A few years ago we were going over all of our big bills and cutting costs where we could.
One of the bigger monthly line items was our mobile phone bill.
Back then we were paying $40-50/month for each of our lines, and this was without including mobile data which was still not a big deal.
Then we discovered the world of low cost pre-paid no contract cell phone plans. We switched providers and almost cut our phone bill in half.
Since that time we’ve used quite a few mobile companies, and costs have continued to come down.
MVNOs, or mobile virtual network operators, have popped up left and right. These are companies that don’t operate their own mobile network, but instead lease space on the network of a bigger provider like Sprint, AT&T, Verizon or T-Mobile.
I’ve used several MVNOs recently that operate on multiple networks, and all of them work well for my needs. We get good coverage and call quality, and we really have no complaints.
So while they’re all operating on the same networks, choosing a provider in many instances comes down to which ones have the best customer service, the best apps and tools, and the best overall pricing.
One of the most affordable mobile providers I’ve found, is the one we’ll be looking at today, Ting.
- Low cost cell service.
- Pay for what you use.
- Bring your own device.
- Multiple network options.
Ting – A Low Cost Mobile Provider
Ting was launched in 2012. From Wikipedia:
Ting Mobile is an American mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) owned by Dish Network. Originally established in February 2012 by Tucows, Ting provides cellular service in the United States using the Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon Communications networks. In August 2020, Dish Network acquired key Ting Mobile assets. As part of the agreement, Tucows will serve as the provider of backend services for Dish Network's wireless businesses.
They launched in 2012 as a CDMA carrier on the Sprint network, and in the spring of 2015 they announced that they would have GSM services available via the TMobile network as well. In 2020 Verizon also became an option. So choose whichever network works best in your area, and get a compatible phone.
Ting Cell Service
Ting’s tagline is “A smarter phone service where you can get more for less.“, and they definitely fulfill that promise.
Ting’s plans start at as low as $15/month, with unlimited talk and text on all their plans. The plans go on up from there depending on just how much data you use.
In scouring the internet to see how their pricing compares to other providers, they consistently come in near the very low end of the costs, although depending on how much data you use, they may or may not be the cheapest cell phone plan.
What it comes down to in my view is that if you’re a low user of talk/text and data, you’re probably going to find an extremely cheap calling plan with Ting. If you use a ton of data, there may be more affordable options available to you. Just know what your average usage is, and figure out if it will be the best fit for you. Chances are, it will.
Phones Available With Ting
Ting has a ton of new and refurbished phones you can buy on their service, from iPhones to Android phones, or even an old school flip phone. The one thing to note is that the cost for the phones is unsubsidized like they are on expensive network calling plans, so you’re likely to be paying the entire cost for the phone up front. They do have phones of every price point available, so you can get the newest $1000 iPhone, or a budget flip phone.
Some of the phones available for purchase on Ting Shop when I checked include:
- Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max
- Apple iPhone 11 Pro
- Apple iPhone 11
- Samsung Galaxy Note 10+
- Samsung Galaxy S10+
- Google Pixel XL
- Motorola Moto Z2 Play
- Alcatel Go Flip phone
The phones in the shop will vary by day and availability, so check it often to find the one you want.
Ting also has a bring your own device (BYOD) program that means you can bring just about any Tmobile or Verizon certified phone to the service.
To see if yours will work go to this link and then click on the “Check Your Phone” link at the top.
Bringing My Own Phone To Ting
In testing out the Ting service I already had a unlocked mulit-network phone that I wasn’t using. So all I had to do was check that the phone was compatible with the service (it was) and Ting sent out a new SIM card that I could put in the phone to get started.
Once I inserted the SIM card, I rebooted the phone and went to their website to activate the device on Ting.
During the activation process it will ask for your device’s MEID or IMEI number and ask you to choose a phone number for your phone (or ask you about porting an existing number). Then you’ll need to enter a credit card so that you can be billed once your post-paid billing month is complete.
I had no problems when activating the phone, it was actually easier than I thought it might be. The phone service just started working almost immediately.
Ting Mobile Plans
Mobile cell phone plans have been going up in price for a long time, with most studies showing monthly cost for the average cell phone user being somewhere in the $80-$100 per month for an individual line of service.
Thankfully with services like Ting your costs can be much, much lower.
Ting Mobile's New Unlimited Plans
In November 2020 Ting released a whole new set of calling plans. For most people they are going to be even more affordable than their previous "pay for what you use" plans. You'll now get more calling, texting and data for your money.
So let's start with the basics.
Every Ting calling plan now includes unlimited talk and text. All plans except for the basic "Flex" plan also include an allotment of LTE or 5G fast data. If you go over your allotment of fast data you'll get unlimited 2G data, or you can do a top-up to get some extra fast data.
There are 4 new calling plans with Ting Mobile.
The 4 new calling plans are only available on the T-Mobile and Verizon networks, and are as follows:
- Flex Plan - $10/mo+ $5 GB: With this plan, which is most similar to their past "pay for what you use" type plans, you'll pay the base $10/mo fee for talk and text for every phone, and then you have a pool of shared data across the phones on your account. Have 2 phones? You'll pay $20 plus whatever amount of shared data you want.
- Set 5 GB Plan - $25/mo: This plan gives you unlimited talk and text, 5GB of LTE/5G data, and all 5GB of data can be used as a hotspot.
- Unlimited 22GB Plan - $45/mo: This plan gives you unlimited talk and text, 22GB of LTE/5G data, and 12GB of data can be used as a hotspot.
- Unlimited Pro 35GB Plan - $60/mo: This plan gives you unlimited talk and text, 35GB of LTE/5G data, and up to 30 GB of data can be used as a hotspot.
My Calling Plan
I am on the first month of usage with Ting, and my Flex calling plan currently breaks down like this:
- $10/mo for the Flex plan.
- $5 for 1GB of shared data.
So for now a couple of weeks into the plan I’m paying $15/month for my plan, with the possibility that it could go higher if I use more data. The most likely thing to happen is that I’ll use more data than 1GB, I usually end up somewhere between 1GB-2GB, which would bump the plan cost up to $20/mo.
It comes down to this – for as little as $15/month you can have an unlimited calling and texting plan, with a decent amount of data. Need more, just add more top-up data, or upgrade to one of the higher data plans and you'll be all set.
Testing Out The Ting Service
I’ve been using the Ting service for a short while now. Here’s a quick look at how the service has performed for me.
I don’t do a ton of calling, but so far the call quality has been great.
I’ve had no problems with calls breaking up, audio sounding delayed or garbled or anything else. It has the same great call quality that I had with other MVNOs I’ve used in the past, so I have no complaints here.
Text messaging seems to work just fine as well. I’ve done a bunch of texts back and forth with people I know (new phone, who dis?), and have sent pictures, emojis and more with no problem. I don’t see any issues here either.
Mobile Data Services
I’ve been using the data between home and work to stream podcasts in the car and to do Google Maps while I drive. So far the coverage has been great, and streaming works well. While I likely wouldn’t use much mobile data moving forward, I have no complaints.
Ting Is Affordable And Works Great
Ting has burst onto the scene with one of the most affordable mobile phone plans on the market for lower users of data.
For only $15/month you can get unlimited calls, text and 1GB of data. Need more data ? Just pay a little bit more and you’re set to go. You only ever pay for what you use.
Ting is affordable, reliable and has the definitely staked a claim to being one of the better MVNOs on the market right now. I’d put them on your shortlist of providers to try.
Lowest Cost Plan
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