Coverage/Local Number Issue

I live in Sioux City, Iowa, area code (712), zip code 51101.  I have had 4-5 cell phone lines here for the last 10+ years.  After several years with Sprint in Sioux City, I ported the numbers to Alltel for 2 years, then to Iwireless (Tmobile affiliate) for 2 years.  My commitment to Iwireless(Tmobile) runs out in the next month.  I am very excited about the idea of Ting as a reasonably priced alternative.  Before I bought a Ting phone, I emailed Ting to ask if I could port a local number because I noticed that during the device ordering process that it said Ting didn't have voice service in my area.   That didn't make any sense to me as I had Sprint wireless here for several years, and Ting's data coverage map shows 3G data coverage here.  I received a prompt email back that stated that there was only voice roaming locally, but there was 3g data and I could still activate phone and port my current numbers but I would need to do so over the phone rather than over the automated internet activation.  I ordered a refurb to test out the coverage and received it yesterday.  I called Ting and was initially told that I couldn't set up the phone as it wasn't in the Ting coverage area.  I explained that there is Sprint coverage locally, including 3g data, and that I was already told by Ting that I could activate here.  The rep was able to manually activate phone by setting it up in a different area code in a town about 60 miles away.   I asked if there was any way if I could get a local number and he said no.  He said that I wouldn't be able to get any data coverage and my phone would always be roaming.  After activation, I said that my phone showed that it was on the Sprint network and that it had the 3g data symbol that meant there was 3g data.  He said that was impossible and he was surprised that Ting would even let me set up the phone because it was in a roaming only area.  The Ting phone has had consistent 3g data and has had voice coverage solely on Sprint (I disabled roaming just to check). 

It's clear to me that Ting's coverage information is inconsistent with Sprint's voice footprint for this area.  Sprint has had wireless stores in this area for 10+ years, and likely wouldn't offer data coverage in an area that didn't have voice coverage.  I would still really like a local number in my area code as it is currently a long distance call from a land line to call my new Ting phone number.  If I port one of my current local cell phone numbers to Ting, would it be treated as a local number for land line purposes, or will it still be considered a long distance call from a land line?  I find this situation very ironic as the cell numbers I want to port originally came from Sprint cell phones in Sioux City.

 

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Comments

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  • Patrick,

    I am in a similar situation. I was a Sprint SERO customer. I notice that Ting's Terms of Service mention that they may bit be able go get local numbers in some areas. I have not received a good explanation for that. I recently had a need for a new local number on Ting. Since I had a phone from another Spring MVNO (Kajeet) I spent $5.50 to get a local number from them and then ported it to Ting.

    It is sad when Ting's direct competition can do things their system will not permit. I thought my issue was related to an area code change a few years ago. Now I am not sure.

    It is definitely extremely difficult to refer Ting to friends when you know Ting cannot provide local phone numbers. 

    In my experience,porting your local number would still be considered local for land lines. Ting just cannot provide a new local number. BTW, although Ting cannot provice a local number for me, data works fine. They told a coworker on Ting that he must be in some "special roaming area" that allows data.

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  • Thanks for the info Bruce.  You would think this issue could be resolved.  I found a voice coverage map for my area on Virgin Mobile site that I have posted below.  Since Virgin Mobile is a Sprint MVNO without any roaming, it's clear that there is voice coverage here.  I don't really mind if Ting can't provide a local number, provided I can port a local number that is actually considered a local number around here by landlines.  Does anyone else know if a ported local number to an fake service area in another state would still be considered local by landlines?  In other words, if I port my Sioux City cell number to my Ting phone that is set up in Tekamah, Nebraska, will Sioux City landlines continue to treat the ported number as a local call?

     

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  • Sprint coverage map for Sioux City:

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  • Ting data map for Sioux City:

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  • In June, I ported 2 local numbers to Ting, one from Sprint & one from Kajeet, another Sprint MVNO. We have not had any issues. Local land lines see the numbers as local even though the service address Ting used is in a different area code.

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  • Ting's terms of Service are at https://ting.com/terms

    Network Coverage

    Our service is only available in geographic areas covered by the digital service network footprint of the Nationwide Sprint Network, reaching over 276 million people. Local phone numbers may not be available in certain markets

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  • Thanks for commenting Bruce.  I will probably try just one of the lines to see how it goes before I port all of them over.  I do see, through trial and error that Ting accepts my area code about 90 miles south of me.  Should I first switch to a number there since its the same area code, or does that not really matter?

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  • In my case, Ting support just picked an address & zip code that was accepted by their system. They told me that since I was porting a number, the service address did not matter.

