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BYOD – coming soon to Ting

UPDATE: BYOD for Sprint devices will hit beta testing soon. The latest details are in our BYO(S)D – Moving ever closer to Ting blog post.

Bring your own device (BYOD) is one of the most oft asked for features for Ting customers both current and would-be. It’s always been on our list and we’re always working to be able to offer it. That work is beginning to pay off. We’ll be rolling out the first phase of our BYOD program in Q4 of this year.

We’d say we’re excited to announce BYOD but that sounds too PR-ish. We’d say we’re super stoked to announce BYOD but that’d sound like we’re trying too hard. I guess you could say we’re at a loss for words to express just how super excitedly stoked we are to announce BYOD.

Before we dive in to the details on our upcoming BYOD plan, we want to manage some expectations. First, we’ll only be able to do BYOD for devices that work on the Sprint network initially [CLARIFICATION: and both Boost and Virgin mobile devices are excluded]. BYOSD, if you will. That said, this is a vital first step toward a more fluid mobile world where devices can move between carriers. We’ll continue to push. Second, this is not a backdoor to get the iPhone on Ting. BlackBerry, push to talk (PTT) and a small list of specific handsets won’t be BYODable (hey, it’s a word now). At least not immediately.

That said, for the vocal Windows Phone devotees we hear from, this development means that many Windows Phone devices purchased from Sprint can be brought over to and used on Ting. It also means that the super sweet Android smartphone you bought from Sprint can have a home on Ting and that the perfectly serviceable Sprint handset sitting in your desk drawer can come along too rather than taking a one-way trip to landfill.

We’ve got to hand it to Sprint on this too; this a brave and forward-thinking step. We partnered with Sprint because they’ve made it clear that virtual operators are important. This kind of development demonstrates just how important.

We’re still a good couple of months away from being able to offer BYOSD. Consider this a heads-up; if you’ve been hesitating on making the move to Ting because you’ve got a perfectly good Sprint device you’d like to bring along, you need hesitate no longer. Well. You need hesitate only a little while longer.

We must point out though, the sooner you move to Ting, the sooner you save. You can buy a Ting device knowing that your current Sprint handset can be handed over to your partner, your mom or the kids when BYOD hits. Running the numbers on the Ting calculator you’ll see that even factoring the device purchase price in, Ting will save you money on mobile. That said, if you have a reasonably current Sprint phone you paid good money for and would like to bring to Ting, you’ll realize those savings even sooner.

Our focus is on providing awesome and friendly mobile service. We’d much rather let our customers buy their phones from whatever outlet they prefer or bring their existing mobiles to Ting when their contract expires. This is a huge step in that direction.

How BYOSD on Ting will work

If you have a supported Sprint device that’s not under contract (or if you want to pay the ETF fees to get out of your contract), you’ll be able activate it on Ting just as you would a device that you purchased from us.

Your ex-Sprint device will use your Ting account’s pooled minutes, messages and megabytes.

Which phones are eligible for BYOSD?

Any Sprint phone will be eligible with a few notable exceptions including the iPhone, BlackBerry and PTT devices we mentioned before [CLARIFICATION: Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile devices are also not eligible for BYOD]. The list of exclusions isn’t finalized but will certainly be much shorter than the list of devices that can be brought over.

The reverse is also true

Any device purchased from Ting can also be BYOD’d to Sprint. It’s always been this way.

Strangely, we’re happy about this too. There are people who have been reluctant to try Ting because while we don’t (nor will we ever) lock devices, there’s a perception that a Ting device can only be used on Ting. This BYOD development makes the leap of faith more of a hop and people are more likely to give us a chance when Sprint is there as a fall-back plan. We’re sure that once mobile users get a taste of “mobile that makes sense,” they’ll have no desire to leave. That said, it’s the safety net that some people need.

We’ve been pushing hard for BYOSD. There’s still a bit of a wait but Q4 isn’t that far away. We’ll continue to push in an effort to make this happen in the earlier part of Q4.

As always, we’ll keep you posted. Follow our Device Updates feed to get the latest news.

If you want BYOD on Ting, please take a moment to fill out the quick survey that’s embedded below.

