Ting Expands Flexible Phone Plan Pricing Model To GSM Phones

Image courtesy of (Simon Yeo)

Ting is a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO), or a cell phone company that doesn’t own its own network of towers, but instead leases voice and data capacity from other carriers. We’ve been hearing about Ting for a while, mostly from contented customers. Until now, though, customers were limited to phones that were purchased from the carrier, or off-contract devices from the Sprint network. Starting next year, that will change.

Of course, there are plenty of MVNOs out there: more popular brands that you might recognize are Straight Talk and Virgin Mobile. The appeal of Ting for money-minded consumerist readers, though, is that while it has tiered data, voice, and texting plans, the company automatically switches the tiers around according to how much you actually use.

With a traditional phone plan, if you want 3 GB per month of data, you pay a set amount whether you reach that amount or not. If you go over 3 GB, you get charged for the overage, but you still have to pay the full amount if you only downloaded one tiny cat photo all month. Ting’s pricing scheme charges customers for different levels of voice minutes, text messages, and data, then automatically charges for the smallest bucket that covers their usage. Using more than a gigabyte, for example, leads to a $29 data bill. If you don’t use any phone minutes at all during that month, you pay $0 for your voice plan.


GSM compatibility will make it easier to use commercially available unlocked phones, as well as off-contract devices purchased from this country’s GSM carriers, AT&T and T-Mobile. While Ting is being sort of coy about who their GSM network buddy will be, clicking on the “Important Coverage Details” on their GSM coverage map offers disclaimers from T-Mobile. Indeed, CNET points out, it’s also the same coverage map that T-Mobile has on their site. It just isn’t magenta, and doesn’t cover Canada.

Since all data usage over 2 GB is billed by the megabyte, the service probably isn’t for mobile data hogs. For anyone else, these plans might work, especially if your phone usage varies erratically from one month to another.

Ting to offer service on a GSM network [Ting]

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