just sit back and watch the service credits roll in – there’s no easier way to have a cheaper Ting bill.

Hit up your unique Refer a Friend page today and let the referrals begin!

Looking for other ways to lower your monthly Ting bill? Learn how to do more with your smartphone without paying more for mobile data.


How have you found success with referring friends and family? Please share it in the comments below, your fellow Ting customers will appreciate the insight.