Ting First MVNO to Start Selling LTE Phones
Starts Shipping Galaxy S3's This Week
While MVNOs initially flamed out spectacularly, several new wireless MVNOs are launching 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 was the first one out of the gate, and their pricing was unveiled back in February
. 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 is notably less so (2GB will run you $42).
In a blog post today
, Ting announced that the company will be the first MVNO to sell LTE phones with the shipment of Samsung Galaxy S3's to Ting subscribers. Ting's service rides on the Sprint LTE network, with Sprint imposing a two month delay on MVNOs after they initially start carrying a device (something that's not going to happen with the new iPhone). Sprint just this week announced
that they've only just brought LTE to four additional markets for Labor Day Weekend, including Baltimore.
These new MVNOs all are trying to try something new by offering creative pricing that actually provides value, though they're all piggybacking on a network with some coverage issues. So far they're only a tiny blip on the radar in a much larger wireless ecosystem, and it's not yet clear if they're going to remain that way.
But adding another phone, tablet, or mifi is only $6 and you can share the data, minute, texts. There is no vig per device like the other guys other than the $6.
The major weak spot is data on this. However if you are the typical user and not crazy, you can do texts through GV (no charge) and 500mb per user you are only at 1GB. Say 500 min of time (like att) would be $129/mo for the same thing versus $45 (2 phones, 1 GB, 0 texts). Now if that's not a good deal, I don't know what is. This is priced for multiple users, not really the single user. If you are a single user, VM/Boost/ST/PPC are better deals
Also what is not mentioned, I can roam into Canada for $.15 a minute, including LD. That is huge, whereas anybody else if close to $1 with LD and roaming.
The big downer is that VM/Boost phones not allowed, and that is what I have, so NG until the phones wear out (I only pay $25/mo anyways).
Grand Rapids, MI
Great so far My wife and I recently switched from AT&T to Ting, and we've been satisfied, for the most part. Sprint's network is about as good as AT&T in our area, and we have the added bonus of roaming (voice and text only - no data) on Verizon.
The main benefit for us is cost - we went from spending over $60 per month at AT&T for two phones with voice only (except for the occasional $2/MB or $.20/text when we accidentally used those features); this was after a 23% IBM employee discount. With Ting, our bill should be under $50, and we're using texting and data as much as we'd like.
The one problem with their pricing structure is the price of data - it's fairly expensive if used in large quantities. For us, this isn't an issue - we normally have wifi access anyways; it's nice that we can get occasional data access without spending $20/phone/month.
From what I've seen, their customer service seems to be very good - their employees are accessible and forthright with information. Activating our phones (including one port) went smoothly, though, so I haven't needed to contact them.
I'm very hopeful that they continue to succeed. Their pricing model should be very sustainable, since it (I assume) closely reflects the actual costs they incur with Sprint.
Re: VZ LTE
said by kontos:My sentiments exactly. Too many Sprint MVNO's. They offer good deals but it's just that Sprint's network sucks
wake me when there is a MVNO on the Verizon LTE network in my area. I'll be there in a heartbeat.