(HULK)

Save $ on cell service -- Ting Mobile / Solavei (+ other MVNOs)

2,993 posts in this topic

Today I officially left Sprint for Ting. I will use this post to elaborate as best I can about my experiences with Ting vs Sprint/Verizon/AT&T (I've been with those 3 previously). Before I get started though, I will say outright that almost 99% of you on postpaid plans with AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile are getting jobbed. By getting locked into 2 year contracts for a discounted phone, you are typically increasing the total cost of ownership for that phone by a ton of money. How much really depends on each individual's use case, but for my wife and I, we're saving about $1,000 a year by making the switch to Ting, and we'll have the exact same service that we had with Sprint previously, except with BETTER customer service and no contract. There are numerous MVNOs now (thats Mobile Virtual Network Operator). There are certainly enough that with a minimal amount of effort you can find one with plans that fit your needs well. Ting, Straight Talk Wireless, Virgin, etc etc. There are lots. Since I am going over to Ting and I don't think any other FBGs have made that jump yet, I'll give a detailed explanation about why I chose them and how it is going. I encourage others on the other various MNVOs to speak up about their specific ones as well. Reasons why I chose to go to Ting: -Ting only charges you for the minutes/texts/data you use. You pick a plan. If you happen to use less minutes than you have in your plan, you get charged less automatically. If you use more texts, you just get bumped up to the next bracket. No penalties. This is ideal for my wife and I. We typically don't use a lot of data (thanks wifi) but if we travel we might. Its not worth it for us to have an unlimited plan though. Having toyed with the math a fair amount, I would say that Ting is a value proposition for anyone who is a light or moderate user. People who make thousands of minutes of calls or use more than 2 GBs of data a month would probably be better off on a different MVNO than Ting. Check out their plans here. If you know your usage patterns, you can use this calculator to estimate savings: Calculator -My impression is that Ting doesn't BS. They have a "no hold" customer call line that connects you to a person immediately. They don't charge extras for things like wireless tethering or navigation. I don't have the sense that they're out to nickel and dime you to death. They're basically trying to reinvent the model, and I support what they're doing. -Same network as Sprint (who I am used to). Includes access to both the Wimax and LTE networks. Sprint's "network vision" effort is currently transforming their whole network top to bottom, and in my area coverage is solid and improving. -Ting has top of the line phones. Some MVNOs only have older or midrange options. My wife just activated her Galaxy Note2 today. They've had it on Ting since Dec. Looks like new phones are available on Ting typically 4 to 6 weeks after they get on Sprint, which isn't that bad. -You can BYOD for *some* Sprint devices, typically older ones. That is what I'm doing, bringing over my old Evo3d for now. I'm kinda waiting to see what the Galaxy S4 and Moto X Phone look like before picking my next phone. Thats basically it. My wife and I were paying $170 a month on Sprint for the lowest family plan w/ 2 smart phones. On Ting I am estimating our monthly bill as $54. The difference is so large that I'm paying a $450 ETF to Sprint to get out of our contract and I don't even care. It just makes sense for my wife and I. They do have a referral program. Anyone who signs up with my link will get $25 off of either a device or a $25 service credit (and I'll get a $25 credit as well). I will post my referral link at the bottom of this post, and anyone else who signs up, PM me your link and I'll add it to this post. No point in not helping out fellow FBGs if anyone is looking to make the switch.

**********UPDATE********* This thread took a bit of a turn. I took it upon myself to start becoming an expert in every plan out there and have started a spreadsheet tracking over 400 different plans from over 50 different providers and MVNOs. If anyone has any questions about smartphone plans, ask them here and I'll be glad to help. My wife has been on Ting for a little over a week and everything is going great so far. Customer service has also been exemplerary as well. For myself, I ended up convincing myself that I wanted my next phone to be a Nexus, and got impatient, so I got a Nexus 4. Since that is a GSM only phone, I needed to find a different provider than Ting (which is CDMA). I ended up choosing Solavei (on the T-mobile network). A couple of reasons. The T-mobile GSM network is HSPA+42, which is faster than AT&T's HSPA network. The Nexus 4 can't use AT&T's LTE, so that seemed wise. Solavei is cheap at $49 a month for unlimited calls, texts, and 4 GBs of 4G data (throttled to 3G after you use up your 4GBs). There are cheaper plans with "unlimited" data out there, specifically Straight Talk and Walmart Family, but both of these providers will throttle you at unclear amounts of usage, and using Youtube or Pandora type services over their network violates their Terms of Service, so they can and will cut you off if you are a heavy data user. The internet is littered with stories of this happening. So, I figured $4 more a month for avoiding that potential headache was worth it. Solavei also has a MLM component to it (refer 3 people get $20 off your bill every month, so long as those 3 people are still using the service). Thats great, but thats not why I went with them. They just fit my needs the most. I've added my Solavei referral link below, and anyone else who signs up with them (or elsewhere), PM me and I'll add your referral link as well. Thanks.

