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Why choose a no contract carrier?

homepageImages_contractWhen you’re looking for cell phone service, you have more choices available today than ever before.

You can shop around and compare between the four major carriers. They make a big deal about competing between themselves. The truth is though, it’s in the no-contract carriers where you see the real innovation and ultimately, the best pricing.

Here are five reasons to consider a no-contract carrier for your family or business mobile phone service.

1- No contracts

We’ll start out with an easy and obvious one: One of the key benefits of a no-contract carrier is that there are no contracts.

With a major carrier, you typically sign on for a couple of years at a set billing level. In return, you might receive what looks like a deal on a subsidized phone.

Make no mistake: You’re paying for that device several times over the course of a typical two-year agreement because you’re paying much more than you need to each month on your mobile bill.

2- Un-Bundles

Contract carriers want to sell you huge amounts of stuff you don’t necessarily need. Maybe you just want voice minutes and text messages but you don’t want to pay for a data plan. Maybe you want some data and some voice minutes but not text messaging. Maybe you want to use a little bit of mobile data, just for email for example, but you don’t want to pay the exorbitant rates a contract carrier demands.

Whatever the combination, some no-contract carriers let you choose and ultimately pay for just what you actually need as opposed to making you choose a bundled plan (uh, that’d be us, just to be crystal clear).

3- Price

This is really what it all comes down to. No-contract carriers offer a better deal than the big guys. By offering services that use the established mobile networks in the US but without actually owning that infrastructure, no-contract carriers have room to offer better, more sane pricing.

4- Innovation

While the big contract carriers are big ships that take a long time to adjust to changing currents, smaller, no-contract carriers have room to innovate.

As soon as you break free from the major carriers, your eyes open to a whole world of choice. There are no-contract mobile phone services that let you have a voice minutes-only plan (as opposed to bundling in a data plan you may not need or want). There are no-contract mobile phone services that use existing Wi-Fi networks to cut down on costs, there are no-contract carriers that offer a small amount of free service in exchange for you listening to ads. There are companies that only ask customers to only pay for what they actually use as opposed to struggling to use what they’re paying for (again, that’s us).

5- Customer service

It makes sense that a smaller company should care more about customer service. Not all the no-contract carriers have invested in customer support. With some no-contract carriers, most notably Ting, excellent customer service is a core ideal. You have an account number but you’re much more than just that number. For example, one of Ting’s core promises is to pick up the phone when customers call. Try it for yourself: 1-855-846-4389

Consumer Reports’ annual cell phone service report is out.
Challengers outpace the incumbents again in 2015

Congratulations to Consumer Cellular, Republic Wireless and us! It looks like readers had some really nice things to say about us as a whole again in the annual Consumer Reports annual cell phone service ratings.

Seems we three are the new incumbent carriers. The ones to beat. So it is that we sat down together for an in-camera meeting and agreed that the innovation stops here. This far, no further. No new ideas! Unless they’re ideas on how to wring an extra few cents out of our respective customer bases.

We don’t need to say we’re kidding, do we?

Started from the bottom

Just a few years ago, we upstart carriers (MVNOs or mobile virtual network operators, if you want to get all technical) were regarded with suspicion. Now, as reports like this one from this most respected of consumer review outlets make clear, the tide is turning.

The message that MVNO customers don’t get second rate service (because they don’t) and that we’re not fly by night outfits is catching. When it comes to cell phone service, the idea that the way things have always been done is the way they’ll always be is losing ground.

The fact that we no-contract carriers are rising to the top in independent reviews like this, the most independent of reviews, is telling too. When you use the carrot and stick method to get customers (deep discounted and otherwise subsidized or $0 phones are the carrot, the contract is the stick, just to be clear) you have less incentive to keep customers happy.

Welcome home, former Solavei customers

UPDATE: This offer expired on Thursday, November 26 The form has been removed from this post as a result. We’re keeping the blog post live for reference. It will be removed on December 8, 2015, after all credits have been issued.

