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Ting on a GSM network: Open beta is, well, open.

Ting GSM SIMTing on a GSM network is now in open beta. That means anyone with a Ting GSM SIM card can activate it, slip it into an unlocked phone and get started with Ting. No invitation required.

Likewise, the purchase page for the Ting GSM SIM X1 has gone from invite-only to public. That means the Ting GSM SIM card is available to purchase (then activate, then put in an unlocked phone and get started with Ting) with no invitation required.

If it feels somehow impolite to just waltz in to a beta uninvited, or if you’ve been anxiously awaiting an invitation and are disappointed that no explicit invite is coming, let us say this: You’re invited to the open beta of Ting on a GSM network.

Check out the Ting GSM and CDMA coverage maps to see what kind of coverage you can expect where you are. GSM and CDMA devices can coexist under a single account, sharing pooled usage for minutes, messages and megabytes.

New Ting customers can now choose whether they’d like to get started with their first device on either GSM or the CDMA networks. In many cases, the type of device someone wants to bring will determine which network is the right one.

Offer for customers who bought a device that has failed the financial eligibility check

UPDATE: This offer was intended as a stop-gap to help people that found themselves on the wrong side of the Sprint financial eligibility date (FED) check, despite getting prior assurances that their phone would work on Ting. It was a time-sensitive issue and its time has passed. We’ll keep this blog post around for posterity (and to preserve the massive comment thread that accompanies it), though the offer has long since expired.

New unlocking rules should mean more phone freedom

chairNew carrier rules dealing with locking and unlocking phones come into full effect today.

In short: Going forward, unless a phone is connected in some way to an account that owes the carrier money, said carrier will unlock the phone if asked to do so. Carriers have the option to do so automatically as soon as a contract term is fulfilled, but we won’t hold our breath for that.

For prepaid carriers, the carrier must allow a device to be unlocked one year after it was first activated.

It’s called the Consumer Code for Wireless Service and February 11, 2015 was the deadline for full carrier compliance.

It wouldn’t be difficult to argue that these new unlocking rules don’t go far enough or that they only came about because the other option was looking like regulation. Still, it’s a real win for “consumers.”

Noss and Obama agree on plan for municipal broadband

To be clear, our CEO, Elliot Noss, and President Barack Obama have not actually met. But they do seem to agree on a plan to bring super fast Internet to towns across the country, boost the economy and reverse income inequality.

Obama will highlight this in his State of the Union address tonight.

Noss offered a bit of a preview in an interview with Chris Mitchell of MuniNetworks.org released this morning. Through his work at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, Chris has long advocated for broadband networks, including munipal-owned fiber networks, that better service communities.

Chris and Elliot cover a bunch of fun topics in just under a half hour, including:

– Ting’s unique customer experience
– Models for building and operating a fiber network along the spectrum from private to public
– The Westminster model
– The future of television

Take a listen here…

 

Also, please tune in to the State of the Union address at 9pm ET tonight and come back to share your thoughts here. It is very exciting to see this topic at the top of the agenda.

CES 2015 Extreme Tech Challenge

10527359_766685596718990_1468256949068262064_nIn addition to the miles of exhibition space at the International CES, there are hundreds of peripheral events too.

Yesterday, we found ourselves watching the semifinals of the Extreme Tech Challenge. Think American Idol meets Shark Tank. 10 finalists were doing their final pitches in the hopes that they’d be one of three successful teams afforded an opportunity for an all expenses paid trip to Necker Island. That’s where Sir Richard Branson has his not-so-secret lair. Idea being, if you can get the founder of Virgin Group on board, big things are all but assured to happen.

During the event, each hopeful had the chance to pitch his or her business to the audience with one last deck. A panel of judges then chose the winners and pushed them one step closer to the big time.

Smartphone trends at CES 2015: A race to the bottom… and top

CESphone
If it’s true that the International CES is a barometer for the electronics industries at large (and I’d argue it is), we’re about to see smartphones get divided.

Walking the International CES 2015 show floor, it seems that the gap between the major smartphone makers and the upstarts is narrowing. The overriding impression I’m taking away from the show so far, after walking maybe half of the total exhibit space, is that the tides are turning.