Lately, I’ve been looking into alternative cell phone solutions to help people save money on their crazy high cell phone bills.
I want to review these services, like Ting, so that people can start saving money now.
One of the many carriers I’ve tried out is Ting Wireless, a carrier that charges you only for the minutes, text messages and data that you use each month.
I’m happy to say that the results are promising for those that want to save a ton of money on their cell phone bill and aren’t heavy cell phone users.
I’m also excited to announce that I’ve gotten together with Ting and secured a deal just for Money Manifesto readers.
If you sign up through the links on this page, you’ll get a $25 Ting credit to get you started!
How Ting Saves You Money
Ting saves you money in a few ways. The biggest way they save you money is by only charging you for the minutes, text messages and data that you use each month.
After paying the flat $6 per device monthly fee, you’ll only add on the services you use each month in order to come to your payment amount.
Ting charges you for minutes, text messages and data separately. As of this writing, the charges for minutes are as follows:
- No usage – $0 per month
- 1 to 100 minutes – $3 per month
- 101 to 500 minutes – $9 per month
- 501 to 1,000 minutes – $18 per month
- 1,001 to 2,100 minutes – $35 per month
- 2,101+ minutes – $35 per month + 1.9 cents per minute.
The charges for text messages are as follows:
- No messages – $0 per month
- 1 to 100 messages – $3 per month
- 101 to 1,000 messages – $5 per month
- 1,000 to 2,000 messages – $8 per month
- 2,001 to 4,800 messages – $11 per month
- 4,801+ messages – $11 per month + 1/4 cent per text message
The charges for data are as follows:
- No usage – $0 per month
- 1 to 100 MB – $3 per month
- 101 to 500 MB – $10 per month
- 501 MB to 1 GB – $16 per month
- 1.1 to 2 GB – $20 per month
- 2 GB+ – $20 + $10 per additional GB
As you can see, Ting only charges you for what you use. If you only use 75 minutes, use no data (thanks to Wi-Fi) and send all of your texts through a Wi-Fi only app, you’ll only pay $9 plus taxes and regulatory fees per month.
Of course, you can take any combination of minutes, text messages and data per month to come up with what your normal usage would be to see what your cell phone bill would cost with Ting.
Chances are, if you aren’t a heavy user and use Wi-Fi whenever possible, your bill will be lower with Ting than with the big cell phone companies like AT&T, Verizon and Sprint.
You do have to pay extra if you travel and use your phone outside the USA, make international calls, or use directory assistance. You’ll have to pay taxes and regulatory fees as well, just like with any other cell phone.
How Ting Works
So how can Ting offer such low pricing and save you a ton of money?
Ting is what is called a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) which basically means Ting pays Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile to use their networks for their cell service.
Instead of selling you huge chunks of minutes, text messages and data that you may never use, Ting only charges you for what you actually use.
They don’t rely on low usage subscribers to pay for their data hogs. Instead, they charge everyone exactly what they should pay for their service.
Ting doesn’t tie you into a contract, either.
Instead of signing two-year contracts or setting up a payment plan for a new phone, simply bring your own Verizon, Sprint or T-Mobile network compatible device or purchase a Ting compatible phone to get started.
Don’t know if your phone is compatible? Use the Ting Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) tool to find out if your phone can be used with Ting.
If you just want a simple phone and don’t care about upgrading your phone, you can save even more money by buying a lower-end device and not upgrading your device every two years.
Of course, if you want a newer phone, you can bring almost any Verizon, Sprint or T-Mobile compatible phone to Ting.
Ting’s coverage is the exact same as Verizon’s, Sprint’s or T-Mobile’s coverage depending on your phone, just at a lower cost. Check out their coverage map here if you’re not sure how good your Sprint/T-Mobile coverage is in your area.
Personally, where I am, Ting has one of the faster data networks and decent cell phone coverage, especially considering the awesome monthly price.
Our Experience With Ting Wireless
Ting Wireless sent me a tester phone to allow me to try out their service. I used the phone for a few weeks to make phone calls, send texts and use data, as well.
The experience using Ting’s phone was similar to using my main cell phone. I never noticed a difference.
It was helpful to be able to track my usage with Ting’s tools. By doing this, I wasn’t surprised by the upcoming monthly charges for using the phone.
If you’re on a tight budget, you can use this information to make sure you’re always aware of your current usage.
The only difference you may see when using Ting, based on my experience, is if your Ting service uses a different cell network than your current service.
If this is the case, your coverage may change. I didn’t have any issues with the coverage in my area, though.
While I only used Ting Wireless for a few weeks, my friend, Crystal Stemberger, has been using Ting Wireless for years. I asked her to share her experience. Here’s what she said.
We switched to Ting from Sprint in 2014 and have been extremely happy about that change for these last 6 years! We were paying $148-$160 per month with Sprint for just two unlimited plans on Samsung smart phones.
Now we pay for what we use on Ting instead of a set rate. Our lowest Ting bill has been $48 and our highest has been $105. We are usually around $70.
Other than the cheaper price, the data has always worked better with Ting for us. The text messaging works well, too.
The phone reception is slightly worse but we aren’t on the phone much. Ting recently added another network option so the reception may be improved. I haven’t taken the time to install the new sim card yet to test it out.
Switching To Ting
If you’re ready to switch to Ting and start saving money, you might wonder how it works.
