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Data only mobile plans and data only devices

Ting’s data only mobile plans come in super handy when travelling… whether travelling means touching down in a new city or whether it just means getting out of the office for an afternoon to work in a park or other less office-y locale.

Travelling and filing updates back to home base has become much easier now that I always travel with a data only device. I’ve been using the MiFi 2200 to connect my various devices to the web and it’s been invaluable. Even at the recent CES 2012 tradeshow where over 100,000 geeks descended on Las Vegas and proceeded to slow networks to a crawl, I was able to regularly and reliably send updates back to the office.

You can also use Ting for your tablet! If you’re interested, check out our list of compatible tablets.

Huawei Express Mobile Hotspot

Ting’s Data Only Plans

Making a Ting plan into a data-only plan is simple:

If you only plan to use Ting for data and have no intention of using voice call minutes or text messages, make sure to disable everything in both the Minutes and Messaging sections.

Activated devices on your account cost $6 per month and you can have as many devices as you want on one plan.

If you’ve already got a data only plan from another carrier, try the Ting Calculator to see how much Ting can save you. If you’re looking for a data only plan, take a look at Ting’s data-only devices and Ting’s rates, with particular attention to the Megabytes section.

4G, LTE and Ting

The Ting / Sprint 4G LTE network upgrade will begin rolling out in earnest in mid-2012. Starting with Baltimore, Kansas City, Atlanta, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio. Currently, Sprint (and hence, Ting) offers 4G running on the WiMAX standard radiating outward from major centers across the US. To see if your area is covered, check out the Ting coverage map. Check the Data box, enter your city and state and hit Map It. Darker orange areas are covered with 4G WiMAX.

What is 4G LTE and How Does it Affect Ting?

4G and LTE network rollouts can be a confusing topic. Especially when some carriers seem to use the two terms as one (“America’s Largest 4G LTE Network,” for example) or even interchangeably. We’ll try to break it down…

What is 4G?

4G is the fourth generation of mobile communications. In cellular’s relatively short time at the fore, we’ve gone through several distinct generations starting with 0G, 1G, 2G, 3G and now (you might see a pattern developing), comes 4G. Things have gotten a little more confused with some carriers claiming 2.5G, 3.5G and other non-standard standards under the larger whole.

In short, all “4G” is not LTE… but all LTE is considered 4G.

What is LTE?

LTE stands for Long Term Evolution. At its core, LTE is a much faster mobile data technology with speed approaching or even besting your home DSL or cable connection. That’s only part of the story though.

LTE’s biggest mission, as the name suggests, is to provide room for mobile to continue to grow and evolve over, you guessed it, the long term. Long term in mobile really means about a decade.

LTE can service as many as 10 times the number of users on a node so if all the equipment on a cell tower is upgraded to LTE and all phones connecting to it are LTE, 10 times as many people can use the tower without issue. It’s a more efficient use of the mobile spectrum. That’s good.

When will Ting offer LTE?

As an MVNO using the nationwide Sprint network, Ting will offer LTE alongside and in the same places as Sprint. That means the cities mentioned off the top of this post (Baltimore, Kansas City, Atlanta, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio) will be first, receiving LTE capability mid this year. Next, as Sprint rolls out the LTE network to other major city centers, Ting will be able to offer LTE in those locations at the as well.

We have several LTE devices including datasticks, mobile hotspots and some pretty spiffy smartphones in-bound to coincide with the launch of the LTE network. More news as we’re able to share it.

What about WiMAX?

WiMAX is a 4G standard that gave early adopters much faster 4G data speeds. The Sprint (and hence Ting) WiMAX 4G network is pretty robust and radiates out from major city centers. Sprint brass aren’t planning any further roll-outs of WiMAX beyond 2012 though the support team has expressed they will continue to maintain and look after the WiMAX 4G network “for the next several years.” Gizmodo has an interesting and enlightening post on Sprint’s WiMAX and LTE plans moving forward.

Rest assured that 4G smartphones and data sticks / hotspots that run on the faster 4G network will continue to work as expected. While Sprint has stopped adding new 4G WiMAX cell tower equipment, it will continue to maintain and support the network. Where 4G WiMAX is unavailable, devices step down to the near ubiquitous 3G network with its up to 3.1 Mbps peak and 600 Kbps to 1.4 Mbps download speeds. In other words, even if the 4G WiMAX network were decommissioned entirely, 4G WiMAX devices would continue to work as 3G devices.

We’ll keep you posted as LTE developments allow. We’ll update the Ting blog and help.ting.com as more information becomes available. You can also catch us on Facebook and on Twitter as TingFTW.

EDIT: We’re offering regular device updates here on the Ting blog. Previously, we didn’t want to talk about our device lineup efforts before they bore fruit for fear of disappointing you. We’ve since realized that wasn’t very Ting of us. Please take these device update posts for what they are: an update on our efforts to get the latest and greatest devices. Not a set in stone device roadmap. With that said, please do take a look if you’d like to know what we’re working on on the device front.

