Revamping the Phone Bill

In an effort to reduce unnecessary expenses and waste in the monthly budget, I have spent the last month researching a plethora of wireless companies and their various plans. It seems at last a clear winner has finally risen to the top. After seriously considering the $25/mo AT&T Pre-paid plan (250 min + Unlimited Text), and then almost committing to PlatinumTel’s PayGo plan (2¢/text, 5¢/minute), I stumbled across the new, recently launched wireless company Ting Wireless.

Ting was created in February by one of the oldest businesses in the history of the internet: Tucows. Since 1993, Tucows has been one of the largest providers of domain name services for websites. Knowing this, the wariness I might have otherwise had for a recent start-up was lessened, and I began to research their service.

Technology bloggers and product reviewers on the internet have heralded Ting for their unmatched customer service, clear and simple interface, and for plans that charge for what you actually use each month. Ting has been referred to as: “The first honest wireless phone carrier”, “The cellular service with a conscience”, and “The new mobile phone service we’ve all been waiting for”. These people claimed that the calling Ting customer support hotline resulted in speaking immediately to a knowledgeable, friendly employee. No automated systems, no holds, no outsourced agents reading from a script. Also, they are an MVNO that operates on the extended Sprint network, meaning they have full access to the coverage of Sprint and Verizon combined. Yet, even before reading any of these reviews, I was sold after just 5 minutes of poking around their website.

Sanyo Vero – the only Ting-compatible non-smart phone

They have clear and to-the-point videos summing up their service and how it works. Also, the charts and graphs they have to track monthly usage looks really appealing to a number-crunching nerd like myself. Every question asked in the message forum was promptly answered by a staff member, something I can’t imagine being the case with one of “The Big 4” (AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint). The entire feel of the website is “We’re hip, easy to work with, and professional in every way”. The only two downsides I can see is a very limited selection of compatible phones (There is only ONE non-smartphone), and not-so-great pricing for heavy data usage. These two facts don’t really matter too much, as Rachel and I have always used simple flip phones and use zero MB of data every month.

In order to comparison shop, I had to go back through the last 12 months of bills to calculate our monthly average usage of minutes and texts. I then plugged these numbers into different plans to see what the monthly cost would be. Here’s how it breaks down with Ting with our combined monthly usage of 635 minutes and 835 texts:

500-1000 minutes = $18/mo

100-1000 texts = $5/mo

6$ fee per line = $12/mo

Total: $35/mo

Now, I spend a little more than two hours a month speaking with my mom. If I was to use google voice for these phone calls instead, that would drop us down to the 100-500 minute bracket for $9/mo. This would bring our total monthly cell phone bill to $26/mo. This is $38/mo cheaper than the $64 we’ve been transferring monthly to our parents to reimburse them for our portion of their “family plans”.

One potential deterrent is the high upfront fee when you combine $102 for two phones (After applying a $50 off discount code I found online) with a $35 per line activation fee. However, this one-time $172 fee pays for itself in 4.5 months with the $38/mo savings we will be receiving.

After hashing all this out, I only see positive results to come from making the switch to Ting. I’m going to go ahead and take the plunge by ordering the phones today!

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2 thoughts on “Revamping the Phone Bill

  1. Found your blog through No More Harvard Debt and just read your posts. Good luck to the two of you as you pay off your debt!

    I know where you’re coming from…. my husband and I are constantly looking for ways to save money or find deals on what we buy as we build our emergency fund. Our goal is to have that finished by the end of the summer, and then it’s time to start attacking the debt!

    Hope the blogging goes well…. I do some blogging about our financial plans, and I’ve found that it’s a good way to hold us accountable as we work to reach our goals. There are a lot of blogs out there with good ideas on how to save money, too!

    • Good luck on the emergency fund and attacking that debt!

      There really are a lot of helpful websites out there. The more your read, the more it helps open your eyes to your current situation.

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