Are Usage Alert Text Messages "Free" or "Charged" to our balance?

I couldn't figure this one out, so I thought I'd ask the community...

If we set up usage alerts, are those alerts "Free" or are we charged for them?

That is, if I send/receive 0 texts in a month but have Usage Alert texts enabled, will I be charged $3 for Ting-sent alerts?

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23 comments
  • You'll be charged, unfortunately -- they count toward the bucket and show up as being from "by email" in the usage logs.

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  • That seems silly.

    Is there any way to check current usage on a phone WITHOUT using Data?

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  • Hi David,

    To check usage on your account, you can log onto your account at ting.com and the dashboard will show you your current usage!

    In terms of alerts, you can have an email sent to the address on your account if you don't wish to receive texts from us. To check these emails or your dashboard on your phone (without using data), connect your phone to the nearest WiFi hotspot to access the internet without using Sprint's data network!

    Menu > Settings > Wireless & Networks > WiFi Settings > Turn on WiFi

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  • David

    You can also use the unofficial Ting App  https://play.google.com/store/search?q=ting&c=apps

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  • There's no way to simply check usage/balance with a "short code", like with every other contract/prepaid/postpaid/etc. wireless company?

    Time for a feature request -- that seems ridiculous.

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  • Hi David, I can tell you that it's something that's been talked about quite recently, and if your keen on it, please go ahead and submit this as a feature request to give it greater visibility.

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  • You can set up for email alerts or install the unofficial Ting app if you don't want any texts.

    I guess I fail to see a real need for this unless you want to try to use absolutely no texts or data at all (which, unless you just have a feature phone which  tracks the minutes on the phone, totally defeats any rationale of spending the money to upgrade to a smart phone).  Merely setting up email on your phone will instantly put you into the first bucket of data no matter what, and alert emails are a drop in the ocean as far as data useage.  Plus there are a plethora of apps in the Play Store for tracking usage of minutes/texts/data.

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  • David never mentioned using a smartphone, at least in this thread. There are those of us who deliberately use feature phones you know :)

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  • I'm using multiple phones on a shared family account, and we'd like to be able to get SOME indication of usage.  We aren't going to be using any wireless data, and the text system doesn't seem very effective in as much as you can't check current account usage on the fly... and, quite frankly, it seems silly to get charged for usage alerts.  That is all!

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  • If you are anywhere near WiFi for any part of your day, you can easily use the Ting App for free if you have an Android phone.

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  • Well, yes, I can check it on the website if I'm near the internet.  However, that is of little use during much of the day.

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  • @David

    If you have a spending limit you should set up an alert that disables the phones when you get to your limit. Do your checking when you are in WIFI range to help you manage your call usage. Once you get more comfortable with your normal usage patterns it will be easier to pace yourself. 

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  • 1) I can't seem to set the alerts to do anything BUT send a text/e-mail. Is there an option I'm missing?

    2) I still think it's odd that there is no native way to check usage on the phone itself without using a "charged" service.  All other MVNO offer that functionality, and it would be nice if Ting would as well.

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  • David:

    1) The option to disable a service only applies to specific handsets when setting an alert. If you set an alert for the whole account then the only thing you can do is get the alerts. You also can't switch currently existing alerts from My Account to "David's Phone," for example, you'd have to create a new alert.

    2) We're working on an app for this.

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  • 1) Got it -- set up a new alert tied to a SPECIFIC phone. That was the key I'd been missing.

    2) Devil's advocate question -- what good would an app be?  Presumably that would still require either a data connection OR merely track usage on the local phone... right?

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  • The app scoops the data from your dashboard on the Ting website. Use it with a wifi connection and it shows you your current consumption.  https://play.google.com/store/search?q=ting&c=apps

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  • Zarthan, I know of that app and use it -- but, again, it isn't any good if you aren't near wifi and have data disabled.

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  • You will NOT ever get to the minute updates. If I remember, Sprint can be 24 hours behind. Start gaining some average usage patterns. Check when you can and are on wifi. Constantly checking for usage obviates the convenience of having the phone. 

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  • I'm confused why knowing and tracking usage would have any connection to a smart phone being at risk -- and, quite frankly, we joined Ting to save money, not because of the smart phone... that's just a nice bonus.

    Hopefully something will change in the future -- I say this as, again, OTHER Sprint MVNO do offer usage tracking/alerts/counts via short codes and/or automated call systems. It would appear within the power of Sprint to allow Ting to do so as well.

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  • Here are a couple of apps that will do what you want:

    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.jupiterapps.phoneusage&feature=search_result

    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=de.ub0r.de.android.callMeterNG&feature=search_result

    Takes data right from phone - no need for web access (except probably for adware updates).

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  • Certainly a no charge method to track usage a will be a convenience for many Ting users. Being able to check frequently is important for Sprint and most MVNOs because you can either get charged 30 to 40 cents per minute or you just can't make any more calls until you refill. I think Ting is a very different animal and while I do check occasionally, some months we use a little more and some a little less. It isn't a catastrophe if we use more minutes or texts since it isn't a huge leap in our bill.  

    Out of curiosity how often would you check for usage with your other carrier?

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  • I really never kept track of it -- but, again, this is the first time we've had multiple phones on one account, so it's a bit more of an issue now than it might have been before! Heh.

    I'm curious as to whether Sprint charges MVNO for this, or if there's some other aspect... it just seems odd that we can't check usage directly on the phone - especially if phone calls to Ting customer service are uncharged (as I was told).

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  • I would guess it is just that Ting doesn't have a mechanism for providing it. Since Ting allows you to turn off text messages how would you enable usage reports over SMS. Calling *4 on Sprint gets you to usage reports so that may be a possibility. Each thing Ting provides requires some interaction with Sprint's billing system. 

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