Several new wireless carriers will launch this year, all trying to do things slightly differently. Republic Wireless
plans to lower prices by offloading most of the daily traffic to Wi-Fi. FreedomPop
promises to offer users a basic free tier of service with low priced data and voice options layered on top. The third upstart is Tucows' Ting, a company we explored back in December
that plans to auto-upgrade users up (or down) the sliding tier scale to help users find the best price plan for them.
Ting is the first one out of the gate, and their new pricing was unveiled last night for your perusal
. As the chart (right) notes, users are given six "size" no-contract tiers to choose from, allowing them to mix and match voice minutes, SMS, and data limits as needed. Voice and SMS rates are incredibly reasonable (500 minutes cost an impressive $9), while data coming over from Sprint's network is notably less so (2GB will run you $42).
According to Ting, if users consume fewer voice minutes, text messages or bytes than they planned, the user is credited at the end of the month. If they use more than they originally planned, users are billed for the additional amount. Families can all pull from one pool of minutes, SMS or data -- something larger wireless carriers have been talking a lot about but failing to deliver.
Another thing Ting gets right for the bandwidth hungry is they don't impose a "because we can" tethering fee on users who want to use their phone as a modem. Users are allowed to tether and then any data consumed simply comes out of their plan, a logical practice many carriers haven't been willing to follow in order to charge $15 more -- for doing absolutely nothing.
"What people are forced to put up with from mobile service providers just doesn't make sense. It's too complicated, too opaque, too adversarial, too expensive and frankly too inhuman," said Elliot Noss, CEO of Tucows. "We're changing that. Ting is a mobile service that makes sense." We're curious to see if users agree, or if Ting ultimately finds itself on a very tall heap of failed MVNOs that thought they could change the wireless market by treating customers with respect.