If your reading this then you might be like me, searching for the right phone service. I’ve looked into many services for different needs, from T-Mobile prepaid to Freedom Pop (If you haven’t heard about Freedom Pop, I will add my thoughts on them below).
I know this post is kinda long but this is what you can learn:
- About the new Ting GSM service.
- Compare CDMA, GSM ting service and how they compare to T-Mobile and AT&T.
- How smartly using apps with your phone can save you money
- What settings to change to save you money and save your data usage
WHY I DECIDED TO SWITCH
I recently switched my parents phones to Ting after they had car problem. They had a tire blow out on the freeway. One of the phones was on a T-Mobile prepaid plan. The issue with prepaid is the credit ran out and when your trying to get help on the side of the road you don’t want to be dealing with reloading your phone. Especially when you can’t drive to the nearest store.
The second phone was on Freedom Pop. It worked but call quality was not good but it did get the job done. What I realized is if they had an iPhone and on a reliable data connection it would have greatly helped to locate where they were.
This is where Ting comes in. After looking through different options I decided to get them both on the Ting network.
My mom already had a Sprint iPhone that she used as an iPod and we never connected it because Sprint is expensive and the service in our area sucks. I’ve had several friends that had Sprint and its not the coverage that is bad its the service. Slow internet connection, its not slow its more like it crawls or unusable.
You might be saying, but doesn’t Ting work on the Sprint network as a MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator)? Yes it does but let me explain why I did the switch.
WHATS NEW WITH TING
Recently Ting added support for newer iPhone’s that includes the iPhone 5C my mom has. Ting also added the option for GSM using the T-Mobile network.
Now I can’t add my mom’s iPhone 5C phone on the GSM side because Sprint refused to unlock the iPhone, even though it meets all requirements and is required by the FCC, but that is another story.
I decided to try it anyway on the CDMA side of Ting and purchase an unlocked iPhone for my dad. So I purchased a Ting GSM SIM X1 card for $9 on the Ting website. Within two days it arrived.
Activating the phones was easy. I was able to activate the Sprint iPhone 5C right away since all I had to do is enter the IMEI number and within a few minutes it was active.
I didn’t port the numbers since we use Google Voice numbers. A new number wasn’t an issue since it is not given to anyone.
When I received the Ting SIM card I logged in entered the SIM card number and was able to activate it quickly and with ease. The only thing that was different from the CDMA phone and the GSM was that I needed to update the Cellular setting on the GSM phone so SMS and MMS worked correctly. It was simple to do since Ting gave me easy step by step direction during the activation.
CDMA Sprint iPhone 5C: After activating I made a few calls and that worked flawlessly. Just what you would expect, clean and clear sound. Big step up from Freedom Pop. On the DATA side it was a different story. I tried running a speed test and it wouldn’t even run. Since I had a weak signal I decided to try it again at a new location once the GSM phone was setup.
GSM Unlocked iPhone 5C: Call quality was clean and clear. Even though it runs on the T-Mobile network the iPhone shows it is on the Ting network (unlike the Sprint iPhone). At a new location I did a speed test on both phones.
DATA SPEED TEST RESULTS
The CDMA Sprint phone showed a slow ping at 314ms and download and unload speeds didn’t even reach 1Mbps.
The GSM phone had a faster Ping at 85ms and 8Mbps download and 8Mbps upload. Even faster then tests I have done on the at&t network from the same location.
Since I had a T-Mobile phone on an unlimited plan I tested it to compare. It blew them out of the water with a Ping at 36ms and 39Mbps download and 12Mbps upload. I always recommend T-Mobile to friends. In Southern California you get good coverage and fast data for less then what you would with at&t or Verizon.
My recommendation would be if you are looking for a low price alternative with no contracts I recommend signing up with Ting but get yourself an unlocked GSM phone and order the SIM card from Ting.
For now I will stay with both CDMA and GSM services since my parents priority is phone service not data. If they need to use the phone for GPS directions then they can use the GSM phone.
HOW TO SAVE EXTRA MONEY
To save money I have limited the apps that have access to cellular service. Many apps access data in the background to update themselves or for example the Mail app to check for new messages.
How to limit your data usage on an iPhone? Go to Settings>Cellular>Use Cellular Data for: Then just adjust by turning all the apps that are not important when away from Wifi. Remember you can always turn on an app if you need to us it when on Cellular data.
These are the apps I’m allowing, just so you get an idea: FaceTime, Kevo, Maps, Safari and Vonage. You can’t toggle Messages so I assume that as long as Cellular Data is on you can receive Messages and iMessages. Since everyone in the family uses an iPhone I did turn of text messaging on the Ting dashboard. This still allows iMessages and if I need to receive a text message, say for an app to verify my phone number it is very easy to turn on and off.
Have you ever used Vonage? It’s a great app and I always recommend it, here is why. You can save money! If you are on Ting you pay for what you use, so find ways not to use Ting. When ever possible connect to wifi! At a cafe? Connect to wifi! At home? Connect to wifi! Do you text a lot? Don’t use SMS, use iMessages or another messaging app like WhatsApp.
Save your minutes by using Vonage. Vonage allows you to set it up with your cell phone number. Calls are free to any US phone. This is better then using other apps like WhatsApp, Facebook messenger, Viber, Skype or even FaceTime to call other users because it restricts you to calling only other users that have the same service.
With Vonage you can call any USA number, mobile or landline as long as you are connected to data (wifi or cellular). That means if you travel outside the USA you can connect to wifi and call home for free. You don’t have to be an international traveler to save. By making all your outgoing calls from Vonage you can save your minutes, reducing your Ting bill. Since Vonage uses your cell phone number for Caller ID the people you call won’t know you are calling from Vonage. If they miss your call and call back it goes right back to your phone.
Ting has no contract but if you sign up with this link you also get $25 credit. This allows you to try it basically for free on your first month. If you don’t like it then move on to something else.
*My thoughts on Freedom Pop
A few years ago I purchased a phone from Freedom Pop for my dad. He only needed a phone for emergencies and he was currently using a pre-paid flip phone. I also wasn’t sure if he would like a smart phone so I though it was perfect. Freedom Pop had a sale so I only had to purchase the phone and service would be free.
He didn’t have to keep adding minutes to his phone because they would expire and I have never liked the idea that his phone can die because it has run out of minutes. What if he is in a situation where he needs to contact someone but can’t add minutes. Freedom Pop eliminated this concern of mine.
The amount of minutes and data included in the free Freedom Pop plan was sufficient for my dads needs.
It runs on the Sprint network so data is slow. Don’t plan on surfing the web unless its necessary. Phone service goes over data using VOIP. That is where the issue is, because data is slow the voice VOIP service has bad audio quality. You can make and receive calls but you want to hang up ASAP because the audio is so bad. I thought with time it would improve but it never did.
I would recommend it for someone that really just needs it for an emergency.
I’m switching my father to Ting because after giving him an iPad I now know he can get use out of a smartphone. It also helps to have better call quality and being able to see their location can come in handy.
Freedom Pop also has Mifi devices. I have one and the data service seams to be a little better then the phone. I’ve used it to connect wifi devices on long road trips. The passengers never complained about the speed. It was actually very useful. So I always keep it around, especially since it is free.
Talking about free, have you ever used Uber or Lyft? You never know when you will need a ride. Why not get it free. It has come in very handy for me when I service my car or go out for drinks.
Like one driver said “You drink. We Drive. No one pays.” Use the following links to setup your account and get $20 – $30 credit for your first ride.
Sign up for Uber with promo code UPN1T