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Ting Customer Q&A – James Foster

James Foster

Ting customer since: Feb 2012
Previous carrier: Verizon
Monthly savings with Ting: $70/mo

Where did you first hear about Ting?:

I was sitting down with my wife, debating between taking Verizon’s lowest family plan, and giving Sprint a try. While she was fiddling with plan pricing, I was browsing Slashdot (like always). They had a feature about a new wireless company started by Tucows (a name I remembered from the good ol’ days before the .com crash). After looking into Ting a little bit, we made the obvious decision to switch.

What was it about Ting that resonated with you and made you want to switch?:

Being a technology enthusiast, I have an endless number of rants on the stupidity of America’s wireless carrier situation. While I understand that putting up the infrastructure for these things is expensive, the prices these guys charge are absolutely ridiculous. When I first looked at Ting’s pricing structure and easily understood “however many devices you want, man” attitude, I was basically sold. I don’t mind paying a bit more for my device if I’m allowed to do whatever I want with it and pay a fair price to use all its features.

Were you in contact with a mobile carrier before you made the move to Ting? How long was left? What did that translate to in early termination fees?:

Our Verizon contract had just ended and we were no longer going to get a discount due to my wife switching jobs. We were going to be paying over $120 a month for dumbphones. If I had known about Ting earlier, I can guarantee I would’ve terminated.

What kind of savings are you seeing with Ting, month over month?:

Our old Verizon bill was about $105 a month for two terrible feature phones. My screen was broken, and my wife’s phone had many glitches. Our Ting bill, for 2 very capable smartphones, averages about $35 a month. We once had to pay $45 because I accidentally used a bunch of extra data that month. No tears were shed from that incident.

How many phones and/or data services do you have on your Ting plan?:

Two LG Optimus S’s. We love them both.

When you explain Ting to your friends, family and/or random passers by, what do you say?:

“Ting is a company comprised entirely of real people. When you call their single phone number, a pleasant-voiced human answers the phone. When you look into their forums to get an idea of their culture, they have a section on Android Hacking. When you actually use your phone, you are charged in a way that resembles what you’d charge your friends if you ran a wireless company. Ting is an almost blinding ray of sanity and choice in dark realm of mediocrity.”

Are you happy you made the move to Ting? Care to elaborate?:

I could not possibly be happier. I have a tinker-friendly phone running a custom operating system and a bill most would think is being subsidized by the government. My wife and I had a baby only moments before losing both of our jobs. We have literally been running on fumes every month. Ting has been one of the brightest patches of this troubling phase in our lives. With the bills being so low and the service so reliable, I have never once had to worry about whether or not I’ll have a phone number potential employers can reach me. Not to mention the fact that they’re Android phones, so I’m never more than two taps away from a fun game to help relax. My only fear is that (god forbid) Ting will assimilate so many happy customers that Sprint will get mad and quash them.

What should we be doing better?:

I really only have one tiny, insignificant issue with Ting. When are you guys going to make an android app/widget that lets us monitor our account’s usage across devices? If you get that implemented, I would literally be in wireless heaven.

Samsung Galaxy SIII giveway winner:
Christopher Blunden

We promised refunds from among the first 200 pre-orders of the Samsung Galaxy SIII when we first made it available on Ting. The response was a huge spike in device sales and proof positive that we’d put a challenging device period behind us.

Recently we had a chat with Bill Butt about his win. Now it’s Christopher Blunden’s turn to speak his piece.

Thanks for taking the time, Christopher. We appreciate it and we’re glad you’re loving the SIII and Ting service so far. We also appreciate your restraint in not plugging your own web site. Heck, you didn’t even mention it. Allow us:
If you’re looking for a voice-over artist or a pro PowerPoint presentation, check out PresentationLab.

Where did you first hear about Ting? Why did you choose to make the switch?

