A Ting "Used/Refurbished Phones" trade in/up market

Brian Williams

We are all aware of the current problem of most providers not allowing you to bring your own phone. I believe TING will try to change that and grab that dissatisfied market!

In the meantime, some people must have TING phones they do not want, cannot use or want to trade in for another phone, etc. for various reasons. IE - someone leaves TING for another provider, someone has to relocate, etc.

 

Create a market that would allow for them to receive some type of credit for their old but working device. I see 2 ways.

1 - TING runs it and controls it to guarantee Quality Assurance and prevent scams.

2 - A forum section setup so TING members that have been VERIFIED can sell or trade their devices among each other freely.

All the devices would be TING devices with their own ESN/MEID from TING so I would assume their would be no headaches as far as activation and use.

 

At any rate - if TING controls it, we get discounted phones with maybe 90 day warranties and TING could possibly profit too on resale. Most important this would add to a richer customer experience and lower the risk/loss factor. We are all scared of cell phone service because of the gimmicks.

ANXIETY to BLISS SCENARIO - A potential new customer will love that TING has no contracts BUT they have to buy a phone and if things don't work out, they are stuck with a paper weight basically. So they choose the most affordable Android device (currently the Optimus). Now, most likely, with a few months of satisfactory experience with TING, they will want to buy the phone they really wanted in the 1st place ( maybe the Photon). The problem is I now have to spend even more money when TING was supposed to save me money, and will have another spare phone simply collecting dust! A used phone market delineates this problem. With such a low initial investment, you can afford to try it out. Then later, you can trade-up, comforted by the fact that you did not have a total loss on the first phone.

The big providers and even EBAY all sell used phones. Joining up with the big boys is not intimidating because as long as your ESN is clean, the phone can be resold and the owner and keep losses to a minimum. TING could do this too and lower the anxiety level.

 

Comments

15 comments

  • Comment author
    Ben Lucier

    It's an interesting idea Brian. Thanks for sharing. As we add more customers, one could see how an idea like this might be really cool. I'll make sure the entire team sees this post, although as you might imagine, it's probably a bit early for us to dedicate resources to this just yet.

    Have a fab-you-lous weekend! ;)

    -Ben 

    0
  • Comment author
    Sagi Quarius

    I had this thought today as well.  A section in the ting forums so Ting customers could buy/sell/trade Ting phones.  It would be transparent to Ting and I'm sure some rules and requirements can be established.  As the user base expands, there are going to be folks switching phones for various reasons and I'm sure there could be allowances made for new Ting customers should the BYOD thing ever happen.

    Ting is already making nice progress in setting itself apart from the rest of the MVNOs; it's little things like the aforementioned suggestion that helps keep it ahead of the game even before the game knows your competition ;-)  Even though I'm not yet a ting customer; I'd really like to see you guys do well in the market.  I'm damned tired of the way things are.  Wish I could help more but I doubt you guys are hiring, even part time telecommuters.

    I work for an ISP and it's a shame that my department never went with opensrs (as I wanted to back in the day) else we could have been in on the beta testing goodness.  Besides, I like the idea of offering cell service in addition to hosting packages and what not.  It's different.

    0
  • Comment author
    Sagi Quarius

    Hey Ben, I'll help with that particular operation if that is something worth considering.  If TIng can't do BYOD for quite a while yet, then doing something like this is second best, even above getting a donor phone and flashing.  I've been in IT support, administration and consultation for 12 years, a little MVNO experience under the belt wouldn't hurt ;-)

    0
  • Comment author
    Ben Lucier

    Thanks for the offer Sagi. What do you think of a website like Gazelle? Would it make sense to send customers (and potential customers) that way for used Ting devices?

    0
  • Comment author
    Sagi Quarius

    That depends on inventory management and the ever fluctuating market value of the device.  I presume Ting is handling new inventory in house (as much as you can at least) and placing new orders when needed.  I'll admit adding the handling of pre-owned equipment (who knows what they did with that thing, right) is tricky.

    Gazelle is offering $119 for a "perfect" condition E4GT; that seems really low to me.   I have no idea how they would help Ting manage pre-owned inventory nor do I know what Gazelle does with said hardware after they purchase it.  I almost contacted them myself to find out.  If they are willing to manage inventory for Ting, well then perhaps something can be worked out.  

    Current market value based on swappa postings is roughly $310-330 for devices in "good to excellent" condition.  If Ting is willing to house the hardware for now, perhaps using Swappa (I'm sure a mutually beneficial arrangement can be made) is better.  I say that only because swappa seems more transparent to me and I like that they have an established system for feed back and reference.

