Why I'm considering leaving Ting...

First, let me say that this is not Ting's fault... but want to get the community's feedback on my position/considerations...

So I signed up for Ting in September, bought a G3 (and a feature phone for my parents), and was off to the races.

I checked my account online regularly, and set up alerts to inform me when data or voice or messages went above certain thresholds... all fine and good.  Even installed tasker to keep the device from syncing over cellular data and only do it over WiFi.

Then in November, I saw that on one day I had data usage - which typically runs in the 6-8 Mb range - had a 300+Mb day... I racked my brain, but could not determine that I had done anything differently than usual... I called Ting and they were unable to help me with why the usage had been so high. I checked the data usage as measured by the device itself and it showed much lower usage and no apps which seemed to be the culprit.  Ting CS graciously credited me down a notch on the plans by giving me a $10 credit.  I figured, "OK, one little bump in the road... no problem."  

Then I noticed my behavior started changing... I waited until I got into wifi to check things like email and fb.  I didn't stream any videos or other things that I was concerned would 'eat' into my bucket of data.  Things I would not have worried about with an unlimited plan (even a throttled one).

And then this past weekend, I made a big boo-boo.  I accidentally uploaded 2.7Gb of photos to Picasa from my device... well, accidentally isn't the right word... but I didn't think about it right away... when I did a minute later, I tried to cancel the upload - obviously I failed.  To make matters worse, I think I actually uploaded 2x because it didn't seem to start the first time I tried.  

So now I am hit with a fairly substantial data bill this month.  And I find myself 'scared' to do things on my sexy new S3.  

So I'm weighing the longer-term pluses and minuses w/respect to staying with Ting.  On the one hand, my bill even this month is likely to be only on par with my previous unlimited plan.  And this is 'probably' a relatively rare occurrence with me.  On the other hand, I truly 'hate' the thought that one little button press (or 2 if i actually did it twice) cost me ~$60 in data charges. And it could happen again, i,e, if my 4 year old figures out my unlock code and spends an hour on YT or something like that.

I'll stress again... none of this is Ting's fault.  I bought into the idea of a 'measured rate' data plan, after all.  But for me, having to think about using the device before I actually use it, combined with the capability of a single action generating massive usage (something that's unlikely to happen with voice calls...) makes me question whether or not I should stay.  'Unlimited' is more powerful a word than I previously thought :).

So that's my story and my situation.  

Thanks,

Frank

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Comments

78 comments
  • Ah, yes, alerts have come a long way.  The multi-hour delay sometimes is a thing, but I suppose I think there are two slightly different situations, such that I don't think that's very relevant.  I would worry about background data, because you don't know it is happening, so I would want some alerts to keep track of that, but background data is a little at a time, spaced out somewhat.  When someone is actively using applications and consuming multiple gigs of data in one sitting, he or she is intentionally using a lot of data, so why would you need alerts to interrupt you to let you know you are doing something, when you're purposefully actively doing it?

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  • Normally, you don't, but the entire point of OP's post was to have a way to stop accidental data usage: "I accidentally uploaded 2.7Gb of photos to Picasa from my device..." He did mention that accident wasn't the correct word, but the original post was trying to find ways to avoid doing it in the future to continue using the savings of Ting. The only real way to do THAT is to make sure app settings were to only ever sync over wifi; but as I pointed out in a previous post, that isn't set by default. Alerts were mentioned as a fail safe for normal usage patterns after those settings were properly configured.

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  • I'm new to Ting. Haven't needed alerts yet but I did set one thinking that they act immediately when it hits the megabytes you set. Fortunately my hotspot, the Netgear Zing, tells me the exact megabytes used per billing period. So I guess I shouldn't depend on alerts to stop going over the bucket limit?

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  • Konstantin, Using alerts is always a good idea. Using ONLY alerts and depending on solely them to cut out or notify you is probably not a good idea. There is a slight delay, but in typical usage, it shouldn't matter too much that there is a delay at all. Most users won't even notice that they used an app 2 hours ago and only just seeing that update.

    Ways around it on your phone is to do any big syncing over wifi only, use your device data tracker to track data and set maximums there, or toggling your data on and off yourself. I do a combination of all of the above and tend to not use more than ~50MB a month for two smartphones because we are often on wifi.