I have an Internet radio and earphone by the bed I use to listen Leo Laporte’s day-later podcasts of This Week in Tech (TWIT) various shows. What he said made sense. “When it comes to billing plans for smart devices, these folks at Ting got it right.” (ed: This is just one of the reasons we love Leo and his TWIT network.)

Prior to this, I always bragged about having the “smartest” data plan, then pulled out my Motorola v557 flip phone with the retired Cingular logo stamped on the bottom and said, “Zero, I have none.”

I had looked at plan upgrades for a long time through phone company competitors and at Costco, and realized after about a year with Ting, the ongoing savings kick in. I waited several months until you offered the phone I wanted, the SIII, and combined with a $50 promo savings you honored, I finally went ahead.

Did you run the numbers on how long it would take to save the equivalent of the SIII purchase price before buying?

Yes, and even with bundling plan offers, it still made better sense to me to invest in Ting.

How long would it have taken?

I have access to a wired desktop and a wireless laptop I use all day for work, so calculating my potential data usage using a mobile smart device in answer to your question is inexact. Being a baby-boomer in my “extremely late 40’s” I’ve always used computers daily since the pre-DOS CP/M days. I recently read that using a smart phone as a telephone is less than 5% of actual usage, and that most usage is as a mobile computing device. While engaging in one of my work skills (doing voice-overs for App developers) I’ve discovered new uses for these devices that never existed. I know I’ll be applying some of these Apps to my benefit. I also realized Ting was the most economical way for me to learn to use the device in new ways as a mobile computer at my own pace in wireless settings and to then apply that learning when on the go.

How is the Galaxy SIII working out for you so far?

It’s like walking into a Disneyland for the first time. I’ve had an iPod Touch 4 (64 GB) for two years (what Steve Jobs called, “The iPhone without the phone” which has always amazed me, but decided to enter Androidland to compare. Check back in 6 months.

What are you going to do with your new found fortune?

[Christopher] Upgrade the internet speed for my desktop.

How do you explain Ting to your friends and family?

The data plan where you only pay for what you use. And they actually answer their phone.

Samsung Galaxy SIII giveaway winner:
Bill Butt

When we first added the Samsung Galaxy SIII to the Ting lineup and offered it up for pre-order, we said we’d give away two Galaxy SIIIs across from among the first 200 pre-orders across all color and capacity variations. Well, we did just that; the first name drawn was William Butt, Bill to his friends. Since we’re all friends here, Bill it is.

We asked Bill if he’d be willing to do a quick Q&A with us. He obliged because he’s a nice guy.

Where did you first hear about Ting? Why did you choose to make the switch?

I was looking for a really good way to drastically cut my cell phone bill. My son, who follows all things tech, suggested that I look into Ting. I would say that I switched for two reasons: 1) to save money and 2) it made sense. I read the Ting blog from beginning to end (ed: That’s what I like to hear!), ran the numbers, and I saw that Ting is a different kind of phone company. In a two year time period I will cut my cell phone bill to a quarter of what it was even with buying the phone outright.

Did you run the numbers on how long it would take to save the equivalent of the SIII purchase price before buying? How long would it have taken?

The difference between my old provider using their lease to own (ed: Love this. A great way to look at subsidized devices and contracts.) and Ting’s owning the phone outright from day one was only $350. That is two or three months of savings to pay for the phone on an individual case. My apple to apple comparison of my old provider and Ting is something like going from $183/month before taxes to $45/ month using two years of cell phone usage. Stretch that out over two years, and you are talking some serious saving coming my way by changing to Ting.

How is the Galaxy SIII working out for you so far?

The Galaxy SIII is great. It’s light years ahead of my old phone that is only 2½ years old. The phone has lots of pros. There are too many to list here without any obvious cons. Folks just have to get one of these phones and unleash it on the Ting network. They will never be sorry. Plus, it is a bonus when the wife likes her new Samsung Galaxy SIII too.

What are you going to do with your new found fortune?