    It may be worth considering offering current Ting users an "upgrade" path while at the same time managing pre-owned inventory.  Example:  Customer returns the device to Ting in exchange for a discount (based on a percentage of their current device) towards another device of their choice.  Ting could make it known they use swappa and post the used devices there as "Ting Certified Pre-owned Devices" or Certified pwned Devices.  Hey, it made me chuckle ;-)  As an end user, I'd feel confident that I'd be getting a known working device from Ting with a less of an upfront financial burden.

    To me, Ting seems to be best suited for more discerning customers and geeks.  Those that know what they are after and are willing to pay the up front costs for better long term prices and are more willing to govern their usage to keep costs down.  But if Ting is to climb the MVNO mountain and avoid the falling debris of other MVNOs; Ting must also try to make itself more available to those not as discerning and more concerned about initial financial impact (not so much the hardware) and recurring cost.  In any event; every one is just about tired of being ripped off in the world of "unlimited wireless pricing" and goofy 2-year contracts.  The one thing I do keep hearing about Ting with reference to it's phone selection is the slightly uncomfortable (but understandable) cost of the phones and the lack of BYOD.

    If Ting were to eventually allow BYOD, provide something like the upgrade path I mentioned and offer "pwned" devices...man that would change things considerably and even give those who have been critical of Ting thus far pause to reconsider.

    Certainly there are factors and options I'm not aware of; but you get the idea.

    0
  • Comment author
    Azeem Sola

    Yes! This is a great idea. A ting specific marketplace needs to happen. I just bought a optimus S, but might want to trade-in in the future. Even a simple auction site would work pretty well i'd imagine.

    0
  • Comment author
    Timothy Wade

    As business picks up, Ting phones may start showing up on eBay. Currently I don't see any, though. I did a search on "Ting Phone" but found only Sprint phones. The scary part about used phones, especially Ting phones, would be wondering if the ESN had been "borrowed" by the previous owner of the phone to register a non-Ting device.

    0
  • Comment author
    Aaron Rodriguez

    I think something like this should happen....  gazelle is an interesting idea too but they do seem to undervalue devices but if you could work out a special deal with them to handle this service for you that would work as well.  Just as an example a "prefect" galaxy s2 is worth $182 to them compared to the $435 on ting.  If that price could be more in the $300 range I would gladly use gazelle.  gazelle also has the issue of not "buying" any current ting phone but the galaxy s2.

     

    My situation is not so much of wanting to test the service but more of I really want an upcoming phone but since there are no hard dates I can't wait forever and want a device in the meantime.  I could go with the cheapest phones and then not care as much about recouping that cost but I also want data (and more importantly) the tethering capability.  That means I have to buy one of the smartphones which are all pretty expensive ($200+).  That's quite a investment for just a few months of use.  If I knew I could recoup most of that money I would be FAR less hesitant.

    0
  • Comment author
    Ken Schafer

    We have added a Buy & Sell forum to help people looking to, uh, buy and sell Ting phones.

    0
  • Comment author
    Iris Ailin-Pyzik

    I'm glad Ting has created this buy/sell forum, it is a great service and will help out a lot of folks.

    When BYOSD kicks in, there will be a bigger pool of phones to draw from on ebay.  I've bought (and sold) both Sprint and Verizon phones there.  You can often find a 'used' phone that has a clean ESN and is entirely new.  I didn't want to extend our Sprint contract, and our daughter loved a friend's phone that was no longer available.  I bought one for her on ebay that was to all intents and purposes new, though it appeared to have been activated at one point.  It is her current phone, and will likely be moved to Ting.

    0
  • Comment author
    Kenneth Ponder

    can old ting phones be activated on Sprint?

    0
  • Comment author
    Permanently deleted user

    In general, yes, but only non-LTE phones at the moment from what I've been told.

    0
  • Comment author
    Nirapada Ghosh

    Andrew, apparently not. I had sold an used ting phone to a customer who says -- "tried to activate it with Sprint and they said that it is not a sprint phone in there system and can not be used. " The phone model is "Kyocera Brio".

    0
  • Comment author
    Permanently deleted user

    Sprint®* really should be able to, but many first level reps there don't actually know how. It often requires a few calls to Sprint®*, and sometimes someone at a higher level to get it done. I've heard that the key can be to ask them to move the phone from the Reseller account to the Wholesale account specifically.

    *Sprint is a trademark of Sprint.

    0
  • Comment author
    Iris Ailin-Pyzik

    Somewhere in the forums there was a comment that I recall as saying the transfer from Sprint to Ting is a one-way trip.  There is probably no reason that it couldn't be reversed, but like the current bans on iPhones and Blackberries, it is a Sprint policy issue.  I think it is probably also a factor that Sprint has no procedure in place to make it happen.  They would have to move the ESN from their Ting database to their Sprint database, and re-do the kind of programming we've had to do to BYOSD phones, but in reverse.

    There's always https://help.ting.com/forums/21098408-Buy-Sell if you're looking to sell and idled Ting phone.

    0

Please sign in to leave a comment.