Tag: Android

Ting vs. Verizon – Ting Saved Me $138

In December, my Ting cellular bill was very low considering I have 4 phones.  Here is how my bill broke down:

Ting Actual Bill (Nov 13 – Dec 12)

Combined Minutes   (medium):  $ 9.00
Combined Messages  (medium):  $ 5.00
Combined Megabytes (medium):  $ 3.00
4 Phone Devices:              $24.00
Usage Total:                  $41.00
Taxes and Fees:               $ 3.91
Total:                        $44.91

Verizon Hypothetical Bill

Android Device 1:             $ 45.00
Android Device 2:             $ 45.00
Android Device 3:             $ 45.00
Android Device 4:             $ 45.00
Usage Total:                  $180.00
Taxes and Fees:               $  3.91
Total:                        $183.91

Ting Saved Me $138 that month!

If my four android devices were on Verizon’s $45 ALLSET plans instead of Ting it would have cost me at least $180.  I suspect that I have underestimated the taxes on the Verizon accounts but I’m not sure.  I would have been able to use more minutes and more data and more text messages on Verizon but I didn’t.  Our actual usage was pretty  low because we are always on wifi as a family and we don’t talk on our cell phones that much.

How Did That Happen?

As I have explained in previous posts, we are heavy wifi users.  Our kids are young so their phones are mostly for emergencies or occasionally when they go over a friend’s house.  The kids use almost no minutes, messages or megabytes but both of their phones are active.  My wife is home on wifi a lot but she does text a lot.  She also uses her cell phone from time to time.   I’m home all the time so I use wifi for most things including voip calls over wifi.  I do text a lot – usually with my wife so that counts as 2 texts (me sending and her receiving).   We fit the perfect profile for a Ting user who saves a ton of money on cell usage.  We text plenty, don’t talk that much and don’t use much data (since we’re always on wifi).

Does That Mean That Verizon is A Bad Service?

No.  Verizon is a good service (so I’ve heard).  They have a ton of coverage and for some people it is probably a better choice than Ting.  If you use a lot of data or you talk on the phone a lot then it might save you money compared to Ting.  The other upside to Verizon is that their coverage map covers almost everything in America.  If you travel around for work, Verizon might be a better choice.  Heavy talkers should consider Verizon too.  Since my family doesn’t use much data or talk that much, we are better off with Ting.

Sign Up for Ting And Get a $25 Credit (I’ll get a $25 Credit Too)

If you find my blog posts about Ting helpful and are considering signing up for Ting, please consider using this link. If you use this link to sign up, we will both get a $25 credit in our Ting accounts (thanks!) https://zejffn1eh54.ting.com/


Ting vs. Virgin Mobile

I recently switched to Ting from Virgin Mobile.  I have already blogged a couple times about the switch.  In one post I talked about why Ting is better than Virgin Mobile and in the other post I talked about why I made the switch.  In this post I want to compare Ting vs. Virgin Mobile for different types of users.

Always On Wifi – Advantage Ting

If you are like me and always on wifi then Ting is for you.  Ting’s voice minutes are cheap enough and their text minutes are cheaper.  If you use a lot of data Ting can get expensive.  I myself am always on wifi so my actual mobile data usage is minimal.  There are lots of days when I use no data at all because I was at home all day and on my wifi.  Because I’m on wifi so much, I also minimize my mobile minutes by using a voip app like Magicjack’s app or SparePhone or GrooVeIP.

Always On The Road – Advantage Virgin Mobile

If you are on the road a lot and not connected to wifi then Virgin Mobile is for you.  They offer unlimited data plans which only throttle your data speed when you cross 2GB.  Heaving mobile data users should not switch to Ting.  Ting will get very expensive fast for heavy mobile data users.

Sir Talks A Lot – Slight Advantage Virgin Mobile

If you talk a lot then the unlimited voice plan with Virgin Mobile might be for you.  For $55 per month you can have unlimited talk time on Virgin Mobile.  If you talk 3000 minutes a month, on Ting it would cost you $52 for just the voice minutes (not counting service, mobile data or text messages).  So, it really depends on what you consider a lot of talk minutes.  If you consider 1000 minutes a lot, then Ting could still be for you.  If you talk more than 1000 minutes on a single phone plan, then you should look at Virgin Mobile.  If you talk have multiple devices then the lines start to get fuzzy.  One heavy talker in a family of four might still come out ahead on Ting.

