Ting vs. Sprint: data roaming

(Some of this is a repost from another thread.)

We are a more-than-ten-years Sprint family...and as near as I can tell, Ting will serve our needs.

Here is what I think I know, as far as what the important service-related differences between Sprint and Ting boil down to: DATA ROAMING.

If I believe what I'm reading here, Ting voice and text and data use the Sprint network (more on that in a minute) and while Ting voice and text roam the same as if you're a Sprint customer (i.e. roaming is free)...Ting does not allow data roaming of any kind.

In other words, as far as data are concerned...you'd better be near a Sprint tower...because, as I wrote above, as a Ting customer,  no data roaming is allowed. Is this correct?

But is this no-data-roaming a deal-breaker?

We just returned from a week in central FL (Disney) and east central FL (Cocoa Beach).

My oh my was the Sprint (data) service bad--and our three devices, which work very well at home--struggled to do anything as far as data was concerned. Roaming? I'm not sure what was going on except that the data was crap.

...all of which gets me thinking--there is a spot about a half-hour north of our home where the Sprint coverage hands us off to what I believe are Verizon towers. While voice works fine when roaming, the data roaming, through the Verizon tower, just doesn't work very well.

So how well does data-roaming work for current Sprint customers? Is our experience the norm? Because if it is, then what do we lose by going to Ting?

Make sense? We have had similar experiences recently in the Chicago area (which, again, if I believe what I read...is due to Sprint's conversion to LTE)...simply awful data...and useless data via roaming.

So I want to be sure--exactly how does Ting handle data roaming?

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Comments

54 comments
  • I guess this is one of the drawbacks with using Ting.  I was up in New Hampshire in North Conway/Mt. Washington Valley area and I had no data service. With Sprint I would roam over to Verizon's data network and get at least a 3G signal.  Lack of data good and bad.  Good... is that I wasn't expected to do any work, Bad, was that I couldn't even get personal email and texting with pictures wouldn't work much either. 

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  • Be happy you had voice roaming. Most Sprint MVNOs do not roam off the Sprint network and you would have had no service.

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  • Bruce - "Be happy" is not exactly the right attitude.  Without voice roaming, there is no way I'd be on Ting.  And the landscape is changing somewhat as well.  Republic Wireless seems to have the same voice footprint as Ting, along with some data roaming, if their maps can be believed.

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  • Iris, My brother is using Republic and I can confirm data roaming. I think its 100MB. I suspect the recent roaming agreements Sprint has made with smaller CDMA carriers for LTE are part of that. However the device choice and some other things make me still a bit weary of Republic.

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  • Wesley - thanks for confirming.  But I think you mean "leary", and I do get that.  But my daughter is using a Moto X (one of the 2 RW options) on Ting, and likes it a lot.  (The other option is the Moto G, and there's another thread on the Ting forums about people bringing over the Boost version, though not yet officially supported.)  A negative for RW though, is that you can't even use a GSM SIM when out of the country (it's not removable on the RW phones), though wifi calling will still work.  Daughter was able to swap out her Ting SIM and use her phone on a recent trip, as did I with my Nexus 5.

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  • ha yes leery... I am not a bit tired of Republic :) Yes I feel like Ting is a "full service" mobile provider. Republic feels like you are making sacrifices for the savings, however for my brother it is a second device to his company provided phone so it works perfectly for him.

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  • Iris,

    I was just trying to point out that TIng's services are much better than Kajeet!, Virgin, Boost, etc. Ting also has International roaming. If data roaming is a requirement, you are probably part of the 2% of wireless issues that are not a good match for Ting. 

    choosing any service is always a tradeoff. For me, the lack of data roaming is worth it to get the savings. If this thread was listed as a feature request under "Ask Ting", my answer would be different.

    BTW, good luck using your Nexus 5 on Republic.

     

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  • Bruce - ha ha, very funny about the N5 - though that is likely to be the one and only CDMA phone of its ilk.  As I pointed out (full disclosure), there are only 2 essentially proprietary phones on RW.  But you don't need an Airave either - which I have to have at my home to use either a Ting or Sprint phone there.

    And obviously I'm here and not on RW.

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  • You don't think the iPhone models would be consolidated in a similar manner? It would greatly simplify things for Apple. They currently have 5 models of iPhone 5s, for instance. There are only 2 models of Nexus 5. 

    My wife would say we need an Airave (or better signal or perhaps a different carrier) but that does not appear to be happening anytime soon.

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  • Verizon is not interested in giving their users any more flexibility with their phones than they absolutely have to.  It would simplify things for Apple, but VZW isn't interested, as evidenced by them totally dissing the N5.

