Ting vs Virgin Mobile vs Sprint
In my last article I talked about our land line service Ooma and why we switched. Now, I am going to tell you about our cell service and why we switched and in the processing of switching again. Ting vs Virgin Mobile vs Sprint, which service to go with? Should others be included in here?
Virgin Mobile Performance
We have been using Virgin Mobile for about 2 years, the nice thing about the service is the price. You cannot beat it! When I got my phone and my wifes phone, the service was $25 a month. We still pay $25 a month. We get unlimited data, txt and 300 talk minutes. We are not big cell phone talkers, my wife likes to text, but not as much as before. We have not had any issues with the service. Been very reliable, granted the 3G speeds is not the fastest, average download speeds out here in my area is about 468kbps down and 168kbps up. The Virgin Mobile service runs on the Sprint backbone. So you do get reliable service on the network. In all the time I have had the service, never had a dropped call on me. Texting works fine and 3G has always been reliable. Streaming Spotify a lot when we would take road trips been very good.
Our phones, we both have the LG Optimus V phones. Plus we got our son one for christmas last year, we had to pay $35 a month for his phone. These phones are pretty darn good, the screen size is smaller than most cell phones, but the android OS works well on them. I have actually referred this phone to a few other people who purchased them and use the service and they have been pretty happy with them. These are not powerhorses, running netflix on them is not the best experience But playing games like Angry Birds, Draw Something, listening to music with Spotify, Pandora and other music apps works great. Facebook works fine, a little slow, but fine. The biggest problem with the phone is the memory. They do not have a lot of memory and fills up quickly. I actually rooted mine and my son’s phone so we can install more apps and move to the SD card. So, the memory issues are resolvable. Rooting the phone also enabled me to turn my phone into a hotspot, so now I can use my tablet, Nook Color, and my daughter can use her iPod when driving down the road. Without the rooting, you cannot do this.
So Why the Change???
After reading my success on Virgin Mobile, your wondering why you changing service again? Why take the risk? Well, I found out about Ting.com recently. I was very interested in the service because of several reasons, one reason is the service is on Sprint again like Virgin Mobile and I know the service works great out here, the second is consolidating billing of all our phones and sharing the plan, third reason is the biggest, BRING YOUR OWN DEVICE!!! They have a new program in place where you can bring over old Sprint phones. You can also purchase phones from them too, but with the all the HTC Evo phones out there, this is a killer deal of a phone to pick up.
Let me go over these items indivdually, the first thing is the service is on Sprint network, the speed is actually faster than the Virgin Mobile service, my download speeds on the 3G is about 700kbps and 368kbps upload. This was tested on my wifes HTC EVO 4G phone I purchased for $100.
The second thing is the consolidated billing, the way the service works is you pick a plan, pick how many minutes you want, txt messages and data. As you use the service, if you go over in an area you picked, it goes up to the next tier automatically. The bill is adjusted accordingly and you are charged the editonal amount, if you do not reach the plan you subscribed to, your bill is reduced to the proper amount. This is pretty cool in the fact you pay for what you use. This causes a couple of things to happen, you start to watch your usage and adjust based on what you are using. This is where things get pretty interesting that I think will work great for families, there is a dashboard on the website, in this dashboard you can setup alerts and limits for your devices. So if you have kids and you don’t want them calling a bunch, you can restrict them to so many minutes a month, you can restrict to data usage and text too. The alerts can be setup to send you a notification of when the device reaches a certain level, say 100 talk minutes, it can alert you and then disable that device from making anymore calls. This is great to keep your bill low, teach kids that they do not need to be on the phone a lot I really love this! Another beauty of the service, the fees for extra phones, it is $6 a month per phone. Now, all these other contract providers charge you $40-50 just for the smartphone on the plan and that is not even including the data plan which is another $40-70 a month for that. I did a price at the different providers and for 3 phones, $40 each, $120 just to carry a smartphone! This is before the voice and data service added. I just do not understand how people can afford to spend $40 a month to carry a phone!
My first month on the service, we setup to use the Medium service plan, this is 500 talk minutes, 500 txt messages and 500MB of data service, this is $33 a month. I set it at this level for testing and seeing how things go, I installed an app on my wifes phone to monitor the data and also the txt and voice minutes used. I can also go online at anytime and see what the usage is. If things work well, I will be switching things over and getting rid of the virgin mobile service.
Last thing that was really cool, the BYOD (Bring your own device) option. Ting recently opened up to support certain Sprint phones and in the future offering more, here is a list of supported devices:
- HTC EVO 4G (A9292)
- HTC EVO 3D (X515C)
- HTC EVO Shift (A7373)
- Samsung Galaxy SII Epic 4G Touch (SPHD710)
- Samsung Epic 4G (SPH-D700)
- LG Optimus S (LS670)
- Motorola Photon 4G (MB855)
The list will be growing over time, most of these phones can be had online for $125 and less, some are higher like the galaxy SII. I picked up a HTC EVO 4G for my wife. The transfer was painless and took 24hrs to get onto the Ting network. You basically get the phone, go online, setup your account, enter the ESN/MEID number and send, it takes 24 hours for the phone to be transferred into the Ting system, you receive an email when this is done, then go on the website, activate the phone, pick your plan and immediately things are activated, did I mention there is no activation fee? Yeah, NO ACTIVATION FEE!!! and it is month to month, no need for a long drawn out contract. Love that!
The other thing is, no restrictions on using your phone as a hotspot, so you are not violating any TOS if you decide to share your phone with your laptop, tablet, iPod and etc… This is a fee most cell providers charge you for too! So annoying!!! I cannot say enough good things about the service so far with all the benefits.
Ting has a cost savings calculator online you can use to calculate your savings over time:
For example, say you have Verizon Wireless:
4GB Shared Data plan is $70 a month, $40 for each phone, plus $35 activation fee: $190 a month plus $105 for first month, plus $99 per phone to purchase with a 2 year contract. Now if I said say on Ting you used 1000 min, 1000 txts and 4GB of data, your bill would be $123 a month for the 3 phones. No contract! You can pick up phones for $99 easily and over the course of the time on the service, you may not even come close to using all that data and minutes. Look over your bills, see how much data and minutes you are using. You will be surprised on how little data most families actually use.
Check it out, do the savings calculator. I think most families can save a ton of money, control the usage, have control over the phones with the dashboard is awesome and truly what I think most families need. Ting is Not a Load Of BS!