Friday, February 03, 2012

Tucows launches Ting, a contract-free mobile service


Harken back to the days of Windows 95, and you may remember downloading a few shareware titles to your Compaq or Packard Bell courtesy of Tucows and its network of mirror sites. While the company is no longer of much relevance in the software arena, it's recently launched a mobile service called Ting that operates on Sprint's network, and like many of its competitors (think Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile), no contract is needed. That's not to suggest everything is the same, however, as unlike other carriers, Ting offers to reimburse you for your unused voice, text and data allotments -- think of it as rollover to your wallet. Curious to know more? We've laid out and explained the full spread of Ting's phones and plans after the break.

As no contracts are required, subscribers must pay for their handsets outright. There are six smartphones total, beginning with the Zio ($105) and Optimus S ($155) on the low-end. Beyond that, shoppers will discover the Transform ($245) and Conquer 4G ($295) in the middle of the pack, all the way up to the EVO Shift 4G Detail ($395) and Photon 4G ($545). Each of the 4G-capable handsets may use Sprint's WiMAX network. Meanwhile, two feature phones are also in the mix, which include the Samsung Reclaim ($45) and the M360 ($65).

Naturally, the true savings comes with the plans, where customers may choose between six tiers for voice, data and text messages. While a voice plan isn't required (free), 100 minutes can be had for just $3, whereas a more reasonable 500 minutes can be scored for $9. SMS is treated similarly, as 100 messages costs just $3, while 4,000 can be found for merely $11. Unfortunately, data rates are less enticing. While 100MB can again be purchased for $3, 1GB costs $24 and 2GB costs a lofty $42. In the case of each, whenever you exceed your voice, data or text allotment, you'll be bumped into the next tier and then reimbursed for your unused portion. It's also worth noting that Ting doesn't charge additional fees for tethering or hotspot use -- this simply counts toward your data usage, as it should