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Ting goes for three: Tri-Band LTE

Cell tower
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

Can we buy you a drink?

coffeecup

Starting today and until this time next week, we’re offering each of the 200 million Verizon and AT&T customers in the US a cup of coffee on us. Specifically, we’re offering a $5 Starbucks gift card to any and everyone that calculates their savings using the automated Ting savings calculator.

A $5 Starbucks gift card, you say? That’s enough for even the fanciest of coffee-based beverages: The elusive mochachaicocoaccino.

Could we end up buying a lot of coffees? Sure! That’s the goal. There’s something very compelling about a free cup of good coffee with no strings attached. Even if all 200 million AT&T and Verizon subscribers decided to take us up on this offer, we’d roll our loose change and check the couch cushions to come up with the $1 billion. Once those customers saw how much they could save, it’d be worth it.

How it works:

  1. Visit the Ting coffee promotion page.
  2. Enter your login details for your online account with AT&T or Verizon.
  3. The Ting calculator will reach out to your AT&T or Verizon account to automatically pull in the data from your last few mobile bills*.
  4. We’ll calculate your potential savings with Ting and present you with the results.
  5. On the calculation page, you’ll receive your $5 Starbucks gift card. We’ll also email you the details.

*Note: We do not see or store your AT&T or Verizon login or password nor do we store your personal data. We’re only interested in the actual usage data from your last few bills and what you ultimately paid as it pertains to your savings calculation.

Could AT&T and / or Verizon see what’s happening, get worried and make changes that would make it so their customers couldn’t see their savings with the Ting auto calculator? They could indeed. Do we have a contingency plan for if that happens? You know we do.

For Ting customers only

If you’ve already switched to Ting and experienced mobile that make sense, first: Thank you. Next, let us tell you that there’s something extra special in store just for Ting customers: Take a friend out for a coffee to propagandize tell them about the benefits of Ting, send us your receipt and your coffees (or teas) are on us too. Specifically, we’ll drop up to $10 in Ting credit into your account to cover the tab.

Optionally, give us your friend’s email and we’ll send them a friendly reminder to use your referral code if they’re thinking of making the move. As a Ting customer, you are, as always, eligible to receive $50 in credit for your first ever referral and $25 for each subsequent referral too.

Sounds like a plan? Have a coffee on us!

It’s time to bring your Nexus 5 to Ting!

Nexus-5Wow, what a week! Last Thursday, a handful of savvy denizens from around the country began activating the very first Nexus 5 devices on Ting. We have heard from those early adopters loud and clear: they really, really love their Nexus 5 — and they’re stoked to have their dapper Nexus 5 smartphones up and running here on Ting.

Which is why we are really excited to say: it’s time to bring your Nexus 5 to Ting! (In our humble opinion, of course.)

So, here’s the game plan to get a snazzy new Nexus 5 on Ting…

  1. Go order your Nexus 5!
    • Because of sheer demand, there is a bit of a wait right now over at Google Play, so go lock in your shipping date. We’re doing everything we can to get SIM cards out the door as quickly as possible, which brings me to…
  2. If you have not already, go get on our SIM card priority list right now!
    • We have begun shipping initial batches of SIM cards out. We are emailing small groups of folks at a time to find out if they are ready for a SIM card and, if so, where they would like their SIM card shipped. Please be patient with us, as these SIM cards are still in very short supply.
    • If you are in a mad dash to get your Nexus 5 up and running on Ting, you can also check out the early adopter thread for random ideas on where else you might be able to snag the necessary SIM card.
  3. Once you have your Nexus 5 and a SIM card, head over to this rapidly evolving support article for the play-by-play.
    • And, as part of our newfangled Nexus 5 open beta, our staggeringly awesome support folks will be able to provide guidance starting later next week, should you run into roadblocks large or small.
    • In the meantime, if you run into any issues, our awesome community has done a great job figuring out the occasional Nexus 5 quirks right here.

We have said it before, but it bears repeating: the excitement we’ve seen around the Nexus 5 from you Tingfolk (and soon-to-be Tingfolk) has just blown us away. So get yourself signed up for a Ting SIM card and then head over to our forums to follow the progress!

What’s New at Ting: Activation page improvements, self-serve port requests and an ESN swapping update!

At Ting, we’re always looking into adding useful features for you, as well as improving the current services we offer. In this installment of “What’s New at Ting” we give you the run-down on some awesome updates that will better your overall Ting experience. The major changes this week comprises upgrades to your account capabilities, letting you manually adjust more than ever before!