The Ting No Contract Mobile Service Experience Explained

We’ve got a video to share. It doesn’t involve cats. There are no stunts gone horribly awry. Alas, no shirtless adonisses (adoni?) inviting you to smell like them.

Rather, it’s a cool tween animated video done in the great pen and ink drawings that you see around the ting.com website. The drawings are from our awesome and talented illustrator Steve Murray. The animation and video editing was done by the similarly awesome and talented Sean McLeod.

Perhaps you’re still hung up on “tween animated?”

When we say tween-animated video, we’re not saying it was put together by the Bieber-loving, Disney Channel watching set. We here at Ting are staunchly against tween labor. Especially in the arts. Rather, we’re talking about an animation style where the editor / animator sets a motion path and chooses start and end point for the different on-screen elements. Video editing software generates the intermediate frames between those two states to create a smooth motion. “Inbetweening” or “tweening.”

Improvements to the Savings Calculator

For the past couple of months, we have strongly encouraged anybody considering Ting to use our Savings Calculator to determine whether you would save money based on your current bills and usage.

We just released some improvements to the calculator that make it even more useful.

– Previously, you could only calculate savings on 6 devices. Truth is, you can have unlimited devices on a Ting account. But unlimited is a bit tough on the interface. So we increased it to 30 for now. (If you want more than 30 devices on a Ting account, give us call. We’ll do the calculations for you!)

– We have built the purchase price of the devices into the calculation. You choose how many devices you would need and which devices you want. We’ll look at your current bills and usage, assume you paid nothing directly for your devices with your current provider, compare that to what you would spend on devices, monthly service and the $6/month device fee at Ting and tell you what you would save in 2 years (a typical contract length).

– We made it easy for you to tell your friends about your savings discovery. (Freaking selfless, right? We’d hate for you to have to run door to door.)

– We also give you the opportunity to sign up for a friendly reminder if you love Ting but are still under contract.

Please let us know if you find anything confusing or if we can make this calculator more helpful to you.

We eliminated the $35 activation fee

Funny story. When we were getting ready to launch Ting, we were very concerned that people would be shocked by the prices of devices. We knew we were passing them along at or below our costs. But US consumers are accustomed to having their devices buried into their service bills for multiple years. So, very often, they have no idea how much devices actually cost.

At the same time, we looked around the industry and saw that $35 activation fees were standard among major carriers. We actually had no intention of burying an extra $35 into the total cost of Ting. But we thought, “OK, we’ll charge the same $35 the other guys are charging for activation and we’ll take another $35 off the price of each device.” That way the device price would be more palatable.

Since then, two things happened:

– We discovered that our customers are savvier than we thought about devices. They generally understand that paying for the device upfront ultimately saves money versus “financing it” with a two-year commitment to inflated monthly service bills. And once they accept that, they seem to recognize that our prices are quite reasonable.

– People were surprised and, rightfully, a bit annoyed to discover a $35 activation fee. It just didn’t feel like Ting. Our customers expect more transparency and fewer line items.

So, we listened. Starting today, we are dropping the $35 activation fee and putting that cost back where it belongs, on the device price. (If you recently paid a $35 activation fee, understand that you got your device for $35 less. If you just saw a device you wanted go up by $35, recognize that you will be saving yourself a $35 activation fee.)

To be clear, we cannot subsidize these devices any more than we already do. This is not an announcement that we are “slashing” anything. This is just an attempt to stay true to our promise of clarity, simplicity and honesty. Thank you for reminding us of that.

 

 

Switching Mobile Plans – A Ting Take

Getting out of a relationship with a mobile service provider can be awkward. You want to say you’ll remain friends but it’s never quite that simple. It’s not any one thing that brings the breakup about. Often it’s a combination of little things that culminate.

“You never call me unless you want something.”

“I never know where we stand.”

“I just don’t feel like you put my needs first.”

“You’re not the same service provider I fell for those many moons ago.”

“We’ve just grown apart.”

“It’s not you me, it’s me you.

While you don’t want to rebound or go rushing into a new relationship, there is that little matter of, you know, needing a phone and a number.

If you’re here, we’re going to assume you’re thinking about Ting. You like the idea of paying for what you use, of not having to pick a bundled plan tying minutes, text messages and data together. You’ve tried (or are about to try) the Ting Calculator and realize (or you are about to realize) that Ting will probably save you money on your mobile plans. You love the idea of a no contract mobile carrier as well as being in control of the relationship.

To that end, we’ve put together a little guide to help switch mobile carriers. You can check it out in the Ting Help & Support section.

In this guide to switching mobile carriers we look at:

Let us know if you have any questions. You can use the comments below, call us at 1-855-TING-FTW (1-855-846-4389), email us or visit our help pages. You can also find Ting on Facebook or hit us up on Twitter.