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  • Wow, such an old thread.

    I can relate to the OP (heck I might have even typed a response in here before.  But remember its about saving money.  Sure, there is some anxiety (and easy ways to avoid it too) about having to monitor your usage.  But its just a cell phone.  Paying more so your not worried about data usage is like buying an all-you-can-eat buffet when you just want a $1.99 cup of soup.  Sure, you could be worried you might be hungry after that cup of soup, but would you still pay 2, or 3 (or in our case 5) times more than the cup of soup cost just to not worry about it?

     

    Surprisingly I just had this very discussion with my wife tonight.  In the end if we go over our 100Mb it adds a significant amount to our bill, over 30% more.  But the argument isn't if the additional $10 is going to hurt us, its how bad would we be off if we were still paying that $140 to not worry about this?

     

    I'm more than happy with ting, heck 'more' doesn't cut it.  I have also introduced a few folks to ting as well, and even though their bill fluctuates a bit, they are still getting more phone, more usage, more everything for 1/2 as much money and are happy as a clam.

     

    Its just a phone, don't let it define your life.  Use it when you want, your still going to be saving money in the long haul.

     

    All you can eat when all you need is a cup of soup?  You wouldn't do it there, why do it for this?

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  • I found myself in that same dilemma as well. After I read this post I totally understood. I did buy into the idea, but there's no leeway for the moments when you're not within wifi zone or making calls to 1800 numbers who's goal in life seem to be have you on hold. I love the idea of ting but it might not actually be all that practical now that so many contract phone companies are lowering the prices and still giving unlimited everything for the what if months.

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  • @Martine: I think you should leave Ting. It is not for everyone. 

    It is kind of like shopping with coupons. If you enjoy clipping coupons and putting in the extra effort to use the coupons at store, you can save a lot of money.  

    Like a lot of Ting customers, we are saving so much more money using Ting over Sprint. We have 7 phones on our plan and we have only gone over $100 once in 1.5 years. With Sprint, we had a $200+ bill every month with only 5 phones. To stay under $100, we have to watch our data usage and I have hard alerts set at the 1025 MB data limit.  I also have to download podcast to my phone when I have wifi and there has been a time or 2 when we have gone to McDonalds when we travel to other towns to use their wifi to find a hotel. 

    But in the end, it's worth it us. Trying to stay under $100/month has become a game for us. But is sounds like you are not happy, so I think you should just go somewhere else, pay more, and not worry about limits.

    Ting isn't right for everyone....and  I don't think it should try to be right for everyone.

     

     

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  • I became a Ting customer because they are one of very few MVNOs that allows tethering and hot-spotting without trying to charge extra for it. In my opinion, I already paid for the data, so I should be able to use it in any manner that I choose - and Ting agrees with me. I will admit that if you regularly use extremely large amounts of data then you may not save money with Ting - the data costs become untenable once you pass beyond the final bucket. In my experience, I almost never use that much.

    The greatest praise I would have to give Ting is for their customer service - its easily the best I have ever experienced from any data or telephone service provider. My last mobile provider (Virgin Mobile) was so bad that calling them for anything was an event that I dreaded. The call quality on their support line is so bad that it sounded like trying to converse with someone in a crowded steel shipping container with whom you may or may not share a common language. I really enjoy being a Ting customer because it's refreshing to pay for only what I use at a fair price without "promotional rates", "grandfathered plans", "unlimited-with-an-asterisk plans", "unpublished discounts", or any of that other baloney.

    My only gripe with Ting isn't actually directed at Ting at all - it's the Sprint network. Compared to the other major networks, the coverage where I live and work (Maine) is typically very poor if you aren't in one of the larger cities or college campuses.

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  • I have been with Ting for a little over 2 years and currently have 4 lines. I am moving some of my lines away from Ting because of Sprint's network.

    Actually, Sprint decided to not build their network in our area, but partnered with a small regional carrier. That means we are stuck with the poor coverage and sprint;s network expansion plans are meaningless to me.

