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BYOD – coming soon to Ting

UPDATE: BYOD for Sprint devices will hit beta testing soon. The latest details are in our BYO(S)D – Moving ever closer to Ting blog post.

Bring your own device (BYOD) is one of the most oft asked for features for Ting customers both current and would-be. It’s always been on our list and we’re always working to be able to offer it. That work is beginning to pay off. We’ll be rolling out the first phase of our BYOD program in Q4 of this year.

We’d say we’re excited to announce BYOD but that sounds too PR-ish. We’d say we’re super stoked to announce BYOD but that’d sound like we’re trying too hard. I guess you could say we’re at a loss for words to express just how super excitedly stoked we are to announce BYOD.

Before we dive in to the details on our upcoming BYOD plan, we want to manage some expectations. First, we’ll only be able to do BYOD for devices that work on the Sprint network initially [CLARIFICATION: and both Boost and Virgin mobile devices are excluded]. BYOSD, if you will. That said, this is a vital first step toward a more fluid mobile world where devices can move between carriers. We’ll continue to push. Second, this is not a backdoor to get the iPhone on Ting. BlackBerry, push to talk (PTT) and a small list of specific handsets won’t be BYODable (hey, it’s a word now). At least not immediately.

That said, for the vocal Windows Phone devotees we hear from, this development means that many Windows Phone devices purchased from Sprint can be brought over to and used on Ting. It also means that the super sweet Android smartphone you bought from Sprint can have a home on Ting and that the perfectly serviceable Sprint handset sitting in your desk drawer can come along too rather than taking a one-way trip to landfill.

We’ve got to hand it to Sprint on this too; this a brave and forward-thinking step. We partnered with Sprint because they’ve made it clear that virtual operators are important. This kind of development demonstrates just how important.

We’re still a good couple of months away from being able to offer BYOSD. Consider this a heads-up; if you’ve been hesitating on making the move to Ting because you’ve got a perfectly good Sprint device you’d like to bring along, you need hesitate no longer. Well. You need hesitate only a little while longer.

We must point out though, the sooner you move to Ting, the sooner you save. You can buy a Ting device knowing that your current Sprint handset can be handed over to your partner, your mom or the kids when BYOD hits. Running the numbers on the Ting calculator you’ll see that even factoring the device purchase price in, Ting will save you money on mobile. That said, if you have a reasonably current Sprint phone you paid good money for and would like to bring to Ting, you’ll realize those savings even sooner.

Our focus is on providing awesome and friendly mobile service. We’d much rather let our customers buy their phones from whatever outlet they prefer or bring their existing mobiles to Ting when their contract expires. This is a huge step in that direction.

How BYOSD on Ting will work

If you have a supported Sprint device that’s not under contract (or if you want to pay the ETF fees to get out of your contract), you’ll be able activate it on Ting just as you would a device that you purchased from us.

Your ex-Sprint device will use your Ting account’s pooled minutes, messages and megabytes.

Which phones are eligible for BYOSD?

Any Sprint phone will be eligible with a few notable exceptions including the iPhone, BlackBerry and PTT devices we mentioned before [CLARIFICATION: Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile devices are also not eligible for BYOD]. The list of exclusions isn’t finalized but will certainly be much shorter than the list of devices that can be brought over.

The reverse is also true

Any device purchased from Ting can also be BYOD’d to Sprint. It’s always been this way.

Strangely, we’re happy about this too. There are people who have been reluctant to try Ting because while we don’t (nor will we ever) lock devices, there’s a perception that a Ting device can only be used on Ting. This BYOD development makes the leap of faith more of a hop and people are more likely to give us a chance when Sprint is there as a fall-back plan. We’re sure that once mobile users get a taste of “mobile that makes sense,” they’ll have no desire to leave. That said, it’s the safety net that some people need.

We’ve been pushing hard for BYOSD. There’s still a bit of a wait but Q4 isn’t that far away. We’ll continue to push in an effort to make this happen in the earlier part of Q4.