Online Form – Untitled Form

Ting Customer Q&A – Anthony Colby

Anthony Colby

Ting customer since: Feb 2012
Previous carrier: T-Mobile
Monthly Savings with Ting: Approx. $60/mo

Where did you first hear about Ting?:

Several online tech articles (Tech Crunch, etc)

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

The price, the fact that it was pay-for-what-you-use (since I never use texting, and very rarely use voice, it always annoyed me to have to pay for either). Also, the fact that I could live “contract free” with a mobile provider was a key motivator.

…How long was left? What did that translate to in early termination fees?:

I had about 6 months left, it translated to aprox $100 in termination fees. Given that I purchased a $500 phone that means I am eating away at a $600 “debt” that I got into because of Ting. However, since I’ve been with Ting since February, that debt is already nearly gone. Sooooooooo much more honest / truthful / awesome than with BigCell.

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

I used to pay $90, I now pay $30 or less per month… so $60 savings per month, on average.

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

2, a Motorola Photon 4G and a Huawei Express Mobile Hotspot

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

It’s pay for what you use. It’s combined so that you don’t need a separate plan for each device. It’s simple. It’s no BS. It’s way cheaper than I was paying on T-Mobile.

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

INSANELY HAPPY! Paying $60 less a month is GREAT, but it’s more than that. I like seeing all of my fees upfront, not being lied to about costs, and being on a carrier that doesn’t think the iPhone is a golden-god and Android is something that they simply have to “deal with.” Lately, with the fact that the Ting Army is starting up, I’m even MORE happy, knowing that Ting FUNDAMENTALLY supports developers, benevolent hackers, rooters, modders, flashers, and roms. Truly groundbreaking, again and again.

What should we be doing better?:

Lower data costs. You guys are a phone service that loves anyone, but is best for nerds. However, your pricing reflects someone who doesn’t (love) tech users. I’d rather see higher voice prices, and lower data prices, than what they are now. The data costs about 2x what it costs for my former tablet’s data-only plan ($35 for 3GB) and that, to me, is way to high.

Ting Customer Q&A – Chris Michael

Chris Michael

Ting customer since: Jul 2012
Previous carrier: T-Mobile & AT&T
Monthly savings with Ting: About $50/mo

Where did you first hear about Ting?:

A friend of mine who heard about it through Engadget

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

Sense. I had not owned a cell phone for many years because the plans the providers put forth just didn’t make any sense to me. I gave up several years ago, finally getting a contract-based plan, and have been complaining about pricing ever since.

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?:

Luckily, my old contract had just run out when I made the switch. If I hadn’t been so close to the end, I would have made the switch as soon as I heard about Ting.

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

Around 50 dollars a month for me and my wife.

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

2 mid-range Android phones

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

It’s the only provider whose pricing makes sense. The major providers seem to present their plans so that casual cell phone users like me have to pay for those who abuse the network. With my new family plan, I’d rather not play a guessing games with my usage to avoid overage charges. With Ting, everything is tiered and priced according to your usage for that month, which makes me feel good about paying my bill every month knowing that I’m pretty much paying for what I used. And free tethering? Yes, why not! It just makes sense!

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

Definitely. For once I am not complaining about how I have to pay a ridiculous 65 cents/minute when my family accidentally goes over the usage we had to guess at two years ago. I feel liberated from the greed-optimized plans of the major providers.

What should we be doing better?:

So far, no major complaints other than the obvious: people are picky about their phones. I understand if Ting can’t allow new customers to bring their phones in, but this will need to be offset by a larger variety of phones. People have become really attached to their phones, but nobody I know (other than Ting users) are attached to their service providers!

The Ting Road Warriors set off

A few months back, we were approached by a recent but eager convert to the Ting “mobile that makes sense” mantra. She reached out asking if we’d be interested in taking a road trip. Well, not so much us, as in the people behind Ting (though we might well have been down, if such an offer was floated) but rather, to come along for the ride with Ting riding shotgun. Naturally, we’d be chipping in for some gas and covering all data charges along the way.

From this simple email outreach, the Ting Road Warriors were born: Heidi, her hubby, their three boys and the latest addition to the family, a little girl just begging to be decked out in a Ting onesie. Funny story: Promotional onesies are surprisingly hard to come by. I guess there are too few companies looking to capture the 0 – 12 mo. demographic to make the promotional clothing industry pay much attention.

The Ting Road Warriors are setting out today and will touch Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, and Illinois over the course of their eight-day journey. If you’re nearby, keep your eyes peeled for them. They shouldn’t be hard to spot: Just look for the happy family in a van with Ting magnets adorning the sides. They’ll all be wearing Ting t-shirts. Except the youngest member of the crew. She’s in the aforementioned Ting onesie.