Pay the cable bill, would Ting be thinking about entering the cable TV Market? My cable company does not think like Ting does. Their bills are like my old cell phone provider, bad.

How do you explain Ting to your friends and family?

My change to Ting gives me more services for less money; you cannot beat that.

Thanks for taking the time, Bill. We appreciate it.

Ting Customer Q&A – Anne Tennies

Anne Tennies

Ting customer since: Feb 2012
Previous carrier: Verizon
Monthly Savings with Ting: About $24/mo.

What was it about Ting that resonated with you and made you want to switch?:

The pricing structure seemed very reasonable. I was resisting going to a smart phone, partly because of the extra $30/month. With Ting, we figured we’d save money even with the extra smartphone, and didn’t have to pay for 3 billion minutes or 5000 texts when we don’t use that much.

Were you in contact with a mobile carrier before you made the move to Ting? How long was left? What did that translate to in early termination fees?:

My contract had ended, but my husband had a few months yet, so I switched right away and added him the day his contract expired. I think when we checked it would have cost ~$250 in early termination fees, so he stuck it out.

What kind of savings are you seeing with Ting, month over month?:

We had been on my parents’ family plan and paid $65/month for 1 feature phone and 1 smart phone, each with a texting package ($5 per phone). With that plan, we had 550 minutes shared between 4 of us, plus free mobile-to-mobile. Since we’ve both been with Ting, we usually pay $41/month for 2 smart phones, but if we travel or for some reason use more data or minutes, it only adds a few bucks to the bill.

How many phones and/or data services do you have on your Ting plan?:

2 phones

When you explain Ting to your friends, family and/or random passers by, what do you say?:

Ting has the crazy idea that you should only pay for the minutes/data/texts that you actually use. You prepay for the month predicting your usage, and you’ll get a charge or credit on the next bill if you used more or less than you thought you would. Fantastic customer service, and when you call, somebody actually answers the phone. I warn them about the lack of data roaming, since we live in a rural area with spotty coverage, and then I send them a link to the site, encouraging hem to try the calculators, and (since the referral program has been around) offer a code to save some money if they’re interesting switching. I’ve also gone to a couple people’s homes so they could see the signal strength.

Are you happy you made the move to Ting? Care to elaborate?:

Very! Besides saving bunches of money, I’m really happy to have a smartphone. I don’t use much data, but a couple of the apps I use have changed my life. (With LoseIt I lost 20 pounds this summer, and OurGroceries has kept me from losing my mind)

What should we be doing better?:

If you could negotiate data roaming, that would make a huge difference for a lot of people in my community. We’re in a college town of approx. 20K people and Sprint has coverage in town, but 15 minutes in almost any direction and we’re roaming. That’s been a dealbreaker for some people. Otherwise you just need to get the word out better. I think some people get nervous about switching to something they’ve only heard of from one person by word-of-mouth.

Customer Q & A – Tim White

Tim White

Ting customer since: June 2012
Previous carrier: Verizon
Monthly savings with Ting: $55/mo.

Where did you first hear about Ting?:

The forums of Republic Wireless while I was waiting for my Beta wave there.

What was it about Ting that resonated with you and made you want to switch?:

I am a light user, but I still like to have a high functioning phone (smartphone) at my disposal. Ting allows me to pay for what I use, which seems downright logical.

Were you in contact with a mobile carrier before you made the move to Ting? How long was left? What did that translate to in early termination fees?:

My contract was up, I was past my 2 year term and was paying month to month.

What kind of savings are you seeing with Ting, month over month?:

I purchased the Galaxy SII from Ting for ~$470. Over my first 3 Ting bills I have saved ~$55/mo. (~$75 vs ~$20). The way I look at it, the savings will pay off the cost of the phone in another 6 months, and then after that I am saving $55/mo.! If I had the kind of plan with my previous carrier that I now have with Ting, the savings would be even larger. So not only have I upgraded, but I have also slashed my bill by $50+.

