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My new favorite cell phone service

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stabguy's picture
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I was really late to get a smartphone. At this time last year I still had a basic flip phone. Some friends were discussing their smartphones and one guy said his iPhone plan cost $80 a month. The others agreed that he was getting a good bargain. That's when I said, "My cell phone bill is $80 a year." It was hard to justify upgrading to a smartphone when the service would cost over 10 times more. Then I discovered Ting.

The first cool thing about Ting is that it's no contract, no plan. You can leave at any time without penalty - that's the no contract part. By "no plan" I mean you don't have to predict your usage ahead of time and choose a package which you hope will include enough minutes, texts and megabytes. Instead, you just start using your phone. At the end of each month, Ting assigns a "T-shirt size" to your actual usage: small, medium, large. etc. What you pay is based on these sizes. It's a la carte - you're billed separately for voice, texts, data, and devices (i.e. number of phones on the account):

https://ting.com/rates

Another good thing is that everyone in your family gets their usage added together before it gets sized. So instead of paying for 4 smalls, you may get billed for 1 medium. For example, stabgal and I are on the same account. Last month our combined bill was $18 plus tax:

$12 - Small devices (2 phones)
$3 - Small voice (86 minutes)
$0 - Xtra Small message (0 texts)
$3 - Small data (92 megabytes)

The last benefit I wanted to mention is their customer service. If you call Ting, there's no phone tree and no hold. A human answers the phone and can help you without transferring your call.

On the downside:
- May not be a good value for heavy users who would benefit from an unlimited plan.
- Only available in U.S. (even though the company is in Toronto, Canada!)
- You have to buy/own your phone. So-called "free" phones are subsidized by overpriced contracts.

If you already own a phone, chances are it will work with Ting. Go to the Ting compatibility checker to find out for sure. See Ting network coverage here.

Right now they're running a special. From now until 11:59pm EDT on June 8, Ting is offering you $100 to try their mobile phone service. Use this link and you’ll receive $100 off select phones in the Ting shop or a $100 credit if you bring your own phone to Ting.

We have a great life here in Hawaii, and we're never going back to America again!

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stabguy wrote:
- Only available in U.S. (even though the company is in Toronto, Canada!)

That's so freaking brutal. [laughs softly] I'm in Toronto, Canada. How very odd.

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I was late to smartphones too. I have my current one almost a year now. I still have a prepaid SIM card, but I never call or text anyway. Internet is ridiculously expensive on prepaid, so I never use that. I use WiFi at home and at school and that's enough for me. I don't have internet access when travelling, but sometimes my bus drives near a bus from another bus company that DOES have free on-board WiFi, so I just steal from their bus. Wink

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Man, these spambots are getting better and better!

“To have peace there must be strife; both are part of the structure of the world and requirements.” - Ancient Egyptian Proverb

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i'm still not using a smartphone.
i'm still on my Nokia (not the 3310, slightly newer than that)

i don't know what it's called in english, i think it's "pre-paid" or something like that.
since i barely ever call anyone (forever alone, boohoo etc etc) i usually get by with like 10-15 dollars a year.

although, i should probably get a new phone, cause it's starting to go bad.
can you use a prepaid thing on smartphones and get away with 10-20 bucks a year, assuming you only use it for calls and texts?

Things will not calm down, Daniel Jackson. They will in fact calm up

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Double McStab with Cheese wrote:
Man, these spambots are getting better and better!

I laughed so hard. The day a spambot successfully fools us into thinking it's stabguy, is the day the Brotherhood crumbles from within.

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ROB_88 wrote:
can you use a prepaid thing on smartphones and get away with 10-20 bucks a year, assuming you only use it for calls and texts?

Yup. That's what I'm doing. Just make sure the smartphone you buy is not SIM-locked. I even bought mine without a SIM card included, and just shoved my old card in there.

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gerund wrote:
ROB_88 wrote:
can you use a prepaid thing on smartphones and get away with 10-20 bucks a year, assuming you only use it for calls and texts?

Yup. That's what I'm doing. Just make sure the smartphone you buy is not SIM-locked. I even bought mine without a SIM card included, and just shoved my old card in there.

as per bullet 12, you should be able to get any phone unlocked.

unless you were referring to a physical barrier

“To have peace there must be strife; both are part of the structure of the world and requirements.” - Ancient Egyptian Proverb

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gerund wrote:
I never call or text anyway. I use WiFi at home and at school and that's enough for me.

