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Ting Sponsorship Spotlight: UpPhone Interview

David Payette and David Lynch of Payette Forward and UpPhone

Have you heard the good news?! 

Toward the end of last year, we launched our amazing plans with the aim of allowing more people to “choose smarter” and choose Ting Mobile.

A lot of work went into this change and we think that our new pricing is very exciting, both for us and for our customers. But we would, wouldn’t we? 

That’s why we decided to sit down with the extremely knowledgeable David Payette and David Lynch of Payette Forward and UpPhone, two cell phone and cell phone plan specialists, to see what they thought.

We heard their expert opinions on our plans, picked their brains on 5G and the best phones of 2020, and asked about the impact of COVID-19 on cell phone users.

Without giving any more away, here’s a lightly edited transcript of our discussion.


So, do you mind telling our audience a little bit about yourself, what you guys do and how did you get started?

DP: In 2013, I was working at an Apple store in upstate New York, and I was pretty miserable working there. So, I quit and I started a blog. I wrote one blog post called “Why Does My iPhone Battery Die So Fast?” and forgot about It.

Six months later, that blog post went viral and five million people read it in a week. 

Fast forward a couple of years; my website was growing and it was too much for me to handle. I moved back to upstate New York and that’s where I met David (Lynch).

DL: I was actually working as the pool attendant at his apartment complex.

DP: I wasn’t going to mention that, that’s information that you could volunteer. But yes! David had a YouTube channel and experience in affiliate marketing so we just started working together. We’ve been together ever since and we’re now a team of about 15 people total at any given time. It’s been a lot of fun!

And your channel at the moment, for those for our audience that doesn’t know, what would you say is your primary focus?

DP: It all started with iPhone help videos. But I think that now we’re transitioning into being more of a holistic cell phone channel. We’re also focusing a lot more on cell phone plans and more of the product side of things instead of just the “how to fix” side of things.

You’ve touched on one of the primary reasons that we wanted to speak to you today and that is cell phone plans. You’ve had a chance to look at our new plans and I’d love to know what you make of them?

DP: (a better question might be) what we made of them and now (since the switch from rates to plans,) what we make of them.

Before we weren’t the biggest fans of Ting Mobile because we looked at some of the other carriers’ offerings and, while Ting Mobile was a good fit for some people, other carriers were taking that low price market and giving a lot of value to customers.

So I personally am excited about the new plans, because not only do you now offer the lower-cost plans, there’s more! 

For instance, somebody can get two lines and 1GB of data shared between those two lines for $25 a month. That’s awesome. But also, there are these plans that really compete with these other top tier carrier plans where you have the fast speed for a certain amount of time and then it’s unlimited 2G speeds.

Awesome! One thing we were thinking with our pricing model is that we wanted to have a plan that works for everyone, whether you’re kind of a really low data user or really high data. 

Do you think we’ve got everyone covered? 

DL: I’d say so, yeah! 

I’m personally a fan of the plans that have a little bit of cellular data to get you through the month and unlimited minutes, unlimited messages. And right now those are ranging from $25 to $40. 

Ting Mobile is at the $25 price point (Set 5 plan) which is a great deal.

One of the things that we like about our plans is that you can hop between them. 

It’s obviously a very changeable period at the moment. So if you’re going through a period of using more data, you can switch to a plan that allows for that. 

We don’t really have any of the contractual constraints that you’d see with the bigger carriers.

DP: Yeah, and you make it easy, too. That’s the key: make it easy.

For me, as an Apple store technician, one of the things that I used to see a lot was people coming in with the cell phone bills that were for literally thousands of dollars. They’d come to the Apple store with an AT&T bill and there was nothing we could do for them, which obviously made us feel bad.

So, I am personally a really big fan of any plan that doesn’t allow people to spend a huge amount of money accidentally. And that’s why I really like these plans.

I think that the plans with lesser amounts of data, even if people go over, they’re not going to go over by enough to get in trouble. And then the 5 GB plan is just a great deal. Period.

Is that the plan that you guys would personally choose? The $25, 5 GB plan?

DL: Yeah, I think I would. Most consumers these days don’t really need unlimited data. I think the average use is around 3 GB or 6 GB, somewhere in that range, so the 5 GB really fits in well there. 

Then, even if you use the 5 GB of fast speed, you still get the slower 2G speeds, which can really help you out in a pinch.

DP: I think that most people overestimate the amount of data that they use by a lot. It’s surprising to people. I have a friend that was paying $110 a month on an AT&T unlimited plan.

I helped him to check how much cellular data he was actually using, and he was using about 1.5 GB per month.

So this guy had spent thousands of dollars that he hadn’t needed to.

I’m so pleased to hear that you like them. The only other question I wanted to ask you about Ting Mobile is—aside from these plans—what do you think separates us from other mobile providers?

DL: It’s definitely the customer service. I’ve heard really good things about Ting Mobile’s customer service, and I think that’s where sometimes wireless carriers can fall off the map.

With the big carriers, people will always tell you about a bad experience they’ve had, trying to switch their plans or they’re trying to get out of a contract and they can’t do it. 