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  • I am also in a similar situation.  I use one of the other no-roaming MVNO's so I know there is coverage.  (It get 3G and 4G WiMax service here), but service addresses were not accepted.  I had to enter an address that was about 25 miles away).   As others have said, most likely the error is shown because there are no native numbers available to assign by Ting or there is some mismatch in their system. For any new devices I desire to be in the local calling area, I will need to go through another MVNO then port the number over it seems.

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  • Patrick, I'm happy you were able to get this resolved while talking with Mike on the phone the other day.

    This whole situation sounds rather strange.

    When it gets down to it, it's definitely possible that there could be Sprint coverage in an area that a phone number couldn't be assigned to. That isn't that odd, and I'm sure that some explanation of local coverage versus roaming cost/benefit analysis could be done.

    What I'm concerned about mostly is whether anyone is finding that there's a Sprint phone number that they are unable to port into Ting, as that shouldn't happen in any kind of normal case.

    If anyone is finding that they can't port a Sprint number to us, please let us know as they may be something we can resolve.

    In terms of how a ported number will be treated regarding long distance, it shouldn't change at all from what it was before.

    The account address would have no effect on long distance billing.

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  • Rob,
    Not being able to get a new local phone number severely affects our ability to recommend Ting to friends and family. It is strange that I can get a new local phone number from another Sprint MVNO, but I cannot get one from Ting.

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  • Rob-  I am glad to hear that it looks like I can port a number over without any change in the way that number is treated.  I plan on porting it over in a few weeks and I'll report back here about it.  However- as Bruce stated, it is a issue that obviously affects Ting's ability to attract new customers in any of these areas where there is native Sprint coverage but Ting can't provide local numbers.  Sprint has had a presence in Sioux City for many years now, including data coverage, that allows Virgin and Boost to offer local numbers.  I suspect that Ting's internal system regarding native coverage is not fully representative of Sprint's actual coverage.

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  • I am in an area where Ting couldn't provide a local number for a never-activated BYOD, and I really needed a local number. I bought a number from Kajeet through their BYOD program which Kajeet was unable to get working on an HTC phone, but I had a local number. I ported that local number to Ting in an area of only 3G and voice coverage, which was on the Ting and Sprint map but during activation said voice was not available.. Other Sprint phones have worked with all 6 bars. I waited for notification of activation and 24 hours to pass. I also turned off wifi, turned data on (but not 4G since it isn't availabe), data roaming off. Went through all the steps with Ting's very patient customer service to activate several times, still no luck - error code 67, but 6 bars on the phone throughout. I pulled the battery and SD card, did the steps again that Ting's customer service told me to do to manually activate, got error code 67 again, but still 6 bars on the phone. I ignored error code 67, went into settings and update, did a profile update, then PRL update, no message of anything happening but everything started working like magic except of course 4G, which I will activate when I am in a 4G area. Be patient, keep trying, maybe you'll have luck like I did. It took a week to get it all figured out and working from first contact, but well worth it to be with Ting and I am one thrilled Ting customer. Many thanks to Bruce Osborne for all the helpful information he's posted in the forum that helped get me going, and of course Ting's friendly, knowledgeable and never-give-up customer service. Ting's approach and customer service are the reason I switched from another provider with horrid customer service and much higher rates. Well done, Ting!

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  • L C,

    Thank you for the kind words. My philosophy is that if I think others can benefit from my experiences or problems, I am willing to give a little extra effort.

    I know Ting has known about these type of problems at least since June when I moved to Ting. At that time, I gave a support ticket a negative review and later mentioned this issue when I talked with some of Ting's management.

    This must either not be an issue to solve, or solving this issue would result in come compromise in Ting's current excellent service offerings. I know, for example, another Sprint MVNO that offers BYOD for Sprint devices with the warning that MMS will not work. Ting's current beta BYOD offerings are better than that!

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  • Count me among your fan club, Bruce. Thank you for making the extra effort and I have the same philosophy. I'm a happy beta BYOD user at last and Ting's support ticket review inbox has a kind mention of your help, too.

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  • Hey all,

    I'm looking into this a bit more with Sioux City as an example & the question being why can't we activate a new number assigned there, but we can port one in? And then why would Boost be able to activate with a number there and we can't?

    My guess at this point is that Sioux City is not technically the Sprint network and that they have an agreement with a roaming partner in that area that allows them to assign numbers, but that agreement doesn't travel down to us.

    Like I said though, I am looking into it more and hoping to come up with something more definitive that I can share with all of you.

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  • In my example, the numbers assigned by the Boost/VM MVNO's were created under "Sprint Spectrum, LP".  We also have numbers listed as "Nextel Communications, Inc" that were originally created for the iDEN network but Sprint mainly assigns these for sprint retail now.