As always, we’ll keep you posted. Follow our Device Updates feed to get the latest news.

If you want BYOD on Ting, please take a moment to fill out the quick survey that’s embedded below.

Device Update: Announcing the Motorola Photon Q on Ting

Device Update – August 23, 2012

The hits keep coming.

We just added the Motorola Photon Q to our device line-up. Granted, it’s got a long pre-order lead time of six to eight weeks… but we were so excited to have what Engadget calls “…the best full QWERTY phone on Sprint’s network” that we just couldn’t hold off.

To ease the pain of the long lead time (or perhaps to dial it up a notch from uncomfortable to excruciating,) we’re also announcing that one of the pre-orderers will have the full device purchase price of $520 refunded on activation.

We sent a device alert yesterday afternoon on this very subject. Sign up for device alerts by either signing in to or signing up for your account (no purchase required) and you’ll be among the first to know as we add new devices to our lineup.

Looking forward

It’s no secret that device selection has been one of the single biggest challenges we’ve faced. We’ve talked about it at length here on the Ting blog. We get that even the most sane billing practices, the most helpful CS team, the most granular device-level control and plans that adapt to your needs all come to naught if we can’t offer great Ting-compatible handsets.

Fair to say we’re over the hump.

Our device selection has grown to the point that we’ll be redesigning our Devices pages in the coming month to accomodate all the sweet new devices we’re adding. While this is an historically heavy time for new device availability across mobile carriers, we’ll continue to push to get the latest and greatest devices on Ting.

We added the killer Samsung Galaxy SIII for pre-order a couple of weeks back and we expect those to start leaving the warehouse in pretty short order, within the three to four week timeframe we offered when putting the SIII pre-order page live.

There are still some challenges but fortunately, they’re of the “good problem to have” variety; demand outstripping supply. The not so good problem to have: a surprise supplier issue means we’re currently running low on stock of the Samsung M370.

$60 off the Optimus S in purple

To fill the gap left by the M370, we’ll be offering the LG Optiumus S in purple at $95; $18 more than the M370’s $77 ask and a full $60 below the original $155 sticker of the Optimus S. The Optimus S isn’t a top-tier smartphone but it’s a very capable device… especially if you were previously considering a feature phone. The Optimus S will be available on our devices page tomorrow and orders will ship in three to five days.

We do still have a feature phone in the Kyocera Brio at $70. We’re also doggedly pursuing other feature phone options and we expect the have a new option in stock in a few weeks.

Our last official Ting device update post detailed the phones that we’ll be able to offer soon. Including the Photon Q. We’re also adding another “hero” device in the HTC EVO 4G LT. Another with the LG Viper. We’ll be adding some slick smartphones at around the $200 mark too.

All this to say, we’re very happy with the way our device lineup is coming together. We hope you are too. We’re always eager to hear about the devices you want to see on Ting and as always, we’ll be proactive in letting you know what’s coming.

Keep apprised by following our Device Update blog category.

Device update: On filling pre-orders and fulfilling promises

Device Update – Aug 16, 2012

We’re pretty pleased with the way our device lineup is coming together. The Samsung Galaxy SIII pre-order we announced in the last Device Update was a real win for us and, more importantly, for those of you looking for a truly top-end phone for use on Ting.

Coming to Ting

Top-end smartphones

Sometimes called “superphones,” these are the true top-tier smartphones; dual-core processors, a gig or two of RAM, huge, super high-resolution screens and the like are the earmarks.

HTC EVO 4G LTE

The HTC EVO 4G LTE is making its way to Ting. We’ll be offering pre-orders in mid-September with shipments happening in mid-October. We expect to offer the HTC EVO 4G for around $520.

The HTC EVO 4G LTE is a pretty killer device with a 4.7-inch screen 1280×720. It runs Android Ice Cream Sandwich (4.0) with the new, pared down HTC Sense atop. It sports a 1.5GHz dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM and 16GB of internal memory, expandable via microSD card. As the product name suggests, the HTC EVO 4G LTE is also an LTE-ready handset.

