Ting Cell Phone Service Review

When it comes to choosing a carrier to use with your smartphone, there are two main factors to consider: coverage and cost. Of course the choices will always include the “big four” in the US: AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile, but you probably get a pleasant surprise to know that carrier market has grown bigger beyond those obvious names. Going with Verizon or AT&T gives you great coverage, but the cost is probably too much for some users. The logical relevance grows stronger as Wi-Fi networks are widely available today. T-Mobile is another choice, but getting zero bars at office or home makes it plain useless. Beyond the big four, Ting is one of the preferred choices. In case you’ve never heard of it, this brief review can be good introduction.

Unlike major carriers, Ting is an MNVO or Mobile Virtual Network Operator. Ting rides on Sprint’s CDMA network but currently the service has expanded to GSM network as well. MNVOs tend to be cheaper because they don’t need maintenance overhead, invest in physical stores, or hire an army of retail employees. Even the advertising campaign is not as intensive as their non-virtual counterparts. As a result, consumers have to pay less for the services as well.

Sign up for Ting Here and get a $25 Credit

Cost

One of the benefits of Ting is there is no obligation to commit to a contract. It is not even a pre-paid service, but a pay-as-you-go. Considering that you don’t have to make a lot of phone calls and use mobile data very rarely because you have Wi-Fi at your disposal, you can reduce monthly bill substantially. You probably even use Wi-Fi to make voice calls now. Similar to any PAYG service, Ting allows you to pay only for what you use. The cost breaks down to the number of devices you use, minutes for calls, text messages you send, and Megabytes for data usage. Here is a table of Ting Mobile rates taken from the operator’s official website:

ting-review-prices

Let us say you use one phone, you make 300 minutes of phone calls every month, send 100 text messages, and only 1GB of mobile data, your monthly cost is $6 for the phone + $9 for the calls + $3 for the texts + $19 for data = a total of $37. Ting also gives an online dashboard and app for your account to see your current usage, bill, and basically access complete control of your account. It is probably the simplest billing system from all carriers in the US.

Swap Program

Choices for phone, unfortunately, rely on Sprint’s catalogue. The lineup consists of some popular devices indeed such as iPhones, Nexus 5, Galaxy S5, HTC One M8, and older or low-tier Android phones. There is only one Windows Phone listed on Ting’s website. However, all devices that run on Sprint network, including Blackberry-branded phones, are compatible with Ting. If you are interested in buying a new phone, Ting also has its own online shop that sells new and refurbished devices compatible with the network.

In case you have an incompatible device, Ting recently introduced swap program which allows you to switch carrier at no cost. What you do is to trade-in an incompatible phone for an equivalent Ting-ready one. It is also possible to trade-in your used device at Glyde; every purchase is integrated into Ting. Once you received the purchased device, it can be activated through simple BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) process at the operator’s website. BYOD service is basically a compatibility checker, so you can enter IMEI or MEID to see if it will work with Ting. You can use the tool to check any device purchased from any store as well.

Referral Program

On your account dashboard, you can access referral program with which Ting gives you $50 in credit for the first friend who joins the network, and you get $25 for every friend after that. Depending on your phone usage, one referral per month potentially covers your entire bill. Some of your friends may think that you’re only looking for the free credit, but Ting has another option to prevent that with charity program. The process is the same but your credit will be donated to charity.

Conclusion

Everything that Ting offers is intended to save you from spending too much for phone usage. The pay-as-you-go basis is efficient, while the swap program is smart to attract more potential consumers. The fact that it has now expanded to GSM service makes the operator more viable option. If there is any reason not to switch to Ting, it is the coverage. There is a coverage map tool available on the website to see if your area is included in the zone of service.

For those who don’t mind paying $80 or more for a month of phone usage, Ting is probably not the best option. It is more suitable for casual users who use their phones for simple calling, texting, and a little bit of Internet access on the go, it is perfect if you like to use wi-fi for your data. In such case, they will not need super-fast phones with a lot of megapixels and premium materials. If a decent Sprint phones does good job for your communication needs, you can spend $30 (or maybe less) a month with Ting.

Bottom line, Ting is off to a good start and its phone selection is getting more comprehensive with the added GSM service as well. Its official website is also good to look at, easy to navigate, and it contains tons of information you need to understand how it works or how much money you can save. Ting already has thousands of loyal fans, and switching carrier is probably a good move for you too.

>Sign up for Ting Here and get a $25 Credit

 


Fab.com Loses Almost a Billion

Fab.com is an all too common story about a startup that raised hundreds of millions, apparently $310 million as of November of 2014. It was rumored that it may sell and it did.

Fab.com Sold for $15 Million

According to re/code Fab officially sold for $15 million, partially cash and partially stock. You may be thinking, wow $15 million is not bad. But consider they raised over $300 million at a valuation around $1 Billion.

This is a story that happens more than you may realize as most venture funds do not publicize these types of losses. At the height of the company there were 750 employees. Just like stocks, it always appears going up takes time, coming down is swift.

Disneys Magic Bands Leap Frog Mobile Payments and Obsoletes Apple Pay

It is often said that the entertainment industry paves the way for new technologies. I was blown away by how the Disney Magic Bands worked on my recent trip to DisneyWorld.

I like, not love, the idea of making payments with my mobile phone much like the new Apple Pay. However I am not loving that idea as my phone will run out of battery or often does not work properly when I need it to. So the idea of mobile phone payments has not really seemed like the amazing alternative to my wallet as it is made out to be. You may not like my opinion however mobile payments have not taken off. Maybe Apple Pay will be different, only time will tell.

For me I look at it as the difference between my wallet or my phone, they are both the same size in my pocket so what do I care. A very crude comparison I admit, but that is how I see it.

