Ting Review (2020) – Six Years With Ting’s Cell Phone Service!
It is now 2020 – I first signed up for Ting in March 2014 – that means I’ve been a happy Ting customer for six years now! 6 years! During that time we’ve used the iPhone 5, iPhone 6, iPhone SE, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone XS Max and an Apple Watch.
I thought I’d share a Ting review to shine more light on why I switched to them in the first place and why I’m still happy. I also have experience with Verizon and Google Fi, which I can compare the service to.
The Switch from Verizon
I had long been a happy Verizon customer when in 2014 I opened a bill to find I owed over $200 for our three phones. That was above my limit of acceptability. I decided I needed to look for options.
I looked at the plans of the major carriers – AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile. I also came across a few alternative plans; Republic Wireless, Tracfone, Cricket, Virgin Mobile, Boost Mobile & Google Fi.
As I began to look at those companies, I came up with a list of criteria that was important to me.
- Cell Service Quality & Speed
- Customer Support & Experience
- Device Options
I ultimately selected Ting (hence this review). I’ve actually reevaluated every year since then and reselected Ting each time for these reasons.
How Ting Compared
Price – Ting vs Others
Price was the big reason I wanted to switch cell phone providers. I bet it is for you too. The great news, is Ting is MUCH more affordable than other carriers.
I originally wrote these words in 2014 and in November 2020 Ting introduced new plans that are half the cost (for me) of their old plans. $10 per line and $5 per GB on the flex plan.
What I wondered before I signed up is if things would drift up over time. I pulled some data and it turns out that hasn’t really happened. In fact, I’m paying less today that I was when I switched over.
A few years in I found I was still averaging about $85 a month for 3 iPhones – much less than the $200 I was paying to Verizon before I switched to Ting. Just to reiterate, I’m paying nearly 60% less than I was on Verizon for service I’m just as happy with.
For the observant, there are two things you might also notice in the chart above.
First, there was a time towards the end of 2015 where you can see our data usage drifted up a bit, as did our bill. We set up some better alerts (you can see them below in the post) and that helped us get things down lower than we originally were.
Second, there are a few months that are a bit lower. That is because of various credits I’ve gotten for promotions or from customer support.
I’ve tried to pay attention to other cell phone plans that have come out in the years since I signed up to see if anything else would be better. To date, every time I run the math, I am still coming out on top with Ting price wise. For someone like our family that doesn’t use a ton of data, there doesn’t seem to be a better plan out there right now.
Some other options I’ve considered include mint mobile (where a lot of folks have porting trouble and can’t get a hold of support), visible cellular (where your data gets deprioritized and is slower), Republic Wireless (where you have to use certain Android phones) and Google Fi (which is bit more expensive for our particular usage patterns).
Another thing to keep in mind with price is the cost of the phone. This can have a huge impact on your overall cost. I’ve found that most carriers encourage you to upgrade every two years due to things like contract promotions, etc. Since top of the line phones are usually around $1,000 now, that means an extra $500 a year for your cell phone. I much prefer to get a less expensive phone and keep in for closer to 3-4 years until I feel like it is getting slow or there is a new phone with a feature I really want. This means the cost of my phone per year is closer to $200. I’ve found Ting makes this easy. I can decide what phone to use, change when I want and there is no pressure from them.
Customer Support & Experience with Ting
I mentioned above that Ting uses other company’s towers which they essentially rent signal from. What Ting actually provides themselves is the account tools & customer support. Those are top notch and absolutely the best part about Ting.
Their website & mobile app are amazing. Here are a few things you can do really easily from either your computer or phone:
Control the settings on devices. You don’t need to do this often, but it is nice to be able to control and check easily whenever you need it.
Here is a screen you can use to see your usage during the month. Along with total usage in each of the three categories they charge for, you can see how much each person is using.
With this I can see that we are at 99 text messages so my next text message will actually kick us up a tier to the next payment level. With text messages that is only like $2 so it isn’t a huge deal. With minutes it can mean another $20, so it is great to have this info handy.
3) Usage Alerts
Along with seeing our usage, I can set automatic alerts to help us stay within our budget. You can see below that I have it text reminders at certain limits and then actually turn off the data if you exceed another limit. It is easy to turn back on if we decide we’re ok going over, but having the limits in place helps make sure you don’t accidentally blow through data when you thought you were on wifi or something like that.