It sounds like you could get by with an iPod Touch. It's basically an iPhone without the phone or 3G/4G data service. It does WiFi and most apps though. Once you buy the device, there's no service charge.

We have a great life here in Hawaii, and we're never going back to America again!

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stabguy wrote:
gerund wrote:
I never call or text anyway. I use WiFi at home and at school and that's enough for me.

It sounds like you could get by with an iPod Touch. It's basically an iPhone without the phone or 3G/4G data service. It does WiFi and most apps though. Once you buy the device, there's no service charge.

Yup! And even if you DO need to Text, if you have an accessible WiFi connection, you can still get by with just an iPod Touch. There's an App called TextPlus that you can use to text other people for free as long as you're hooked into WiFi.

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Too bad you're in Europe... I have an old iPod Touch collecting dust somewhere around here...

“To have peace there must be strife; both are part of the structure of the world and requirements.” - Ancient Egyptian Proverb

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I still want the possibility to call or text, though. Even if it's just for emergencies. Also, my dad doesn't have a smartphone, so if I need to contact him I need to call or text. For contacting anyone else, I use WhatsApp, an app that's very popular in Europe, I think, for sending text messages, images, video, sound for free over internet. I think one of the latest updates even added free calls over internet.

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the problem i have with smartphones, is that at work i often have the radio on through my old phone, but apparently normal radio through radiowaves is not a thing that they do, that shit requires an internet app, which i want to avoid as much as possible

Things will not calm down, Daniel Jackson. They will in fact calm up

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ROB_88 wrote:
the problem i have with smartphones, is that at work i often have the radio on through my old phone, but apparently normal radio through radiowaves is not a thing that they do, that shit requires an internet app, which i want to avoid as much as possible

My phone has a built-in FM radio app, but I think it only works with earbuds that double as an antenna.

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gerund wrote:
ROB_88 wrote:
the problem i have with smartphones, is that at work i often have the radio on through my old phone, but apparently normal radio through radiowaves is not a thing that they do, that shit requires an internet app, which i want to avoid as much as possible

My phone has a built-in FM radio app, but I think it only works with earbuds that double as an antenna.

you have a smartphone that does that?

Things will not calm down, Daniel Jackson. They will in fact calm up

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ROB_88 wrote:
gerund wrote:
ROB_88 wrote:
the problem i have with smartphones, is that at work i often have the radio on through my old phone, but apparently normal radio through radiowaves is not a thing that they do, that shit requires an internet app, which i want to avoid as much as possible

My phone has a built-in FM radio app, but I think it only works with earbuds that double as an antenna.

you have a smartphone that does that?

Today is the first time I tried it out, but yeah it totally works. Also if I turn off my WiFi. Plus, the reception isn't even that bad.

Me finding out my phone can do this will be useful next time I miss a sports game, since the regional radio channel covers the matches live.

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when i asked at the local phone store, they said that normal AM/FM radio is impossible on smartphones, and the only way to do it was through internet apps

what phone is it?

Things will not calm down, Daniel Jackson. They will in fact calm up

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ROB_88 wrote:
when i asked at the local phone store, they said that normal AM/FM radio is impossible on smartphones, and the only way to do it was through internet apps

what phone is it?

Samsung Galaxy Ace, model GT-S5380i

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No need for any of you to feel bad on not being caught up with smartphones; I hope I never own one. Not that I'm a hater, but these devices are one of the greatest sources of laziness, cable TV being the the 1st. The only good thing I can see is their capacity to play NES games, but even then it's not worth it.

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According to this activist website (which advertises on the radio) all modern smartphones have built-in FM receivers:
http://freeradioonmyphone.org/

They claim that wireless carriers intentionally disable it, presumably to sell you more data through radio apps.

We have a great life here in Hawaii, and we're never going back to America again!

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stabguy wrote:
According to this activist website (which advertises on the radio) all modern smartphones have built-in FM receivers:
http://freeradioonmyphone.org/

They claim that wireless carriers intentionally disable it, presumably to sell you more data through radio apps.

That's such dirty corporate cyberpunk bull***t, wow. Talk about dystopian xD

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Double McStab with Cheese wrote:
I have an old iPod Touch collecting dust somewhere around here...