Solavei-logo-is-sadIn early December, Solavei, an ultimately ill-fated MVNO that used the T-Mobile network, will complete its last call. Forward its last text. Send its last byte.

Solavei is closing its doors on December 4, 2015. Customers are left to find a new home for mobile service.

Hey, wait. Crazy idea. Given that Solavei phones are compatible with Ting on a GSM network and that those customers already know exactly how that GSM network works for them, what if they were to come to Ting?

Solavei customers can bring their phone and their phone number over to a happier home… while there’s still time.

We’ll send displaced Solavei customers a free Ting SIM card plus $50 in Ting credit to get started. Just grab a screenshot of your most recent Solavei bill/invoice and fill out the form below by Wednesday, November 25 at 11:59 PM. We’ll get a SIM out to you post-haste. As soon as you receive your free Ting GSM SIM, activate your Solavei phone with Ting using the bring your phone to Ting program and bring your Solavei number too.

Be sure to activate by December 4, 2015, when Solavei is no more, to be eligible. $50 credits will be issued on December 7, 2015. Even if former Solavei customers don’t choose to come to Ting (even though they totally should), they need to port before December 4 or they risk losing their number forever.


Fare well, WiMAX

WiMAX is faster than 3G and not as fast as LTE. It’s also going away. This ultimately ill-fated mobile network technology will send its last byte on November 6, 2015.

Sprint put some bets on WiMAX. As Sprint is one of the two national network service providers we work with to offer Ting service, the shutdown affects a relatively small number of Ting customers too. If you’re saying “what’s WiMAX?” you’re probably not among those affected.

Ting customers that have a WiMAX phone on their Ting account and who have been on the WiMAX network at least once in the past few months will soon receive an email alerting them to the specifics of the situation and offering some guidance.

What happens to my WiMAX phone?

On the day the WiMAX network ceases to be, WiMAX-capable phones won’t suddenly turn into useless bricks. All WiMAX phones on Ting can also use the more widely available 3G network. What may well happen is that people in a WiMAX coverage zone will notice their download speeds have been affected. Not an ideal situation, granted, but not a terminal one.

Internet speed is not a subjective measurement

This is precisely the kind of collusion that leads to people being stuck with the same old shifty service providers. We said “shifty.” With an ‘F.’

The Longmont Compass, a local news source for Longmont, CO residents, pointed out that the fastest Internet service provider (ISP) in the region up and vanished.

Rather than a hard luck tale of an ambitious service provider whose reach exceeded its grasp, though, the truth is a much nastier.

NextLight Municipal Broadband is very much alive and well. Anyone researching local Internet options to find the fastest option in Longmont, though, might never know it. Despite the fact that they are just that: The fastest option in town. By a wide margin.

It matters to Ting Internet for obvious reasons.

In one of our earliest Ting Internet moves, we acquired a local ISP in Charlottesville, VA. By virtue, we ranked second in the list for the state of Virginia. Since the acquisition, we’ve been investing in the network and have boosted overall local average speeds by offering gigabit fiber access to more and more households and businesses. Rather than closing the gap, though, we’ve disappeared, according to Speedtest.net.

If you’ve ever researched Internet speeds, you’ve almost certainly landed on the connection speed test site Speedtest.net, which is owned by Ookla. It has been a go-to source for Internet speed information. These recent changes to the way ISPs are ranked (please read on) mean the results are so heavily weighted toward the conglomerates as to be effectively useless for anyone looking to make an informed choice. They benefit no one but the big, nationwide providers.

We came, we saw, we lit some fiber

On June 26, with Gigi Sohn of the FCC in attendance, we helped Westminster, MD light up its very own gigabit fiber network. As the exclusive provider for the first phase, we’ll be offering Ting crazy fast fiber Internet and sharing our simple, honest approach to customer service, powerful online tools, no contract and no caps for area homes and businesses.

This is the second Ting town to come online and our first of this sort of innovative (if we do say so ourselves) public/private partnership.

It’s clear that politicians and policy makers are watching the Ting and Westminster, MD partnership with great interest. We’ll do Westminster proud.

Press release (PDF)