I was unhappy with my $220 Verizon bill for myself, my wife and oldest son. Consequently, I’ve recently bought a used Iphone 4 and service on Ting.com to try it out. If my wife and I are happy with the service, we could cut our phone bill down to about $70/month for the two of us. How did we reach this epiphany? Certainly not on our own, as with many of my best ideas, I get them from an online community like mrmoneymustache.com.
One of the denizens of MMM is a gent named Daley who has forgotten more about technology than most of us will ever know. His site is http://www.techmeshugana.com/ Daley has a great Frugal Communications Guide that discusses options for home internet, phone service as well as options for cell phone service. A lot of his options can be fairly technical, but he does a great job of laying them all out for your consideration. From Daley, I learned about MVNO’s (Mobile virtual network operator) which are cellphone companies that don’t own their own networks, but pay to use someone else’s cell network. The real benefit of getting a cell phone plan through an MVNO is they tend to be cheaper (sometimes much cheaper) than going with one of the big name boys despite the fact that the actual cell service is identical. There are different types of MVNO’s: some are prepaid (sometimes called “burner” phones) and others have a regular monthly bill.
There are many options out there. I decided to go with Ting.com which uses Sprint’s network. I chose Ting because I like the number of different phones they supported and their low prices. Ting supports all but the latest Iphones (5s and 5c not yet supported but the 5 is) as well as a large number of Android phones. They partner with www.glyde.com, a cell phone reseller who sells used and refurbished phones. I was able to buy an Iphone 4 from Glyde for $95 and once I received it, I was able to set the phone up on Ting with no hassle. If you already have a Sprint enabled device, jump over to Ting’s page to see if it is supported. https://ting.com/byod The way Ting billing works is you only pay for the minutes/texts/data you use each month. They have several tiers for each and whichever tier you are in, that is what you pay for.
You can set up alerts or actual locks that will either inform you or prevent you from going over your preset limits. You can place several limits on your phones, so you can have some control over kid’s lines as well.
Oh and they have a referral program. If you use someone’s referral link you earn $25 to be applied to your bill. If someone uses your link, you get $50 for the first referral and $25 for each thereafter. I used an MMM referral link and posted mine and got $75 credit. This means at least 2 months of service free while I check the service out. Not bad! If you want to try Ting and want to make us both $25, here is my referral link: https://zin50p2i2b7.ting.com/
Data: If you are a huge data hog, there may be cheaper options for you to get the data you need. If you go on a data diet, this can be a good option. I find that most times I want to use my phone with data, there is wifi available. Use it
Minutes: If you use your phone continuously for random chatting or business and burn through lots of minutes, there may be better options for you.
Texting: If you send hundreds of texts, you probably shouldn’t be a 14 year old girl. Sprint Cell Tower service: It may be lousy in your area. You should check.
Finally, if you caught that my son was listed as one of the current customers in our Verizon plan, but I made no mention of him and options for Ting, you are right! He is one of those data hogs I mentioned above, although he takes it to the level of art form. He and I are currently grandfathered in on the Verizon unlimited data for $30/month. His use of this data gives the Verizon leadership nightmares. He used 272 Gigabytes (you read that right) of data last month. Now he did this while visiting his girlfriend and their internet is quite undependable, but still. Ridiculous. He wants to take over both of our Verizon accounts so he can keep his data flowing. If Ting continues to work for me and my wife we will make that a reality and he can take over the bill.
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