Ting Cell Phone Bill – February 2015

Ting Logo

Below you’ll find our cell phone usage for the month of February and what we paid for the service. Our bill is a bit more than last month for two reasons. We used a bit more data which bumped us into the next tier. I was also testing GSM service through Ting which meant we had another device on our plan for part of the month. If you’re paying more for the same thing or less, it might be time to reevaluate.

  • 3 devices (Nexus 5 and iPhone 5s, the third one was only a partial month)
  • 1322 minutes
  • 548 text and picture messages
  • 736 MB of data

$75.50 – for usage
$8.26 – taxes and fees
$83.76 – total bill for the month

Ting Cell Phone Bill – January 2015

Ting Logo

Starting this month, I’m going to try something new. I started to think that it’s one thing for me to post out here ways of saving money, but it’s another thing to show what we’re paying in these true life scenarios. Below you’ll find our cell phone usage for the month of January and what we paid for the service. If you’re paying more for the same thing or less, it’s time to reevaluate.

  • 2 cell phones (Nexus 5 and iPhone 5s)
  • 1894 minutes
  • 730 text and picture messages
  • 437 MB of data

$63.81 – for usage
$7.48 – taxes and fees
$71.29 – total bill for the month

Replacing a “Poopy” Phone

Swappa

You’re busy, and multitasking is a way of life. There are some places where multitasking should never really take place. Some of those places are obvious to most people, and some of them fall into a gray area for others. One of those gray areas is the bathroom. I know of two people personally who ruined their phones by dropping them in the porcelain throne. If it works after that, it’s never quite the same.

So what are your options?

  • If the phone works, you can keep using it until your contract renews. (Yuck!)
  • Pay full price for a new phone.
  • Extend your contract and get another phone.
  • Pull out an old phone from the kitchen drawer that’s been collecting dust.

But let’s say that you read the post about Ting and you’re convinced that you don’t want to renew your contract, or you like your big carrier, but don’t have the extra cash to go out and buy a new phone and your contract isn’t up for renewal. That’s where Swappa comes in.

Swappa is a site where users can buy and sell good, working phones. Unlike eBay, where you may never really know what you’re getting when you bid, prices on Swappa are set up front and sellers have to follow a certain set of guidelines.

  • Phones cannot have any water damage, including toilet water.
  • Phones cannot have cracked screens.
  • Phones must have clean ESNs (which means they can be activated on the appropriate network when you purchase it).
  • Each listing is approved by a Swappa moderator.

Purchases are paid through PayPal, which gives the buyer and seller extra protections.

Buyers

The price you see is the price you pay. It even includes shipping, so it’s a pretty straightforward system. If there is a certain phone model that you’ve been interested, you can sign up for notifications and receive an email each time someone lists that type of phone. If you like what you see, you can buy the phone.

I believe they originally sold Android phones, but they’ve expanded into all types of phones including iPhones and Windows Phones. They even have listings for tablets as well if you’re looking for one.

Sellers

If you’re a seller, there are no listing fees or commissions that you pay. You simply choose the amount you want to get when you sell it, and $10 is added on to pay Swappa. When the device sells, you ship the phone to the buyer and you get the full amount that you wanted. The buyer pays the $10 fee to Swappa when they buy the device. You’ll need to factor in the cost of shipping since you’ll be paying for that.

We’ve used this service several times to purchase used Sprint phones for Ting, and we’ve directed several others to use it as well when purchasing a phone. It has worked out really well and we’ve been very happy with each phone that we’ve received. They are often in better condition than we assume they will be. Sellers are usually very good at communicating with you and answering any questions you have. In fact, I have even video chatted with the first person I bought a phone from because I had some questions on how to modify it after getting it. Since then, I’ve sent him emails asking different things that weren’t even related to a listing and he’s always been quick to respond.

Potential Savings: You should be able to save 50% or more off the purchase of a gently used phone versus a new one. It all depends on the demand for the device. If it’s a new phone, the price will be higher. If it’s a year or two old, then the price will be even better, even compared to a new version of the same phone.

Ting: Mobile That Makes Sense (for most people)

Ting Logo

I’ve heard people tell me “we could never afford smartphones”. I think what they mean to say is that “we could never afford smart phones on one of the big 3 carriers (AT&T, Verizon, or Sprint). Personally, we could have “afforded” smartphones a long time ago on one of the big 3, but I could never swallow paying over $100 a month for two phones. That all changed when we decided to go the prepaid route.

