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Device Update: Ting’s Nexus 5 manifesto

UPDATE: Success! You can now bring your Nexus 5 to Ting!.

Nexus-5What started as a simple device update post spiralled out of control and became a bit of a manifesto on the Nexus 5 and mobile business models instead. If you’re interested to know everything we know, please read on.

We’re hoping to have the Nexus 5 available in as little as a couple of weeks. As it stands, a Nexus 5 purchased from the Play Store probably won’t activate smoothly on Ting. The reason being, the devices ESN number will not be recognized as a device that can connect to network services on Ting (or on any other MVNO that provides network services on the Nationwide Sprint Network*).

The truth is, by offering a truly unlocked device that can access not just the GSM but also the CDMA network, Google is messing with the mobile status quo. While we’re fans of that kind of thing, as we’ve said elsewhere, it does complicate things for the “business as usual” systems we interface with.

We think that Google going it largely alone in selling with Nexus 5 will make service providers who haven’t had to deal with unlocked phones before take notice. We think that’s a very good thing. We recognize that there will be some rough spots along the way. Still, we’re excited about the Nexus 5 as a democratizer; a top-end smartphone that’s completely unlocked and cross-network. Not to mention: Who needs a contract when you can get a truly top-end device for $350?

We’ve said before that we’d be happy to be out of the selling devices game. We’d rather focus all of our attention on the service as opposed to on the devices that access it. That’s a little way off yet but we’re happy to see Google mixing things up.

As it stands, in order to activate a Nexus 5 on Ting, that Nexus 5 will need to have been purchased through Ting. The Nexus 5 devices that we will sell in the coming weeks will be sold at cost, not marked up. We will not interfere with Nexus 5 in any way. It’s not yet clear if the devices we offer will be the self same as the device offered through the Google Play store.

Sprint is offering the Nexus 5 off contract at $449.99. That’s $100 more than the same phone purchased through Google Play. We’re still waiting for clarity on our purchase price for the Nexus 5. Typically, our purchase price is the same as Sprint’s full, unsubsidized retail price. Obviously, we’re not eager to sell a device for $100 more than it can be bought elsewhere. We’ll continue to work on it.

We’re (very) actively working on being able to activate Nexus 5 devices purchased from the Google Play store on Ting. We hope to have good news to share in the near term. We’re optimistic (when aren’t we?) but we won’t go as far as to recommend you buy a Nexus 5 from the Google Play store with the expectation of activating it on Ting. At least, not yet.

As soon as we have news, we’ll share it, whatever the flavor. Follow our Device Update category here on the Ting blog and / or join us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter or connect with us on Google+ for the latest.

* Although Sprint provides Ting subscribers access to its wireless network and to its wireless services, Ting is responsible to the Ting subscribers for the service. Please call Ting with any questions or comments about services.
* Sprint is a trademark of Sprint Nextel.