Referral Links:

Ting:

Hulk: $25 off @ Ting and PAY HULK!

themeanmachine: $25 off @ Ting

EvilGrin: $25 off @ Ting

Rascal: $25 off @ Ting

cobalt_27: $25 off at Ting

Fishboy's Coworker: $25 off @ Ting

proninja: $25 off @ Ting

siffion: $25 off at Ting

UOFI_316: https://z26m1d1aad3.ting.com/

Uwe Blab: https://ze7j2d1add3.ting.com/

Rick6668: https://ztnh6h1r4m3.ting.com/

Solavei:

Hulk: Hulk's Solavei Referral Link

Hawklets90: Hawklet's Solavei Referral Link

Calling Mart:

It's a website that lets you save a couple of bucks on refills for several of the MVNOs out there. Jaysus has a referral email with them: JayMVNO@gmail.com Also, following Callingmart on twitter or Facebook might net you an extra 5 to 10% discount when they run specials.

Edited by (HULK)

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Shortest hippling ever.Have thought about this before...may go to it when the wife is ready to switch phones.

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I pay b/w $165 and 185 on AT&T. I have an ip5 with 5g of data. Wife has an ip4 with 2g (of which she only uses 5%). Unlimited texts and we share 1700 minutes. I also have a 20% discount so my bill should really be closer to $200. That is insane. Even back when everyone used landlines and paid long distance by the minute, I don't remember my parents having a bill that high. I would he'd to straight talk tomorrow except they don't have lte/4g for at and t phones (medium sized deal) and I don't think you can tether your iPhone (huge deal for me since I work remote a lot).

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I pay b/w $165 and 185 on AT&T. I have an ip5 with 5g of data. Wife has an ip4 with 2g (of which she only uses 5%). Unlimited texts and we share 1700 minutes. I also have a 20% discount so my bill should really be closer to $200. That is insane. Even back when everyone used landlines and paid long distance by the minute, I don't remember my parents having a bill that high. I would he'd to straight talk tomorrow except they don't have lte/4g for at and t phones (medium sized deal) and I don't think you can tether your iPhone (huge deal for me since I work remote a lot).

no iPhone on Ting yet, but they're supposedly negotiating with Sprint to get it. Only Android and they're adding the windows 8 phones in now as they come out.Some of the t_mobile mnvos are reportedly getting lte soon, keep an eye on that IMO.

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Ting, and sprint, are CDMA networks, right? Who are the GSM based mnvo's (t-mobile, ATT, etc)?

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I moved from Sprint to Virgin Mobile this week and cut my bill almost in half. And Virgin uses Sprint's system.

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so why "pick a plan"? is there an added fee for getting bumped up/down a package?

Nope. It just automatically bumps you up and down. You pick a plan based on past usage, probably so you can keep a goal in mind for usage.

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so why "pick a plan"? is there an added fee for getting bumped up/down a package?

No, no fee. Its really just to help people estimate.

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Ting, and sprint, are CDMA networks, right? Who are the GSM based mnvo's (t-mobile, ATT, etc)?

Yes. I saw an article a few days ago about the ones getting lte, I'll seesee if I can dig it up.

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:blackdot:

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Tmobile MVNOs getting LTE

I guess its Ready SIM and Solavei getting LTE shortly after T-mobile does. I'm not familiar with either of them really.