A lot of people probably think that prepaid is for those with bad credit or not a lot of money. Honestly, I think the prepaid, no-contract route is for those who are wise with their money. It’s really quite simple:

  1. You buy a phone.
  2. You decide on the plan that you want to use with it.
  3. Enjoy saving money.

Enough about all that, this is supposed to be about one no-contract carrier specifically. I believe that for most people, Ting is probably the least expensive and most disruptive mobile phone service to hit the market in quite some time. There are several reasons you should give it a look, and a few that may dissuade some of you.

First, Ting has a great selection of smartphones. Some no-contract carriers are locked into a very specific set of phones, and a lot of them were great phones at one time, but are now out of date. Ting has a great selection of new phones including the Samsung Galaxy S4, Samsung Galaxy Note II, and HTC One. They recently added a Windows 8 phone and they’re working on bringing over the iPhone. For any carrier, that’s a pretty strong lineup. To top it all off, you can bring over a lot of used Sprint devices to Ting. That opens a huge selection of great, affordable phones into reach. All those old Samsung Galaxy S3 phones have to find a new home when everyone upgrades to the S4 right? I’ll discuss where you can find these affordable used phones in a future post.

Second, with Ting you pay for what you use each month. At this point, a lot of people will probably stop and think, “I NEED unlimited data, talk, or text” or “what about my mobile-to-mobile and night and weekend minutes?” If you do the research, you’ll probably be surprised to find out that you don’t use as many minutes as you might think. With WiFi surrounding most people at home and work, you probably don’t use that much data either. And texts, well texts are cheap on Ting, so who cares.

Let’s break down how their pricing works. Each line on your account is $6 a month. So if you only need a phone for emergencies, you can plan on paying $6 a month plus taxes and fees and that’s it! Minutes, texts, and data are broken up into tiers. For example, if you use only 100 minutes, you’ll only pay for the small tier which is $3 a month. The other minute tiers are 500, 1000, 2000, and finally 3000 minutes a month. Texts and data are broken into similar tiers, and all the minutes, texts, and data are shared across all of the lines on your plan. If you don’t like that sharing (and I can’t think of a good reason why you wouldn’t), then you can start a new account for a different line. In the end, you only pay for what you use and not more.

To make things easier, here is a video put together by Ting that describes it better than I could. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5a3nRcsba4A They also have a great savings calculator to determine how much you could save by switching.

Finally, Ting has great customer service so far. Many issues can be resolved over the phone. If you call during their open hours, they have a “no hold policy” where you should be connected with someone quickly. If you don’t want to use the phone, you can open a support ticket and they will respond to them pretty quickly, even during times when they can’t be reached by phone. I’ve assisted several people with the move to Ting, and their customer service has been there every time I’ve needed them.

I want to highlight one instance in particular that shows how different they are as a company. On one of our bills, we noticed that they didn’t charge us the correct amount for our usage. Essentially they charged us for our two lines as if we hadn’t used them all month. I brought this to their attention and they replied that they were looking into the situation. A few days later, we got an email stating that they had found a problem that had affected a small number of accounts. Since the mistake was in the customers’ favor, they decided that they weren’t going to worry about correcting everyone’s accounts since the problem would be fixed going forward. Do you really expect one of the big 3 to say “we screwed up and we’re going to let you keep the $30 or so we should have charged you but didn’t?” I don’t think so.

At this point, it probably sounds too good to be true, right? There are some cases where Ting might not work for you.

Ting operates on the Sprint network. If you have horrible Sprint coverage in your area, then it may not be a good fit for you. If you’ve had Virgin Mobile or Boost Mobile in the past, you might know where the dead spots are around you as they operate exclusively on the Sprint network. Ting does have one advantage here. For talk and text, your phone can roam on to other networks, which is something that Virgin and Boost do not allow. There is no data roaming at this time.

The only other case that I can think of where this may not fit for you is if you are an EXTREME user of minutes, texts, or data and you are currently on an unlimited plan. You’d probably have to be a very EXTREME user for that to fit the case. I forgot to mention, that even though the XXL plans have a set amount, you can go over those and they charge a very low rate for each of the categories for each minute, text, or MB you go over. I can’t find the rates right now, but that’s how it used to work and I’m assuming it still does.

I forgot about one other major benefit. Ting has a great referral program. For each person you refer, you get a $25 credit, and they get $25 towards a phone or service. Sometimes they even give extra perks where you can get more. If you’re the type of person who likes to tell everyone when you’ve found a good deal, then this may be for you. So far, I think we’ve went about 7 months without paying for a monthly bill out of pocket due to the referrals we’ve gotten from telling friends and family.

If you have any questions or comments, leave a message below. If you’re interested in checking out Ting, send me a note and I’ll send you a referral code so you can get started with a $25 credit.

Potential Savings: We saved approximately $30-40 a month after switching from Virgin Mobile. Use the Savings Calculator to find your potential monthly savings.