Tri-Band LTE: Ting goes for three

By Andrew Moore-Crispin
An older cell tower riding off into the sunset. Thanks iStock!

EDIT: Updated to explicitly state that Ting Tri-Band LTE doesn’t come at an extra cost and to correct erroneous information about wave frequencies as they relate to capacity and travel.

We’ve talked at length previously about the fact that Ting customers get the self same cell service and access to network improvements at or at very nearly the same time as our network provider’s own retail customers.

Recently, another 70 LTE sites came online bringing the total to 300 sites.

The latest and most potentially impactful in a steady stream of major network improvements is Tri-Band LTE.

So what is Tri-Band LTE?

Tri-Band means LTE service offered on three distinct frequencies or “bands.” Each of the three bands (800 MHz, 1.9 GHz and 2.5 GHz) has its own unique benefits. By offering three bands together, any shortcomings of a single band are shored up by the strengths of the others. In other words, with three bands together, you get more reliable coverage, greater capacity and faster speeds in more places.

Lower frequency bands are able to cover a wide area and can penetrate building materials readily. However, they’re lacking when it comes to capacity.

Higher frequency bands offer great capacity but can’t travel as far or through obstructions like lower frequency bands can.

With the mid-range band in the mix, you get Tri-Band LTE that offers the broad coverage and material penetration of the lower band with the increased capacity of the high frequency band. Switching between bands is seamless and whichever frequency is strongest is the one your Tri-Band device will use.

Tri-Band rollout

Tri-Band LTE is available at no extra charge to Ting customers with a compatible device (more on those in a sec) in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Tampa and Miami. As our network provider brings more Tri-Band capable towers online across the country, Ting customers will get access at the same time as said provider’s retail customers.

Tri-Band devices

Effective as soon as we hit the publish button on this blog post, we’ll also be putting our first Tri-Band capable devices online on the Ting devices page.

Tri-Band smartphones

The Nexus 5, which can be purchased direct from Google, is a Tri-Band capable device. If you get a Nexus 5 and a Ting SIM card, and if you’re in one of the aforementioned five Tri-Band locations, you’re set.

We’re also adding several new Tri-Band devices to the Ting lineup:

  • Samsung Galaxy Mega (black and white)
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini (black and white)
  • LG G2 coming soon in both black and white.

Tri-Band data devices

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