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Device update: Samsung Galaxy SIII on Ting

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…

Samsung Galaxy SIII

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.

Check out the Ting devices page hit the pre-order pages for the Pebble Blue 16GB, the Pebble Blue 32GB, the Marble White 16GB or the Marble White 32GB to drop some hard-earned on what is quite possibly the coolest phone in the known universe. Not to oversell it or anything.

LG Optimus Elite – White

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.

Check out the LG Optimus Elite and the LG Optimus Elite White

Samsung Transform Ultra

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.

Device sale continues!

The device sale that sees the Samsung Galaxy SII in white at $435 ($50 off), the Huawei Express Mobile Hotspot at $110 ($15 off) and the Sierra 250u at $77 ($23 off) continues! We’re fast running out of the Galaxy SII White and when they’re gone, they’re gone for good.

In other news…

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.

Dawn rising in Overland, Kansas during our visit to Sprint HQ earlier this week

Summer Photo Fun contest!

© Copyright Ross and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

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.

A Ting device update: here now, coming soon and beyond

Photo by Ting Employee Frank Lemire

It has been an exciting month since our last device update. While it has certainly been the most challenging in our short lifetime, we continue to make improvements and learn valuable lessons. We had anticipated further stress on the device ecosystem as a result of the deployment of LTE, but we were a little surprised at some of the issues we encountered. There is an expression “it is always darkest before the dawn,” and while we have had some challenges in the last 30 days, we are quite optimistic that things are going to get better in the near term.

As a public company, there are restrictions around how much information we can share in regards to our sales performance, but I can say that we have been doing well in spite of having some holes in our device lineup. This has placed additional stress on our inventory, but unlike many of the other challenges we have faced, we are thrilled to have this problem! Thanks to all who have helped spread the word!

Ting devices available now or coming soon

One of our most popular devices, the LG Optimus S, has sold out as of last week. We were always planning to replace it with the next generation model, but we were caught short-handed and had hoped to have it around for a little longer. The new Optimus Elite will be made available for sale as soon as we have confidence in shipping dates. Hopefully this will be online for pre-order in the next two weeks. We are working on getting some more Optimus S at a reduced price point, but can not confirm this today.

The Samsung Conquer is back in stock after being on backorder, however this device will no longer be available once we sell our current inventory. So if you are planning on getting this device, order soon!

The Samsung Transform Ultra is a very capable and popular device. We’re pleased to report we have it in stock again. After slipping into a backorder state recently, we have a good supply and expect to have it in our lineup for the next few months. We have had lots of positive feedback from customers on this well designed phone.

In the feature phone segment, we know there is a LOT of demand for a flip phone. Due to circumstances beyond our control, we have had a hole in this segment for longer than we would like. The Kyocera Brio is a great value in the low-end, but for those who MUST have a flip phone, we expect to offer the Samsung M370 for pre-order in the next 2-3 weeks.

Looking further ahead…

Early in the fall we expect to offer a new Samsung slider at a great price point. It looks like we will also have a feature phone designed for seniors. That is, it has a large, easy to see and use numeric pad NOT a built in bingo app. Perfect for getting Grandma and Grandpa saving with Ting.

We are in the process of building in support for LTE within our backend systems, and while it is not that big of a job for our rockstar development team, there are some dependencies outside our control that prevent me from giving a firm launch date today. This is a high priority for us though, as many of the iconic devices we plan on offering in the fall will be LTE devices.

The LG Viper will be our first LTE device, available for ~$365 when we launch LTE. The Samsung Galaxy S3 and HTC Evo 4G will be available shortly thereafter, barring any issues outside our control.

We have had a lot of demand for the Google Galaxy Nexus, and have spent a lot of time working on being able to get it for you. Because it is an LTE device,  we must first launch LTE before making it available. I wish I could tell you that I am certain we will be able to get it after we launch LTE, but as of this morning I can not do that. Rest assured we are working on it, and if there is any way we can, we will.

The word on Windows 8 devices is that we are waiting for more information on what the roadmap looks like for later this year. My sense is that these plans are being finalized now / soon, and once we have more details we can properly evaluate how that might work for us. We have had a lot of demand for Windows devices, and we hear you!

Ting devices: On sale now!

As a token of our appreciation to everyone who has provided us with feedback, promoted our services, helped out other customers in the forums, or just been patient in waiting for devices to ship or become available, we are having an impromptu “it’s summer and we are always learning more about the device supply chain” sale (catchy title, no?) on some devices. Anyone who bought these devices in the last 30 days can contact customer support to get a credit for the difference.

The Samsung Galaxy S2 (white) is back in stock, and we are pleased to offer it for $435, saving you $50!

After some supply issues, we are relieved to have the Huawei Express Mobile Hotspot back in stock and available for sale, at a reduced price of $110! Supplies are limited though, so don’t delay if you want one.