Customer SUPPORT – The Best Part about Ting
The final part of the customer experience is Ting’s customer service which I would rate as world class.
The few times I’ve had to call them for help with something, I’ve talked to someone that was friendly, helpful and empowered. They were able to solve my problem and one time even gave me a $10 credit as an apology.
I’ve called in before on a weekend and actually talked to a human in the United States in less than 5 minutes – which is amazing. When I’ve emailed in there was great follow up thanks to their use of a ticketing system called Zendesk (which I also love).
One caveat is they don’t have store locations all over like the major brands do. Some people like going into their local Verizon store and walking away with a phone & signed contract. I much prefer doing things on my time which often is not the same time a local store would be open. Doing things with Ting sometimes means waiting a few days for a new phone to come in the mail rather than having it in hand right away – but that isn’t a big negative to me – most of my shopping is online these days anyways and part of the reason Ting is less expensive is they don’t have to pay the overhead for all of those storefronts.
Overall, I’m super happy with the customer experience with Ting – this is one area where they exceed the national providers.
Device Options – Which Phones Can You Use on Ting?
We’re iPhone folks and making a switch to another phone would be a difficult undertaking. The effort involved in retraining my wife & mom to use a new OS & phone made it hard for me to consider switching, and so compatibility with iPhone became a strong criteria.
On top of that, even if I went with Android, I would want a pure Android OS and not some customized version made by the carrier. I got burned pretty bad by Android fragmentation in the early days where my phone stopped getting text messages suddenly because of an unknown defect that lay between the OS, carrier and phone manufacturer’s customized version. A few of the companies I looked at ran a very custom version of Android and that made me very nervous – unless they had limited their supported phones dramatically, that would likely eventually result in me having a phone that didn’t work and an unplanned need for a new phone.
Ting used to have a restriction where you had to use last year’s iPhone model but that has since gone away. I pre-ordered the iPhone SE the day it came out and might have been the first Ting customer to activate it once it shipped.
More carriers now allow the iPhone than when I first evaluated this back in 2014. Recently Google announced the iPhone would work with Google Fi for example. I believe Republic wireless still requires an Android device though, so if you are a loyal iPhone family like we are, your options are still a bit limited.
Cell Service Quality & Speed – How Does Ting Compare?
In the many years I was a Verizon customer, I had very few dropped calls. Switching to something else seemed risky – I knew how miserable the lives of my AT&T subscriber friends were with all of their dropped call issues.
Back when I switched, Ting only ran on the Sprint network but they later added T-Mobile and most recently, Verizon. In 2020 they announced Sprint was being removed, which means in 2021, Ting will be available on Verizon and T-Mobile.
I don’t mind that they are no longer offering Spring. I personally found Sprint towers to be spotty sometimes, especially in my neighborhood. I recently switched over to their V1 SIM card so my iPhone could run on Verizon towers and I haven’t had a dropped call since.
If you’re considering switching, the best thing to do is check the coverage around where you live (use this cool tool) and ask neighbors who use Verizon or T-Mobile how those services perform in your area.
Flexibility – Does Ting Have a Contract?
My favorite thing with Ting is that I have a ton of control over how I use my cellular devices, how much they cost me and how often I change things. I haven’t found many other options that give as much control.
Not only am I not in a contract – which means I can cancel at any time, but I don’t even have a fixed amount I pay every month, it is based on what I use. So I know that I can use less and pay less, which is awesome control & flexibility that I’ve taken advantage of to save an additional 15%.
I also have flexibility into what device I use and when I upgrade. With the major carriers you often get a discounted phone after two years, but really you’re just paying for that over time as part of your bill. With Ting we have full control of how often we switch. We’ve found that if you take good care of your phone, it can last longer than 2 years, which means a little more savings through a longer depreciation curve. On top of that, we also usually buy our iPhones used when a new model comes out so we often save even more.
I’ve been very happy with Ting as have a few friends I’ve referred over. If you feel like you’re paying too much for your cell phone service or you aren’t happy with how they treat you, then I suggest you consider the other options that are out there. If you care about the things I mentioned – I hope this post helps with your evaluation.
Hey! If you made it this far, you probably benefited from me sharing my experience. If so, I’d appreciate if you would click on the link below – it will save you $25 off of your first bill, and Ting will also take off a few dollars from my next bill as a thank you for sending you there way. That is a pretty cool win-win-win.