Edited by (HULK)

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Good article about the current disruption happening in the MVNO market. There are the old mainstays, and then the new upstarts doing things differently. This article kind of gives an overview of several of them, so it might be helpful to some.Watch out, wireless carriers: MVNOs are gaining momentum By Whitey Bluestein, Bluestein & Associates, LLC Dec. 22, 2012 - 10:30 AM PST Dec. 22, 2012 - 10:30 AM PST 15 Comments A A photo: Michaelstockfoto/Shutterstock.com Summary: It’s been a decade since MVNOs first challenged major wireless carriers, and now they account for more than 10 percent of mobile users. Telecom veteran Whitey Bluestein says the latest crop of MVNOs are poised to trigger a whole new round of disruption.tweet thisphoto: Michaelstockfoto/Shutterstock.com More than a decade ago, the first wave of MVNOs – TracFone, Virgin and Boost – brought consumers the option of prepaid service. No-contract cellular was disruptive then; today, it accounts for more than one out of five mobile users. The original three MVNOs still account for about half of the U.S. prepaid market (Virgin and Boost are now units of Sprint), and hold a 10 percent share of total wireless subscribers.While matching the impact of the first wave may be difficult, a new wave of MVNOs is reaching the market now with equally disruptive business models, such as dramatically reduced acquisition and service costs, low-cost voice and data services, and exciting new capabilities. Here’s how they’re doing it:Low-cost modelHandset subsidies can be a large part of the acquisition cost for traditional carriers (in the case of the iPhone, for instance, several hundred dollars per unit). In contrast, many new MVNOs are adopting Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) strategies, with SIM-only MVNOs like Simple Mobile, Red Pocket and Ultra on the GSM side, and a new BYO Sprint Device solution for MVNOs like Kajeet, Ting and others on the CDMA network. Sprint’s BYOSD program has the added benefit that no SIM kit or installation is required; the handset is activated simply via its serial number.With BYOSD, for example, Kajeet offers network-based parental controls, web filtering and location services on recycled handsets. BYOD solves two problems for the MVNO – eliminating handset subsidies and reducing logistics cost (kitting, shipping, warranty repairs and returns). Even where customized handsets are used, MVNOs sell them above cost, eliminating costly subsidies.Not sold in storesMany new MVNOs bypass the retailer and dealer channel altogether and save a bundle by embracing online distribution, web marketing, social media, viral and multi-level marketing. In lieu of paying retailers high commissions and sales incentives while still fighting for shelf space, these MVNOs rely on newer, lower-cost targeting. SEO and SEM are just the beginning. MVNOs like Ting sponsor selected podcasts and weekly Facebook caption contests to reach their target audience. Solavei uses multi-level marketing, Facebook, and tried-and-true referral incentives. And Kajeet uses a “Mom Sales Team” referral program (that interestingly relies on old-fashioned word-of-mouth among parents).Service – airtime and data – costs can also be reduced. With increasing data usage, many MVNOs utilize dual-mode phones (cellular and Wi-Fi) to offload voice and data traffic to Wi-Fi networks, which is increasingly available in homes, offices and businesses. And an added benefit for providers: offloading to Wi-Fi turns off the carrier’s meter.MVNOs to watchTing appeals to early adopters and Internet-savvy folks with a completely different take on pricing. Self-described as “Geek-powered,” Ting lets customers design their own rate plan, buying only as many minutes, messages and megabytes as needed, with plan sharing for just $6/device. Alternatively, customers can simply pay for actual usage at the end of the month. Is it prepaid or postpaid? Ting’s answer: “We call it fair, and trust you.” Customers manage usage from an online dashboard, and customer care is friendly, unscripted and helpful. Bring your Sprint device to Ting, or select from a range of Android handsets.When Republic Wireless introduced its $19/month unlimited plan as a beta trial, everyone asked how they planned to do it. Republic relies heavily on Wi-Fi networks at home and work, using “hybrid calling” or cellular offload where traffic only rolls to Sprint’s cellular network when Wi-Fi is unavailable. Republic is now shipping a Motorola Android smartphone, running proprietary Republic software (for $259), which completes the no-contract package. And apparently the beta trial worked just fine: the same $19 plan is now available to all.FreedomPop guarantees 500MB of free 4G mobile broadband data every month, with no data caps or throttling, and attractive plans ($17.99/month for 2GB of data, a cent per MB additional). Customers can earn additional data for each friend referred or unlimited data by engaging in partner promotions. The Freedom Hub Burst, a 4G Wi-Fi router that offloads cellular to wireline and supports up to 10 devices, is free with security deposit. They also offer the Freedom Sleeve Rocket, an iPod Touch case that turns it into an iPhone. Plans include trading bandwidth with other FreedomPop users, and creating bandwidth-sharing communities. Launched on Clearwire, FreedomPop will add Sprint’s LTE network next year.Voyager Mobile , a Tennessee-based company with just nine employees, nonetheless thinks big. With unlimited talk at $17 to unlimited everything for $39, Voyager’s shrinking service plan program drops monthly rates by $1 for every six months of on-time payments. Last month, Voyager announced Project Global Voyager for calling “across the world, without any roaming charges.” Using dual CDMA-GSM handsets, on Sprint here and GSM everywhere else, Voyager promises international voice, messaging and data worldwide “without a penny of roaming charges” in first-half 2013. Voyager says demand is strong. Two other MVNOs are also addressing international roaming costs – Karma in the U.S. and GlobalGig in London.And everybody is watching Solavei, a T-Mobile MVNO that, under an elaborate compensation plan, pays bounties to members for signing up new customers. Members are encouraged to share with family and friends, and post on social networks in a marketing scheme described as “more like Amway or Tupperware.” Last month, Solavei announced it reached 65,000 members just six weeks after launch and had paid more than $1 million in commissions. This would be a roaring start, but not losing steam is often the challenge for multi-level marketing.These and other new MVNOs are introducing attractive pricing with innovative technology and business models. As always though, execution and deep pockets will determine winners and losers.Whitey Bluestein, a 25-year telecom veteran, is a strategic advisor and corporate development specialist focused on prepaid, mobile applications, payments and roaming services. Visit whiteybluestein.com.

