Have you seen one of those commercials selling cell phone coverage? If you haven’t, congratulations…on avoiding every type of advertising on any type of media. These ads are everywhere! Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular, Cricket – the sheer amount of choices can make your head spin!
After two and half years with Ting mobile (you can read my initial review here), I decided to dip my toe in the water on all of these popular ads to see if I still in a good position. I reviewed the latest ads from each major cell phone carrier and researched what my cost would be in the next two years. For this experiment, I decided to take the deal that was offered on the advertisement and buy an iPhone 6 as an upgrade. Click the titles below to view the ads.
Ad #1: Sprint – Cutting Cost in Half with the “Can You Hear Me Now” traitor
The ad is aiming at flipping Verizon customers, which brings up the issue of loyalty. With Ting, I’ve found that I’ve developed some loyalty because rates and have stayed the same, there has been zero hassle of waiting in lines, and I can choose my phone and own it. The advertising for Sprint is crafty in that it applies to 4 lines of cell service. For 2 lines of service, it’s still $100 per month.
2 Year Cost Estimation: $2700
Ad #2: T-Mobile – “All In” Lemonade Stand
This was my personal favorite commercial (although I pride myself on being a commercial-resistant shopper). They offered 2 lines for $100 per month. The “All In” promotion means that taxes, fees, and rates were all included in the price. What’s not included is the cost of the phone – which set me back an additional 40 dollars per month for this experiment.
2 Year Cost Estimation: $3360
Ad #3 Verizon – High Quality “Mic Drop”
Verizon was going for the quality factor to stand out, bragging about all the coverage and reliability awards. It almost hooked me… until I saw the fairly small print that said this great deal for unlimited data was for 4 lines. Ting, while it does have some coverage issues for me personally because it piggybacks off the Sprint network (not great in the great rolling plains of Nebraska), it has been more than sufficient while I’m at home in the Omaha metro area. Plus Ting has really simple flat rates so you actually know what you’re getting into.
In my Verizon shopping, I appreciated the ability to bring my own device. Ting has been great in this aspect too, being that I’ve had 3 different phones in the past year that I activated myself. But purchasing a iPhone 6 on Glyde and bringing this over to Verizon still cost me a pretty penny. The official cost was $70 per line for unlimited data and $40 for a small data chunk (Ting lets you pay based on usage).
2 Year Cost Estimation (unlimited):$3596
2 Year Cost Estimation (low data usage): $2156
Ad #4 U.S. Cellular “Anywhere” Ad
If I really needed cell data while snow skiing or picking apples at the orchard with my wife, I would have been the perfect target audience (I may have gotten a bit cynical at this point watching so many advertisements). The cost of two phones was right around the cost of the others cell giants.
2 Year Cost Estimation: $2890
Ad #5 Cricket – “Dancing Furry Creatures” Ad
Other than the creepy dancing spherical critters, I was intrigued by Cricket wireless. The group save option is a pretty good deal – but with only Allison and I on the plan it didn’t reap a good enough reward. Sorry, creepy dancing spherical critters.
2 Year Cost Estimation (unlimited): $2886
2 Year Cost Estimation (low data usage): $1686
Thankfully, I didn’t have to watch a lame advertisement to review my experience at Ting. The consistency has been great (same low price every month and ability to alert me when I’ve reached certain usage). Ting prides itself on being hassle free, flexible (with Ting you pay for usage as you go), and budget friendly. The folks at Ting have proved to be awesome!
2 Year Cost Estimation (unlimited): $1796
2 Year Cost Estimation (low data usage): $1556
No commercial needed.
Sign up to Ting + get $50 towards your first purchase / bill
Wanna win a phone?
All you have to do is comment to enter. Ting is giving away one of their phones to a lucky, randomly selected reader. Comment with what your “dream” smartphone would be by 4/7/17 at midnight (CST). One entry per person, please. US residents only (sorry Canada, others – we still love you).
Updated 4/10/17: CONGRATS to TTG reader, Alex for winning a Motorola Moto G4 smartphone!
TTG may receive a small commission on a purchase made from links on this page – at no cost to you.
My dreamphone would likely be one of the newest and best with more memory, storage, and a better screen. I’d like something like the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge.. Hey – what do you know – Ting carries it! :)
I own an old Jitterbug. Not sure if I am smart enough for a smart phone. I have thought about Consumer Cellular out here, but still holding out. We have so many out here to choose from that it is hard to make an educational decision on just one. I like reading your articles and your trial and errors on your choices you make. I would not choose TMobile or Sprint, and you confirmed it above too. Never heard of Cricket. Your blogs are one of the few I do read. Thank you for your research and information. Have a Happy Easter!
My dream smart phone would be one that has storage expansion and is waterproof.
Right now- I don’t own a smart phone. So, I would be happy with any smart phone. Preferably one with a really good camera and video……along with decent storage capabilities.
the perfect phone would have way more memory than the standard 16gb for sure…I am thrifty but am starting to think that is a worthy investment!
Where we live, Verizon is the only carrier that I’m certain actually has good coverage. We had AT&T when we moved here and had dead spots in some very key areas – my daughter’s school being one of them. The price of having to buy a new phone to even see if any of the lower cost services would work has kept me from trying.
Yeah, that’s a really important consideration (knowing the coverage map of the provider). Ting uses Sprint / T-Mobile, so if they cover your area, then you can be pretty confident you’ll get service.
A phone that allows me to use my data however I want. If I want to tether for work at a remote location – no extra fees. If I have paid for my data I should be able to use it without having to pay more to tether.
I was be so happy to win a new phone. I am so due for one.
My dream phone would be a Samsung Galaxy S8!
One more thing to check out: if you have a GSM device, Ting uses T-Mobile’s network which give you better coverage than Sprint in many areas.
Just looked up Ting. It offers amazing flexibility for customizing plans. Definitely going to try it out.
I think you’ll like em Jason!
Also worth checking out: 2 lines on Total Wireless using Verizon’s network with 8 GB data is $60/month.
excellent analysis and i like the cost estimation totals
I think when you can use a VoLTE phone on ting/sprint then we will be in business. I used my friends verizon phone and the quality of the call over VoLTE was incredible. Night and day difference.
Have you guys thought of a Ting vs. Republic Wireless showdown?
That’s a good idea Kent.. or Tello (which I use).
Great comparison and an even better review of the big guys’ advertising! I’m new to your level of thrifting but thrilled to have found your blog. I’m an original Apple fan, so only an iphone 7 would do for me. However, in my spending defense, I’m still on a 4!!
Way to fight the pressure to upgrade Amy!
I’d want unlimited storage, take great pictures and unlimited talk and text with 3gb data for $35 incl tax! Of course the data should be at fastest speed and the calls always have maximum coverage area in Us and Canada. I’ll keep dreaming!!
I would love to win a smart phone. Right now I’m stuck with a bland Tracefone that just makes and receives calls. No frills no camera no nothing..lol.
Thank you for the opportunity to enter your contest! I need to move out of the dark ages into Modern times.
“Storage almost full” messages are starting to pop up, so a phone with a lot more memory would be my dream device. Also one that helps you text. I’m a lousy texter.
I did look at Ting when I decided to drop Verizon and their shenanigans. I wasn’t a fan of the pricing structure, so I opted for Google Fi. I’ve been with Fi for over a year and I recently crunched the numbers: it’s 3.8 times CHEAPER than our major carrier contracts. :)
My dream smartphone would be one that’s free!