However I just returned from Disney World and after using the Magic Band I came back wanting to use it every day. I also want my entire family to use it every day. I have no desire to use mobile phone payments. The soon to be released, in 2015, Apple watch still requires an iPhone. My wife has an iPhone so maybe that would work for her. I have a mobile phone, non Apple (Samsung), but I would not want to have to buy 3 more mobile phones for my 3 kids (at either around $1,500 for three phones or another $120 or so a month) just so they can use a mobile payment watch or just a type of mobile payment. Therefore the Disney Magic band is ideal for myself and family if they are the current cost of $12 each with no monthly fees, I want to use them all the time.

MagicBand at the Park

Okay here is what happened. I went to Disney with my family, five of us total. We happened to be staying at a Disney resort hotel. On check in I was expecting to be given a couple room keys which are of course credit card style keys. And I had also purchased passes for the parks which also resemble credit cards, one for each person. So having three kids I expected to be constantly worried about losing either a room key or more importantly a park pass.

disney magic bandsI had no idea what was about to happen when I checked in. The assistant handed me 5 arm bands that looked like sport watches without the time. My first thought was “great .. more things for me to loose, thanks a bunch”, then he explained how they worked.

He starts, “you put this on your wrist and swipe it against your door and it works as your room key“. So now everyone in my family wears the band and has a room key, they strap very tightly and comfortably to the wrist so my kids will not lose them. Wow I am sold, coolest thing ever, but that was only the beginning.

Then he says, “download the Disney app on your phone and you can quickly associate your park passes with the watches“. My mind was blown. I was able to take each park pass and scan it and assign it to a watch and then hand it to a kid, each one took 10 seconds tops. Now each child, my wife and I, have a plastic band on our wrist. We do not have room keys to lose and we no longer have park passes to lose. Amazing, this could not get any better. But wait there’s more.

“Now we can also associate the bands to your credit card on file and you can enter a 4 digit pin code now for security”. Why in the world would I want that? “Because you can use it to purchase anything, anywhere, at any time and no longer need your wallet here are the Disney parks [dummy]“. (in his defense he did not say ‘dummy‘, he was thinking it I am sure, but he did not say it). Again, mind blown. I entered my four digit pin. I am now officially a super hero. On my wrist is access to my room, access to the parks, and throughout the week I was able to purchase all our food, meals, merchandise, whatever I wanted with my arm band.

use magic bandBetter yet my kids were able to use the bands as well since I shared the code with them. Everywhere we went there was a simple round device, much like a credit card processing machine that you would swipe the arm band against and enter your pin and done, you have paid.

Not only are the Magic Bands convenient but for those of you like me, who are constantly checking my pockets and wallet to make sure I have not forgotten anything, I had an incredible piece of mind as I only had to glance at my wrist to know that I had my room key, park passes, credit cards, cash, wallet, everything I needed. It made my park experience that much more enjoyable.

It was amazing but there was even more to it than that. With the Disney application on my phone I was able to obtain Fast passes for each of us. Instead of having to obtain a Fast pass at a kiosk at a Disney park I could do it in our room before we even entered the park. Not only that but I could obtain fast passes for each of us, different ones for different people and it associated them to the Magic Band. In the past we would obtain passes at a kiosk after standing in line, only to inevitably have someone lose their pass or two. But not anymore, you walk up to the Fast pass line and swipe your Magic Band and you are in. Unbelievable. So convenient.

Magic Band is Magic Indeed

How does it work?

From the Disney site “The MagicBand uses radio frequency (RF) technology to connect guests to their plans and entitlements safely and securely. Guests simply touch their band to touch points in places such as resort room doors, theme park and water park entrances, FastPass+ entrances and cast mobile devices. Purchases require a four-digit PIN. MagicBands do not use GPS technology. Guests’ personal data is not stored in the MagicBand. MagicBands and RF-enabled cards contain only a randomly assigned code that securely links to an encrypted database and associates the guest’s MagicBand or ticket with the experiences they’ve selected.

Mickey Mouse or Big Data and Cutting Edge Technology Company

mickeyAlright, now I have a totally different view of Disney. Disney the company (NYSE:DIS) could be considered as much a Technology company as an entertainment company. Consider how much “big data” Disney now collects. Consider their latest Magic Band and the impact it will have on mobile payments. The Magic Band was introduced into full production in early 2014 and the Apple watch is not due until sometime in 2015 and the Apple watch is tied to the iPhone. So the Mickey Mouse company beat Apple to the punch? WOW.

And get this, Disney has applied for or been granted more than ten patents on the MagicBand. Ba dump bah. Boom. Licensing revenue IBM style. You go Disney.


Create a Corporate Presence for $12

It used to be a lot harder to setup your own domain, website and email. It was particularly more difficult to create what I would deem corporate email. Being able to synchronize contacts and calendars with coworkers and have email addresses at the same domain used to require dedicated servers and dedicated IT personnel. Of course I am old and that was a while ago. However that is what I like best about this product, the eMail. With most web hosting companies you can quickly setup email addresses. But the contacts and calendar functionality that GoDaddy offers using the Microsoft 365 solution allows you to have the same capabilities of larger businesses at an incredibly low price.

You can get the deal here at GoDaddy.

three-products

Amazon Brick and Mortar

It has been reported that Amazon is opening it’s first brick and mortar store. That is somewhat true. According to CNBC it will start as more of a warehouse. The idea is to be able to provide same day delivery within New York city.

amazon store

The store front will also serve to market Amazon’s brand. Another function will be to provide returns and exchanges for customers without having to ship the item back. Over time it was said that they may begin showcasing and selling Amazon products such as the Kindle table, Fire TV and Fire Phone.

We shall see over time if Amazon’s brick and mortar stores show up in a city near you, or even suburbia.