The Best Cellphone Service I Could Find

by May 20, 2013Tech1 comment

I kind of obsess about tech purchases. Having a wife has made me a bit worse, because it’s harder to change my mind once I’ve already clicked “Confirm.” Girls—or at least the ones at my house (or at least the adult one)—don’t care to switch from iOS to Android and back unless there’s a really good reason.

Girls have a point there, actually.

I simply was not satisfied with Verizon. After the 17% discount I got through my employer, I paid $78/mo. for two flip phones. I had no texting and no data. Also, I had multiple miscommunications with Verizon that were a huge hassle to fix. I finally gave up and paid a termination fee. I just knew that the 650 or so minutes we used every month were not worth $78.

After a good deal of shopping and re-education—the cellphone market has changed since I last shopped—I bought two used Android phones and went with Ting. Look at their rates (Updated to April, 2014):

ting rates Apr 2014

If you have two phones, that’s 12 bucks a month to start with. Let’s look at some scenarios:

  • If you and your wife use 0 minutes, 0 messages, and 0 megabytes (XS—Extra Small), you only pay that $12 to keep the phones on the plan.
  • If you and your wife use a Small amount of minutes, messages, and data, you pay that same $12 and then $3 for minutes, $3 for messages, and $3 for data. That’s $21.
  • If, like me and my wife, you use ca. 500–800 minutes (Large), over 100 texts (Medium), and fewer than 100 megabytes (Small) each month, you pay $12 for the phones, $18 for the minutes, $5 for the texts, and $3 for the megabytes. That’s $38.

(My wife uses FaceTime or Skype at home as much as is convenient; that saves minutes. We could feasibly get our minutes down to under 500 if we worked at it.)

Here’s a few other great things about Ting:

Pros:

  • When I call customer service I get a real person on the phone right away. And they always make sense and help me. They get it done fast. They even follow up.
  • Every plan is a “family” plan—every phone on the plan shares all the minutes, messages, and data with all the other phones. To add a phone is just $6 per month.
  • Pay for what you use in easy-to-understand “tiers.”
  • There’s no contract; you own your phone and can stop and restart service any time.
  • Set alerts if you want to make sure you’re aware before going over a usage line.
  • Set caps (general or individualized by phone) so that you can’t accidentally stray into Large if you’re intent on being at Medium.
  • Tethering and hotspot are free—Ting doesn’t care how you use your megabytes of data.
  • Excellent website. That matters a lot to me. A chintzy website says “low quality.”

Now, click my referral link and we both get $25 of free service. That amount pays for more than half a month of service for us.

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1 Comment
  1. Dustin B.

    An error in your post:

    “I kind of obsess about tech purchases.” Make that “I REALLY obsess about tech purchases.” 🙂 But hey, I do too — especially so that I don’t have to spend a lot of money to get what I need/want!

    I recently switched to Consumer Cellular (with AT&T coverage) and love it! I spend about $20 a month with them and get 150 minutes, 500 texts, and 50 MB. And I now use Google Voice at home (via the VTok app) so I’m not using up minutes on my CC plan. Plus, CC’s customer service is superb. For instance, when you call them, you get a representative without having to press 1, 2, 843233, or anything like that. They pick up and are willing and ready to help!

    Reply

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