Family Plan – Advantage Ting

Virgin mobile does not offer any discounts for multiple devices.  Ting only charges $6 per device and all devices contribute to the overall voice minutes, data usage and texting charges.  Since neither provider offers any discount for texting or calling between family members, that doesn’t come into play.  Ting is a better choice for families unless you have a couple heavy mobile data users or a couple heavy talkers.

Texty Texterson – Slight Advantage Ting

Ting does charge you for each text message but the rates are pretty low.   Unless you are texting many thousands of times a month, Ting probably still makes sense.  Virgin Mobile will offer unlimited texting for $35/mo.  On Ting you could send 4000 texts, medium data usage and flip flop between 100 and 500 voice minutes for the same price.  On a family plan it tilts more towards Ting as well.

If you find my blog posts about Ting helpful and are considering signing up for Ting, please consider using this link.  If you use this link to sign up, we will both get a $25 credit in our Ting accounts (thanks!)  https://zejffn1eh54.ting.com/

Switched from Virgin Mobile to Ting

I just switched (3 days ago) to Ting from Virgin Mobile.   Ting is another mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) on the Sprint network similar to Virgin Mobile and Boost.  I made the move for a few reasons:

  • I think I can have 4 phones with Ting for the very close to same price I was paying for 2 phones with Virgin Mobile
  • Ting pools minutes, text messages and data which has the potential to save us money
  • Ting appears to save the most when you don’t use your devices that much for 3g or calling
  • We use little data because I’m always at home on wifi.  The kids *should* use little data because they are in school without their phones and on wifi most of the time.  My wife uses little data because when she is at school or work she can’t really use her phone very much.
  • We use few minutes.  My wife and I both had the 300 minutes plan on Virgin Mobile.  I would use close to that but she would use less than half of her minutes every month.
  • We don’t send that many text messages and text messages on Ting are pretty cheap anyway

The things so far that I like

  • I got a $25 credit for signing up.  If you use this link to create your account with Ting, you will get a $25 credit (and so will I)
  • Porting my number was super easy
  • Setting up my Sprint BYOD devices that I bought on ebay was easy
  • Picture messages seems to work after getting it setup (I always had problems on Virgin Mobile)
  • Customer services is crazy good.  They answer the phone without a menu system.  They speak English well and are actually very helpful
  • The app and the website are great for monitoring your usage and setting alerts per device and for the whole family to prevent your from using too many minutes, txt or data

Things I don’t like so far

  • Texting my wife now costs me 2 texts – one for me sending a text and one for her receiving a text.  They don’t remove the charge when you text someone on your plan, which means it costs the most to text the people you are paying for (your family).
  • Calling my wife is the same way.  It costs me minutes and it costs her minutes so that can add up fast.
  • I had to get new devices.  I don’t think this is Ting’s fault but it still stinks.  It would have been nice if my Virgin Mobile phones (which work on the same Sprint network) had been able to make the move to Ting.  I had Virgin Mobile LG Optimus Elite phones and could NOT take them to Ting.  I ended up buying 4 of the Sprint LG Optimus Elite phones to make the switch and selling my Virgin Mobile devices.  Luckily I picked the Sprint devices up for cheap on ebay with clean ESNs.

If you are going to make the switch, please consider using or sharing this link on your site or blog (https://zejffn1eh54.ting.com/).  If you use it to sign up you will get a $25 credit (and so will I).  Thanks!

Virgin Mobile USA Outage

Wow, there are a lot of people upset about Virgin Mobile USA outages on their facebook page.  People regularly post their zip code to see if Virgin Mobile will cop to an outage in that area.  There seems to be a universal dislike of the customer service as well.  I have had my own problems with Virgin Mobile but most of the problems were related to my old Optimus V phone problems.