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Ting, and sprint, are CDMA networks, right? Who are the GSM based mnvo's (t-mobile, ATT, etc)?

Cellular networks and 4G dataEqually as sophisticated as the devices themselves, though, is the wireless network technology they connect to. A veritable alphabet soup of acronyms and industry buzz words, you could spend an eternity studying how cellular infrastructure is constructed, let alone the physics and computer science needed to describe how everything operates. Grasping all that is overkill, however, if all you want is to buy a satisfying phone. Here's a basic overview of what you need to know.CDMACDMA stands for code division multiple access, but more importantly it's a method for how cellular radios transmit and receive voice and data. This standard is found mostly in America and to some extent Asian countries, such as Japan and Korea. Major U.S. carriers that use wireless networks based on CDMA are Verizon and Sprint. Other carriers, such as T-Mobile and AT&T rely on the GSM standard, which is more widely deployed across the globe.GSMGSM, aka the Global System for Mobile Communications, or first referred to originally in French as Group Special Mobile, is a standard created for use in Europe. GSM then spread to other corners of the world, with carriers operating GSM networks across Asia, the Middle East, and Africa.HSPA+Based on the older High Speed Packet Access, which topped out at 3G speeds, Evolved HSPA or HSPA+ supports a theoretical peak download throughput of 168Mbps. This may sound pretty fast but in practice the protocol delivers data speeds just marginally faster than 3G, and average download speeds of approximately 3 to 5Mbps. That causes us to think of it as really a 3.5G wireless solution. U.S. carriers who implement HSPA+ include T-Mobile and AT&T.LTENo doubt the buzz phrase that gets tossed around with abandon by phone makers and cellular providers alike is 4G. Technically a marketing term and not a hard universal standard, 4G refers to data networks that are touted to provide "fourth-generation" wireless technology. At the backbone of American carriers' move to 4G is LTE, or Long Term Evolution, infrastructure trumpeted to offer blistering real-world download speeds. In our experience both AT&T's and Verizon's 4G LTE services deliver download speeds of about 15 to 20Mbps and sometimes faster. Of course carrier deployment of LTE centers around large metropolitan areas, so finding access to a signal may prove tricky.

http://reviews.cnet.com/cell-phone-buying-guide/?

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:blackdot: Definitely want to look into this....

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I was seriously considering Ting, but they have no anytime plan (night, weekends) and if I call my wife we are charged twice (receiving/calling).That jumps us up quite a bit in the minutes required and I'm uncertain if the straight talk thru walmart is better or not.

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I was seriously considering Ting, but they have no anytime plan (night, weekends) and if I call my wife we are charged twice (receiving/calling).

That jumps us up quite a bit in the minutes required and I'm uncertain if the straight talk thru walmart is better or not.

I think that's a problem you're going to have with most of the discount guys.

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So, Voyager Mobile has a unlimited everything for $39? There has to be a catch.What network do they use?

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So, Voyager Mobile has a unlimited everything for $39? There has to be a catch.What network do they use?

It looks like they use their own network--most of which is 3G. They don't have roaming.