    And we were totally blindsided a few years ago (2012) by the cost of Ting international roaming on CDMA, and that was all voice, not data.  I would not recommend it.  If you've got a GSM-capable phone and want to use it outside the US, you can put a local GSM SIM in it and the cost will be whatever you've chosen when you get the SIM.  Just make sure the phone NEVER tries to contact a CDMA network internationally if the service is available.  It won't cost you anything, but it will screw up delivery of texts and voicemails, and they may be lost to you even when you return.

     

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  • Actually, Ting's rates for roaming to Canada were part of the reason for choosing ting. They are *much* lower than Sprint's rates, for instance. I just use voice & text with Wi-Fi for data.

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  • Iris, you are correct about Verizon, but due to some of the LTE bands they use most of their LTE phones are unlocked (by law not the goodness of their hearts). The truly global phones like the iPhone, S5, etc that have SIM slots you can pop in an AT&T SIM even here. It is all dependent on the radios the phones have of course but I have read many reports of people moving a Verizon iPhone to AT&T with voice and HSPA+ I'm not for sure about LTE.

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  • Bruce - Ting's rates for Canada are reasonable, and somewhat for PR/Guam/US VI, but outgoing text for the latter will get you too.  Data isn't a great rate for either, but if you're controlling data usage anyway, you can avoid getting burned.  It's the 'all other countries' part that will get you (which applied to our daughter's trip in 2012), along with the international surcharge.

    Wesley - Yeah, they won't get another carrier's LTE on a phone that started out as a VZW phone.  The whole notion of an 'unlocked' CDMA phone confuses people into thinking they can move between VZW and Sprint, which is wrong.  The closest thing to that is taking a Sprint phone to PagePlus by flashing it.  This is only of interest to those who are ditching VZW for one reason or another and going to a GSM carrier - otherwise why pay VZW prices for a phone?

     

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  • Iris, agreed, but its a good out for someone who is on Verizon and wants to move to prepaid AT&T. The frustrating thing about the CDMA phones is that there is no reason they wouldn't work other than the carriers being jerks.

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  • Wesley - Yes, Cricket especially is working well for AT&T prepaid.  The CDMA carriers - well we're playing in a large, relatively geographically isolated sandbox here in the US, and since VZW and Sprint are the only players here, Verizon will just keep doing its own thing, so Sprint will rather have to as well.  It will be very interesting to see what happens with the Sprint/T-Mobile - er - not sure what to call that.

    If someone would come up with a service equivalent to Google Voice that handled MMS and did wifi calling, we would have some interesting choices.  (And please don't tell me how MMS is going away.  I've got a college-aged daughter.)

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  • Iris, I'm pulling for sprinT-Mobile but I would love to see Sprint shake things up and allow verizon phones on its network. I think if nothing else it could hack verizon off and that would be cool in my book. Would be so great for my wife's iPhone 5 to simply activate on Ting when she is finished with her contract with Verizon

     

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  • There's nothing technical to keep Sprint from doing it for any Verizon phone, except for the headache of managing the changeover for a raft of devices.  Kind of like BYOD on steroids.

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  • I really don't understand why they don't do that. Switch to Sprint bring your Verizon device.

     

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  • I am surprised that Sprint allows Ting to do as much as they do with BYOD. 

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  • Bruce I partly see that but again, considering Sprint's market position and the perception of the brand I see why they might do some crazy stuff. MVNOs provide them revenue without having to provide customer service that has to be a pretty good thing for them. I would think more subscribers over all would be more beneficial to them than selling devices. Of course when you sell them how they are sold from cell companies that may not be the case.

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  • I'm wondering if the roaming situation might improve after the T-Mobile merger goes through (assuming it does). I know CDMA and GSM are not compatible, but LTE networks are a different animal. I know we have yet to see an LTE-only device on any carrier, but that day is coming -- this fall according to Verizon -- and there's a good chance that within the next year or two we'll start seeing broader roaming options come to Ting, at least on LTE. Even without the merger, LTE-only roaming might become a real thing. I'd certainly be excited to see it; while I don't have any issues with Sprint's network in my area, when I visit family on either side of Atlanta it's a different story. 

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  • Morgan, you are correct. LTE coverage is still a bit lacking, however it would be very interesting in the future to have just LTE service as the Over the top Services (Skype, Vonage, other Instant messaging communications will just run on top of the data network and it would make these applications a reality to replace the voice networks.  

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  • Would I have an online portal to port numbers in and out and Am I able to pull DIDs from the portal?

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  • Kerene,

    I am confused as to how your question pertains to data roaming.

    Ting has an online portal for tracking usage, changing device settings, and porting numbers, if needed. Your Device Settings page is at https://ting.com/account/devices

    What do you mean by pulling DIDs from the portal? If you meant knowing what phone number is associated with which device, ys you can see that in the portal.

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