In the interest of trying to cut our expenses, one of the expenses on the chopping block was cell phone service. I wanted a lower phone bill and I was willing to sell my iPhone in order to make it happen, but it didn’t come to that.
Before I made the switch to Ting Mobile, I had been on the fence about switching cell phone service providers, so I did hours and hours of research into mobile virtual network operators like Ting.
Making the switch to Ting was super easy and took me minutes to complete—the phone does most of the work.
I’ve been monitoring my usage and my bills for the last several months so you can get a sense of what my experience has been.
Making the Decision to Move to Ting
Ting offers GSM and CDMA options for compatible phones. I appreciated having a choice. Because they lease more than one major network, they can offer both options.
With so many network options, I found it valuable to consider the merits of each and what works best in central PA. (Check out the original post where I outlined the steps I had taken to assess mobile virtual network operators and coverage for our area in a quest to lower our bills.)
Porting a Number to Ting
To begin the process of moving my out-of-contract iPhone 6 to Ting Mobile, I went to Ting.com and started the process to assess my device to ensure it was compatible. Ting works major cell networks, so this process helps you ensure you choose the right SIM card for your area. (The SIM card is the chip you need to connect a cell phone to Ting.)
When you get to Ting.com, click BYOD if you want to bring your own device to Ting Mobile. If you can, do this on a computer so that you can look at your phone at the same time, which you’ll need to do for the next step.
Next, check your phone’s MEID or IMEI number. If you have an iPhone, this is on the back of the phone; it’s also in this menu: Settings –> General–> About–> IMEI or MEID. This will help you ensure that your phone is compatible and help you choose the SIM card that’s right for you.
If your phone is compatible, you should see something like this.
At this point, I didn’t know what to choose and I also wanted to ensure that I’d be able to keep my number, so I contacted customer service. They have customer service chat! Whenever possible, I contact customer service by chat so that I can get other things done while I wait for a reply.
The first time I contacted Ting via chat, I was connected with Kyle. Kyle was quick to answer all of my questions and help me understand the porting process.
Basically, I needed a new SIM card. And that’s it. Really. Buy a SIM card from Ting, pop it in my iPhone, and I’m set.
I couldn’t believe it, but that’s exactly what happened. SIM cards are magical.
After chatting with customer service, I ordered a new GSM SIM card for my iPhone. It showed up a couple of days later. SIM cards come with instructions for installation—super easy and takes just a minute.
Next, I had to follow the activation steps on Ting’s website. As long as you have the SIM card, device serial number, and the security code from your original carrier, this should take a few minutes. I didn’t know what the security code was for Verizon, so I had to log into our account to obtain this number. On Ting’s recommendation I took an extra step to chat with Verizon to verify that my iPhone was indeed unlocked and that I was out of contract so that we wouldn’t see any surprise charges.
With my security code in hand (and confirmation that I was out of contract), I was able to continue the porting process steps outlined in my Ting account.
Once Ported Over to Ting Mobile
Within a couple of hours, the porting process finished and I officially became a Ting customer.
Here’s a screenshot of usage. This is accurate almost up to the minute–there’s a slight delay if a call has just ended. But I’m confident that my data is accurate at the end of the day when I’ve shut off my phone.
￼My Ting usage dashboard
My first bill reflects a $25 credit since I used another blogger’s link to sign up. You can get a credit, too. Here’s my Ting Mobile link (no cost to you and both of us get credits, so it’s basically a discount code. Win-win!)
Pros and Cons of Ting Mobile
Deciding to make the switch to a new carrier happened at the same time that I was trying to increase my productivity AND decrease my cell phone bill. I was getting distracted by my phone’s notifications WAY too often.
Since Ting makes me pay for what I use, making the switch is actually helping me change my behaviors in ways that cut down on distractions (and cut my bill). I had 1 GB of data, unlimited calls, and unlimited text messages before, so I didn’t really think about how I was using my phone and how that would change in changing over to Ting. Because I have cellular data disabled, I’m not as distracted as I was before.
If I had to identify any downside to Ting, it would be that Ting lacks visual voicemails, a feature I hope to see in the future. UPDATE: Ting has visual voicemails! Love it.
For the frugal folks out there, you’ll love the usage alerts. Usage alerts let me know when I’m exceeding a certain number of messages or minutes. At first, this was helpful for me to gauge what my bill would likely be. But since my bills are consistent, I don’t rely on them now.
Usage alerts increase awareness of spending!
Ting has done more for me than cut down on my cell phone bill. Ting helped me change my behaviors so that I’d be more productive. These benefits, coupled with the responsive customer service, makes Ting a top-notch service provider in my book.
Billing with Ting Mobile
Of all the concerns about switching carriers, I was most concerned about my bills, but that fear was unfounded.
Here was a page from our bill from Verizon the month before I switched.
And here are a couple of Ting bills.
Check out this bill from March 2017.
Check out this bill from May 2017.
I disabled cellular data from November 2016 through April 2017. I was traveling away from home in May 2017, which is why you see an increase in the bill for May. I’ve since disabled cellular data again and take advantage of free Wi-Fi if I really need Internet access away from home.
Even with cellular data disabled, I can still make calls, which is all I really need to do when I don’t have Wi-Fi access. I don’t need data (and I probably don’t even need a phone) everywhere I go. So this suits me just fine.
Since making the transition to Ting, we’ve saved $186.66. My Ting bill is about 53% lower than my old Verizon bill!
If you’re interested, use this link to sign up. You get $25 bucks toward your bill and I get a credit, too. Win-win!
Tips for Ting Mobile Customers to Keep Your Bills Low
- Turn off cellular data. Right away, I saw that data could be a problem in this new system as my phone switched from Wi-Fi at home to cellular and then back to Wi-Fi. In those periods of transition, I saw my default app settings used some data. I don’t need a cellular connection for apps because I always use free Wi-Fi hotspots (thanks to Xfinity), so I turned off cellular data.
- Use the Google Hangouts app for calls when you’re on Wi-Fi. When I was without an iPhone for four days, I made calls from my desktop using Google Hangouts and I LOVED it. Calls were clear and I was able to take notes while I was on the phone. Calls from Google Hangouts, at least for me in the US, are free.
- Use Whatsapp or another messaging app when you’re on Wi-Fi. If the person you’re texting has an iPhone, then iMessage should work; however, Garrett and I have found that iMessage isn’t foolproof and iMessages will be sent SMS. I don’t text that often, so I’d rather spend my money on calls than on text messages.
- Download updates only on Wi-Fi. I listen to a lot of podcasts, so I update my list at home while on Wi-Fi.
- Schedule time for social media at home while on Wi-Fi. Not only will this save money, it’ll save time, too. I’m not gonna lie–this has been difficult. I read a lot of productivity blogs and listen to a lot of productivity podcasts. As someone who works from home, I know how easy it easy to get lost in infinite scrolling. It was time to stop that bad habit in its tracks (and save a few bucks).
- For iPhone users, turn off Wi-Fi Assist. Settings–> Cellular