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Hack your phone plan: A smartphone plan under $20

smartphone plan under $20A phone plan with data for around $16 plus tax each month. It’s not a pipe dream. It doesn’t mean giving up your smartphone. In fact, it requires having a smartphone.

With Ting Mobile, the $16 phone bill is within reach. If you’re smart about how you use your phone (and smart about choosing a cell phone service) your phone bill doesn’t need to come with a side of sticker shock. Whether you love iPhone or whether you’re in the Android camp, following are some easy ways to take complete control of your phone bill.

This phone hack works due to Ting’s flexible pricing model where you pay for minutes, messages and mobile data separately. With this “a la carte” approach to pricing, you can use free and freely available services to meet all your smartphone needs without ever paying for a voice minute or a text message. Use Wi-Fi whenever it’s available and jump on mobile data when it’s not.

ting rates

How it works

If you don’t use any minutes or text messages on Ting, you don’t pay for any. If you take advantage of the “hack” we’re about to lay out, you’ll only be paying $6 a month for your phone line plus 500 MB of mobile data. It’s not a lot of mobile data, granted. Used strategically and in conjunction with Wi-Fi though, it can go a long way. It’s worth the effort because with Ting, the less data you use each month, the less you pay.

This particular phone plan hack is explained in depth by one particularly forward thinking Ting Mobile customer. We’ll run through the basics.

Once you’ve confirmed your phone is compatible with Ting, order a Ting SIM card and activate your phone by heading to

power user

  1. Get a free Google Voice number. This will be your main number going forward. If want to keep using your current number, you can transfer it to Google Voice for a one-time $20 fee.
  2. Download Hangouts. Android users need to grab both the Hangouts and Hangouts Dialer apps.
    iOS users only need Hangouts.
  3. Disable calling and texting in the Device Settings section of your Ting account dashboard or in the Ting mobile app. This ensures that a wrong number or a spam text doesn’t ruin your carefully laid plans for a $16 phone bill.

Disable calling and texting on Ting

If you’re connected to Wi-Fi when placing or receiving a phone call, you aren’t paying for anything. If you’re not around Wi-Fi, it’s still cheaper to call using mobile data than it would be to use regular Ting minutes. A one minute call uses less than one megabyte of data.

Google Hangouts Wi-Fi Calling

If you need more help, take a look at Google’s support article on Using Google Voice with Hangouts and our Free Wi-Fi calling with Google Hangouts blog post.

Keep in mind that most other social and messaging apps exclusively use data, so if you’re on Wi-Fi you won’t spend a cent chatting with or calling friends and family. These apps include Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Snapchat, Instagram, Skype, FaceTime Audio, iMessage and many others.

That’s calls and texts taken care of. Now, let’s take a look at how to save on mobile data which, with Ting, translates directly to a lower monthly bill.


Data wizardReducing mobile data usage

Taking advantage of Wi-Fi anytime it’s available and finding ways to save stuff for offline use is the easiest way to keep your mobile data usage low.

It’s not using your smartphone less, it’s being smarter about how you use your smartphone.

If you’re not sure how or where mobile data is typically used on your smartphone, read how to control which apps use your mobile data for Android and iPhone.

With a little bit of planning ahead, you can save all kinds of interesting and entertaining stuff on your phone rather than using mobile data.

You can download all your Netflix shows and movies over Wi-Fi before you leave for the day. Same goes for Amazon Prime Video and all your music too! Your favorite podcasts can be automatically downloaded to your iPhone or Android phone, while Reddit Offline will automatically download content over Wi-Fi so you can browse all your favorite subreddits without using data. The Wikipedia app lets you carry a selection of articles (or every article, if you’ve got the storage space and are so inclined) with you for offline reading.  These are just a few data ebook

You can also look for data saving toggles and features in the settings for your favorite apps. Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and many, more offer simple ways to lighten the data load when you’re away from Wi-Fi.

Check out the Ting mobile data usage complete guide and our comprehensive data saving guides, including the Cut your Data ebook which is recommended reading whether you’re a Ting customer or not. There you’ll also find many tips, tricks and app-specific articles that run through everything you need to know to keep your mobile data low. On Ting, that translates directly to a lower monthly phone bill.

Taxes and fees vary from state to state and from town to town. You can rest assured that at Ting, the only costs that get tacked on are those taxes and fees that we’re legally required to collect and remit on your behalf. We don’t gouge you with admin, remittance or other BS fees.

Ready to lower your monthly phone bill? Make the switch to Ting Mobile.

Get a Ting SIM now

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