ESN Activation

 

Inactive device list on activation page

When you purchase a device from us, you will no longer need to enter the ESN or ICCID during the activation process (at ting.com/go/devices). Your device will be listed under “Select your ESN”, along with any other inactive devices on your account.
 

Self-serve port requests

By popular demand, you can now manually modify your own port requests! Before, if your number port failed in the transfer process, you have to call us and an agent would help you resolve the issue. While this previous process wasn’t unpleasant, we’re always interested in giving you more control over your Ting account. Now, if the process fails, you’ll be given as much info as possible on why your number port wasn’t accepted, and you can edit this port request yourself! This was one of our biggest call drivers, so we’re excited to finally give you the tools to update this manually.

 

Your Devices Page

ESN swapping has been added to the control panel

We’ve made it easier for you to switch an active number to a new or existing device! While this option already existed, it wasn’t as straightforward to find as we’d like. As a result, we’ve moved the ESN swap tool to the Devices Settings page on the Ting Control Panel. Now, when you click on your phone in the Device Settings page, you’ll have the option to “Move this number to another device” under Actions (see highlighted box in the image at right).

Ting’s Nexus 5 manifesto redux:
A Very Ting Roadtrip

(For the tl;dr action plan, skip to the last two paragraphs!)

Nexus-5Over the past few days, something changed. Guys and gals in big brown trucks started delivering snazzy new Nexus 5 smartphones to anxiously awaiting folks across America. For the first time, anyone with just this one awesome device could choose between at least three of the four major mobile networks in the United States.

We knew the Nexus 5 was a smartphone we wanted to have and support for the Ting community. We were, frankly, more than a bit surprised by just how many folks bought a Nexus 5 from Google Play and then showed up at our (virtual) door. We always try to be as open as we possibly can be about new devices and our plans (just take a look at our Nexus 5 manifesto from yesterday). So in that spirit, the redux: An update on our progress with the Nexus 5.

The fact Ting runs on the CDMA network has meant that a device you buy for, say, T-Mobile cannot be used with Ting or vice versa. But, pretty darned suddenly, you can head over to the Google Play store and buy a Nexus 5 and then take it to just about any carrier.

There is one roadblock. For a little while now, almost all new CDMA devices have supported LTE. LTE devices require a SIM card. Without exception, every LTE device we sell has a SIM card included (and some are even embedded). We have never before needed to provide a SIM card by itself. For our MVNO brethren and sistren that operate on GSM-based networks, providing a SIM card is routine. For us, it’s a new logistical question.

Set of color SIM cardsWhich leads me to my last-minute trip down to Buffalo, New York yesterday. We have quite a few older SIM cards here at Ting HQ for testing, but the Nexus 5 requires a fancy new SIM card (model SIMGLW206R if you’re keeping track). Inspired by our Nexus 5 manifesto, I found the nearest Sprint Store with SIM cards on hand, jumped in my sweet, sweet ride and made a run for the border.

And then I waited. You see, Ting HQ is here in Toronto. I grew up in West Virginia, where a traffic jam is a few coal trucks getting in the way on a long and winding mountain road. Between Toronto and Buffalo, however, there is the Queen Elizabeth Majestic Parking Lot Way. Her Majesty and I need to have a little chat because clearly she needs some new traffic management planning experts.

But, I digress. I left the office at 3:30pm and arrived at a buzzing Sprint Store in Buffalo right around 7:30pm, just a half-hour before they were scheduled to close. They gave me their last five SIM cards and I headed over to the Barnes & Noble next door to jump on their Wi-Fi network. Connecting to Ting HQ via VPN, we were able to get our first few Nexus 5 devices active on Ting.

This isn’t an announcement that the Nexus 5 can now come to Ting. We’re still testing and working on instructions for getting everything up and running. That said, things are looking very promising.

We are crazy excited about the Nexus 5. The demand is awesome, but the paradigm shift it portends for the old wireless industry models is especially exciting. Want to give T-Mobile a try? Want to give Ting a try? Want to head over to Sprint for unlimited data, instead? The more freedom you have, the happier we are here at Ting. Even though I didn’t get back home until well after midnight last night, I’d be saying the same thing — perhaps even louder — after a good night’s sleep!

Where we are right now

If you want to bring a Nexus 5 purchased from Google Play over to Ting, you have a couple of options.

