Ting! Save Money on Mobile
Cellular customers are like Goldilocks, who wanted everything to be just right. They pay a set amount for a bucket of minutes, text messages, and data bytes. At the end of each month, they are unhappy if they don't use all they paid for, or they have to pay extra for going over their allotments. Ting feels your pain, and has a solution that can save you money on your mobile phone bill...
What is Ting?
Tucows has started a mobile services carrier called Ting, which is provided over Sprint's cellular network. Ting is one of the most flexible deals available. You can roll your own service plan, choosing different amounts of monthly voice minutes, text messages, and data megabytes from six tiers (XS, S, M, L, XL, and XXL).
Kinda makes you wonder why they don't also sell t-shirts. But anyway... you can even choose "zero" if you don't want to use your device for one type of service. Each device added to your account costs a base price of $6/month, so you can customize a family plan or a multiple-device service plan.
It might seem complicated, but Ting provides a short video that shows how simple this roll-your-own service plan is. There's even a calculator where you can plug in up to a year of your current usage and costs to see how much you would save with Ting.
If you exceed your chosen allotment in any category, you are automatically bumped up to the next higher plan. For example, if you are paying $9 for 500 voice minutes and use between 501 and 1000, your next bill for voice minutes will be $18. If you exceed the "XXL" allotment, you pay a unit price per minute, message, or megabyte for the overage.
But don't worry... this automatic adjustment works in reverse, too. If your actual usage falls into a lower-priced bracket, your next bill will reflect the lower price in the form of a credit. Just try to find another phone company that will proactively lower you bill! Ting doesn't perfectly match your usage to your bill, but it comes closer than other bucket-based pricing plans.
No Math, No Contract, and Free Stuff!
There really isn't any need to estimate your monthly needs for each type of service. Just sign up for the lowest-priced plans and let your actual usage determine your bill. Ting requires no contract, and you can cancel service at any time. That's a breath of fresh air for anyone who's ever been in the vice-like grip of those multi-year cellular contracts that come with hefty early termination fees.
And how about some free stuff? Every Ting customer gets Voicemail, Call Forwarding, Caller ID, Three-way Calling, and Picture & Video Messaging. Not impressed? How about free number porting, tethering, and mobile hotspot capability? I know for sure that Verizon and AT&T don't offer those things for free.
Another plus is Ting's "Moms Ride Free" feature. If you have a Mom, Dad, Grandma, or other family member who needs a cell phone only on rare occasions or for emergencies, you can get them a Ting feature phone for $100 ($65 plus $35 activation), and pay only $6 a month to keep the phone active.
I also like Ting's approach to customer service. If you call Monday through Friday (8am to 8pm EST), you'll never be put on hold. The phone simply rings until someone at Ting picks it up. I called on a Monday at 11AM and got a rep on the first ring. And for what it's worth, she spoke perfect English. Ting says they hire people ("geeks", actually) who are already accustomed to solving problems for their friends and families. These reps are trained and empowered to solve problems without reading from a script.
There are a few downsides to Ting's business model. First, you have to pay full retail price for a Ting handset, which can range from $65 for a simple feature phone to $545 for a Motorola Photon smartphone. Second, there is a $35 activation fee for each device added to your account.
I can't guarantee that Ting would save everyone money in the long run. My gut reaction is that people (or families) who use at least several hundred minutes a month would benefit. For a small business, it seems like a slam dunk win. Try the savings calculator mentioned earlier here, and see if your personal, family or small business mobile phone bill looks better with Ting. At the very least, it's a unique step towards true metered pricing of cellular services. Perhaps it will spur further movement in that direction.
Have you tried Ting, or are you curious about it? Post your comment or question below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 19 Mar 2012
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Ting! Save Money on Mobile (Posted: 19 Mar 2012)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved