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Whether you opted for the Wi-Fi only iPad or jumped on the Nexus 7 train where Wi-Fi is the only option, a mobile hotspot makes a perfect match for your tablet. Perhaps predictably, we’d argue that tablet-matching mobile hotspot should come from Ting.
While tablets are included in the major carrier’s new shared data plans, the fees for adding a device are steep. Contrast that with Ting where there’s a flat $6/mo. fee to keep a device alive on the network and where all your devices use the same pool of minutes, messages and megabytes of data. You’ll have a mobile data connection when you need it, but you’re not paying much to keep that mobile data option alive when you don’t.
Another option is to just tether your tablet to your Ting Android smartphone running in mobile hotspot mode. Tethering is included with Ting service at no additional charge; you only pay for the megabytes of data you actually use.
Granted, using a mobile hotspot isn’t quite as convenient as having a cellular radio built right in to your tablet. However, it offers much more flexibility. With a hotspot, you can offer up your mobile data connection to any Wi-Fi enabled devices you want; laptops, tablets, netbooks, whatever.
Consider the fact that a mobile-connecting iPad comes at a $100 price premium; you can purchase the Huawei Express Mobile Hotspot for a few bucks more and get much greater flexibility as part the deal.
Perfect data device for the Nexus 7
The Nexus 7 running Jelly Bean, Android 4.1, is the new tablet darling. With good reason. It’s small, light, sharp and smooth as silk. More though, Jelly Bean offers an interesting but less publicized new feature: the ability to denote a Wi-Fi access point as a mobile access point. In short, tell your Nexus 7 that the Wi-Fi signal coming from your Express Mobile Hotspot or Android phone in Portable Hotspot mode uses the mobile data network and the Nexus 7 will scale back its data demands; you’ll use less mobile data and with Ting, that also means you’ll pay less.
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.
In our previous device update, we mentioned that it’s always darkest before the dawn; getting the latest and greatest devices and keeping the tried and true handsets in stock has proven to be our biggest challenge to date. With that in mind…
Let there be light!
We’re super excited about the Ting device roadmap looks for the next few months and beyond. We’re focussing this device update on a few phones that are either coming soon or back in stock. Let’s get started with the news we’re perhaps the most eager to talk about, the first LTE device available on Ting…
It’s coming! On our recent trip to Sprint HQ, we got a lot accomplished. A lot of back-end stuff we’ll be sharing in the coming months. Most notable, at least in the near-term, is the Samsung Galaxy SIII.
The SIII hits as we flip the switch to begin offering LTE wherever Sprint’s LTE network reaches. It’s now available for pre-order and will ship in three to six weeks. We recently had a chance to test-drive LTE. It’s difficult to describe how fast without dipping into our pool of expletives and superlatives. Suffice it to say though, “speeds that rival your home wired Internet connection” are not just hyperbole. LTE is insanely fast and coming soon for Ting customers.
We realize this is a pretty wide window and harkens back to the halcyon days of comic book ads when you’d have to check the mailbox every day to see if your Sea Monkeys had arrived yet. We’re sorry we can’t be more specific; chalk it up to moving parts and not wanting to make promises we can’t keep. Three weeks is the best case, six is the worst and somewhere in between is most likely. We’ll communicate throughout the process so you’re always in the loop.
Ting will offer four different versions of the Samsung Galaxy SIII. “Pebble Blue” and “Marble White” with a 16GB and 32GB version of each color. The 16GB in either color goes for $539. The 32GB versions are $579.
Better yet: we’re giving away two free SIIIs. For pre-orders of any one of the Samsung Galaxy SIII color and capacity variations, we’ll refund the full device sticker price to two of the first 200 pre-orders, upon activation. If you’re one of the fortunate two, you’ll only be on the hook for the taxes as crediting those raises IRS issues which no one in their right mind wants to wade in to.
The LG Optimus Elite takes over for the most popular Ting smartphone to date, the LG Optimus S. The LG Optimus Elite is back in stock after some supply issues and also, starting today, is also available in a white model. The Elite is available in black and white variations and comes in at under $200. If you’ve already pre-ordered an LG Optimus Elite, you’ll get yours first. Only fair, right?
We’ve made a lot of progress toward rectifying the supply issues we’ve faced in trying to keep a healthy stock of Ting devices available. We feel we’ve got a much better handle on the situation and our partners are stepping up their respective games to ensure we don’t have another challenging device period like the one we’re now emerging from.
Another popular phone, the $205 Samsung Transform Ultra moves from backorder to in-stock. If you made a backorder purchase, your phone will leave the warehouse on Monday Aug. 6 if indeed it doesn’t start its journey on Friday.
We’re continuously working to get the gear you want into our lineup. In our next device update, we’ll have some more exciting news on this front. Spoiler alert: that means things like an LTE hotspot, a mid-range LTE smartphone, an inexpensive slider, an accessible phone for the visually impaired or really, anyone that prefers big buttons and large fonts and the very early stages of a bring your own device plan.
We’re also working to get a Windows Phone handset for the devotees we’ve been hearing from. Unfortunately, this is a bit further out, likely in Q1 in 2013.
On another oft-requested phone, the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, we’ve not made much progress in getting Google to give it up. As it stands, the only way to get the Galaxy Nexus onto Ting is with some hacking. As such, it’s not for the faint of heart but if you’re the hacker sort, we won’t stand in the way of your efforts.
We’re also working hard get the iPhone. No earth shattering news on that front as yet but we’re definitely seeing some progress.
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?
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.
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.
We just launched the Ting Summer Photo Fun event. Submit a photo to the Facebook Summer Photo Fun event page for a chance to win one of… well, one white Samsung Galaxy SII smartphone. The winner will be selected based on the number of Likes their picture receives. Invite your friends and ask them to vote for your pic.
The even runs until July 31 at 10am EST when we’ll crunch the numbers and figure out who the winner is.
A bit of weirdness we need to point out. If you win, we’ll give you a device credit to cover the full purchase price. However, you’ll still have to “buy” the device from Ting. If your state collects sales tax, you’ll have to pay that amount, but we’ll immediately give you a full Ting service credit to cover this cost.