  1. Take the blue pill and wait for a bit while we smooth the way for you to bring a Nexus 5 to Ting.
    We are working on getting a sufficient quantity of SIM cards to start shipping them out to new and existing Ting customers that want to activate their Nexus 5 purchased from the Google Play store. If you want to be notified once we have these ready, give us your details here and we’ll be in touch as soon as we can. Please keep in mind that bringing your own Nexus 5 will only be possible for Nexus 5 devices purchased directly from the Google Play store.
  2. Take the red pill and test with us.
    If you simply cannot wait and are willing to blaze a trail with us here, get your hands on a Sprint* SIM card and head over to this thread in our forums for the nitty gritty details. Before you swallow that pill though, please be fully aware that we’re still working on getting some things working and we can’t guarantee that everything will go perfectly smoothly: There may still be challenges ahead that we can’t yet foresee.

Whether you’re ready now or you want to wait it out, here’s to the Nexus 5 helping to make mobile make even more sense!

Five Golden Ticket winners, one to go…

Update: The sixth Golden Ticket was found! Congrats to Judith K. of Washington and all our winners.

As a reminder, we recently stuffed three of our sweet, new reusable Ting shipping portfolios with Golden Tickets. We also sent three digital Golden Tickets to random “bring your own devicers”. All Golden Ticket winners received $400 in Ting credit which, based on the average Ting bill, should offer about a year of free service.

blog_GoldenTicket-1So far, 5 out of 6 tickets have been found:

Stephen S. (North Carolina)
Jeff F. (California)
Sandy C. (West Virginia)
Ray T. (Ohio)
Catherine L. (Florida)

One of the best things about running goofy contests like this is that we end up meeting a few more of our customers. We get to hear about why they came to Ting and how things are going so far.

Jeff F. in California had a great story. He decided to come to Ting to save some money and bought the cheapest smartphone he could find on our site, the Refurbished LG Optimus S. Just as he did that, a friend offered him an eligible HTC EVO. He gladly accepted but was kind of bummed that he wasted the cash on the LG Optimus S. Then it arrived with a $400 credit! Best return on any investment he ever made.

When I spoke to Jeff, he was having some trouble canceling his account with Virgin and bringing his phone number over to Ting. He was concerned that he might have messed up the timing and lost his number forever. I said, “No problem, Jeff, call our Support team, we’ll walk you through the whole thing and make sure everything is fine.” He said, “Ugh, I’ll call, but I just know I’ll be left on hold for six hours.” I love it when people say stuff like that! Man, it’s so easy to be shockingly good in this industry. I talked to him the next morning. He had been lucky enough to get Kenisha on the phone. (I would say Kenisha is the best Customer Rep we have at Ting, tied with about 30 other Customer Reps.) He and his phone number are with Ting and doing great.

sandy (reduced)

I was also delighted to meet Sandy C. from West Virginia. Sandy and her family use very little data and were wasting money with plans that essentially force people to buy fixed amounts of voice, data and text that they don’t need. She admitted that our coverage is not ideal for her out there. But being able to pay for just what she uses was worth a bit of a sacrifice. And she is rightfully hopeful that it will get better.

Funny story. I was talking to Sandy on her Ting phone and we were having an awful time hearing each other. I’m screaming, “Congratulations Sandy!!!! How are you enjoying Ting so far??!!” After a about thirty seconds of this, I said, “Wow, Sandy, this is terrible, I don’t want you to live like this!!! If we don’t  have the coverage you need…” Just then, Sandy’s voice came through clear as bell and said, “Sorry about that, I was just looking for something in the basement.” I cracked up. So not that great, but not that bad.

I asked Sandy to send me a cute photo of herself and the Golden Ticket. She sent this photo and explained, “You asked for a cute picture of me and the ticket. Well I don’t do cute so much, but I included my goat Violet to add some humor anyway. The goats appreciate the win too, cookies for everyone!

Catherine gushed for about 10 minutes about how wonderful we are. I laughed about that. I figure you can suck pretty badly and then give someone $400 and there’s still a good chance they’ll gush about how wonderful you are. She said had just worked a 24 hour shift in the Intensive Care Unit and we made her day. I laughed again. That shouldn’t be a tough day to make. But we made her happy. That makes me happy.

One bit of data: 3 out of the 5 winners so far have never won anything their lives.

So, Stephen, Jeff, Sandy, Ray and Catherine have all claimed their prizes. Stephen, Ray and Catherine got the digital tickets. Jeff and Sandy got two out of the three actual tickets. One actual ticket is still at large. I love the drama, since history would suggest that the last one to find the Golden Ticket wins the whole Ting factory!