Ting is a unique Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) – it’s not quite a prepaid plan, but it’s not quite a traditional (postpaid) carrier, either. As one of the first MVNOs to engage in pay-for-only-what-you-use, you pay at the end of the month – but you don’t have to worry about contracts like you do with the Big 4 cell phone carriers.
Let’s dive into what we found.
Ting Mobile: Plans + Pricing
With Ting, there’s no rigid “plans.” What you do with Ting is pay for different tiers of service in 3 categories: data, minutes, and texts. You start out with a line access fee of $6 per line of service on your plan. Then you add everything else into the mix.
This is great if you don’t use much data – you can save some major bank by just nabbing one of the first-tier plans that are below 1GB. Likewise, if you don’t call people very often, you can opt for no-usage or a low-usage plan to save some dough.
Best yet? You only pay for what you actually use. And you pay at the end of each month, so even if you set up your plan to be 1.1-2GB of data, but you actually only used 997MB, you won’t have to pay for the higher tier. You’ll automatically pay the lower-tier amount.
Everything is based on what you actually used for that month.
First things first – if you’re a data super-user, Ting is not right for you. Or in other words: if you use a lot of data, Ting will be expensive.
This is because from 2GB of monthly data and up, you’re paying $10/GB - most other prepaid carriers give more data before charging those kind of rates to add on. So if data is your game, you’ll get more from other prepaid plans like AT&T Prepaid, T-Mobile’s Simply Prepaid, or - if you want unlimited - Simple Mobile.
That said, if you don’t use much data – Ting is perfect.
While most plans give you unlimited calling, Ting lets you customize down to your usage – which could save you money. Their calling minutes options are pretty good, especially on the lower side of things.
But if you rarely do any calling while out and about, you can definitely save some money here. Just pick one of the lower minute allowance plans, then use Ting’s wi-fi calling feature when you have a hotspot nearby.
Like their minutes, Ting offers options for texts – so if you do most of your messaging on WhatsApp, then you don’t have to pay for any (or much) in the way of SMS text messages.
And if you do a lot of traditional texting, but not so much that you need unlimited, then Ting’s rates are pretty affordable.
Plan cost example
|Total monthly cost||$15/month||$39/month||$48/month||$72/month|
With each section added in, what does this end up costing you? You can use this link to check for yourself with the different combinations, but for a quick example check out the table above.
As you can see, on the low end things look pretty good – rates are comparable to MVNOs like Simple Mobile and Straight Talk. And Ting’s advantage? You can mix-and-match different text, call, and data amounts.
Ting Mobile: Coverage + Performance
Above, GSM network coverage map;
Below, CDMA network coverage map
Ting, as an MVNO, relies on larger carrier networks to deliver service – Ting “rents” space on their cellular towers. Ting uses Sprint and T-Mobile, so that puts you in a unique situation: you can choose between a CDMA or GSM network.
T-Mobile is the GSM network; Sprint is CDMA. If you have or buy a GSM-compatible phone, you’ll likely see better coverage nationwide - T-Mobile ranks higher and better for coverage and speed than Sprint’s network.
That said, if you live on the east coast or near/in a major city, you’ll be fine with either – and may in fact be better with Sprint.
In either case, what’s best for you will depend on your exact location and where you travel. It’s good to note that if you travel overseas, a GSM phone will work without needing to do anything special; CDMA phones need a special international SIM unlock plus some setting changes.
What if you want multiple lines on your account, but the other lines aren’t one network type or the other? No problem. If you have a GSM phone, the other lines can be either CDMA or GSM, too.
Ting Mobile: Devices
Ting gives you a solid variety of smartphones – as well as a few flip phones if that’s your jam – including some of the latest. That said, iPhones definitely have an emphasis; it helps that Apple devices can be used as either CDMA or GSM, making them perfect for Ting’s dual-network coverage.
But Androids are also close behind – you’ll find up to Galaxy S9 and S9+ available, as well as the Note9. And more affordable phones are available too from LG, Motorola, Alcatel, and BLU.
Ting Mobile: Customer Service
Recap: Is Ting Mobile any good?
Ting Mobile gives you great options to customize data, texting, and calling amounts. It’s especially great if you use less than your the amounts you choose – use less? Then you pay less.
That said, the lack of any unlimited options – whether text and calling, or data – means that if you use a lot of any of them, particularly data, you’ll pay hand-and-foot.
Ting Mobile is good for those who don’t use much data and only want to pay for what they actually use. Ting lets you do just that.
What happens if I use more data/minutes/texts than I meant to?
In the shortest way possible: you’ll just pay for whatever tier the amount you used lands you in.
For instance, if you meant to use just 1GB of data last month, but you used 1.1GB instead – it’s not a super big deal. You’ll just pay for the next tier up (1.1-2GB).
Sure, in this case, you’ll pay an extra $4 – but that’s a small jump. There’s no harsh overage charges – you just get bumped up to the next tier.
If you’re worried about this, though, you can set up 2 types of usage alerts:
- Text reminders – let you know when you’re coming close to your present usage limit.
- Hard caps – Cut you off when you reach your present usage limit.
Does Ting have a wi-fi hotspot?
Yes. As long as you have data included in your plan, you can turn your phone/device into a wi-fi hotspot. The data for it just comes out of your regular data costs. There are no limits.
Can I BYOD to Ting?
Yes. Ting uses GSM and CDMA networks – so just about any phone can transfer over. To be safe and start the process, use their compatibility checker to check if your phone is compatible.
Can you keep your number with Ting?
Yes. Follow these 3 steps:
- Buy a Ting SIM card for $9 here
- Provide Ting with your:
- Phone number
- Account number of your current carrier
- Port out PIN/password
- Billing information
- Next, log into your Ting account and select the new SIM card from your Device list. Activate it, follow the prompts and select the “Bring a number you already have” option, and fill out the form with the information from step 2.
Once completed, the transfer can take up to 24 hours, but is usually done the same day.