Here are a few suggestions for Virgin Mobile in dealing with customers and service outages:

  • Admit To Your Service Outages.  In fact post them proactively so that customers don’t have to look very hard to find it.  This will save you money in terms of customer service requests and it will eliminate the feeling from your customers that you are trying to hide the fact that the service is spotty.  All providers have outages so there is no shame in admitting it.
  • Offer Credits For Loss Of Service.  When you customers tell you that they haven’t had service in days, offer a credit.  If you can verify the loss of service for that customer by relating it to known service outages in their area, then credit them for the amount of service they lost.  Half a month without service should mean half the bill for the customer.  Offer generous credits so that your customers know you care about their problems or so that you start to actually care about their problems because it hurts the bottom line.  Either way it is the right thing to do.
  • Notify Customers When The Outage Is Over.  When a known outage has happened in a certain area, let customers sign up to be notified when the outage is over.  The electric company in my area does this and it is very helpful.  Until I receive the notification, I won’t complain again about service starting and stopping over and over.  You could let people sign up to be notified or you could notify people based on their billing zip code.  Either would be good.  Both would be better.
  • Stop having people post fake positive posts to your facebook page.  It is obvious to even casual visitors that those posts are planted to make you look better.  I’m sure you have some happy customers but one liner posts from people with empty profiles are just silly.

And here is a suggestion for customers:

  • Complain More.  Post to the company facebook page, twitter account and call them.  At some point they will see the cost of their outages and either become proactive about fixing them or proactive about dealing with customers or raise their rates to accommodate the increased need for customer service.  That will drive customers away and then they  will become proactive about fixing outages or dealing with customers.

Oh and don’t forget to check your minutes using the Minutes Checker Free android app 🙂

Minutes Checker Free for Virgin Mobile USA

Please visit, like and minutesCheckerHighResPromoshare my Facebook page for Minutes Checker Free with your friends.The app is a fully functional version of the Minutes Checker Virgin Mobile app except the free version is supported by ads.The apps both let you check your Virgin Mobile USA beyond talk plans to see how many minutes you have used this month, when you month ends and what the next charge will be.Features

  • Check your minutes without having to login to the website with a tiny browser
  • Shows minutes used, account balance, date your next month starts and charge amount
  • Support multiple accounts
  • 1×1 and 2×1 home screen widgets
  • Popup with notification of minutes before and after a call (optional with settings)

Here is the link to the app in Google Play

Minutes Checker Virgin Mobile Widgets

The Minutes Checker Virgin Mobile apps (free and paid) both now include a 1×1 and 2×1 widget so you can see your minutes on your home screen without checking the app.

For those that don’t know, the Minutes Checker Virgin Mobile apps (free and paid) let you check your Virgin Mobile minutes without logging into the Virgin Mobile website from a tiny web browser.

Widget Features:

  • Widgets update with the latest info from your Virgin Mobile account after updating via the app
  • Widgets update with the latest info from your Virgin Mobile after hanging up a call
  • Widgets border turns red when there was a problem updating your account info from Virgin Mobile
  • Widget shows last update date/time so you know how stale the information is if the widget has a red border (meaning it couldn’t update with the latest info from Virgin Mobile)
  • Touching the Widget launches the Minutes Checker Virgin Mobile app

widget4 widget3

Notes Worthy Android App

Lately, in my free time I’ve been working on learning how to build Android apps.   This is mainly for my entertainment and so I can learn the Android SDK better.  I want to be able to build real apps that I can monetize either through ads or purchase.  To get there, I decided I should build some simple apps first.  My first app is called Notes Worthy.  It is a simple notepad-like app that lets you save a list of text notes.   There are hundreds of these types of notepad apps in the Google Play Store but my version is very stable, pretty small, does just what I want and no more.  It is very fast to add a note and not filled with useless features that complicate it.  Feel free to try it.  You can download it from my personal site or on the Google Play Store.

Android phone like an Ipod touch (follow up)

Because of some end of year travel, my side of the family celebrated Christmas early this year.   The android phones as ipod touches that I mentioned in an earlier post have worked out great.

The key app to making this solution work for me is called Smart App Protector Free.  It allows me to give this wifi connected handheld computer to my kids (both under 10) without worrying about what they might google or see on youtube or stumble across on the web.  Smart App Protector lets me leave wifi on so they can have a text chat app with their cousins while blocking their access to youtube or google or the browser.  I also have searching the market locked down because there are plenty of inappropriate apps there too.

Another nice solution I found is that I can leave their phones in airplane mode while turning wifi on (android 2.2) which makes it so the phone isn’t constantly searching for a cell tower to talk to (since the phones aren’t activated).  This saves battery galore.

The kids both have their phones (LG Optimus Vs purchased for ~$50 new on black friday) loaded with game apps.  They have also discovered how fun it is to be able to text their cousins and parents (and soon grandparents maybe).

I just wanted to follow up after my first post to say that the Android as an ipod touch has worked out great so far.  I recommend this for other parents looking for a way to avoid buying a $200 ipod touch.