Well, you’ll either need to bring your own Verizon, Sprint or T-Mobile network compatible device or buy a new or used Sprint or T-Mobile compatible device to get started. Ting offers many great options through their website, so make sure you check out your device options.
After that, simply activate your new Ting phone and you’ll be on your way. You can also transfer your number if you wish.
Cell Phone Options
Currently, you can choose from a very wide variety of phones with Ting, as long as they’re compatible with the Verizon, Sprint or T-Mobile network.
You can get the latest and greatest iPhone or the latest Samsung Galaxy release among many other awesome cell phones.
You can purchase a handful of phones directly through Ting. Alternatively, you can bring your current phone with you to Ting or purchase a new unlocked phone from a store to bring to Ting.
You do can pay full price for the phone and you can pick up a slightly used version cheaper if you’d like. If you’d prefer to finance your phone purchase, you can use Affirm’s financing plans when you purchase a phone through TIng.
Just make sure to use their compatibility checker before you purchase the device. You can use the Check Your Phone tool and enter the phone’s IMEI, MEID or ESN to verify it will work with Ting.
When purchasing a new phone, the IMEI or other identifying number should be listed clearly on the outside of the box in the barcode area.
If you decide to bring your own phone, make sure you know the best way to buy a phone.
Pros Of Switching To Ting Wireless
Switching to Ting Wireless can help you out in many ways.
Low Usage = Low Bill
People that rarely use their phone (other than using WiFi data) will love Ting Wireless. If you don’t use many minutes, texts or much data, your bill will be relatively low.
Wide Variety Of Phones That Work With Ting
While Ting only sells a handful of phones directly on their website, you can bring your own phone to the service.
You can usually use the latest iPhones, Samsung phones as well as mid-level and entry-level price point phones, as well. You just have to make sure they’ll work on Ting’s service, first.
Ting Offers Three Cell Networks
Ting offers service on Verizon, T-Mobile or Sprint depending on the SIM card you use and your phone’s compatibility. This should give you at least one option that has great service in your area.
Can Bring Your Phone Number
When you switch to Ting, you can usually port your phone number from your previous service. That means you don’t have to get a new phone number unless you want to in most cases.
Drawbacks Of Using Ting
Ting Wireless isn’t perfect.
Can’t Access The AT&T Network
As with any service, Ting isn’t perfect. The Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile networks don’t have perfect coverage everywhere in the United States but they work great where I live. However, if AT&T is the only provider that offers decent service in your area, you’re out of luck with Ting.
Keep in mind that you’ll be saving a TON of money by switching to Ting, so even if your Verizon, Sprint or T-Mobile coverage is a little bit worse it might be worth saving that money every month.
Heavy Cell Phone Users May Run Up A High Bill
Unfortunately, not everyone will save with Ting. If you’re a heavy cell phone users that blows through minutes, texts or data, you’ll probably want to stick with an unlimited plan rather than pay for your actual usage with Ting.
Should You Switch To Ting?
I think Ting makes a lot of sense for a majority of cell phone users. If you aren’t a heavy user of minutes, texts and data, Ting can save you a ton of money every month.
Their service is just as good as the Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile networks, so it isn’t like you’re getting cut-rate coverage at Ting’s awesome price.
If you want to start saving money, sign up for Ting today! Your wallet will thank you!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Ting Wireless
Have a question about Ting we didn’t cover? It might be in these FAQs! If it isn’t, leave a comment so we can answer it there.
Does Ting Offer Family Plans?
When you sign up for Ting, your minutes, texts and data is billed for the total amount used across all lines on your account. There is a flat fee of $6 per line, but all other fees are for the combined usage across all accounts.
Which Networks Does Ting Use?
Ting currently offers service on Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint. The only major network it doesn’t offer service with is AT&T.
Do I Lose My Phone Number When I Switch To Ting?
You can usually bring your phone number from another carrier to Ting. This process is called porting your phone number. In rare circumstances, this may not work.
How Much Do International Calls Cost With Ting?
Ting offers surcharge-free calling to 60 countries, but you still have to pay for minutes like you regularly would.
Popular surcharge-free countries include Canada, China, Germany, India, Israel, Mexico, Puerto Rico, United Kingdom and many more. Check Ting’s website for a full list of countries and the surcharge per minute.
Can You Tether Or Use Your Phone As A Hotspot With Ting?
Ting doesn’t charge a fee to use your phone as a tether or a hotspot, but you will be charged for the data you use. You can blow through data quickly when using another device, so be very careful before you use this option.
Do you have any other questions about Ting Wireless? Let me know in the comments below and I’ll do my best to get an answer.
Cell network options9.0/10
- Only pay for what you use
- Multiple cell network options
- Many phone options
- Can bring your phone number
- Higher usage = higher bill
- Doesn't use AT&T
Lance Cothern, CPA holds a CPA license in Indiana. He’s a personal finance, debt and credit expert that writes professionally for top-tier publications including U.S. News & World Report, Forbes, Investopedia, Credit Karma, Business Insider and more.
Additionally, his expertise has been featured on Yahoo, MSN, USA Today, Reader’s Digest, The Huffington Post, Fast Company, Kiplinger, Reuters, CNBC and more.
Lance is the founder of Money Manifesto. He started writing about money and helping people solve their financial problems in 2012. You can read more about him and find links to his other work and media mentions here.