Ting Mobile offers excellent coverage, features, phone compatibility, and customer service in four different plans. Ting Mobile has moved from the pay-as-you-go model to more traditional plans. All plans include unlimited talk and text, with variable amounts of data differentiating each plan.
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Pros & Cons
- No contract
- Service on Verizon and T-Mobile networks
- Excellent network coverage
- Free alerts and per-line limits
- Great customer service
- No hidden/extra fees
- Early termination fee relief
- Data costs are higher than some other carriers
- Phones are not subsidized so they can be expensive
- Multiple lines must use the same plan
- No physical stores
What is New in 2021?
Dish purchased Ting in August 2020 and have since dropped the pay-as-you-go model for everything but data usage. Ting has added plans for different data amounts and decreased the overall cost of data usage so they are now more competitive with other carriers.
Ting is now on the Verizon network. This is a huge step as up as it increases Ting’s coverage footprint to include two out of the three major US networks: Verizon and T-Mobile (Sprint has been acquired by T-mobile).
Ting has again been rated in Consumer Reports’ top 3 mobile service providers.
Ting has taken the guesswork out of figuring out which network is best for your needs and automatically provides a phone or SIM for the network they believe is best for your location.
What is Ting?
Ting is a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO). That means that they pay the big nationwide carriers for access to their cell towers and mobile infrastructure while Ting provides their own unique features, billing, and customer service. Ting uses two of the three major network providers: Verizon and T-Mobile. Because they are purchasing service at less expensive wholesale prices they are able to pass those savings on to their customers. Ting does not have physical stores – everything is done online or over the phone.
If Ting is using Verizon’s and T-Mobile’s cellular towers, what is the advantage of getting service from Ting instead of directly from the network provider? The biggest differentiator is that Ting is typically less expensive for the same service. The second is customer service, as Ting provides far superior customer service than their competitors.
|Minimum Cost:||$10/mo + $5/GB||$50/mo||$70/mo|
|Coverage:||Identical to Verizon and T-Mobile||Same as Ting on T-Mobile||Same as Ting on Verizon|
|Roaming Limits:||Voice and texting only (no data)||≤200 MB data allowance||Unlimited for short periods of time|
|Stores:||Online only||Online & physical stores||Online & physical stores|
The last few years Consumer Reports have consistently ranked Ting in the top 3 in their cell-phone service survey along with Consumer Cellular and Project Fi. All the highest scoring carriers were MVNOs. If you are reading this because you are frustrated with one of large U.S. carriers, you are not alone as the lowest scoring providers were the big three carriers: AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon.
The two most important factors to consider in choosing a wireless provider are value and coverage. Consequently, before reading the rest of our review you should determine if Ting offers good value for your specific needs and has good coverage in your area.
Value: Is Ting Worth it for You?
Ting will most likely save you money unless you need to use a lot of data. Grab your last couple of mobile phone bills and and compare the available plans to the amount of data you typically use to estimate your monthly bill.
If you use a lot of data Ting can get pretty expensive. Although we think there are ways to reduce data usage for most people, for some that isn’t possible. If you are one of those people, please check out our review of Tello Mobile as they provide up to 25GB of data for just $39/month.
We have compared Ting to the other no-contract providers such as T-mobile’s no-contract service, Republic Wireless, Straight Talk, Cricket Wireless, Simple Mobile, Consumer Cellular, Page Plus, AT&T’s GoPhone, Boost, and Virgin mobile. Besides Ting, they all have a few things in common – you either had to sign up for a very low allowance plan, they do not have good selection of smartphones, their phones are locked to their network, or you had to spend at least $40-50 per line per month for an “unlimited” plan that isn’t actually unlimited. Most “unlimited” carriers we looked at end up throttling your data speed. After running all the numbers, for us, Ting was the best value. Everyone has a unique situation, but on average our bills are half of what they were on our previous mobile provider. Since we started using Ting our average cost per line has been about $20 per month overall.
Comparison to Other Carriers
We switched to Ting way back in 2013. As each year passes we want to make sure that Ting’s mobile services is still competitive. Does Ting still make sense in 2023? After all, there have been some significant changes in the telecom industry recently. T-mobile has rebranded itself as an “un-carrier,” doing away with contracts and lowering prices. Sprint has been purchased by T-mobile, and AT&T and Verizon now all have the option of unsubsidized plans that are less expensive than their subsidized counterparts.
So, we decided to see what the cheapest (unsubsidized) plans available from T-mobile, Sprint, AT&T, and Verizon would have cost for our last six months of usage compared that to what we were actually charged by Ting. We used the Wall Street Journal calculator in addition to the carriers’ websites to determine the projected costs. Since we chose the cheapest plans that fit our actual usage for each month, we probably underestimated the cost. This would be the real-world equivalent of switching your plan every month.
T-mobile’s new lower priced plans come the closest, but Ting was still consistently less expensive than all the other carriers. Compared to AT&T and Verizon, Ting was often about half the cost or even less. After reviewing this new data, we are confident that we are still saving a lot of money on Ting, and can continue to strongly recommend their mobile service.
|Minutes & Texts||No Limit||No Limit||No Limit||No Limit|
Why is Ting so Inexpensive?