    I could understand if these numbers were created under some third party company, but they were not (in our case), 

    As far as Sioux City, I see a Nextel Communications, Inc.  NXX in the 712 NPA designated as Sioux City

    I suppose it is possible that the carrier assigned numbers in an area and had a partner actually provide the service, it just does not make sense that no-roaming providers such as Virgin or Boost can offer service in these areas, let alone assign numbers.

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  • Rob,
    In my case, I moved from the Sprint SERO plan to Ting. No roaming involved. The very first time I called Ting support about this issue, I got an answer that made the most sense to me. The person said she looked in Sprint's backend and said she thought your system expected us to have an 804 area code, not 434. We changed area codes over 2 years ago.

    I just recently spent the extra money to get a local number from another Sprint MVNO (Kajeet) and port it to Ting since Ting is unable to get their system functioning properly.

    I have a spare Kajeet phone if you want to trace to figure out how your competitors can do what Ting cannot do. Just let me know. BTW, the latest number on my account went from Kajeet to Ting to a BYOD flip phone from Sprint.

    Thank you for looking into this, Rob, I have been unable to get anyone else to bother with this issue.

    It greatly affects our ability to recommend Ting to anybody in our area. I have coworker I recommended to Ting ho had to settle with a new non-local number due to this issue, so it is more than hypothetical.

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  • Rob-  As I originally noted, I can use Sprint on Ting with roaming turned off here in Sioux City.  In addition, both Virgin mobile and Boost work here and you get a local number.  I had Sprint here for many years with a local number provided by Sprint and there have been local Sprint stores here for 10+ years.  There is both native Sprint voice coverage and 3g service here, even though Ting's database only shows 3G coverage.  We have had the same area code 712 for decades.  The only thing I can think of that is different for this area was a situation that came up  around 2004-2005.   Sony had just come out with the T608 and Sprint made it available only by phone due to limited availability.  This was the first bluetooth phone that allowed tethering on Sprint.  I called in, having been a Sprint customer for several years, and was told that I couldn't order one from Sprint directly as I was a customer of a Sprint affiliate Swiftel.  I didn't know this because I never saw the name Swiftel on anything- it was all branded as Sprint and my bills came from "Sprint", etc.  I know there are still a few affiliates that Sprint hasn't bought out, notably Shentel and Swiftel.  Is it possible that the Ting phone sees Swiftel coverage as regular Sprint native voice coverage but the Ting database doesn't recognize it as native?

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  • Patrick, you hit the nail on the head with where my personal hypothesis is.

    I suppose I should have used the word affiliate rather than roaming partner, as I was thinking of a more privileged relationship than "roaming partner" alludes to.

    I'll get back to you all when I know more.

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  • I also notice when viewing the Sprint coverage map all of these mentioned show the lighter green "Sprint Coverage - Signal Strength Varies" instead of the darker green  "Sprint Coverage" when zooming in.  This may be code for affiliate networks such as those mentioned here.  (This differs from the "Roaming" color, obviously, but possibly Ting has used the data from the raw "Sprint Coverage" instead of Sprint  Coverage plus affiliates.)

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  • Rob,

    I just had another thought. Are those of us that cannot get local numbers in the same areas that cannot use an Airave? Perhaps there is a common reason here. I know Airave is not available in my area.

     

    You can check your area at http://www.sprint.com/landings/airave_eligibility/

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  • On the airave coverage map for Sioux City, Iowa, zipcode 51101 it says:

    "Great news! You will be able to use the AIRAVE Access Point in the areas displayed below. However, there is no coverage for the AIRAVE at this location yet."

    It then says at bottom of an all blue area that the blue signifies that airave is available in these areas.  I guess I don't really understand what that means since it looks like the blue signifies coverage. 

    One thing that is interesting is that my local data coverage all the way into South Dakota is through Swiftel and the Ting coverage map shows data coverage as well.  Apparently Ting's data coverage system includes the affiliate Swiftel as native Sprint data but Ting's voice coverage system doesn't recognize Swiftel except as roaming.  On the network itself, the phones see both voice and data as native Sprint.

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  • Has anyone tried to get a Google Voice number for your location? Either port that number to Ting or use any Ting number to point the GV number to. 

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  • It appears the explanation has to do with Swiftel as an affiliate, and how they fit into a kind of grey zone with us where they are both roaming and not roaming.

    Not roaming in that data works; roaming in that we can't assign a regional number.

    I may come back with more info about this later - such as if things change.

    Take care

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  • I wanted to update this thread after porting my local Sioux City number (Swiftel area) to Ting.  Port process went smoothly and the number is still treated as a local number for landlines purposes.  In other words, you don't need to use area code or pay long distance when calling from a local landline to the ported local number on Ting. 

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