Back in January/February, I switched cell phone carriers. I had bought a fancy smartphone and started a contract with Sprint back in mid-2011, buying into how awesome smartphones are. Don’t get me wrong, they’re pretty awesome, but after having it for over a year, I found that I wasn’t using that much data. And I wasn’t using all that many minutes or texts from my ‘unlimited’ supply either. I kind of missed my $30/month 1500 talk & text plan I’d had with T-Mobile previously. I was paying ~$85/month for unlimited evenings and weekends, unlimited text, unlimited data, 750 daytime minutes, and unlimited calls to any US cell phone number. I did some shopping around and that was the “cheapest” contract plan I found at the time, by whatever comparisons I did. Also, Sprint had the particular phone I wanted (first problem: I decided I *had* to have a specific phone).
So I was super happy when I discovered that Ting would let me port my Sprint phone and would most likely cost me much less money per month, for the same reception. The only catch remaining was that I would have to pay out an early termination fee to end my Sprint contract early. Well, guess what! It turned out that Ting was offering to pay for people’s ETFs (in late January when I switched)! There went both of my reasons to not give it a try. The $30/month plan I had with T-Mobile was a slightly better deal on a monthly basis, but not having to buy a new phone made switching to Ting make much more sense.
I’m now about 5 months into this experiment, so I thought I’d give you an update.
- I have paid out $145.43 to Sprint.
- I have paid out $56.39 to Ting after my various credits. (as of the end of the June billing period)
- In total, I’ve paid $201.82 for cell phone service over the first 6 months of the year.
- Had I stayed with Sprint, I would have spent about $496.86 in that timeframe, or about almost triple.
- My estimated cell phone costs for a 12 month period are now down to $220, versus $994 with Sprint, saving me about 4.5x my Sprint bill.
Here is what my usage looked like over the first few months:
|Month||Minutes||Texts||Data (MB)||Cost on Ting|
|February||590 (L, $18)||470 (M, $5)||44 (S, $3)||$32+fees|
|March||906 (L, $18)||509 (M, $5)||0 (XS, $0)||$29+fees|
|April||279 (M, $9)||365 (M, $5)||0 (XS, $0)||$20+fees|
|May||86 (S, $3)||292 (M, $5)||61 (S, $3)||$17+fees|
|June||42 (S, $3)||786 (M, $5)||12 (S, $3)||$17+fees|
At first, the experiment was performed with minimal thought to how many texts I was sending or how many minutes I was spending on the phone. I did, however, only use data while traveling and kept my usage under 100 MB to stay in the smallest non-zero usage tier. After a few months, I started watching my usage a bit more.
I definitely send a good number of texts, but texts are super cheap with Ting compared to minutes. The jump from 100 texts to 1,000 texts costs you $2 and the jump from 1,000 to 2,000 (hah!) costs you $3.
On the other hand, the jump from 100 minutes to 500 is $6, $9 from 500 to 1,000 minutes, and $17 from 1,000 minutes to 2,000. Those minutes are pretty dang expensive! Most of the longer calls are made at home and I have a theory that I can stay under 100 minutes if I don’t use my cell phone for any calls at home. I’ve tried using Google Voice at home to make calls and I also tried out a few apps, but I didn’t have much luck. So, based on some reviews from the MMM forums, I bought VOIPo service for 24 months for $149+taxes or $185 total. I used a referral code I found online to sign up, so that actually works out to $7.40/month for 25 months. I already had some spare cordless phones lying around the house, so I plugged the base one in to the adapter they sent me and I’m good to go! The next step is to figure out how to call forward my Ting cell phone to the VOIPo service so that I don’t have to give out a new phone number. This means that I now have unlimited calling to US/Canada for 25 months. That has been key to getting my minutes usage on Ting under 100/month – I’m now only using my cell phone for calls when I’m out and about.
I have already gotten my first referral. The first one is valued at $50, which means I won’t have to pay my Ting bill in July or August based on my usage and I’ll have a pretty small bill in September based on my current usage. I’m so glad I made the switch!
If you’re interested in trying out VOIPo, you can email me and I’ll give you my referral code, which would give us both a month of free service..
Back in 2011, my communication services consisted of a $30/month T-Mobile prepaid plan on a dumbphone that gave me 1500 minutes/texts per month and a line through Vonage that I prepaid annually for a cost of about $30/month. Now look at what I have set up: $20-40/month cell phone through Ting (a MVNO of Sprint) with no contract and a VOIP service at a cost of ~$7/month. I kind of wish I hadn’t bought that expensive smartphone and signed a contract two years ago. That would have saved me about $1,400 over the last two years!
Readers, have you re-evaluated your cell phone and landline services recently?
Note: All links to Ting in this post are referral links. If you use the link to sign up for Ting service, you will get a $25 credit and so will I. All opinions, however, are my own.