Heidi, leading the charge with her five fellow Ting Road Warriors, will be checking in as often as she can on the Ting Road Warriors Facebook event page. Follow along!

    Ting customer Q&A – Tom Kostera

    Tom Kostera

    Ting customer since: Apr 2012
    Previous carrier: Sprint
    Monthly savings with Ting: About $104/mo.

    Where did you first hear about Ting?

    Ting was suggested to me in a webforum that I belong to, in the general discussion section of AR15.com

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

    I was close to the end of my contract with another carrier and was looking for a no contract option. After investigating Ting, I was very happy to find that you used usage-based pricing, as we had been on an unlimited plan that was way more than we needed. I had looked at changing plans with my former carrier, but the lower thresholds wouldn’t have done much to save any money, and in some cases, would have been even more expensive. Ting offers a pricing structure that allows me to structure my usage and billing as I see fit. I am also very happy that Ting offers voice roaming, as that was a show stopper for me on the pre-paid carriers that I had also been researching (Virgin, etc)

    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?

    I am a former Sprint employee and had been using Sprint service for over 8 years. At the time I was made aware of Ting, I was very close to the end of my latest contract and actively shopping for a new carrier or better pricing option. I had no termination fees to pay.

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

    I had a total of two devices (my wife and I) on the Sprint Everything Data Family Plan. Including taxes and fees, I was paying $147 a month to Sprint. After I switched to Ting, my monthly bill ranged from $23 to $62 a month as I experimented with the plans and got used to using our wifi connection at home to reduce data usage. I have settled into a constant $43 a month (including taxes and fees). I’m extremely happy with my savings of $104 a month.

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

    2

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

    There is some confusion when they see a Sprint logo on my phone. We have deregulated natural gas service in our area, so I explain it to them using that model, as it is one that they are familiar with – a company providing service over another company’s infrastructure and competing on pricing and service. The message is usually well-received, but the upfront purchase of the phones seems to be an impediment to those who have known nothing but subsidized hardware. Even after taking them through your savings application and factoring in the hardware pricing over a 2 year term, many seem hesitant to make the leap. I don’t know if it’s a byproduct of the bad economy or being used the carrier “candy” or both.

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

    Yes, I’m very happy with the switch to Ting. The pricing can’t be beat for how we use our phones and while I have only had to interact with customer service twice (both times with questions, never a problem), I have found them to be pleasant and knowledgeable. I love that there is no phone tree to go through and live person who works in the United States is eager to answer my question with no drama.

    What should we be doing better?

    I don’t think that anything that I would suggest is something that you can control. There are some dead-spot issues with the Sprint network and I would love to see data roaming. As a former employee, the Sprint network is the Sprint network and while there may be incremental slow improvement in coverage, they have never been really responsive to complaints of dead spots. There are some just outside the Sprint campus in Overland Park, KS that have been there for years! Also, I understand that data roaming is insanely expensive when dealing with the carriers, so while I would love to have it, I understand that it’s not going to happen.

    Do MVNOs get second class cell service?

    We’ve fielded this question several times and we hear whispers that voice, text and data traffic from MVNOs like Ting get shoved aside, like so many serfs, in favor of the network operator’s own customer traffic.

    There’s a certain dark logic to it: serve your customers first and best and let the rest sell the leftovers. However that doesn’t alter the fact that it’s not true.

    The truth of the matter is, Sprint’s MVNO contract states that Sprint must provide its Customer MVNOs with service parity to traditional Sprint wireless voice and data service. It’s all laid out in very clear terms. Well, as clear as terms can be when lawyers come together to create a tome.

    In short, Ting voice, text and data traffic gets equal priority on the network as all traffic is equal regardless of which customer is using it. Also, there’s plenty of bandwidth to go around. The LTE network that’s coming online, starting in major city centers, offers 10 times the capacity of 3G, which means there’s all kinds of room to grow too.

    The problem is, the discussion of whether or not carriers throttle and traffic shape MVNOs on their network takes on a conspiratorial tone online. I know, it’s shocking! Suppositions get accepted as fact. Assumptions leap off from suppositions and next thing you know, it’s all true because someone read it on the Internet. Hopefully this helps to dispel the myth… though the truth is somewhat less juicy than the rumor in this case.