Whereas with Ting Mobile, the plans aren’t contracts. It’s really easy, really flexible, and you have a great team.

Customer service

That’s very kind of you, thank you!

Now, I want to switch gears a little. I know that you guys have a perspective on 5G that’s a little different to what the majority of people may be hearing. I’d love to hear what your take is.

DL: It seems like a lot of media hype at this point. Carriers are talking about nationwide 5G, but if you look at the maps, technically there’s 5G from coast to coast but it’s in very small blips.

And the nationwide, widespread 5G, is low-band 5G which isn’t very fast. It seems like we just need to pump the brakes a little bit on 5G.

One thing that irritates me is that there are a lot of rural communities in this country that just don’t have good 4G LTE service right now. 

It seems like we’re kind of still leaving them behind in trying to implement 5G and try to make everything super fast in big cities when we don’t even have reliable 4G LTE coverage everywhere.

I feel like I know the answer already, but you feel that it’s too early to make the switch?

DP: Yeah! 5G is, so far, overkill in terms of what people actually need. 

Companies are selling 5G but really, it’s just a theory. 5G is a theory of how three very different kinds of cellular networks are going to work together in the future to create a holistic solution.

I would also just add that I feel like the cell phone technology for 5G hasn’t caught up yet. We’re seeing that with these 5G phones, when you’re connected to 5G, the batteries just drain so fast because the chip design just isn’t quite there yet.

So I think we’re just a couple years away from this really being useful for the average consumer.

One thing we’re actually thrilled about is the fact that our new pricing includes 5G, so as the technology gets better, you’ll be able to use it accordingly on Ting Mobile with no extra cost. 

DL: Yeah, and I like that because some carriers are charging $10 a month add-ons to use 5G. And it’s just like… “What are you doing?”

DP: And they’re selling them to people that don’t necessarily have 5G phones. So carriers, a lot of the time, will take advantage of people. You guys are not doing that, and I think that’s kind of the number one thing.

Yeah, that’s kind of the opposite of how we think things should be done.

Switching things up again, what would you say was the most exciting phone release of 2020? 

DP: In my personal opinion, it’s got to be iPhone 12 mini because finally, they’re packing a lot of great technology into a smaller form factor. I think it starts at $729 (ed: available in the Ting Shop, just saying) and it’s just an awesome deal.

I wanted to ask you guys a little bit more about yourselves and your channel. I know you place a massive emphasis on helping people solve problems with their phones.

What would you say is the most common problem that people face with their phones?

DL: Battery life.

DP: Unlike a lot of other channels, we’re not coming from an original place of “These are cool new products” or unboxings or anything like that. We’re trying to give people real-world, easy-to-understand help for very common iPhone problems that everybody has.

Are there three simple tips that you might be able to offer to prevent people from harming their phone’s battery life?

DL: I think one of the easiest things to do is just switching Mail from Push to Fetch. So instead of your iPhone constantly checking if there’s mail, you can set it to check every 30 minutes and it’ll check and send you a notification.

DP: Tip number two: Location Services. So we are certainly not advocating that anybody turn off location services on their iPhone, because the iPhone needs to know where it is to be a great phone.

That said, be careful when you’re giving an app permission to always have access to your location because that can be using the GPS and that takes a lot of power in your phone.

I think another one that’s really short that’s very important is… just like your dog, never leave your iPhone in a hot car.

Hot temperatures can permanently damage your battery life.

a person holds a phone with a low battery signal.
Photo by Alexander Andrews via Unsplash

Another question I had was around the pandemic. It’s obviously impacting everyone’s lives and their behaviors. 

I was wondering how you think this will be affecting people’s thinking in terms of their cell phone plan?

DL: With the quarantine that’s going on, people are at home constantly more than they used to be. You’re pretty much always having a pretty reliable Wi-Fi connection, so the need for an unlimited data plan is significantly reduced.

And obviously, people are trying to save money right now. It’s a tough time economically. People are starting to look for those cheaper discount cell phone plans and it kind of works out well. Like Ting Mobile, for example, has the $10 plan, unlimited minutes and messages.

If you’re at home all the time with Wi-Fi, you don’t really need cellular data. And if you do, you can get the $5 top-up.

$10 month

DP: You could go to Ting Mobile, bring your own phone—which is one of the other reasons why I really like Ting Mobile—and a family of four could pretty easily be paying $50 a month for their entire cell phone plan.

They could get four lines, at $10 each, and then that would give them 2GB of shared data. If people are sticking at home and using Wi-Fi most of the time, they might not even use that much, so there are these things that people can do to save a ton of money really fast and not sacrifice much of anything.

Yeah, you’re right! I think it’s totally manageable, especially when you are surrounded by Wi-Fi. There’s plenty of opportunity for people to use Wi-Fi to fulfill their data needs.

Well guys, thank you so much for your time. It’s been a real pleasure. Where can our audience find you?

DP: They can go to UpPhone.com, and then in the footer, you’ll find links to everything else that we do, including our YouTube channel. So that’s where to go.

We also have an iPhone help Facebook group, which is the largest Facebook group of its kind.

Finally, you can find us on Instagram @PayetteForward and Twitter.