Motorola Photon Q

We’ve had some requests for a high-end QWERTY slider to replace the HTC Detail. Only too happy to oblige, we’ll be able to offer the Motorola Photon Q for pre-order next week; we’re expecting to have it available to us as pre-order on August 20, with shipments beginning three weeks hence. This timeframe is optimistic but likely.

The Photon Q is an LTE phone, it has the requisite slide-out QWERTY keyboard and packs a 1.5GHz dual-core processor and 1GB of RAM. It runs Ice Cream Sandwich, Android 4.0 (4.0.4 out of the box, to be exact).

We expect to offer the Photon Q for around $500 but exact pricing is as yet TBD.
[UPDATE: August 21, 2012: Pre-order pricing for the Motorola Q is $520.]

LG Viper

A little lower down the spec chain but not by much, we expect to have the LG Viper on offer in October for a little less than $400. Another LTE smartphone, the LG Viper has a 1.2GHz dual-core processor and 1GB of RAM. It runs Gingerbread, Android 2.3 out of the box. Thankfully though, an update to Ice Cream Sandwich is imminent, as confirmed by both Sprint and LG, though we have no specific ETA to share right this second. For more information on how the Ting Android update process works, please check out this article on the blog.

Think of the LG Viper as the LG Optimus Elite on steroids… but with LTE and a faster processor instead of acne and ‘roid rage.

Samsung Galaxy SIII

The Samsung Galaxy SIII is the top of the top-end. Pre-orders have been rolling in fast and furious.

There are a lot of moving parts that have to be taken in to account in fulfilling the SIII pre-orders. We’re on it literally every day, pushing to get these phones out the door as soon as possible.

We expect to begin shipping pre-orders of the Galaxy SIIIs across the four variants (Pebble Blue, Marble White, 16GB, 32GB) by early September and we’re pushing hard to move the shipping window up. As soon as we have a clear timeframe, we’ll certainly share it. Watch this space!

Smartphones

This is the most popular device category on Ting by volume. These smartphones come in at between about $200 and $300, generally feature single-core processors and smaller cameras. They’re not the absolute bleeding edge but they’re capable devices that won’t break the bank.

Kyocera Rise

This inexpensive slider will be offered for about $200 and will be hitting the Ting devices page soon. Sprint launches the Rise on August 19 and we’ll be able to offer it a couple of weeks later, in early September.

The Rise has a 1GHz processor, 512MB of RAM and a 3.5-inch screen. What’s interesting though is that we’re now starting to see Ice Cream Sandwich, Android 4.0, move from exclusively the domain of the “superphones” and in to the more attainable smartphone space. The Rise is the first smartphone we’ll be able to offer at or around the $200 mark that runs ICS out of the box.

Feature phones

Feature phones aren’t met with the same fanfare as smartphones, which is understandable. These staid handsets don’t do much with data, have smaller screens and less advanced software running the show. That said, they’re a necessary part of any device line-up for the people that don’t need or want a smartphone.

Codename: Hyperopia

Within a couple of months we’ll be adding a new feature phone to the Ting lineup. We’re codenaming this feature phone Hyperopia because we can’t see quite far enough out to get the actual product name. The codename is also ironic as it will feature large keys and options for large on-screen text, perfect for shortsighted people. Really though, it’s perfect for anyone looking for a simple, solid phone without much in the way of bells and whistles. Hyperopia will hit in the near future and by the next device update, we hope to have a device name and price point to share. Until we confirm the name of this impending Ting feature phone, please feel free to speculate wildly in the comments below.

Going from Ting

The device sale on the Huawei Express Mobile Hotspot and the Sierra 250u continues, and we’re also adding the black Samsung Galaxy SII into the mix at $50 off ($435 down from $485). As with the white SIIs, once we clear through the remaining stock of black Galaxy SIIs, these devices are gone for good which leaves little room for hemming and / or hawing. If you want one, you’d better get moving!

