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BYO(S)D – Moving ever closer to Ting

tl;dr: A Ting BYOD timeline:

Alpha testing underway
Late October:
Phase one beta launch target

Since we announced our BYOD plans for Q4 of this year, we’ve fielded innumerable questions and received thousands of entries in the Ting BYO(S)D beta program.

When the calendar flipped from September to October, Q4 officially started. We promised we’d share news as early in Q4 as we possibly could. It’s still early in Q4. This is as early as we possibly could. That said, we’ll have more detail to share once we’ve had a chance to do some of our own testing.

A couple of members of the Ting team just returned from Kansas City, home to Sprint HQ. Our top priorities for this meeting were to talk about BYOD and to put the things in place that would allow us to move forward quickly.

We also wanted to get a much clearer idea of what the device lineup will look like at the end of this and in to next year.

We wanted to get more and better refurbished devices that we could in turn offer up to you.

We’re pleased to report it’s check on all fronts; the rare trifecta of check. The latter two points we’ll cover in a device update, coming soon. This update is all about BYOD.

BYOD on Ting – a timeframe

BYO(S)D will allow us to bring just about any Sprint device over to Ting, including devices from other MVNOs but excluding the Boost and Virgin brands. Other exclusions we’ve mentioned before and include the iPhone, BlackBerry devices, Push to Talk devices and a few others.

Any device that isn’t on the blacklist and that has a valid ESN is eligible to move carriers. To have a valid ESN it must be a device that has not been reported lost or stolen and that isn’t tied to an account that’s not in good standing. We’re working on an online tool that will check a device ESN to ensure it’s legit, in part to foster the used device market.

While in Kansas City we got the whitelist of devices that will be able to make the move to Ting. It’s a long list. We’ve also compiled entries from the Ting BYOD beta program form and are in the process of selecting the best devices to focus our early efforts on for BYOD.

We have already started on a very small alpha program comprising a few members of the Ting Army. They’ll be working with us to test BYOD as we learn more about the process. We’re hoping we can begin to roll out the phase one beta as soon as the end of this month.

Challenges with BYOD on Ting

The biggest challenges thus far have been technical; there’s a lot that has to happen behind the scenes to provision a device from Sprint or from another MVNO and bring it over to Ting. Sprint is hard at work on an API that we can use to move a device. Until that’s in place, the BYOD process will require some intervention from our customer service team. Until more of the process can be a simple and hands-off affair, we won’t be opening BYOD up fully. As important as BYOD is to us and to you, it quickly loses its luster if it’s a manual process that doesn’t scale.

Ting my phone Android app

We’re hard at work on building an Android app that will do all the work: Checking the ESN on a Sprint device, registering that ESN as a Ting device and moving it under your Ting account. Until the aforementioned API is in place, the stuff going on behind the scenes of this Android app will be somewhat less than elegant. That said, it will demonstrate what’s possible. If all goes according to plan we’ll have this app in place for the phase one beta.

How the beta will work

We mentioned we’ve already started on a very small alpha test. Once that’s completed we’ll roll out the phase one beta which will be limited to the five or six most popular devices (as pulled from the Ting BYO(S)D survey and beta entry form), hopefully at the end of this month. Once this alpha and first phase beta testing are completed, we’ll roll a phase two beta out and offer it to everyone that filled out the aforementioned form.

We’ll continue to share news as news comes available to share.

If you want to be among the first to try BYOD on Ting there’s still time to fill out the BYOD survey and beta signup.