You may be wondering, “why is Ting so cheap?” Is there something lacking in Ting’s service compared to Verizon and T-Mobile? From our experience there is nothing to complain about. Ting answered the “How is your service so cheap” question in a blog post that is an interesting read if you have time, but the bottom line is that Ting isn’t that “cheap.” You pay for what you use, Ting earns a healthy margin, and that is it. The reason Ting seems inexpensive is because the wireless industry as a whole in the U.S. is very expensive. Prices are inflated and almost every carrier makes you buy far more usage (data) through their plans than you will ever use.
In recent years, many similar MVNOs have sprung up to fill different niches and are typically cheaper than the 3 major carriers. Some of these are cheaper than Ting, but we have not found any that have been able to consistently provide the excellent level of customer service we receive from Ting.
Ting Charges According to Actual Usage
What first attracted us to Ting is that they charge you according to your actual usage without any contract. Although other plans are available now, we prefer the Flex plan. Using Flex, at the end of the billing cycle Ting will charge you according to your usage at $5 per GB. There are no overages – you just pay for what you use. However, if you consistently use more than 3GB of data it is best to choose one of the higher data plans as the cost per GB of data is less.
Also, knowing that we can save money by limiting our usage helps us be more aware of our usage and more likely to do things like download music, videos, or maps to our phones over Wi-Fi so they are available offline and don’t use data. Those things help us limit our costs and are easy to do.
Here is a table of the plans Ting offers. Each plan included unlimited talk and text with varying amounts of data. If you use more data than your plan offers, you will not be charged any extra, but the data speed will be decreased to 2G levels that are quite slow. Unfortunately, for multiple lines, you cannot mix and match plans for each line – all lines must use the same plan. If your family has one high data user, and the rest are low data users, it is probably best to just use different accounts.
|Flex||Set 5||Set 12||Unlimited|
|Total Cost||$10 + $5/GB||$25||$35||$45|
|Minutes & Texts||Unlimited||Unlimited||Unlimited||Unlimited|
Coverage and Network Performance
Ting’s coverage and performance is excellent as it will be identical to whichever network is carrying the data: Verizon or T-Mobile. With access to 2 out of the 3 US carriers, Ting’s coverage is now extremely good. Before Ting started using Verizon’s network we deducted some points from Ting’s coverage score as Sprint and T-Mobile’s footprint are not quite as large. That is no longer an issue as Verizon has the best coverage in the United States.
Ting has simplified network selection so that new users are provided the best network based on their phone and location. However, if you know which network is best for your use, you may request a specific provider (assuming your phone is compatible).
If you are currently on a mobile network that uses Verizon or T-Mobile’s networks and are happy with your coverage, we suggest ensuring you will be on the same network with Ting.
Ting Features: Dashboard and Controls
The Ting dashboard and subsequent bill are very intuitive and easy to use. Watch the video below to get a quick idea of what the dashboard is all about. The dashboard makes it easy to keep track of your usage throughout each month.
The online dashboard allows absolute control over all the devices on your account: turning on and off any feature is as simple as clicking a toggle switch. Ting includes usage alerts and individual line limits for free. Most other carriers we have used charge extra for those features and call them “parental controls” or something similar. If you have a family and your teenager is texting or using up data like crazy you can automatically warn them to slow down, and then if they do not heed the warning, cut them off until the end of the billing period – they will learn pretty quickly to stay within the limits you have provided 😉
What Kind of Phone Do I Need?
If you would like to buy a new phone you have two main choices: buy a phone directly from Ting, or purchase from a retailer like Apple or Amazon. If you choose the second option, just ensure that the phone is compatible with either Verizon or T-Mobile. A phone that is only compatible with AT&T will not work on Ting. We suggest completely unlocked phones as you can switch between any of the carriers.
When we signed up for Ting we read about their “no hold” phone policy, but we were skeptical to say the least. However, in the process of signing up we had a question, so we called their main phone number and to our surprise and delight an actual human answered almost immediately! No automated system to navigate whatsoever and no holding. Since then we have called many times and everyone we have spoken to was knowledgeable and were able to answer our questions and resolve any issues efficiently. If you would prefer not to call Ting support, you can also reach them through email or online chat.
It is not an exaggeration to say that Ting customer service is the best customer service we have ever experienced. We say that not just because many other mobile providers’ customer service is abysmal, but because Ting will do everything in their power to fix your issue and make things right if a mistake or error has occurred.
Ting isn’t the best for people who need a large amount of data. The “unlimited” plan included 22GB of data, but only 12GB of that is available for use on a hotspot. If you’re using cellular data as your primary way to use the internet, you should probably look elsewhere.
Phones are not subsidized so they can be expensive. However, Ting offers 3rd party financing through Affirm if you would prefer to make monthly payments.
Incentives and Promotions
As an incentive to switch, Ting offers a credit equal to 25% of any early termination fees (ETFs) you paid in order to switch from another carrier.
Ting has a referral program where the person you refer gets a $25 credit towards phone service. You also receive a $25 service credit for each person you refer to Ting.
If this post helped you decide to switch to Ting please use our referral link before you buy your first SIM card or phone from Ting or activate a device you already own.
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|Description:||Ting's mobile service gets high marks on almost every category, including outstanding customer service. Ting offers an excellent alternative to other wireless carriers with transparent pricing and extensive coverage across multiple nationwide networks.|
|Rating:||9.0 out of 10.|