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WTF is an ETF?

Early termination fee

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So how is it better than something like MetroPCS' $60 unlimited talk, text and data plan? Im a heavy data user and texts must be unlimited for my job, so I guess Ting wouldnt be ideal for me, no? Currently Im with AT&T and I pay $108/month (unlimited texts, "unlimited" data which gets throttled at around 3GB I believe, and around 1500 talk minutes a month)

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So how is it better than something like MetroPCS' $60 unlimited talk, text and data plan? Im a heavy data user and texts must be unlimited for my job, so I guess Ting wouldnt be ideal for me, no? Currently Im with AT&T and I pay $108/month (unlimited texts, "unlimited" data which gets throttled at around 3GB I believe, and around 1500 talk minutes a month)

yeah Ting probably isn't best for heavy users. You're not around wifi often? For your usage, id look into Straight Talk IMO. Let us know how it goes.

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:blackdot: now to convince my wife

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I think that Sprint throttles the network speeds - so you wont get the same speed on Ting that you will if you buy directly from Sprint. Also, the phones are not top of the line.But agree with the original premise, these are great deals. And the Operators will eventually need to change the way they do business as a result.

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I think that Sprint throttles the network speeds - so you wont get the same speed on Ting that you will if you buy directly from Sprint. Also, the phones are not top of the line.But agree with the original premise, these are great deals. And the Operators will eventually need to change the way they do business as a result.

Where did you hear that they'll throttle? I heard they don't.Also, they have the note 2, no phone is better right now IMO. Ting well get every Android Sprint gets, just 4 to 6 Weeks later than Sprint. That's very solid for an MVNO.

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Ting DOES NOT throttle you

Exact same as being on Sprint, with the exception of no coverage in Puerto Rico.

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Verizon user and my phone works every where. Don't think I'll ever switch.

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Wow, why do you guys pay so much in the States, am I reading this right. Just got my GF the Nexus 4 and her plan is $30 for unlimited talk, text and data. I got my plan before I was aware of the Nexus 4 and my $40 plan is unlimited nationwide talk, text, data and voicemail.What's the deal with the crazy prices. I thought Canadians pay more for everything.

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What an awesome thread. Thanks Hulk, this is something to look into. T-Mobile for the past 10 years, couple bumps along the way but got 2 HTC One-S phones for free back in May last year for extending what we had, we have unlimited everything for about $150 between the two of us/$75 a piece, I'm sure we can be doing better. They use the phones to keep you coming back, hard to pass on free Androids when we did this.

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Wow, why do you guys pay so much in the States, am I reading this right. Just got my GF the Nexus 4 and her plan is $30 for unlimited talk, text and data. I got my plan before I was aware of the Nexus 4 and my $40 plan is unlimited nationwide talk, text, data and voicemail.What's the deal with the crazy prices. I thought Canadians pay more for everything.

We have an Obama, what do you have?

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What an awesome thread. Thanks Hulk, this is something to look into. T-Mobile for the past 10 years, couple bumps along the way but got 2 HTC One-S phones for free back in May last year for extending what we had, we have unlimited everything for about $150 between the two of us/$75 a piece, I'm sure we can be doing better. They use the phones to keep you coming back, hard to pass on free Androids when we did this.

yup the discounted phones are a trap, the pay a couple of hundred to provide them, and then lock you into 2 years of paying double to triple per month with the contract.

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If anyone has any experience with Metro PCS, wingnut was asking. I don't know much about it unfortunately.

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BlackdotTing has been on my radar for a bit as I like the option to bring my phone there until I figure out which phone I want next.I've also been looking at T-mobile's month to month plan. They have a $30 plan that includes unlimited data and text, but only 100 minutes of talk. Which I think would be enough for me if my wife ever stopped calling me so much. I'd set up VOIP at home for when I need to make work calls.

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My wife is a light user for voice, data and text. How are these older phones for email and web? (Samsung Transform Ultra, LG Marquee for example)

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BlackdotTing has been on my radar for a bit as I like the option to bring my phone there until I figure out which phone I want next.I've also been looking at T-mobile's month to month plan. They have a $30 plan that includes unlimited data and text, but only 100 minutes of talk. Which I think would be enough for me if my wife ever stopped calling me so much. I'd set up VOIP at home for when I need to make work calls.

you could use grooveip to call over 3g and not use minutes. Thing is,I hear the call quality isn't that great.

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