How We Lowered Our Cell Phone Bill By Over $100/Month – Part 2

20140211-195200.jpgThis is part 2 in a little three part series that details how we lowered our cell phone bill by over $100/month. Feel free to catch up before reading on.

  • Part 1 – Breaking Up With Verizon
  • Part 2 – I’m In Love With Ting! (this post)
  • Part 3 – Glyde Smoothed The Way (tomorrow)

 

I’m In Love With Ting!

Some people say it’s not natural – that it goes against the natural order of things. But I can’t help it. I’m in love! And I don’t care that it’s with a telecom company!

What’s Ting?

Ting is an MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator) that runs on the Sprint network.

The basics of it go like this: Ting buys bandwidth on the Sprint network and sells it to Ting customers. Not every phone that runs on the Sprint network is eligible to be used on Ting, but our beloved iPhone 4S became eligible late in 2013 and they are adding more (even quite new Android devices) all the time. You can either buy a phone from Ting, or BYOD (bring your own device) that you purchased elsewhere. As long as it’s Sprint compatible and on their list of approved devices, it should work!

Is There A Catch?

No catch. With the exception of the fact that the upper right hand corner of our phones now read “Sprint” instead of “Verizon”, we notice no difference at all. We don’t have to jump through any hoops like having people text us through apps, or use Google Voice, or worry about being in a a WiFi zone. It. Just. Works.

What About Sprint’s Coverage?

Even though this Sprint coverage map shows our area as having 4G LTE coverage, in our experience that hasn’t been a great indicator for service indoors with other networks. For example, back in 2007, I got a Blackberry from Sprint only to find that it did not work in my office or my apartment (both of which were centrally located in a major metro area), so this was the part about Ting that had me the most worried. Turns out, we had nothing to worry about.

Where 4 years ago, Verizon was the only network that didn’t drop calls in our house, we don’t drop any calls on the Sprint network today. We haven’t had a single problem. Our phones work inside, outside, at work, at home, on all of my runs and bike rides… And we have found the 3G Sprint speed comparable to the 3G Verizon coverage in our area.

How Much Is It?

Unlike the major operators in the cell phone space, you don’t need to buy a large plan to avoid worrying about overages or worry about contracts. With Ting, you just use your phone, and whatever usage “bucket” you are in for that month is how you get billed.

Here’s how your bill gets calculated:

The first part is a base charge per phone: $6/month.

Then for each usage type (call minutes, text messages, and MB of data), the combined usage across all the phones in your account will fall into one of the sizes in this table. (Notice if you don’t use any of a given category, there is no charge!)

Add those up, and that’s your bill. In the chart above, I have it highlighted for the buckets we fell into in our first bill. (Though, because they have to play by the rules, there are a few of those pesky fees that the government mandates. Those fees added about $4 to our recent bill.)

Read also: How much does it cost to live in London?

But How Do You Know Which Billing Tier You’re In? Isn’t That Annoying?

20140212-193843.jpg

I erased our phone numbers from view…

It’s REALLY easy to keep track of your usage if you’re worried about the bill. Ting has both iPhone and Android apps that let you check in on your usage during that billing period and shows you exactly how much more you can use before hitting the next billing tier, and how many days are left in your billing cycle.

If you’re near the end of the billing cycle and don’t want to go into the next tier, you can limit your usage. For example, when we had 1 day left in the billing cycle, I checked the app for our usage before calling my best friend since I know those calls can sometimes be 60-90 minutes. This is what it looked like when I checked on the iPhone app.

Unless I was going to talk to her for over 6 hours, no additional charges would apply. And even if they did, in general the rates are cheap enough that moving up to the next tier would be a small cost.

And What About Customer Service?

I don’t usually gush about customer service. After all, I kindof expect that serving the customers is a part of the job for most businesses. But Ting really does an amazing job with customer service.

Ting’s help page answers a ton of questions – try searching for a keyword in the hundreds of posts! And if you can’t find your answer there, you can ask the forum, submit a new idea for a feature, or get in touch with them directly. I did this and received a response via email the same day.

They also are the only telecom company I know of that LOWERED their prices. When we signed up in January, prices were a little higher than the table you see above. But then midway through our billing cycle I got this email:

This means instead of the $60 I was estimating our bill to be, it’s probably going to be closer to $50/month on average. For two fully functioning iPhones! Nice!

Also – right before I scheduled this post, I noticed in one of their recent emails they actually tell customers NOT to buy the new Nexus 5 from Ting since they can save $95 by buying it elsewhere. What company does that? Seriously!?!

And you’re wondering why I’m a little gushy on these guys.

What About International Use?

This is the concern for one of the guys I work with that I’ve been gushing to about Ting. He texts his family in Europe all the time (Ting would include that in the charge for regular texts), and calls them occasionally from his cell for short calls. (That would be an additional charge.) While a Ting phone wouldn’t work in the country his family lives in (here are the countries it would work in, for a fee), for the savings, he could easily purchase a pay-as-you-go phone for use while visiting them and still come out ahead.

Why Didn’t We Do This Sooner?

  1. We are spoiled with our choice of device. We didn’t want to switch to an Android phone, and it wasn’t until November 2013 that the iPhone was available on Ting.
  2. We were also a little scared to do this at the end of last year when work was hectic. Losing access to Mr PoP’s cell phone and email during the end of Q4 would have been more than an inconvenience, it could have affected our bottom line income-wise, too. So we held off fearing the switch would be problem ridden. Turns out it wasn’t. Porting the numbers over took just a few hours and we easily loaded the backups of our old phones onto the new Sprint devices.

 

Honestly, I can’t say enough good things about Ting. It’s been such an easy way for us to shave an extra $100-$110/month off our spending without feeling limited or like we’re sacrificing anything that I feel the need to proselytize a little.

If you’d like to give Ting a try, feel free to sign up using this referral link for Ting. While the blog will earn a small commission if you do, that has not influenced my comments on the service in the least.

Any questions/comments on Ting? Leave them in the comments!

Amelia

My name’s Amelia, and I’m all about helping others achieve success.

As a financial writer and marketing manager, I love working with different types of media to create and promote killer content.

I’m also passionate about using my skills and abilities to help others achieve their goals and dreams.

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