We have also reduced the price for the Sierra 250U 3G/4G USB data stick as of today, and is a great value for Windows users. Once we sell through our current inventory they will no longer be available.

If you are interested in having us contact you with breaking device news as it happens, you can sign up for our red alert, super special, breathless, breaking device news mailing list using the form below, or follow us on Facebook / Twitter.

As always, thanks for your comments, questions, and support of Ting!

A Few Mobile Contract Horror Stories
from Dump Your Contract Month

Over the course of the Ting Dump Your Contract Month sweepstakes, we collected entries and invited the mobile contract-afflicted to share the sweeps with their friends. Despite the fact that doing so would edge the odds ever so slightly further out of their favor, people obliged.

After people entered the sweeps, we offered a text box where they could share their mobile contract horror stories. And there were some pretty horrific stories. Many of the stories that we received were a little too uh… vitriolic to share. We did promise catharsis in the text box beckoning mobile contract horror stories, so I guess people just let loose. We were surprised by the sheer length of some of the stories too. Seems the mobile contract-afflicted have a lot to get of their collective chest.

If you submitted your mobile contract horror story, know that it was read, appreciated and taken to heart. Thanks so much for taking the time. Except that one in all CAPS. What’s up with that?

We’re not going to post the ones that call other mobile service providers out by name. That wouldn’t be very Ting of us. It does narrow the field somewhat though…

Following are a literal few of our favorite horror stories. Thanks again for taking the time to share.

Anonymous
It’s been a long time coming that someone recognized that the carrier should be billing for data and bits plus whatever costs they pay for a phone number at their target margins, not some hodgepodge of costs that have no connection to a user’s real impact on the network! Looking forward to Ting’s success!

Jasen B.
I am currently in a contract with 2 feature phones. I have 1400 minutes and Unlimited text with NO DATA plan. My bill is $136 per month. I keep looking at Ting.com and seeing that I could have phone, text AND data for less than half of what I’m paying now. HELP ME!!!

Nathan J.
I absolutely cannot handle that stuck feeling anymore. I need to feel free again. I also need to stop paying $118 a month just to have a smart phone.

Fun facts from the mobile contract horror stories:

Total word count of all stories submitted: 1,323

Word and punctuation occurrences across all stories:

  • “Contract”: 11
  • Dollar sign ($): 12
  • Exclamation points (!): 32
  • “Help”: Three
  • “bend over”: Just one… but it was a very colorful one.

The Ting Dump Your Contract sweeps ended at 8:59 this morning and we’re no longer paying out early termination fees (ETF). Even factoring in ETFs though, you’ll probably still come out on top with Ting. You can see ETFs by carrier here then grab a couple of your wireless bills and try the Ting Calculator to see how we stack up.

Ting Dump Your Contract Month ends today

Over the course of 30 days of the Ting Dump Your Contract sweepstakes, we’ve helped 30 people get out of their long term mobile contracts by cutting a check to pay off early termination fees.

Now, on the 31st day of the sweeps, we’ve got one final lucky winner to pick from the proverbial hat. Entries for the May 31 draw are open until 8:59am on June 1. We’ll draw the last winner and with that, we’ll close out the Dump Your Contract Month sweeps.

The intent of DYCM was to get mobile users to think about their mobile contracts. The underlying message is that most users would be better off by buying a device outright and paying for just what they use.

As the entries rolled in and as people shared their mobile contract horror stories, we saw a theme emerge; a feeling of helplessness and as a result, some significant bitterness. I’d say we’re not ones to say “I told you so…” but we already kinda did.

Over the course of Dump Your Contract Month, we received over 6,000 entries from nearly 1,600 people. We doled out prizes of between $100 and $300 at an average of about $230 per winner.

We got the conversation started and while the sweeps are nearly over, we hope that conversation will continue. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: mobile contracts can be tempting but they certainly don’t have the average mobile user’s best interests at heart.

The moral of the story: Get your entries in to the Ting Dump Your Contract Month sweepstakes now… and don’t sign a mobile contract. Check out the Ting Calculator to see how much you’d save with Ting’s simple promise of Mobile That Makes Sense.

Ting gets Lifehacker’d

A recent Lifehacker article titled How to Get Out Of Your Cell Phone Contract Without Paying Termination Fees in the Saving Money section mentions Ting and our Dump Your Contract Month sweeps. The article goes on to call out our unique approach to the wireless business.

It’s driving some nice traffic to the Ting site; people looking to save money on mobile phone service by paying for what they use as opposed to paying a premium for unlimited. Presumably, it’s also driving people to the ABC News post about DYCM that’s linked in the story. So, if you found your way here from Lifehacker (or from ABC News): welcome! Get your entry in to the Dump Your Contract Month sweeps while there’s still time.

On a personal note, I’d like to say thanks to Lifehacker. First for including Ting in the roundup of ways to get out of your contract and second for the great Android rooting help and the sweet routers running Tomato firmware I have at home.