Nothing to report on the iPhone front as yet. We continue to work every available angle. We expect to make small steps forward (and possibly a couple back-steps along the way) before we finally break into that walled garden. We’re happy with the progress we’ve made thus far, even though it’s baby steps. We’ll definitely keep you posted as news warrants.

In other news

We continue to work with Sprint on LTE. The back-end work has been accomplished on our side so as soon as the virtual switch flips, we’ll be able to offer LTE to Ting customers (at no extra charge, it must be pointed out). We’re still looking at an early September timeframe… and again, our tenacious team is all over it.

A lot of the feedback we’ve received from Ting users, both current and would-be, is that we need to offer a wider variety of devices and that ideally, we should support bring your own device (BYOD). We’ve been working hard on both fronts and our efforts are starting to pay off. We hope to have news to share on the BYOD front soon. We only mention it now so you don’t think we’ve fallen asleep at the switch. Let us assure you: We as a team drink far too much coffee for that to even be a possibility.

Broken Galaxy Nexus dreams

In other, less fortuitous news, it doesn’t look likely that our efforts to get the Galaxy Nexus will come to fruition. That’s a whole post in and of itself but suffice it to say that Google needs to make its pure Google phones MVNO friendly. We’re adopting the thought that it’s their loss… but isn’t that what all spurned lovers say? Our sincere apologies to the unmodified Android devotees. We’ll let you know if that changes but as it stands, we have to say: Ting will not offer the Samsung Galaxy Nexus.

We’re hoping we can turn the tides for the next pure Google phone. Again, watch this space. We’re thinking a letter-writing campaign to Google HQ. Seriously. Who’s in?

Win Won: a Nexus 7 and Ting Huawei Express Mobile Hotspot

UPDATE: We have a winner! Congrats to @charlesschr. Your Nexus 7 and Huawei Express Mobile Hotspot are on their way out to you now.

Thanks to everyone that entered. We’re already cooking up our next giveaway idea so watch this space and this space too!

The slick Nexus 7 and the Huawei Express Mobile Hotspot are a match made in high-tech heaven. As we hope we’ve adequately pointed out in our Ting loves tablets post.

To drive the point, we’re giving away a Nexus 7 tablet and a Huawei Express Mobile Hotspot.

Tweet to win a Nexus 7 and Express Mobile Hotspot

If you’re not already a Ting customer, first ask yourself why. Get really soul-searching about it. Next, grab a couple of recent bills from your current mobile service provider and run the numbers on the Ting Calculator. Share your potential savings on Twitter by clicking the handy Tweet button on the Ting Calculator page and you’re in the running.

Here’s a sample tweet:

I would save $XX.XX/mo. with Ting mobile. Calculate your savings to win a Nexus 7 tablet + hotspot. http://ow.ly/cXVk3 #Ting

or click for a pre-populated Tweet.

If you’re already a Ting customer, please accept our heartfelt gratitude and, instead of sharing what you could save, share what you are saving with Ting versus your previous mobile carrier.

Here’s a sample tweet:

I’m saving $XX.XX/mo. with Ting mobile. Calculate your savings to win a Nexus 7 tablet + hotspot. http://ow.ly/cXVk3 #Ting

or click for a pre-populated Tweet.

So calculate your savings and share for a chance to win.

We should point out: Promotion ends on Aug. 17. US only. No purchase necessary. Huawei Express Mobile Hotspot can only be used on Ting. You must have a valid post-paid credit card if you wish to become a Ting customer.

Ting <3 tablets, tablets <3 Ting

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.

Take a look at the Huawei Express Mobile Hotspot: the ultimate tablet companion.

The Ting Road Warriors set off

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.

Heidi, leading the charge with her five fellow Ting Road Warriors, will be checking in as often as she can on the Ting Road Warriors Facebook event page. Follow along!