    The last straw was an Apple iPhone 5 purchased directly from Apple. It is the model "supported" bu Ting but cannot be used on Ting's network because Sprint will not recognize the phone Ting's excuse was that it was not a "Sprint branded" iPhone. When I mentioned that all iPhones are Apple branded and none are Sprint branded, they just repeated their false statement.

    Perhaps 98% of wireless users could save with Ting, but functionality is more important than saving money.  Now that Ting has proven their business model, they need to expand that to a network that has good coverage for the majority of US users.

     

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  • @Martine  have you looked into wifi calling using a Google Voice number.  I would guess that most of the time that you are calling those 1800 numbers you are either at home or at your place of work and have access to wifi or could have access if you needed it.  In just the last couple of months Hangouts has been updated so that you can make calls from a google voice number that you can get for free.  I have used it and it should be good enough to get you through the majority of 1800 calls.  Ting is also a company that seems to be tailored to low usage customers.  If you are high usage then you are better off with some of the other MVNO's that offer unlimited plans. 

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  • You do not need a Google Voice number to use Hangouts Dialer. If you do not have a GV number, they cannot use Caller ID to get a number call you back.

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  • I find the OP's position, in greater context, rather troubling.  Perhaps Ting could look at placing more emphasis on the 'control panel' and educating people to how the caps work.

    But then again, Ting is a service that requires some preliminary usage thought and device understanding by the customer before jumping in. 

    The Ting app is an absolute must but you do have to pay attention to it.

    And RTM comes to mind...

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  • I've gotten quite a few friends and customers to move over to Ting, and have found the one, most simple, piece of advice, is to just show them how to simply disable their cellular data.  Most people simply don't care about being connected 24/7, believe it or not.  They like the smartphone features and are happy to wait until in a WiFi area to use some of them.  Remember - you're not supposed to be reading your email and watching youtube videos while you're driving anyway!!  :)   Personally, I just leave my data off permanently - in fact I even have it blocked on my device in the Ting control panel.

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  • Yeah, but when these are missed or duplicated text messages & voice reception issues, it is time to consider better alternatives.

    Low price is no good if the service fails to perform as needed or expected.

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  • Missed calls, missed messages and duplicated messages - not to mention coverage/service area issues  in general - are problems that afflict ALL carriers.

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  • I work within 1 mile of my home but I still use more then 100mb a month easily.  Heck I went over 100mb in the last week just by trying to get lte working properly on my s3.   That being said most months are less then the price of tmobiles $30 plan and sprint phones are usually cheaper than tmobile phones.  That being said I don't text at all and if i do i have google voice.  That being said 5gb of data for seems tempting and it's about the price of netflix a month extra. 

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  • Rocky, Would you explain how to  use a screen widget to turn  mobile data on and off?   Ting does not send out any information with Moto E 2nd Generation.  Also, when I turn off data in the settings, the phone screws up.  

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  • Hey, Marla, I’m not on the Ting forum much anymore, so I’m really glad they emailed me when you added this comment to the thread.

     In older versions of Android, we used to be able to install third party apps from the Google Play store that could be a one-touch toggle for mobile data on/off.  But a couple of versions ago in Android, they blocked that, because apparently they thought it was a bit of a security issue to let outside apps mess with that or something.  So the best we have is that from Android itself, you can have one touch to get right to the mobile data settings screen, so then you can flip the mobile data on and off.  It’s a little quicker than having to go to the top of the screen, swipe down, go to settings, etc.

     Here’s how to add a screen widget for mobile data on Android:

    (1) Find an empty spot on a home screen, press your finger and hold for a second until the window pops up.  Mine shows three buttons at the bottom: “Wallpapers”, “Widgets”, and “Home screen settings”.  Touch “Widgets”.

     (2) There will be several pages of types of widgets you can place on your screen.  Look through them until you find one that says “Settings” and touch that.

     (3) That popped up one more little window that had two options, “Flashlight” or “Settings Shortcut”.  Settings Shortcut is the one you want.  At this point, you get to drag that settings icon up to where you want to place it on your screen.

     (4) When you let go to drop it on your home screen, then it will pop up a list of the all of the types of settings screens that you can make that shortcut point to.  Touch the one that says “Data Usage”.  And that’s it!  That button on your desktop will bring up that settings screen for you to check or uncheck that box for mobile data.

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