How many phones and/or data services do you have on your Ting plan?:

1

When you explain Ting to your friends, family and/or random passers by, what do you say?:

I usually point them to the site and show them the “plans” page. I then tell them how much I am paying per month (sometimes I have to pull up my bill on my awesome new smartphone to prove it). Not so much for the random passers by though…

Are you happy you made the move to Ting? Care to elaborate?:

I’m am very happy I moved to Ting. The amount of money I save per month is difficult to wrap my head around. My service is noticably worse, but the savings/service trade-off is a no-brainer for me. And of course, the poorer service is due to Sprint’s infrastructure and it came with the territory. I have a superior phone to my prior one (EnV Touch < Galaxy SII)and a better plan, for less money. What is there not to be happy about.

What should we be doing better?:

I have no complaints to make outside of my sometimes poor reception (which falls on Sprint’s shoulders). Verizon is without question the king of this area. I have not yet needed assistance from customer service, but from the quick answers to the questions people have on the forums and the praise I see heaped on Ting’s customer service I wouldn’t anticipate any complaints. The fact that I haven’t needed to contact customer service is a testament in itself.

Thank you Ting team!

First Ting customer hits the LTE network

We’re a little late in posting this given that our first LTE network ping actually happened on September 7. We figured we’d hold off long enough to put our news up against the impending iPhone 5 launch from Apple to see who’ll get the most attention.

We like our odds.

Wayne Elseth was early into the queue and received his Samsung Galaxy SIII pre-order in the first small batch of shipments. Working in Baltimore, MD, one of the first cities to come online in the LTE rollout, it wasn’t long before his phone found the faster network.

We got in touch with Wayne to let him know the good news; that as the first ever Ting LTE user, his Samsung Galaxy SIII pre-order purchase price was to be fully refunded. Not a bad deal, really!

There are still two more SIII full refunds to be drawn from the first 200 pre-orders upon activation. With 32 GB Galaxy SIIIs approaching our warehouse now and with 16 GBs closely following, we expect to draw two more lucky winners next week.

In the meantime, we can live vicariously through Wayne. We spoke to him about his latest acquisition, about making the switch to Ting, about LTE and about new found fortune:

Ting: Where did you first hear about Ting? Why did you choose to make the switch?

Wayne Elseth: I’ve been a captive of the Big Guys for many years suffering through a set of family feature phones that allowed us to communicate but weren’t at all inspiring. I’ve wanted (cannot really say I needed, but the end result is the same) to upgrade to a smart phone for a long time but couldn’t justify the expense of three data plans and the resulting two-year contract.

As part of my complete “cutting the cord” effort I moved my home phone to VOIP and continued the effort by looking for a new cell provider. A few Google searches later I found Ting! The fact that Ting is related to Tucows only made the discovery better. I’ve been a Tucows fan since the very early days when the primary product was file sharing. It’s really great that Tucows is expanding. Also, I really love having a bucket of time/bytes to share between the family phones.

T: Did you run the numbers on how long it would take to save the equivalent of the SIII purchase price before buying? How long would it have taken?

W: Keeping in mind that we used to have only feature phones with the smallest bucket of minutes our total monthly bill was in the $75 range. Assuming the same usage pattern the savings calculates out to about $54 per month less expensive using Ting, so the SIII break-even is a bit less than a year. We keep equipment forever, so the payback is even better than it first appears.

T: How is the Galaxy SIII working out for you so far?

W: It’s a great phone and provides excellent coverage. I’m still loading it up with interesting apps. I’m also guessing that my time on the SIII will be going up – it’s got a pretty amazing set of capabilities.

T: What are you going to do with your new found fortune?

W: Well, getting a 4G hotspot for my laptop is looking pretty interesting.

T: Did you notice the speed difference when you hit the LTE network?

W: Yes, the 4G speed difference is amazing. Web pages download in a flash making for a great user experience.