“I am pretty well convinced that the telecommunications industry is not just evil, but is also proof that Satan exists and hates us all,” said Facebook (News - Alert) user Peter Cole on Ting’s Facebook page. “But I’ve talked to your support staff and read everything on your website, Twitter and Facebook pages and you seem to be legit. I think I’m going to sign up, but first do you promise that you’re not evil and/or the spawn of all that is unholy?”
Cole’s words are strong, but many customers share his frustrations with their current telecommunications providers. Customers find themselves locked into long-term contracts whenever they want to upgrade their phones, and they can’t tether without doubling their data costs. Plans also seem more complicated and confusing every day as dollars seep from customers’ wallets and into the telecommunication companies’ coffers.
Enter Ting. Ting only charges for the minutes and texts that customers actually use. Five hundred minutes cost $9 per month, and 1000 texts cost $5 per month. Data is more expensive, at $24 per GB, but customers are free to mix and match plans and view a savings calculator on the company’s website.
If you don’t use all of your minutes, texts or data, then Ting refunds the money. In addition, if you go over the amount that you signed up for, then you are simply bumped up into the next bracket without incurring overage charges. Instead of paying up to $100 a month for a phone that is rarely used, people can actually pay for the services that they need.
“There’s just always this feeling that it’s an elaborate game that people feel like they are fated to lose,” said Michael Goldstein, a marketing manager at Tucows (News - Alert), which is the parent company of Ting. “Am I on the wrong plan? Am I missing out on something? Even when new competitors come in, they end up falling into the same long-term contracts in exchange for subsidizing phones and all those other tricks.”
Of course, all of this integrity does come with some downsides. First, Ting piggybacks off of the Sprint network, meaning that 4G LTE (News - Alert) is not yet available. Second, only phones sold by Ting work on Ting’s network. This means that customers have to pay the full price for a new phone, which can be up to $500 for a Samsung Galaxy S II or other comparable smartphone. Even though Sprint (News - Alert) services the iPhone, Ting does not yet have access to Apple’s (News - Alert) smartphone.
Still, Ting has a lot to offer for cost-conscious customers. “We think of [Ting] as a utility,” Goldstein concluded. “You pay for minutes, you pay for message, and you pay for data. You pay for what you use and the price adjusts accordingly.”
Edited by Jennifer Russell