Last year I won an iPod Touch fifth generation (looks just like an iPhone 5 only thinner). This was before I owned a smartphone so it came in handy. I'd walk around with a flip phone in one pocket and an iTouch in the other, always on the lookout for free Wi-Fi. Ever since I got a smartphone, the iPod Touch doesn't get much use. I keep it around in case I ever decide to write an app for Apple iOS.

This January I won another iPod Touch, which I sold online for $213.88. Today I got another email, "Congratulations! You've just won an iPod Touch." It's raining iTouch's around here.

We have a great life here in Hawaii, and we're never going back to America again!

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pssh.

mine's a 1st gen 8 gb! played lots of Unblock Me on this bad boy back in the day. Pretty sure I got it in spring 2008.

It was the first and last Apple product I ever bought.

“To have peace there must be strife; both are part of the structure of the world and requirements.” - Ancient Egyptian Proverb

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Double McStab with Cheese wrote:
It was the first and last Apple product I ever bought.

High five! The first and last Apple product I bought was an Apple IIe. I wrote a couple of video games for it in the 1980's.

We have a great life here in Hawaii, and we're never going back to America again!

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did you... did you write Oregon Trail or Kidpix?

“To have peace there must be strife; both are part of the structure of the world and requirements.” - Ancient Egyptian Proverb

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stabguy wrote:
This January I won another iPod Touch, which I sold online for $213.88. Today I got another email, "Congratulations! You've just won an iPod Touch." It's raining iTouch's around here.

Are you creating auto-bidding tools again, stabby? Wink

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Petition for Stabguy to code the next Animus OS

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StabGuy, can I get an update on Ting? Are you still using it? Still paying $18/mo? How's the coverage (I know you travel some). Can you use you phone internationally at all?

“To have peace there must be strife; both are part of the structure of the world and requirements.” - Ancient Egyptian Proverb

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Yes, we're still using Ting. Our monthly bill is usually around $28 plus tax now because I use more mobile data and receive a handful of texts:

$12 - Small devices (2 phones)
$3 - Small voice (27 minutes)
$3 - Small message (5 texts)
$10 - Medium data (375 megabytes)

The worst deal there is $3 for 5 texts. You pay nothing for 0 texts or $3 for anywhere from 1 to 100 messages. For me it's usually Gmail confirming my identity and junk like that. stabgal has texts disabled so it's all my fault. Still, I think $28 is a good deal for two people.

Ting now supports international roaming on both GSM and CDMA networks (you need an LTE capable device if on CDMA). Additional charges apply and vary by country: https://ting.com/outside_usa

Or unlock for international use and swap out your SIM card at your destination: https://help.ting.com/hc/en-us/articles/205422098-International-SIM-Unlock-

When we signed up Ting only supported international roaming on GSM so I got that SIM for my phone. stabgal's on the other network, CDMA, which has slightly better domestic coverage. This was evident when we went to West Virginia. Her phone worked fine but I had to call Ting to enable some sort of partner network. It was free of charge but an inconvenience. Domestic coverage maps: https://ting.com/coverage

If you decide to sign up please click through this link: https://zgafab27016.ting.com/
You will receive a $25 credit and so will I. The last person I referred came back and said, "I signed up for Ting but there was nowhere to enter a referral code." D'oh, you were supposed to use that link I emailed you!

We have a great life here in Hawaii, and we're never going back to America again!

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Thanks Stab!

I'll have to look at our historical usage to see if it makes sense to give up unlimited minutes/messaging on our current plan.

“To have peace there must be strife; both are part of the structure of the world and requirements.” - Ancient Egyptian Proverb

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I got our Ting bill back down to $21 plus tax:

$12 - Small devices (2 phones)
$3 - Small voice (47 minutes)
$3 - Small message (37 texts)
$3 - Small data (53 megabytes)

My phone's mobile data had been getting out of control so I investigated. Two apps (Fitbit and Stitcher) were chewing up data while running in the background whenever I left home, so I took away their "background data usage" privileges. But I didn't stop there!

There's an icon under Settings to turn off mobile data completely. I moved it to the top row, right between Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, to make it easy to toggle on and off. Now I leave mobile data off by default and only turn it on when I'm away from Wi-Fi and need internet access. Our ISP (Spectrum) has secure Wi-Fi hotspots for their customers all over the island. The coverage is surprisingly good. It's not just shopping centers but schools, parks, you name it. I hardly ever need to turn on mobile data. Now stabgal actually uses more mobile data than I do.

We have a great life here in Hawaii, and we're never going back to America again!